I had just settled down to my dinner of a chickpea stew with cashews, onions, cinnamon and curry over rice. I was catching up on an episode of “Dexter.” A scene was unfolding on the screen with the sound of a bellowing trombone. When the scene changed, the trombone music stayed.
I paused my TV and went over to the window. From inside, I couldn’t see the source, so I opened the window more and stuck my head out. Looking down, over, and then up, I suddenly spotted the musician, playing away at his window in the brownstone directly across the street from mine. I’m on the third floor; he was on the fourth. I watched a few minutes, then settled into my chair by the window to enjoy the music.
After a few more minutes and some flashing lights, the music stopped. I stood up and popped my head out again. The person playing was now leaning out his window, looking down. I yelled across, “Why did you stop playing?” He laughed and said, “I saw the cop lights and thought it was from me playing. I’m just practicing!” “Don’t be silly,” I said. “This is Harlem. Play your trombone for the neighborhood!”
He continued to practice for an hour and a half. I enjoyed a live concert in my (chilly) studio apartment on Strivers’ Row of jazz numbers, sprinkled with Christmas carols and even the national anthem. I finished “Dexter” when the concert was over.
I hope this new neighbor keeps practicing – I’ll have the windows cracked.