Friday, May 23, 2008

A note I left in the building elevator...

Friday Night, May 23rd 2008

Dear friends,

As I’m sure many of you are aware, we lost one of our dearest friends on Thursday, May 22nd.
Dan Collins, my next door neighbor and friend for the last 22 years, was well known to many of you.

Rather than dwell too much on the unfortunate circumstances of his passing, I wanted to thank all of you for your overwhelming support and kindness during this period. I can’t imagine that there are many buildings in New York City which have the caliber of people or sense of community as this one does.

Some of you will remember that Dan was one of the first people in our diverse group to inhabit this building, coming here sometime in the mid 1970’s. Regaling the Spartan circumstances of that time period in New York loft living, he once told me that his bathroom for years was actually across the hall from his apartment in what is now my vocal booth. If anything, those early experiences made him love the city even more, from what I gathered.

For many years he was a musician -- a member of a select breed of male singers known as a countertenor, who have very high singing ranges. During a visit only a few days ago, he told me a very interesting story about the time Leonard Bernstein almost fired him as soloist from the Bach St Matthew passion. He had gotten some bad advice from his singing teacher. The night before the performance, he went to Bernstein and showed him how he really wanted to perform his solos, and was reinstated. He then went on to sing a very well received performance.

I’m sure some of you will remember from one of our building’s wine tastings a few years back, Dan proudly showed us a book of photos from his singing years.

Later in life, he turned his love of fine tapestries into a vocation. I remember when I got my grand piano 20 years ago. It was an acquisition I was quite excited about. My sister had at the same time given me a nice Indian rug. Dan, who was waiting for the elevator one morning, caught a glance and then rushed in - past the piano without even noticing it - to give me, with great enthusiasm, the lowdown on the finer points of this tapestry, which I’ll always remember with amusement. He sure knew a lot about that rug. Now that I think about it, I wish I had shared that story with him over the last few weeks, during one of our near daily visits. He would have enjoyed it, I think…

He is originally from the Amherst MA area, but if there is a remembrance here in the city, I will most certainly let you all know about it. Thank you all again for your kindness and generous spirit.

Your Friend,


1 comment:

whita said...

I'm so sorry. I know you did your best to help him.