“I got real happy.”
It was 1976. I had just moved into my 4th floor walk-up studio on West 88th street. I was walking home on Columbus Avenue from ABC TV on West 58th Street. It was 70th Street, January or February, and there was a New York City whiteout. Not a car on the street, no one walking except me and a couple of dog walkers. In the distance I saw two people walking toward me. All I could see were these two identical white parkas. As we got closer I got real happy. The parkas were worn by John and Yoko. As we approached each other the three of us smiled, nodded, and kept enjoying our walks in the snow.
— Alan Myers
“I never get used to it.”
After moving to the UWS from the Midwest in 1976, I broke the NY Code of Conduct when encountering celebrities (a smile and a nod will do).
One day while walking across Central Park South, I noticed the diminutive but larger-than-life Ruth Gordon approaching. I blurted out, “Hello, Ms. Gordon. I’m a big fan of you and your films!” To my surprise she reached out, graciously shook my hand, and replied with a proud smile, “Thank you.” Her 1985 obituary in The New York Times noted: “Yet for all her acclaim and achievement, Miss Gordon still relished being recognized on the street. ‘I don’t care who remembers me, or for what,’ she said in an interview last year. ‘I love it. I never get over it. I never get used to it.’”
What a relief to find out she wouldn’t have considered our chance encounter as an invasion of privacy.
— Randy Enochs
“…his determination was palpable.”
I was walking in my usual brisk manner down Broadway early one Sunday morning in the mid-90s when I came to 72nd Street — where the now-closed HMV Record Store had only been open about 1/2 hour or so.
The man who emerged from the store and crossed my path carrying two huge shopping bags filled with CDs nearly collided with me, and his determination to reach the waiting Mercedes sedan was palpable.
This scene has stayed with me all these years in a rather surreal fashion, as I continue to be a big fan of Elton John.
— David Heiss
UWS Encounters has taken an unexpected turn: it seems that everyone is or has been encountering celebrities! We’ll post’em as we get’em, but let’s just say that we also appreciate ORDINARY PEOPLE (no, we’re not asking for stories about Robert Redford or Mary Tyler Moore, the director and star of a movie of the same name, though we’ll certainly take’ em!) Just remember that the ordinary can be surprising and wonderful, too.
To read more of our Encounters columns, click here.
Send your UWS Encounters to firstname.lastname@example.org — subject line, Encounters Submission. Keep them around 150 words or less, and include your full name and address. We won’t publish your address, but if we post your story, we’ll need it to send you a highly coveted WSR mug!