New York is a busy, crazy place. There is an energy that anyone who has lived here – probably even visited – can confirm. If you don’t move at the same pace, it can bowl you over and knock you in the sewer, but if you can ride it, it is electrifying, palpably alive.
Last Thursday afternoon, the day that Joan Rivers died, I came out of the subway at 28th and Park and felt the city was moving one notch slower. Perhaps I imagined that, but, honestly, I think not.
Everything felt slightly more somber, everyone more pensive. To be sure, the city was still vibrant, but the collective conscience of inhabitants seemed to be reflecting on the loss of one of our own.
I can’t say that I knew Joan Rivers or ever even met her, because that would be a lie. The closest I came to her was standing behind her on line for security at JFK. I remember immediately thinking, “I know who this is, but she’s so tiny, surely it can’t really be her!” As the TSA officer asked her to state her name, a huge voice emerged from this petite figure and everyone around smiled, for even in something so simple as establishing her identity, she was bigger than life. Her voice unlike any other, her delivery – yes, even in that moment – brought to life the memory up frequently watching her perform for most decades of my life. If felt somehow special just to stand behind her in a quintessential “New York moment” and be in her presence.
She was a funny woman – that is an understatement – but she was so much more and I have tremendous respect for her and for the path she paved for so many women to follow.
On that note, I’ll leave you with this link to a beautiful memorial written by Caissie St.Onge who did know Joan Rivers – and is a terrific writer. Joan Rivers, Rest In Peace – you inspired me and I’m glad to have been alive at the right time to enjoy your talent.