Broome Street, memories of place, and Jaunted’s tribute to Heath Ledger

Every day I read Jaunted to see what’s happening over there. Heath Ledger was one of the things happening today (January 23) since blogger Juliana was as floored as I was by his death. Her response was to provide an overview of the places Ledger traveled that formed his life as an actor.

If you spend any time at Gadling, you’ll see the theme of place as well. People who travel have automatic feelers for the qualities of a place that make it unique. In one of Jerry’s post on bookstores, he mentioned The Strand. It’s one of my favorite places to go and just a short walk from where my brother lives. My brother has lived in Manhattan for years and over the years of visiting him, I feel like his neighborhood is somehow mine as well. His friends have also lived there for years also, thus our paths have crossed often, and they have added to my scope of what life is like in New York.

When I step out of the subway stop at Union Square to walk to where my brother lives, it feels as if I’ve arrived home. When Broome Street was mentioned the street where Heath Ledger lived, I thought about the many times I’ve walked down Broome Street to Ted Muehling’s marvelous jewelery shop when it was located in this part of SoHo. Ted has since moved to Howard Street, but I can hear the sound that the metal steps made when I walked up to the door at the Broome Street location.

Close by is the The Guggenheim Museum Soho on the corner of Broadway and Prince, but when Ted’s shop was still on Broome Street, The Museum for African Art was one of my favorite stops in the neighborhood. That museum is now temporarily located in Long Island City, Queens.

When I heard Heath lived on Broome Street, I thought of the post I wrote not too long ago how our lives, travel, and the news intertwine to where each influences the other–particularly when we have a personal connection to a place.

If you’ve been to Anne Frank’s house, read her diary as an eighth grader and felt moved, the chestnut tree has a poignancy, for example. It’s not an abstract, far away thing–something that is “over there” with no consequence to our daily lives. When I read Neil’s post about the plans to cut it down, it felt alarming–as if the stars were shifting. I do know that nothing stays the same, but places do in ones memory unless you revisit them and find them changed.

I haven’t been down Broome Street for a few years or so, but it’s still there and it’s altered. Along with the sound of the metal step, and the taste of the rich piece of chocolate that I chose from the box that was on the table in the back of Ted Muehling’s store, I have other thoughts of Broome Street that I never expected. My memory is not quite the same.