Saint In The City
The Upper East Side Magazine|Issue 61

Seeking the star man on the streets of soho.

Michael Gentile

IT’S STRANGE when you yearn to return to another time and place, realizing the past is not the way you tend to see it, and most likely not the way things occurred. On a recent late spring day I caught myself immersed with mixed emotions, mostly nostalgia, walking along the curvy brick wall that surrounds St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral on Mulberry St. David Bowie lived in Manhattan at 285 Lafayette Street from 1999 on. The back of his building faces that churchyard. I wondered, when Bowie sipped his morning tea, was this the view contemplated out his window? Maybe, or it’s just my imagination.

Or maybe Bowie thought about the Venerable Pierre Toussaint, a devout religious Haitian once buried in St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral cemetery, who’s a current candidate for canonization. That’s when the Catholic Church declares that a person who has died is worthy of becoming a saint. Possible connections? Early one winter morning in 1990, in a crow’s nest seat facing Mulberry St., the graveyard visible from the top floors located in the Puck Building, I watched Toussaint’s body being exhumed. The Catholic Church started the disinterment on November 1st, “All Saints Day.” The purpose was to verify Toussaint’s remains before proceeding with the sainthood process.

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