Monday, April 23, 2007


Pulitzer Prize-Winning author David Halberstam died last night in a car crash in California and that's one less great New Yorker for us all to admire. I'm sure this wont' be the first place you'll here of this but its a place for me to share my little brush with the famous that happens quite often in NYC. On leaving our annual Christmas Eve dinner one year with writer L.B. Chollet and his wife Betsy, we walked out of Cafe des Artiste into the lightly falling snow, a snow that one hopes is falling every Christmas Eve. While gathering our belongings and cackling at our Festive good fortune an extremely tall man came walking by, almost as if in promenade. He was over 6'5'', rail thin and walking the tiniest of dogs, a shitzu or Lhasa I believe. He was dressed for the weather, long black coat and wrap around scarf, but it was with such delicacy that he walked, a man of his size with such a tiny animal and the care he took to avoid her? stepping near our clodding feet. Their was no one around at the time and both L.B and myself looked up to to see the almost Dickensian character float on past us down the street. "Merry Christmas" we said "And to you both" he replied. We both looked each other straight in the face and said "David Halberstam"? The voice was unmistakable. Not a sinner on the the street and one of the great non fiction writers of the 20th century saunters by us. I remember at the time being blown away by the contrarian nature of the City. Not long before I had just read Summer of '49. The historical drama of the Pennant fight between the Yankees and the Red Sox , which I loved, and within that same calender year, I would walk past that same author, as if he were my next door neighbor. Only in NYC. I would continue to see him on Charlie Rose or other shows. He wrote Firehouse, one of the most moving tributes to 9/11. My wife saw him last week an a poetry reading he attended at Lincoln center, but it was our late Christmas meeting I will remember as if it was meant to be. A confirmation of sorts , one of many, for me being a part of the city that I love.

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