On Saturday night – the day after – I shepherded my wife, two teenaged boys and 16-year-old stepdaughter to a quiet street plunked down in the middle of Red Hook, Brooklyn, 3,623 miles from Paris.
We were looking for exactly the same thing the folks at Le Bataclan were seeking the night before. A little fun, a little music. Really, just an escape. Only everything had changed. New York? Paris? Red Hook to the 11th? A razor’s edge of difference. We crave your style. You emulate our edginess. The two meld as one. They did Saturday night.
Maybe 50 of us crammed into the cozy, low-ceilinged space at a private home – a roving musical scene known locally as House of Love. Wine was shared. Sofas filled. A poem was read in memory of lives lost. Then singer/songwriter Ana Egge injected her folksy, country-inflected small-town North Dakota roots right into the marrow of our bones. For about 90 minutes we tuned out the CNN pulsing through our brains and let our hearts run free. When it was nearly done, Ana and her band led the room in a chorus of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.” No dedication necessary. You were so on our minds.
The taxi home hugged the New York waterfront along the empty docks on Van Brunt Avenue. Across the harbor, the recently opened One World Trade Center anchored the view of lower Manhattan. Piercing the sky like its former twin-peaked occupant, its spired tower was lit in the colors of the French flag. No words necessary. We rode home in silence.