When I was a kid, I used to take the bus from Providence to New York to see movies and visit joke shops and used comic books stores. My haul would keep me busy for months. My parents never knew where I had gone or where I got the comics and fake vomit from.
I got my first newspaper job at the New York Times, as a copy boy, ferrying the pages of some great writers around when newspapers had great writing. I ate dinner every night at the pizza place at W. 3rd and McDougal, and dinner was the same every night – a slice of Sicilian pizza and a coke. Many weekends I drove or was driven to Martha's Vineyard where I had a girl friend waiting in Vineyard Haven.
I saw the steps of the Columbia Law Library run red with the blood of students as they and the police battled over the Vietnam War. I got arrested for trying to help a friend who was fighting with the police, a poor move. I play the drums in a cafe rock band for a few months. I went to midnight shows of movies. I walked through Little Italy every night and watched the mob guys hang outside of "social clubs." I covered the riots for a student news service and began my writing life. I wrote poems in coffee shops, played chess in Washington Square, drifted through the nights. My parents thought I was in college, but I had been thrown out.
I thought the world was coming to an end – riots, assassinations, wars. I didn't know then that every generation things the world is coming to an end. So back to New York. Maria has her own memories, but I can't tell them for her, and shouldn't.