THIS IS THE STORY OF X AND Y and the night that is tattooed on anyone
who is a fan of champions...
On the evening of May 8, 1970, a man limped his way across the floor,
19,763 people in Madison Square Garden and the entire city of New York
roared with delight but the game had yet begun.
Six games proceeded this one
The New York City Police Department reported that on the evenings when the New York Knicks played the Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA title, street crimes were absolutely nil.
Every citizen, be he or she upstanding humans or downgraded felons,
was glued to a television set.
Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Dave Debusschere, Bill Bradley, and Jerry Lucas were the starting team when the Knicks won the championship rematch in 1973. They are the only starting team in the history of professional sports wherein each player is enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
In 1970, Lucas was not yet on the team. the fifth starter was Dick Barnett and he is the only championship New York player I ever met.
That happened in March, 1972 when I was teaching in Harlem, across the street
from Mount Morris Park which is where my Godmother, Katherine Oliverio
did a lot of "courting" but then she met my only German Uncle, Willy Kampe,
who would prove to be my most important Uncle.
He was also the best man at my parents' wedding.
They were married on February 6, 1944
But this page is supposed to be about May 8, 1970 and THIS IS THE STORY OF X AND Y
Y lived with her three children but on this night,
her estranged husband wanted to watch the seventh game
of the NBA Championship game with his offspring.
She called X. She named a bar--Calhoun's--in Great Neck on Northern Boulevard.
(Great Neck is fictionally known West Egg in the Great Gatsby.)
"I'll see you at 8:00."
And the bar was ready for supersonic noise.
When Y arrived, they could hardly hear each other after sitting at a corner table
in the dining room of Calhoun's.
They departed and drove in Y's car up Northern Boulevard. Another bar had reasonable
noise level but only because it was half-time and the Knicks were losing by thirteen points.
The quiet did not last...X and Y got back in her car...
By then they had driven to Manhasset, five miles beyond Great Neck.
FINALLY, they found a quiet bar.
X was quite relieved but Y asked him a question:
"Do you know what kind of bar this is?"
X noticed that the only two couples, sitting intimately but at opposite ends
of the bar were same-sex couples.
"It's a gay bar, so what?"
The bartender quickly got onto X's good side. He ended up with an over-sized tip
but he had to do twenty laps into the kitchen where the only TV was.
X and Y had a great time talking about whatever it was they talked about,
occasionally sharing a joke across the length of the bar
with the other two couples.
Though he did not want to be in a bar where everybody was watching the Knicks,
X was absolutely a fan of the home town basketball team.
I think the bartender's name was Gary. I tipped him twenty dollars.