For over 47 years, he strode through Grand Central Terminal, past this little brass panel on the way to his job on The Magazine. He and my mother had lived in the Village but after I was born, they moved up the Hudson to a stone house in the woods, and Papa-san car-pooled with other commuting Daddies. Many children in my town thought this was actually their fathers' job: commuting. In winter, in the dark, while children were still asleep, all over the little town Daddies were getting into cars to take them to the station, to board their usual car on their usual train to sit in their usual seats for the ride down the Hudson to New York, not to return until six-thirty or seven, well into the winter evening. I wouldn't call it an easy existence.
For the last two weeks, I have walked past this little brass panel on my way to my father's hospital. It's part of the ticket window. It's a little grace note from 1913, when Grand Central was constructed to uplift the spirits of the throngs passing through.