We had parties at Ted’s once a month because his mom worked nights and his dad didn’t see the point of legal drinking ages. We were all under twenty-one at the time, and we didn’t go away to college—those of us who went at all—so Ted’s basement was our version of a frat house. In some ways, it was safer, and in some ways, more dangerous.
At this writing, I have called New York City home for three decades—several years more than I’d been alive when I moved here. I have lived in Harlem, though mostly in my current home of Brooklyn, and I’ve worked in Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx. I got married in Prospect Park and sent my children to public schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan. I have served on two juries, voted in eight mayoral elections, and watched the progression from one-dollar subway token to $2.75 MetroCard. I am a New Yorker.
Childhood is a mortifying thing, best forgotten.
Less than a month later, watching the bomb named Little Boy falling from the Enola Gay towards the city of Hiroshima, co-pilot Captain Robert Lewis said, “Look at that son of a bitch go!” What he wrote in the log he was keeping for the New York Times, however, was, “My God, what have we done?” At least one fellow crew member remembered him saying this aloud on the flight back to Tinian, so maybe he did try it out, having liked the sound of it on the page.