Friday, March 15, 2013

That was then


The West 80’s Neighborhood Association has come with a three part agenda. First: make all arrangements for a May candidates forum at West-Park. Our Council member Gale Brewer is being term-limited out of office. After many long years of it’s being Gale’s office, someone else must now be elected and that relationship will be important to us. Gale’s aide Jesse is with us.

Next they want to look at Bill’s proposal for a tower light installation. Reflecting both a new dawn, a new birth, and referencing  our role as the birthplace of the More Light Movement for lgbtq inclusion at every level. We’re surprised that our neighbors are favorably impressed and see the lights as a new beacon, a sign of hope, a plus for the neighborhood. 

Third: they want to know about our plans. We tell them things are still in negotiation. They are supportive. Want to see life here. Vitality. Egress may be an issue. They agree to help work on easements.

One of the members of the group visiting us is on the board of the Andrew Goodman Foundation. Andrew was one of the three Freedom Riders murdered by the Ku Klux Klan outside of Philadelphia, Mississippi in the summer of 1964. He grew up next door to West-Park. I met his mother once at a community meeting. They were classic examples of what the Upper West Side once was. Our new neighbor moved into the Goodman home. learned the history. Felt she had an obligation to carry it on. (  It is important these stories not be lost.
Andrew Goodman

As we finish, Cara and Nicole are at the piano. Trying to recapture some of what Amanda and Cara had created. It takes awhile to get the synergy. Nicole is one of Jeremy’s back up singers but has a voice worth following on her own.

I see the door open and in  from the cold comes Isis, back from Oklahoma. El Borracho is in the back of the church, cell phone in hand. I speak to him and he leaves. Soon, I am watching as Dzieci works methodically through the Passion Play they will be performing at West-Park on Palm Sunday. I’ve seen their finished products, but never their process. Kimberley is observing, enthralled to see Grotowski/ Brook  theatre theory embodied and carried out. I’m watching the Yeshua character, with tallis, entoning the Hebrew blessings. 

Jamie comes in and sits down beside me. Soon will be time for the Public Hearing. We learned to treat them with caution seven years ago in another life when we brought a proposal for housing their way. And the night I was accused of being responsible for the death of Arthur Cafiero while the committee chair said nothing. That was then. Tonight should be different. 

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