I had been involved with John Perry for a year or two when he told me that he was going to take a trip to New York to see friends of his that he had met in Paris and Brussels. I had always wanted to visit New York and when John told me about his impending trip, I saw it as my opportunity! As I remember it, he didn’t really invite me to go but did not put up any real resistance to my coming either. As it turned out, the flight I could get at that point was the day previous to when he was flying. I would arrive a day ahead of him and stay with his friends that I had never met before. It was an interesting experience. His friends were kind to me, although I quickly learned that I must be up early each morning and spend my day outside the apartment. The following are scans of a letter that i wrote my Mother after the trip.
John’s friends were middle class or upper middle class, living in a high-rise apartment a block from Central Park. John and I slept on their floor. Dean was African-American and his partner, George, was a white French man that was apparently very shy. John had lived in Paris and Brussels in his college years. Dean was a music professor in Brooklyn and George was a collage artist. Often, the three of them, John, Dean and George, would speak French, leaving me out of the conversation entirely but I didn’t really care as I was in Manhattan!
During our visit, we also visited another friend of John’s that was a concert pianist. They lived in a huge apartment with two grand pianos in his living room. It was quite impressive but I made no attempt at learning his name.
John and I visited many of the tourist sites such as The Empire State Building and The World Trade Center Twin Towers that would be destroyed years later when President George Bush and his administration ignored repeated warnings that there would be an imminent attack. We visited The Statue of Liberty and I went up the spiral staircase up into her crown and looked out the windows there.
John and I got half off tickets in Time Square to see “Coming Uptown,” an all black musical version of Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol,” starring Gregory Hines.
We visited another friend of John’s in Brooklyn and spent a couple of evenings in Greenwich Village. John and I got half off tickets to the play “Bent,” starring Richard Gere. Richard Gere was naked in one scene and after this, I would often kid people that I had been in the same room with a naked Richard Gere!
We visited the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art.
The trip to the airport was a terrifying cab ride. Once at the airport, we discovered that there were no planes flying to San Francisco due to fog in The City. John opted to sleep in the airport, while I chose to check in to the airport Hilton.