A meeting with Papa Nuzzo, by TED KENDALL
It was a freezing evening in New York and my teeth were chattering as
I shivered outside of Starbucks on 67th Street and Columbus. Turns out
that the little rat out in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, was correct in
his weather-reading, shadow-seeing conjectures: six more weeks of
winter. And oh, what a wonderland it was.
I glanced at my watch again. 6:15, it read. Maestro Phil Nuzzo,
conductor of the novice Metro Chamber Orchestra, was a quarter of an
hour late. Great.
Now if not for the bitter cold, I might have succumbed to my own
impatient 'New Yorker' attitude, but, given the circumstances at that
particular moment, all I could do was hope against hope that Maestro
Nuzzo would appear soon. A man in a suit walked past me, prattling
away noisily on a cell phone. 'Maestro Nuzzo?' I asked. The man
turned and glared at me as if I were completely off my head. Okay,
guess not. Then another suit passed on by. Then another. And
In the midst of the commotion, I felt a tap on my shoulder. 'Excuse
me,' came a voice imbued with a distinctive hilarity that could have
originated only in Brooklyn, 'are you, by chance, waitin' fo' me?'
I turned, and my eyes met a tall, brawny man in his forties with sandy
blond hair, sporting wire-rimmed glasses and a broad, friendly smile.
He donned a flashy red sports jacket that glowed boldly against the
evening street light. Across the back, the words 'Ice Hockey Coach'
were splashed across in whitewashed print. I glanced at the front
collar and let out an internal chuckle as my eyes scanned an epithet,
which read: 'Papa Nuzzo'.
'Hmm,' Nuzzo scratched his chin and stared intently through the window
of Starbucks, 'looks like there are no seats. Got a full house
tonight!' He snapped his fingers. 'Wait, I think I've got the
perfect place to do this interview.' And suddenly, he was off (with
me trailing along closely behind).
Copyright © 4 March 2006
Ted Kendall, New York, USA