John Coyne's thank you party. (Yana Paskova/NYT)
One of the best traditions of New York life is the esteem and affection in which the managers and doormen of its apartment buildings are held. Another is the way its inhabitants come together in a crisis. This lovely story, as reported by the NYT, combines both.
Its about John Coyne, resident manager of a venerable building called the Osborne, across the street from Carnegie Hall. When the storm hit, part of a nearby construction crane came loose and was twisting ominously in the wind. Everyone in the immediate area, including the Osborne's residents, was evacuated. Coyne sneaked back into the building using a ladder, to feed the cats and water the plants, keeping the residents up to date on what was going on in the following days and generally reassuring them that their homes were OK. Once the residents were safely back they threw him a surprise party to say thank you.
I enjoyed reading the whole report but particularly this bit, which tells you so much about the kind of people who live in the Osborne. The reporter asks one of the residents to describe the disturbing sound of the crane coming loose:
“If you know the opera ‘Salome,’” said Naomi Graffman, who has lived in the Osborne since 1962, “the way the double basses play as they’re starting to cut off John the Baptist’s head — it sounded like that.”
Ah, yes, of course. Just like that.
(Full story here.)