You can't quite see it, but my father, Seymour has a cigarette dangling out of his mouth.
And you may not recognize it, it now quite redone, but this was a stretch along the East River by the Williamsburg Bridge.
My parents always biked. Not in any special lane, not with helmets or fancy spandex. Regular shoes or sneakers. They had sturdy Raleigh bikes, and an L.L. Bean saddle bag and they went places.
Just married, Seymour turned to Florence and said, let's go! Without gear or extra clothes, they traveled for days. Later, Florence wrote excitedly to the woman she had always loved, telling her that after several days, their clothes had become unbearably dirty. Seymour went and bought her an entire outfit of new clothes. Both of them barely out of poverty, this was a big deal. (Even after my father had a full time job, my sister and I could count on one hand the times we bought new clothes.)
They travel up and down the Jersey shore and all over the city. They traveled uptown and across, and when I was 12 or 13, I too took to the road on one of their Raleighs, biking to babysitting and soon, on my own, to City College with my violin strapped to my back. Occasionally, a cigarette dangling from my mouth. No helmet, no fancy spandex. Regular shoes or sneakers.
Florence quit smoking in her fifties, but she continued to bike into her late sixties until I think the bike got stolen and she couldn't replace it. That or we sold it or gave it away because she wasn't wearing a helmet and besides, if you walk, you get to eat along the way.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.