My first home away from home in New York City in the late 90s was just around the corner on 5th Street, in Eddie’s building. He was a reliable sight on the block, grizzled, tall and draped in fake pearls. On hot days he could be found wrenching open the fire hydrant to make a fountain.
via Tommylane on flickr.
He and I would sit on the roof eating chips and drinking Gatorade. He was born in that building and continued to live there after his parents passed away and his brother moved. He told me that when he was a kid, there was a movie theater next door (on the corner occupied by a senior center), and he and his friends used to clamber from roof to roof to sneak in.
via luckyolive on flickr
Eddie hadn’t left the 3-block area in at least 30 years. His last trips away included visits to the emergency room when he would nearly kill himself drinking. His advice was to stagger in and hit the wall so that the nurse would attend to you immediately — you wouldn’t have to wait. The sweetest sight was the nurse coming with the shot.
He was a devotee of Sophie’s bar on the block, they let him sweep up and he ogled the young boys there – the golden boys as he called them.
He climbed the tower for me once, to show me how he’d built it. He’d created broken toy sculptures all over the garden – they only became a tower after the other folks asked him to confine them to one small square. He said he could look out over everything, from the top. He could see far past the three blocks he hadn’t left in years. Goodnight Eddie, and goodnight tower.