• Gina

Pete Hamill's Downtown



Did y’all know Pete Hamill passed? If King’s brother (a writer) wouldn’t have texted us, we may have missed it. As soon as I heard, I picked up a copy of My Downtown. We know our favorite books because they don’t last long on the shelf. If you visited us in NYC, chances are you went home with a copy.


We moved to NYC in 2004. Shortly thereafter I read My Downtown and I looked at the city totally differently. We were creating our own nostalgia while reading someone else’s. You talk to anyone and the time they lived in NYC was the greatest. I love these stories. I think there should be an encyclopedia set where everyone tells their version of My Downtown.


When we moved to Williamsburg in 2004, it was in a state of transition. Bedford Ave towards S. 3rd was only lit up by a dojo, Bonita’s cafe, and a cool indie video shop that just opened (yup it was that long ago :) We lived in a big loft with our balcony overlooking the Domino Sugar Factory and the Williamsburg Bridge. King & I decided to get married out on that balcony watching fireworks over the river on the 4th. We could lay in bed and see the Chrysler Building shimmering at night thru our big picture windows. Now buildings flank both sides and the view must be a wall! We lived in 6 places and King had 3 studios as we were in and out of Brooklyn for a decade.


We got married at City Hall with our parents and my sis, and then walked up to Balthazar’s and celebrated with brunch cava. My mom snuck over to the bakery and surprised us with petit fours (our wedding cake :). Then we hopped a plane to Italy for a month. Whalen was born in Roosevelt Hospital and spent his first 6 months looking over Flatbush & Dekalb on the 28th floor in Fort Greene. ... I could go on and on (clearly!) This kind of sweet nostalgia is what I love about Pete Hamill and his connection to the city.


I got to meet him once when we were sitting across from each other getting our Macs worked on at the Apple store in soho right before he gave a talk. King got to see him read in a more fitting venue in the back of an Irish bar in Red Hook.


Thank you Pete Hamill for sharing your stories and for always stirring up so many of mine ❤️

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