Tuesday, November 07, 2006


There was the year that Paola had heard of the party at the Clock Tower Gallery on one of those East-West streets in Tribeca. Emily (whose birthday is Oct 31), Drew, Paola, Poppy, and I think Deegan were all dressed for Halloween as the Vibrator Repair Unit, complete with workmen’s twill jackets that said as much, with oval name tags sewn by Paola (who is like a dark Martha Stewart in the realm of felt and fema clay). I was out as Deirdre of the Sorrows, the Irish mythical figure who was fated to marry a certain king and bring murderous death upon his entire family. My costume consisted of two or three layers of floor-length pale-blue nightgowns from the Salvation Army smeared with glitter glue, a black velvet cape that Paola lent then gave me, and blue and silver tears drawn down my cheeks.

After a brief stay at a crowded loft party somewhere in warehouse Brooklyn (maybe 52 Hope Street), we headed off on the J train to downtown. Found ourselves in front of the stately old building, which was perhaps once a sweatshop, or maybe always some kind of office building, maybe even the kind Bartleby would have worked in. This was in 1998, and the streets of Tribeca were utterly deserted. Nor, now, could we find anyone in the building “home” to buzz us in. We imagined the loud party and how they wouldn’t be able to hear the bell by this hour of the night.

Finally, a bored night watchman. Let us in to the building. Naturally, we headed for the clock tower.

Which we reached by elevator and then staircase, then found a space full of rubble and darkness, rats and two by fours, plaster piles and plastic buckets, a loft apartment waiting to happen, a space that had not been used in decades except as utility, as storage. This was the clock tower.

We slipped from there onto the exposed roof, laughed into the New York sky, waved hello to the Twin Towers, hello to the Empire State. Ran back and forth through the starry, chilly night, through the dark void of the clock tower, through the well lit corridor of the building’s inside proper. Someone, I think Emily, squatted and peed the floor in sight of the security camera (she waved to that, too), her body carefully hidden beneath the folds of her long skirt.

We laughed and laughed. Our astonishment made us lighter than we were before, made us leap like lords, skid like vaudeville, giggle like teenagers.

Afterwards we were ravenous. We hiked up to the Cozy Diner on Broadway and I made Emily gasp in horror and delight like I always did when I ordered and devoured what in New York is called a Texas Burger, what most places is called a One-Eye, and in Charlottesville is called a Gusburger--a hamburger with a fried egg on top. I didn’t like it as much as I let on, but I loved making Emily proud of me.

Paola found out days later that the Clock Tower Gallery party was in Brooklyn, not far from where we’d started our evening.



Blogger Sean Maloy Eno said...

Not only does this story have emily but it has the Gusburger too. Hahaha! Great!

5:41 AM  

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