Monday, February 11, 2008

Security Guy Confessions

Like Disney World, New York City has an endless cast of characters. While Goofy, the Mad Hatter, and Uncle Scrooge are surely among them, trust me, the list from there is just the beginning. From taxi drivers, to the doormen, to the crazies on the subway, New Yorkers could write a novel...daily. And every once in a while, you connect with someone you would never have foreseen.

Take the security guy at my office building...Nice guy, always had a smile. And the guy is so impeccably dressed every day just to sit at a desk. I'm talking about alligator shoes or a pocket square matching his tie or a nice feather in his hat. So when the Knicks game came up today, I was happy to oblige. What a charming guy. And you can be sure musical interests worked their way in to the chat. Well the whole point of this post is that this gentleman, whom I had walked past countless times, it turns out used to live in Harlem back in the late 60's and early 70's. He resided on 114th Street and Frederick Douglass within walking distance of the Apollo Theater.

As a local jazz pianist that was somewhat of a legend in his neighborhood, he got to know the guys in the house band at The Apollo. So with full access to the famed venue, he spent evenings with James Brown talking about life, he would enjoy hours with McCoy Tyner the piano player for John Coltrane, and he spent time reviewing notes with Oscar Peterson, the late great jazz pianist. He had absorbed and lived amongst the legends that for me reside solely in Wikipedia. I wanted so badly to hear more, but it appeared as though the cultural good times hadn't lasted and here he was in an office building at 9 pm on Manhattan's West Side before going home to Brooklyn. I didn't press too much, but damn I want to know more.

Don't forget everyone has a story. Ask, and you may be amazed at who and what you learn about or where someone has been. Any interesting folks on your daily commute? Want to share your story on The Weight?

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