Author Topic: Visit to 421 Broome Street Today  (Read 85321 times)

Offline Meryl

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Visit to 421 Broome Street Today
« on: January 23, 2008, 07:44:03 pm »
John Gallagher (jmmgallagher) and I made the journey downtown to pay our respects at the building where Heath was staying when he passed away yesterday.  We were grateful to have each other's physical company, just as we're grateful for BetterMost as a place to connect with friends at this tough time.

We met at a Starbucks on Delancey and Allen Streets.  I was late arriving (around 11:45), having stopped to watch some of the coverage on TV; I also had to take three trains to get to the Lower East Side, which is practically like going to another country when you live on the Upper West Side.  The weather was beautiful--sunny and clear, cold and crisp.

Jenny (newyearsday) had to stay home with a sore throat, and Kelly (smellykellyjay) texted that he couldn't get out of work to be there with us, but they were with us in spirit, as were all our Brokie buds whose thoughts we knew were at the same place we were going. 

I had brought a card to leave at the sidewalk memorial, and as we sat and talked I wrote a message in it.  The front of the card has a lovely black-and-white picture of a cowboy stroking the muzzle of his unsaddled horse, with the words "True friends leave footprints in our hearts."  Inside I wrote:

Dear Heath and Family,

Our hearts are with you at this sad time.  We are members of BetterMost.net, a website created to celebrate the film "Brokeback Mountain" and to continue Ennis and Jack's stories in our own lives.  Heath gave us an inestimable gift in Ennis del Mar.  We love him, pure and simple.  We will always hold him in our hearts.

Blessings to you,
Meryl, John, Jenny, Kelly and all "Brokies"

P.S. - The pine needles were collected at Upper Kananaskis Lake in Alberta on a group trip we took last July.  We have Heath to thank for many treasured friendships and memories.



In addition to the pine needles, I enclosed an extra refrigerator magnet I made for the Pilgrimage last summer with this picture:



Also, I had quickly printed a poem that Paul (southendmd) had posted, and I enclosed that, with Paul's name on it:

For Heath, and for us, I offer this:


Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

--Mary Frye



As we walked the approximately 10 blocks to Heath's building, we looked for places that sold flowers but had no luck, so in the end only the card was put on the memorial.  But if someone gathers the notes left, the flowers won't be kept, so maybe it won't matter too much.

When we got there, we saw a crowd of media folk had taken over the front sidewalk.  The street was littered with electric cables and klieg lights on tall stands.  Anchor people were all over the place, straightening their clothes and putting on makeup before they were lit up and began their spiels.  Two of them were familiar to me:  Pat O'Brien from "The Insider" and Lara Spencer from "Entertainment Tonight."  There were fewer onlookers than there were media people, just some scattered people across the street and a few who braved the reporters to put down flowers on the tribute pile that was near the front door.

We took some pictures of the building and the media circus, then decided it might be better to go eat lunch and come back, hoping some of the reporters would finish their shoots and leave by then.  We went a block north and found that we were right at Balthazar, a well-known French bistro on Spring Street, so we ate there.  It was quite crowded---it's a favorite lunch place for lots of advertising/creative people, and very New York-y.

When we got back to the building, around 2:00, we saw that, if anything, the crowd had grown rather than shrunk.  Lara and Pat were still wandering around, doing sporadic reporting spots.  So John and I got closer and took some pictures of the tribute pile, then I knelt by it and put down the envelope.  John got a couple of pictures of me doing it, and one woman photographer took my picture, too.  I took John's picture beside the tributes, too. 

While we were there, I made calls to Phillip and Paul (left messages) and Clarissa, who answered.  I wanted to share the moment with them.  That was the time I found tears wanting to well up because it brought home the reality of what we were there for.  We hung out for a little while longer, then reluctantly bid goodbye to Heath's last home and headed back uptown.  We parted at Houston Street, where I got onto the F train and John continued walking up to Union Square to do some shopping. 

John got lots of good pictures on his palm pilot, and he promised to e-mail them to me tonight, so when I get them I'll post them here.  I may be able to get my own pictures back before the developing shop closes at 7:30, so keep an eye on this thread for them.

« Last Edit: January 23, 2008, 11:15:29 pm by Meryl »
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Offline Lumière

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Re: Visit to 421 Broome Street Today
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2008, 07:49:03 pm »


Thank you for reporting back on your visit, Meryl. 

Hugs to you and John.  :-*
~M


Offline MaineWriter

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Re: Visit to 421 Broome Street Today
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2008, 07:52:33 pm »
Thank you Meryl. That's wonderful, beautiful and just perfect.

You and John are our best ambassadors at this difficult time. Love to you.

L
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Offline Mikaela

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Re: Visit to 421 Broome Street Today
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2008, 07:56:28 pm »
Thank you Meryl. That's wonderful, beautiful and just perfect.

You and John are our best ambassadors at this difficult time. Love to you.


I second every word and letter of this! Meryl, that was indeed perfect.  :-*

Offline iristarr

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Re: Visit to 421 Broome Street Today
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2008, 08:09:41 pm »
Thanks for your coverage of the 421 Broome Street site.  It brought me close, and close to tears, picturing the last place our dear Heath resided.   Sure wish I was in NY with you all.  Iris, in California
Ennis and Jack, the dogs, horses and mules, a thousand ewes and their lambs flowed up the trail like dirty water through the timber and out above the tree line into the great flowering meadows and the endless coursing wind.

Offline loneleeb3

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Re: Visit to 421 Broome Street Today
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2008, 08:19:03 pm »
Thank You Meryl,
You took us all with you.
Thank you for sharing.
"The biggest obstacle to most of us achieving our dreams isn't reality, it's our own fear"

"Saint Paul had his Epiphany on the road to Damascus, Mine was on Brokeback Mountain"

Offline Shasta542

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Re: Visit to 421 Broome Street Today
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2008, 08:28:50 pm »
Thank you guys for being ambassadors for us Brokies who couldn't be there. You represented us well and I appreciate you sharing the experience with us. It helps knowing that ya'll were there, Meryl. Such a sweet thing to do. Thanks.
"Gettin' tired of your dumbass missin'!"

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Offline Penthesilea

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Re: Visit to 421 Broome Street Today
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2008, 08:34:16 pm »
Thank you Meryl and John.

Offline BBM-Cat

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Re: Visit to 421 Broome Street Today
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2008, 08:43:06 pm »
Thank you Meryl and John and NYC Brokies who were there in spirit to extend our deep love and sentiments for Heath. What a beautiful gesture to leave remnants of our very special Alberta Pilgrimmage. I do indeed hope that the Ledger family receives the card, photo, and pine needles.
Six-word Stories:  ~Jack: Lightning Flat, lightning love, flat denied   ~Ennis: Open space: flat tire, tire iron?

Offline opinionista

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Re: Visit to 421 Broome Street Today
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2008, 08:48:31 pm »
Thank you Meryl and John. I would've loved to have the chance to be there with you.
Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement. -Mark Twain.