I awoke leaping to my feet with exhilaration; feeling the blood pounding
through my heart in anticipation of what I was to view and hear.
As I pull the knotted, twisted cord of the now yellowed smoke-patterned
drapes (which one day were white, no doubt) open, I peer through wondrous
dirt-streaked glass. From the majestic height of eight floors I see the deep
ebony, pot-holed, dirt-laden street below.
One then lifts their eyes to peer westward at structures with large, black,
ugly tanks protruding above the rooftops. I also gaze at a large white sign
(that no doubt glistens at night) saying "Grand Hotel, The Musical." Also, a
vertically written sign which reads "Martin Beck Theatre" and on the roof of
this building, a long white flag pole hangs precariously over 45th Street. One
gazes ever farther westward and sees the grayish, purplish blue of the bile and
sewer slicked Hudson River.
As my eyes gaze back to the street below, I see tiny creatures going about
their lives. Some have the luxury of being able to sleep late on slabs of
exquisite grey-colored lined concrete. Others lie in running streams of water
over black macadam stream beds.
I stare at people of varied color and gender applying their vocations and
hobbies. Panhandlers in their unique way of begging saying "give me all your
valuables or I'll blow your head off." Pimps, solicitors for the prostitutes,
whores soliciting for their pimps. People injecting clear colored liquids into
their arms, popping pills of wondrous colors, small bags with necks of various
colored caps and glass protruding from them, being carried in tightly clenched
hands. Many practice the old art of fisticuffs on varied forms of foe.
I view a race, different than what I have seen before: trucks, cars,
motorcycles screeching to a halt at the starting line. Engines ever revving,
waiting for the signal of the race to begin: the changing of the light from red
to green. And off they go!
Oh, what glorious sight and sounds it all is to behold.
As I lie down to sleep I hear the music of "The Lullaby of Eighth Avenue"
being played by many instruments: sirens, horns of various timbre, broken
mufflers, people swearing and screaming. These are the wondrous notes I hear as
I lie and dream of what tomorrow will bring from the window of Room 807.
— Edward B. Wisniewski, February 14, 1990
NOTE: Ed Wisniewski was Henry Lewis's best friend. I transcribed this
from a handwritten piece of foolscap paper. I don't know if the room mentioned
was the room in which he was hospitalized after suffering the first of many
heart attacks which would kill him not too long after the writing of this piece,
or if he was just staying in an 8th Avenue hotel because he was working overtime
at his job at the United Nations. If the first is the case, I'd hazard a guess
this was one of his first chances to get out of bed and walk around his room. Either way, Mr. Wisniewski was never a man of
many words, and when I found this paper among Mr. Lewis's papers I was no less
than astonished to discover one more facet of the warm-hearted, meticulous,
generous man Ed was.