Monday, March 31, 2008

Manhattan Boulevard

Posted by Edward Freeman, Development Intern, 31 March 2008

The Island of Manhattan is so small, yet can seem so big. My journey through the streets of the City, in search of the perfect gifts for Charles Mee, proved long and arduous as I wove in and out of sleek Upper East Side pumps and cell phones, looking for an exceptional pair of red suspenders; zoomed by the strolling dog walkers and nannies of Gramercy Park, scouting out Chuck’s favorite teas; and pushed through the cascade of tired briefcases descending down the SoHo Subway steps at the end of their workdays, as I ran up them, in pursuit of Dean and Deluca, Jacques Torres and some chocolate covered cherries. All this in a torrential down-pour, mind you.

I came back to Signature’s office in Hell’s Kitchen, soaked, worried that the Thomas Pink suspenders had gotten wet, and ready to go home to Brooklyn Heights, yet completely satisfied and proud of my accomplishments. Mr. Mee may not have requested that we find these gifts for him, or that we hold a party in his honor, for that matter. But the look of sheer joy and appreciation on his face when we gave him a bagful of his favorite things; or when his favorite marching band paraded around the dining hall; or when his friends, colleagues and admirers read love letters to him; or when there was an explosion of confetti at the end of the festivities; was priceless and let me know that my journey and the effort was worth it.

Remember, it’s what you do for others and what you give of yourself that counts the most sometimes. Mr. Mee is an amazing playwright, role model and person, and the entire season of his art that he gave to Signature and its audience has been invaluable. He has left an indelible impression on us and so many others…it is only fitting that this year’s Gala was titled “A Love Letter to Charles Mee.”

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