I found out one of my good friends (and fellow Yorkie owner) from NYC Michael DeMarsico died a few days ago at the age of 44. I know everyone says only good things about those who have died, but he was truly pure to the core and must have had perfect karma, despite the tragic nature of the disease that took him at such a young age. He was a prolific writer and loyal friend and was survived by his husband and his dog Chloe. I cherish the long emails we had together over the past two decades and the countless coffees and social events I shared with him. I’m so glad I saw him on my last trip to NYC in 2014 (one of the pictures with Chloe is below) when he was already struggling with some of the symptoms of MSA, but he was STILL making jokes about it as he lost motor function. Every time I started to feel the tiniest bit sorry for myself when I had limited mobility this past four months I thought of people like him and so many others suffering, like the children of Syria and the refugees all over the world whose problems dwarfed my inability to walk without crutches. Now that I’m healing and I know I’ll make a full recovery, I hope to return to NYC for the celebration of his life in a month or so. I could only hope to be as genteel and brave as Mike was facing a painful and slow death head on. I’m sure he will be immortalized by his writing. It was at his behest that he not have a funeral but rather a party for his friends, which only demonstrates that he was a total class act. Rest in Peace sweet man.
My daughter, Alexandra Hayden, owner of Bossbabe, using an alias in homage to the “(She-) Wolf of Wall Street,” was on a panel at NYU (where I used to teach as an adjunct for a few years). I’m so proud of her continuing the media involvement that I’ve been doing since she was a little girl.
I certainly never saw these parts of Manhattan before and I regret that I didn’t get to explore it even more. My friends live nearby on Cabrini Blvd., so I usually stay with them there and should be able to check out the cloisters and such again in the future.
I have a long history with the Twin Towers going back to the late 1970’s when they were only a few years old. I have footage of them from my apartment window on Governor’s Island elsewhere on this site in color back then. I was there in NYC when the towers fell and interviewing for a job on the 76th floor of one of them a few weeks before September 11. I document that on this site in great detail as well. I happened to be at this event just as the last few windows were being put on the Freedom Tower and the museum was open for the survivors and first responders. A friend of mine actually got tickets for immediately after but it didn’t work out for my schedule. The thought of him suggesting that I go with him was very touching, though, as I don’t get back to NYC all that often these days.
Much has changed on Christopher Street since I moved away from NYC, but I still have a ton of nostalgia for this area which was so formative in my coming out process. I still feel a sense of strong envy for those who live in such a dynamic area and in the amazing buildings that will survive centuries more than they already have. Fortunately the streets were closed for a vendor fair when I waltzed down and took this video with my friend Steve.
My sweet friend Jim would probably kill me if he knew I was using his middle name here, but I know several people named Jim Taylor, so it always helped me to find him in my address book when I could search by his full name.
Today I received very sad news about Jim. A mutual friend informed me that his body was found in his apartment in Brooklyn.
Jim was very successful for many years as a woman’s clothes designer. He loved animals and had a beautiful penthouse in Queens for many years, as well as a home on Fire Island for a while. He was a true Midwestern boy whose dreams came true when he moved to the City of New York. I was glad to be his friend both when he was successful and then for many years when he had some medical setbacks, including some bad seizures. As a result, he became quite destitute, but still stayed in the adopted city he loved so much, and it was during those tough times that I remember having the most laughs and the most fun while hanging out with him, including at many of the parties that I had in Brooklyn. He loved making friends and was great with staying in touch with me, even when I moved back to California. He told me many times that he would have loved to visit, and I was beckoning him to do it, so he could at least get away from the city for a while, during the tougher times he had.
I’m so glad I told Jim I loved him on more than one occasion, even when he drove me a little crazy.
The more I think about it, the more I realize my Mom is right that someone with this kind of medical history, really should not be living alone, because if he had a seizure, it is very likely that he could have survived.
Jim’s mother apparently died three years ago, which I did not know until this week, and his father, from whom he was apparently estranged, is not willing to pay for his cremation, which means that Jim might end up in the notorious New York city grave for John Doe’s known as Potter’s Field. I hope this won’t be the case. He deserved better.
My mother and I have a good memory of her speaking at my college graduation on Staten Island, New York in 1993.
She was an interesting character with lots of inspirational words for the large graduating class. Her choice for the commencement speaker was a surprise to me since Staten Island is pretty conservative for being inside of New York City.
I don’t understand the details of the controversies over Palin and Obama with her, I’ll let her rest in peace and keep the fond memories I had of her.