By Carol Tannenhauser
A few Sundays ago, Max (no last name) was at a birthday party with his brother-in-law and their children in the Adventure Playground on CPW between 67 & 68, when he noticed his one-year-old nephew looking at something between two benches.
“Who said there’s no benefit to being little??? 😉 The little rugrat had found a ring,” Max said, a gold wedding band, engraved with a date nearly 50 years ago, and a couple’s initials. “I like a challenge so I offered to find the owner,” Max said.
The first thing he did was shoot an email to West Side Rag.
Found a wedding band on the Adventure Playground on CPW b/w 67 & 68 on Sunday. Gold, with a date in June 1972 engraved, and initials. Looked very recently lost, perhaps even the same day. Probably a grandparent (or a caretaker). Perhaps you can give this some exposure? If someone can give the exact date and initials, the ring is theirs (again).
We’d like to do a little story about the wedding band. Looks like a man’s ring. By the way, are you an Upper West Sider?
We have been living in NY since 2018 (for the 3rd time now, had two earlier stints in the city) and always have been on the UWS. “Residential but lively” I like to call it, close to this giant park, playgrounds, culture, restaurants… and a hop to Midtown. A rather acceptable section of the urban jungle!!
On October 20, the Rag published a story headlined, Wedding Band Blues: Max Seeking Owner of Lost Ring. In addition, Max “checked with the UWS and Central Park police precincts, blasted this story to [his] UWS friends, and, doing a little (unsuccessful) online sleuthing, joined some UWS parent groups on Facebook to post about the ring.
The FB group, which took their sweet time (a week) to approve me, is a group in which a friend of the owner of the ring saw the post. The owner’s name is Alexandra, and she lives downtown, but, delicious village that the UWS is, turns out we have friends in common, which made confirming ownership easy! Alas, I think she’s a doctor and madly busy. We may have a play date this coming weekend though, so if you want to wait I’ll make her write something!
Thanks for the introduction, Max.
WSR then sent Alexandra the following questions:
What were you doing uptown?
I was in Adventure Playground with my husband and my two sons, ages 7 and 10, meeting up with an old friend from high school and college, and his wife and little kids.
When did you notice the ring was gone?
It was 4:30 pm and it began to rain, so we all started to pack up. I happened to look at my hand and – gasp! – the ring wasn’t there.
How did you feel, i.e. what did the ring mean to you?
My heart sank! It was a 14k gold ring that my mother-in-law [gave] me. Interestingly, it has zero significance for her – if I were to probe, perhaps, negative significance. It was the wedding band from her second marriage, which only lasted two years. When my husband texted her to ask her the date on the ring to help verify to Max that it was mine, she couldn’t even remember the date. She said, “sometime in June 1972”! But it has significance for me, because I adore my mother-in-law, and I genuinely love the ring on an aesthetic level. Plus, it’s 14K gold! (though my father, who is Argentinian, said “What? That’s not real gold” when I told him the story, because in Argentina when he was growing up, no one would have dreamed of wearing anything but 18K – go figure!
How did you learn it was found?
My friend Stacie texted me a pic of it at 10:45 pm and said “is this the ring”? I almost plotzed. She had seen it in an email sent by Max to an UWS parent listserve she is on. She emailed him and then called me. I said, ‘You guys, we all have to get together!’
Does this renew your faith in human beings?
About ten thousand percent.
The best part! This past Saturday we had a playdate with the families of Alexandra and Stacie (we all have kids of similar ages), and Alexandra’s mother-in-law even showed up. Turned out we had several friends in common, were able to exchange some school advice, and there even was a connection to the architect of the Adventure Playground!
I gauged the chance of finding the owner at about 50%, but am glad I resisted the urge to just drop the ring off at the precinct and forget about it. Hopefully this story can serve as inspiration: with a little bit of commitment from both sides, what is lost may very well be found again!