Missing persons

Today, Chris and I went all over Manhattan for Open House New York (OHNY) weekend, an annual event that happens in New York City where residents and tourists can get free access to many private innovative homes, public sites, and landmarks that are usually not open to the public. The description doesn’t sound that fascinating until you go through the OHNY handbook to realize exactly how creative and mind-boggling a lot of the architecture is here in the city, especially given that the majority of these spaces are really small. In total, we saw eight sites ranging from a private home built from a former garage and petroleum tank (the tank now houses two beds!) to a Frank Lloyd Wright-style, two-floor home of an architect on the Upper West Side. Needless, to say, we were both exhausted at the end of the day. Last year, we only went to two sites in two days.

One thing I noticed during our constant running around today that had nothing to do with OHNY itself is that everywhere we went, I saw a Missing Person sign posted with a man’s face on it. It was probably on every other block we walked on. It made me feel empty every time we passed by it again and again because it reminded me of the less than 18 hours when my brother was missing. How much hope can one realistically have when a loved one has been missing for 12 hours or 24, a week or a month, a year or ten years? When Ed went missing, I knew he was definitely gone forever after just six hours; I could feel it in my gut. But there are always those more fortunate instances, such as the recent Ariel Castro kidnappings, where missing people turn up after over a decade. It takes a lot of faith to keep believing someone is out there for that long. I don’t know if I could keep believing.

We took Ed (through Bart) with us today during our open house viewings. I know he enjoyed his time (and was probably the most fascinated by the beds in the petroleum tank). He always never understood how anyone could live in such tiny, cramped spaces in New York, but these spaces we saw today give hope that sometimes, you can get have more light and sense of space with just the right amount of creativity and time.

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