I’m a native New Yorker, which means I was born in Manhattan. There are really not too many of us, since the affluent are probably the only ones that can afford to live there to enjoy all that the city has to offer.
Now let’s be honest about it, to Brooklynites, Manhattan is always referred to as the city, and the outer boroughs are just that — even though Brooklyn by itself is the fourth biggest city in the U.S. So let me tell you about my trip to the city.
Regular readers of this column will remember that my wife, Sharon, is leaving her job in the city at GrowNYC. To mark the occasion, she was given a great send-off party at the Arsenal in Central Park. And while the party was great, getting thier was half the fun.
See, ever since I moved to Bensonhurst I’ve been a motorist. Well, make that a driver. In fact for the 56 years, as the driver, I never got to see anything but traffic. And, you know, every once in a while you have to stop and look around,or you might miss something.
And on Monday, June 14, I didn’t miss a thing.
My good friend Yoketing Eng, president of CEC21, offered to drive Sharon, my scooter and me to her party in his van.
Yoketing is an excellent driver and a man of this modern age, getting us to our destination via his GPS. So, for once, I didn’t have to worry about dirictions, or traffic, or anything, enabling me to see Manhattan as a spectator.
A was it something to see.
I was amazed at all the new skyscrapers and beauty of the old and new architecture. Trinh, his lovely wife, is a realtor, and could identify each building I asked her about. The Big Apple really shined that day for me.
The only downside of the trip to the party was that there was no parking whatsoever on Fifth Avenue, where the party was held on the roof of the Park’s Department Arsenal office building. For subway riders, getting there is a snap. However, family and friends had to maximize car pools to get there and those with handicap plates were permitted to use off-duty Parks Department personnel parking spots. But you still had to walk past the zoo to get to the Arsenal.Thank God they advised me to take my scooter.
The atmosphere on the roof was, as Cole Porter said in “High Society,” was swellegant. No two ways about it, the ambience was absolutely lovely and totally stunning, with a bird’s eye view of Central Park, where we watched the sun set between the trees and skyscrapers.
Thankfully, my friend Sid Schatzman, an amateur meteorologist, delivered us the most perfect beautiful day, despite gloomy-looking cloud cover earlier. When it comes to weather, Sid is 99.9 percent right, so we always order our weather from him.
The best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray, as was evident in Sharon’s speech, of which she misplaced the page listing family and friends to thank. She had thanked many old friends who came especially for her including, my daughter and son Carl, who gave a humorous run down on the joys, trials and tribulations of living with the “Queen of Sunning and Shopping.” A letter from Mayor Bloomberg was read by GrowNYC’s chairman Bob Kaftan, congratulating Sharon for her decades of service to New York City. Borough President Markowitz sent a proclamation declaring it “Sharon Santa Maria Day” in Brooklyn and Councilman Domenic Recchia sent Sharon a City Council citation.
The food and wine were superb; all the guests were delightful with some very notable, as well as distinguished, New Yorkers present. I reminisced with some old council friends whose kids, when they were born, were given Big Screecher membership cards, and these little Big Screechers are now going to college or getting engaged — and one is even performing, dancing at Lincoln Center.
Coming home entailed another treat of the city’s beauty. Thank you Yoketing and Trinh! Kudos to GrowNYC’s Julie, Monique and Lindsay, Sharon’s co-workers who set up every detail, making the occasion perfect and most memorable. What a swellegant party it was!
Screech at you next week!