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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Myra's Isle





As regular readers well know, I am a habitué of Washington Square Park, my front and back yard. Here, I have met many remarkable people, some of whom have been featured on the website. It has, for a number of us who live in the neighborhood, become a veritable social club.

However, this environment is certainly not for the average palate and admittedly, as is often the case in New York City, one must tolerate a spectrum of people - the violent, hostile, drug addicts and dealers, crusties, homeless, and every manner of misfit, social outcast and criminal known to humankind. Any park regular will by necessity, at least occasionally, encounter, or should I say be accosted by, very unsavory individuals, particularly late at night, which will certainly remove any doubt that werewolves, zombies or vampires do in fact exist.

Building a social life in such an environment tests one's ability to maintain a balance, giving all the benefit of the doubt - being polite and respectful yet cautious. It is a harsh educational experience - one of the many courses for those attending New York's Sidewalk University. The trials and tribulations of being homeless are clearly illuminated - I have learned what this really means on a day to day basis.

Some time ago I had conversation about these matters with Myra, a neighborhood resident, who owns an apartment with one of the finest locations I have ever seen in the Village - a four bedroom corner duplex penthouse that fronts both Fifth Avenue and Washington Square North with a private 1,400 square foot outdoor roof deck and additional terraces in front. You can virtually touch the Washington Square arch from nearly every window and space. At night, the illuminated monument is absolutely stunning.

Myra is well aware of the privileged residence she has. In fact, she expressed her desire to share it more with others. This, in tandem with conversations about taking our park social group indoors from time to time, led Myra to graciously offer her place as venue for a party. The conversation was recently further explored with another local resident, Hellen. Our mutual enthusiasms knew no bounds and in short order, a three person party planning committee was formed.

A spreadsheet was created to manage the names and RSVPs. As any party planner will attest, managing the number of invitees becomes a big challenge - there is no end to who should rightfully be invited and soon our party list numbered 47. Individuals of every imaginable background were in attendance with a heavy representation of musicians, important to all those attending. Music is one of the best loved features of the park's culture.

Initially, the party was to wish a friend farewell who was leaving for the summer - an NYU student who has befriended our group, particularly the musicians (herself a guitarist and singer). Coincidentally, this was also the birthday for Harvey, Hellen's husband, and a celebration for Steve who had just started a new job. Remarkably, Sally, with whom I had a chance encounter in 2010, was coming to New York the very same weekend with her family. It was also the first time I had ever actually planned and cohosted a party, a cause for celebration in its own right. Hellen provided celebratory tags and placed them on dessert cakes for this amazing serendipitous occurrence of five events.

Among the attendees whom I have written about previously were: Sally Darling, Gaby Lampkey, Ferris Butler, Susan Goren and Sage. George Vellonakis, a noted landscape architect responsible for the park redesign was also aboard. Ferris was accompanied by Beverly Ross, singer-songwriter responsible for the hit song "Lollipop."

Unbeknownst to us, George brought a friend, Tina Louise, an actress who is best known for her role as the movie star Ginger on the TV series Gilligan's Island - quite appropriate to round out our own cast of characters. We now had a professor (Steve), Mary, a millionaire and his wife, a movie star (the real Ginger), even a Tiny Louise. Two members of our party planning group certainly qualified as skipper and mate and did their very best to make our group of 47 castaways in self exile very happy and comfortable in Myra's Isle :)

Related Posts: Ferris Butler, Gaby Lampkey Part 2, When Brian Met Sally, Curse of the Mouth Trumpet, Impossible, On the Road, The Bathroom Closes in 20 Minutes, Pockets of Joy, Just Like Old Times, Dave, Smile, The Conductor, Sounds of Summer, Spinning, Park Night

11 comments:

Sally Darling said...

It was an HONOR and utter pleasure to be included in this wonderful evening and to be on Myra's Isle! Thank you to all, it will never be forgotten.

Brian Dubé said...

Sally - I sure I can speak for the rest of the crew - it was a pleasure to have you and your family as one of the castaways on Myra's Isle.

Karen said...

I LOVE this post! It's sure to be a classic like when you met Sally. What a fantastic community and group of people you've come to experience there. Those type of evenings with a cast of eclectic or eccentric characters from all walks of life are the ones you remember for the rest of your life. Much more exciting than the office Christmas party.

Rigel said...

I will always be grateful to have a non-biological family who can lift me up at just the right moments. That night was wonderful. Thank you.

Sue K said...

How great is that! Sounds like an amazing evening. Even stranger is that the poster shown in the photo with someone playing guitar on the couch, the one of Washington Square Park from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is the same poster I have sitting above my couch in my living-room! I love the tie in to Gilligan's Island. Great post!

Jodi Gibson said...

What a fantastic, treasured life you lead. Loved this post.

time traveler said...

Looks like a terrific time-terrific people-looks like good music-yummy cakes-how could you go wrong??Nice post!!

Anonymous said...

Hellen and Harvey say: Wow Brian, you really did it this time. We love your human interest stories; this one in particular because we are the humans of interest. The images and story provide the reader a sense of the stimulating ambiance that obtained at this event. Thanks for reminding us of what a good time we had.

The Rose Garden Restaurant said...

It looks like everyone's were having a great time! I miss our batch reunions : ( The 2 cakes seems so tasty to eat! Love the choco one : ) Thanks New York Daily Photo.

Mary P. said...

All ages welcome and represented. This is what our Park is all about!

llum said...

Love this post. Great reunion!