An Autobiography: Chapter 32, Roosevelt Island, New York

| 10/2/2012 11:41:53 AM

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Georgianna and I had a long love affair with New York City … the theatres, Radio City Music Hall, Times Square, the Stage Door Deli, museums, excitement at every corner! One of our favorite records was Gordon Jenkins’ masterful “Manhattan Tower,” the first concept album ever written, essentially a Broadway play on record. I took my first subway ride to Brooklyn, and there tasted my first pizza. But we never thought of living there … that is, until 1975, when our daughter Heather was encouraged to go to New York to further her ballet training.

Manhattan Tower 

Since the age of five, Heather had studied ballet and had become a beautiful and talented dancer with the Denver Civic Ballet. But in Denver, that was about as far as a ballet dancer could go. She had taken an advanced summer course in Saratoga Springs, New York, and when Robert Joffrey, founder of the world renowned Joffrey Ballet, saw her dance in Denver, he invited her to join his invitation-only summer class in Galveston, Texas.

We took Heather to Galveston, rented a trailer near the Gulf, and Georgianna and I had a nice three-week vacation while little Heather danced every day, to the point of exhaustion. The local newspaper featured a full-page spread on the class, and Heather was pictured, perspiring with a towel around her neck, her head bowed, holding on to the ballet barre.

It was there that Joffrey talked to Georgianna and said, “If Heather is serious about a ballet career, she must go to New York.” We wanted to give Heather every opportunity, so plans were made for the move to the Big Apple, where a whole new world opened to us.

We had just built a beautiful new home in Littleton, Colorado, and in the fall of 1975, I went off to New York to explore living arrangements. I read the want ads, had a real estate agent show me some apartments, and was completely discouraged. Then I saw a showroom near St. Patrick’s Cathedral with a sign that read: “Roosevelt Island: Manhattan’s Other Island.” I went inside, and there was an impressive model of this “new city” located on the East River, just minutes from Manhattan’s fashionable East side.

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