|Chinatown, NYC, circa 1970–credit|
By Donald Marino
I always wanted to live in New York City and decided in 1969 that it was time, and so did my cousins Christopher and Anatol. So we packed our belongings into Anatol’s ’62 Chevy Convertible, and on a warm September morning, we hit the road leaving Syracuse forever. My Sicilian grandmother was sitting on the porch and waved goodbye after packing our meatball sandwiches.
On the way, the radio was playing the theme song from Midnight Cowboy, which was a big influence on my decision to move to New York and become an actor. “Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me,” “The Who’s Tommy,” and “How Can People Be So Heartless” from Hair, were all playing as we passed mountains, lakes, and rivers.
I found an apartment on Houston Street near Katz’s deli for $89 a month — a sixth-floor rat-infested walkup tenement. On our first day, we drove past the Empire State Building, parked the car, got out, and looked up, acting out scenes from Midnight Cowboy.
No one, least of all me, could have predicted the influence and enormous change that New York brought about in our lives. The East Village was dangerous, dirty and more fun than I could have possibly imagined. Everything happened that first year, and out of the three of us, I was the only one who survived and stayed in New York, and yes, I did become an actor. It was the time of my life.
|“The East Village was dangerous, dirty and more fun than I could have possibly imagined.”|
Donald Marino is an actor living in Los Angeles. He misses New York and hopes to return home to the Village, where his heart beats faster and he feels happier than in any other place.