You meet the nicest people on the train.

En route to meeting John for a sushi binge a woman entering the train at the last second lost her balance and wound up in my lap. She was probably in her 50s, looking kind of mom-ish. The weird thing was that as I reached up to control her comedown I got her around the waist and she felt light, like a pillow. I swung her around like we were square dancing and popped her right back up on her feet. We laughed, she apologized and I told her I fall on people all the time.

A few hours later Damon and I shoe-horned ourselves onto a packed A train. The only open patch I could snag forced me to grab the overhead bar. It’s hard for me to steady myself there because I have to extend my arm all the way over my head and then stretch to the side — being of the shorter persuasion. We’re zipping along Central Park when the conducter hit the breaks. The bar popped out of my hand and I went backwards like someone had tipped the train up on its short end. Now picture Dick Gregory in ‘The Shining.’ Imagine if Jack Nicholson hadn’t axed him in the stomach and he’d lived another ten years, getting a little more gray and grizzled. That’s the guy into whom I went reeling, my back to his front. The funny thing is, once again, everything felt so light. It didn’t hurt when I clunked into him. I didn’t bump or smack into anything. We laughed and he helped steady me back on my feet. After I was righted and secure I could hear him chuckling behind me.

Friendly city.


6 responses to this post.

  1. That sounds like the New York I remember at this time of year where the Christmas gifts are paid off and everyone knows spring is only a few weeks away…so glad to hear NYC still has some of that magic left that makes it such a singular place.
    BTW – I have to speak up only because it holds a very special memory for me and an old friend who used to impersonate him all the time – it was Scatman Crothers, not Dick Gregory, but the description is still apt. Sorry to nitpick but with Chris Penn’s bio reading “Sean Penn’s brother dies” this week, I’m feeling weirdly obligated to give actors their posthumous props. Headed back to the states in a week and I’m sure I’ll be up to NYC for a visit before the summer’s out so hope to see you soon!


  2. Okay, me again…
    Sorry to spam you via LJ, but in all the confusion of moving I don’t have a lot of email addresses and wanted to let you (and Gregorio) know about this.
    Do you remember Deirdre who wrote the music for Viva Los Alamos. Well she’s performing tonight at the cutting room…
    The legendary music presenter Sid Bernstein, with his partner Joey Gargano, are presenting Deirdre Broderick at the Cutting Room on Sunday, February 12 at 6:00 pm. Please join us for this special concert.
    Deirdre, along with 4 other acts, will appear. The evening is honoring the 42nd anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearance at Carnegie Hall, presented by Sid Bernstein. Deirdre and the other singers will be singing versions of Beatles’ hits, as well as their own original music.
    The Cutting Room is one of the premier clubs in Manhattan and is located in the fashionable Flatiron District. It is co-owned by Steve Walter and Sex & the City’s Chris Noth.
    To find out more about Deirdre and her music, please visit The word is spreading. Thousands of people each month are visiting her website from all around the world.
    Please join us for this special evening. I promise you it will melt your heart to hear Deirdre sing her versions of the Lennon/McCartney hits “In My Life” and “The Long and Winding Road”. It’s something you won’t forget.
    I look forward to seeing you there.
    Sunday, February 12 at 6 pm (Doors open at 5 pm)
    The Cutting Room
    19 West 24th Street
    General admission is $15 at the door
    Tickets are also available in advance at


  3. i. the only time i was in new york, no one looked me in the eye on the subway. everyone looked beat up and angry.
    ii. the last day i was in the city, i went somewhere with friends. until that point, i’d been doing my travels solo. we were waiting for the train, and when one pulled in, i lunged to get up. my friend asked where i was going, i said onto the train, she said that’s not our train.
    somehow, i had magically gotten on all of the right trains for three days.


  4. The impulse to get on a train when you see it pull in can be hard to resist, even if I know it’s not my train.


  5. I’m hugely lazy. I actually thought, “Was that guy named Dick Gregory? Eh, someone will correct me if it wasn’t.” So thanks!
    Do let me know if you come our way.


  6. Re: Okay, me again…
    Your note says “tonight” but the email says Feb. 12. Hmmmm.


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