Sunday, August 16, 2009

RIP Carlos Alvarez

I found out yesterday afternoon that the night before, my friend Carlos Alvarez passed away. The news saddens me on many levels.

Carlos was a very young, straightedge, vegan, organic farmer who was also a problem-solver, maker-of-things, and incredible friend. He once offered Anevay and I a place to live when we were going through a tough time, and last year, had us come look at the apartment adjacent the one where he lived with his girlfriend. "We could have gardening contests," he giddily told me, waving his hand out over the gardens out back from the apartments. Although I didn't end up taking the apartment, Carlos never failed to fill me in on his gardening news. He took great pride in growing things in the earth, both at his most current apartment, as well as out back in a contaminated patch of yard out back from his old place.

In many of my hours of need, Carlos brainstormed ways for me to make it work here in NY. First and foremost, he was a pillar of support. He had, after all, made it work. He hadn't always known sobriety and clean-living. He had contended with a darkside. It was a part of what made him so sensitive to where others stood. As long as people worked hard, he was open-minded. He had a big heart.

Carlos was an amazing dancer. The best. His footwork was uncomparable. Dancing with Carlos made me feel free, beautiful, and happy, just as much as it made me work to keep up with him! The fact that he was stricken on the dancefloor somehow seems appropriate. For the rest of my life, I won't be able to hear soul-music without thinking of Carlos. Nor will I be able to pass many landmarks without thinking of the wonderful times I shared with him.

Carlos had an unparalleled sense of humor. When I first met him, he kept me guessing. I suppose part of it was a defense-mechanism. If I proved smart enough, eventually he'd let me in. For awhile, the fact that I appreciated and even 'got' his humor, made him smile. It also made him work harder to throw me off. Eventually, he stopped trying to 'get me', and just became my friend. His teasing became more rounded, almost brotherly. Most of the people I know fall into one of two categories: the folks to have fun with; and the people to share with, talk with, learn lessons with. Carlos was that rare mixture of both.

I've known many friends and family members to die, but in hindsight, their paths could have been foreseen. Bad choices, sadness, drug addiction- these were some of the things they grappled with. But not Carlos. His death is shocking, blunt, a slap to the face. It's also a wake-up-call. he was one of the most ALIVE people I've ever met. His death says to me: Wake up, Melissa! It's a short life. It doesn't matter how old you are, how happy, or how healthy. It doesn't matter if you have your ducks in a row. You could go this very second. So make this second count. And this one. And THIS ONE. Live it. Don't expect anything else.

In my mind, Carlos will always be young. VIBRANT. He'll always be the star on the dancefloor, the man who had 10,000 projects going on at once (was there anything that man couldn't do?!), a person who always made room for Anevay and I. I'll remember him as the person who taught Anevay to breakdance, and the sensitive soul who danced with me all night long, only to walk around the neighorhood while we were exhausted, listening and talking when I was at my most upset. Carlos will always be a part of my New York experience. He'll always be a part of my youth.

Now, I don't believe that there's ever a perfect time for a person to go, and I'm not particularly of the mind that things happen for a reason. But I must say, the way Carlos exited was in keeping with the sort of man he was- amazing, shocking, introspective. Much in the joking, sarcastic, joyful yet almost caustic way he used to say things to catch me off guard, he's done it again... He's left me with my jaw dropped, my wits tied. All I can think about is what a beautiful man Carlos Alvarez was, and how fortunate my daughter and I were to have known him during his best years.

RIP Carlos Alvarez. I love you so much.


  1. Thank you for writing this. Im still in denial and working on collecting my own memories of Carlos. We lost touch around the time that I embarked on parenthood myself but I was recently trying to renew contact. One of my fondest memories is riding bikes together after watching a sunrise at grand st, riding up berry he told me to grab his hand and we rode like that, bikes side by side, holding hands. Something from a teen movie, full of hope and promise.

  2. Jessica- Every time I think I've shed all my tears, someone tells me a another sweet memory... I was going through old videos yesterday- tons of footage of you, Gil, Gabe, Greg, Kyp, the gang... and Carlos. I'm hoping Amanda will include some of it in a video she's making for all of us. Love you.

  3. And D, yes, it does indeed suck. But man, am I so glad to have known him.

  4. Hello. Thank you so much. You are such a poignant and talented writer and have helped me remember some moments of Carlos that were buried deep inside of me. Last night was so beautiful and sad. Have to just keep dancing........ thank you

  5. carlos showed up to volunteer for my little prison mail program in 2006. he was immediately one of my favorite volunteers, totally dedicated if a bit random. always asking questions. really great questions. as time went on, he stayed longer than many others who passed through the program, and his enthusiasm about helping prisoners get the legal resources they needed kept building. he took the program under his wing, and when i left new york, he was one of two people who i entrusted to continue leading the program into the future. the last time i saw him was a visit in june, and he was extremely busy running around helping other volunteers but also constantly smiling and happy. sometimes he'd call or email me with ideas upon ideas of ways to raise funds or publicize the program, the ideas flowing out of him until he'd tell me "ok, i'm sorry ian, i gotta run, i have a meeting i need to go to."

    but beyond his activist dedication, i grew to know carlos as a friend and just an amazing individual. he spent a year not eating at any restaurants and instead cooking for himself, which i was constantly impressed by. he'd bike all around the city. he'd do monthly dj events playing 50s and 60s soul 45s and would bring his ipod and play the music during mailing sessions.

    some thursday nights, especially in 2006 and 2007, it'd be just me and him, sorting through a stack of 100 letters from inmates requesting our self-help legal kit. it took a lot longer to get through the mail, but he made it easy, joking around, asking questions, talking about his crazy freelance jobs. i remember one time he disappeared for 3 months then suddenly returned one night with two chihuahuas, one on a leash and one in a bag. it was such a random, crazy sight but it was totally carlos.

    melifera, thanks so much for posting this. i did not hang out him outside of my work with him, but now i wish i had at least gone to one of his dj nights, especially if he was such an amazing dancer. if there was one thing about carlos it is that he was EXTREMELY alive, full of nonstop energy, questions and curiousity, loyalty to friends and the issues he cared deeply and passionately about.

    he is sorely missed, but his spirit and drive and everything will live on.

  6. Stephonik, glad you're pulling out some of the good memories. I'd love to hear some of them!

    Ian, thank you so much for posting. You truly knew him in a special way. I indeed wish you had been able to see him DJ, or watch him dance. He was a magical guy... ELECTRIC. We have a friend who is making a video compilation- forward me your info and I'll be sure you get a copy. You'll be able to witness some of his fancy footwork. Again, thanks for sharing. Would you mind if I passed along parts of your post to friends? I know they would get a lot out of what you wrote.

  7. Hi, I am an old friend of Carlos. I last heard from him about 2 months ago but I wasn't able to meet him at the time and I have been meaning to get in touch with him for the past couple of weeks. What happened? I am shocked and in disbelief. Is this real? Can someone please get in touch with me and let me know what happened.

  8. K, give me your email and I'll shoot you some info. In brief, he had a heart attack Friday night while spinning records and dancing and loving life. There's a benefit planned next Sunday (23rd) at Glasslands, and all other arrangements are being made.

  9. I met Carlos through the Prison Mail Project with NLG. I didn't know him that long - I only started going to NLG for a few months - and during that time we mostly spoke about NLG, not really our personal lives. Last Thursday, in a rare moment we sat around the NLG table and we started talking very frank and Carlos began telling some of the funniest stories I've ever heard! I had to restrain myself from saying "Tell us another one Carlos!" I left that session thinking, "Man, what a great guy. I can't wait to go back next week to hear what other stories he has."

    Melifera, your post is very beautifully written and paints a wonderful picture of the man I wish I got to know better, but am glad I got to know at all. Thank you and I hope that you can post more updates about his arrangements. Please keep us at NLG informed as well.

    Thank you again and God bless.


  10. I have a video on high 8 in storage of me and Carlos making pancakes in my kitchen, 1998 after I worked an all night shift at Sidewalk cafe. He was wearing red shoes I think and dancing around my kitchen flipping pancakes. He was 17 when I met him I think. We used to go dancing at a party called Shout. Some of you may remember it. He was a fucking legend on that dance floor. He will always be dancing.


    with love,


  11. more:

    Carlos would always ask questions in a serious manner. Often they would come flying out at you, spontaneously. There was never any hesitation. It was both startling and beautiful, beautiful because he really, really cared about the issues at hand and wanted to know more. He’d show up with books sometimes, and talk about them, what he was learning, what he was reading, about all kinds of topics, to the other volunteers. He’d often eagerly engage others with questions about their experience and what they might be studying at school.

    He loved the prison mail program. Totally, absolutely. It was incredibly inspiring to find someone so passionate, especially when I would get burnt out or tired.

    And almost always, each night he stayed until the end, past when everyone else but a few of us had left, or early on just me and him, and we’d ride the elevator downstairs together, get on our bikes and depart. At least, until he told me one night that he left his bike outside a restaurant, and exited through a different door, forgetting it, and when he came back it was gone. He didn’t seem to upset about that though, it was just life, and he had too many other things more important or more interesting or more exciting to deal with.

  12. Terry, I'd love to hear some of the stories he shared with you. He was filled with them, wasn't he.

    Eva, I just found a video yesterday that I posted on Facebook of Carlos- he mentioned the Sidewalk Cafe. A friend is compiling footage of Carlos- if there's any way you could find yours, that would be fantastic.

    Ian, I love the things you're writing about Carlos. Amazing. Thanks so much.

    I'll post some videos of Carlos for you all to see. The only problem I had with watching them is that I didn't want them to end.

  13. Just posted about a benefit for Carlos' family and dear ones... Please check it out and pass it along. I can just imagine Carlos, in tight jeans and pointy cowboy boots, shuffling and sliding across the dancefloor. It's going to be a great night, a special time to honor him, and a wonderful way to help shoulder the expenses.

  14. Hi, Carlose once asked me how many tear drops and I said 96 and he was so happy that I knew. Me too. I met him at Sidewalk summer of 1998. Carlose nicknamed me bunnie late one night at Sidewalk it stuck. for a while that was the only name i was known by. We tramped all over bklyn and the lower east side together attached at the hip for a while. Especially that time when we were impromptu roommates at eckford St. I have pictures I'll get them together.


  15. Hey Ian and Terry, could you please shoot me an email with a couple of details about the prison mail program? I'm helping to write up something about Carlos, and would love to know how long he participated in the program, etc... Perhaps we could connect via phone in the morning? Shoot me an email and let me know what works. Thanks so much.

    To all of you, thanks for sharing your memories. The funeral is this Thursday, from 5-9, at Senko Funeral Home at 213 Bedford Ave, located here in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. More details to follow.

    Much love.


    For Carlos' friends I'm making a set of pictures of him on my Flckr page above is the link.

  17. Hi Melifera,

    I just sent you an email about the project.

    Carlos always spoke about his garden. Last Thursday we were talking about relationships and he asked everyone at the table if they ever had a stalker LOL. Then he went on to tell us about this one experience he had with a stalker. He then told us about a mystic he dated as well LOL, plus a couple other relationship stories.

    The stories were so vivid and he had everyone in knots of laughter.

    There's going to be an emptiness to our Thursday meetings - a constant pause to everything we say or do there.

    I wish I got to know him better, but I'm glad I got to know him at all.


  18. Melifera - I'll see if I can get that video out but not sure if I can have it transferred in time. If not by this weekend I will get that thing to you guys as soon as I can. Can someone email me so I've got an address besides this one -

    I just spoke with Brian d. who is another friend from those days. I stupidly called him thinking he might not know. He said you all might want to hear from the us regarding Carlos's early exploits. It's proof of how amazing he is (I refuse to use past tense) that some of us haven't seen him in a few years and we are all crying like we lost a brother.

    Jamie Alexander is going through all her photos and putting them on Flikr (see above).

    Is there anything we can do for his mom, I know how close they were. How is she doing? I'm not sure if she goes online, but we can probably have some of these photos printed or put on disk and sent to her. (Jamie?)

    I'm a bit sick myself right now, so forgive me if I don't get back to you right away. If I'm not around, refer all matters to J Alexander, as we are and were co-operatives.


  19. Saint Carlos Cowboy Buttershoes Alvarez, Deputy Mayor of Williamsburg, 1998 - 2008

    Biographical Installment 1

    Carlos escapes from the hospital

    This is the condensed version:

    For some reason I don't really remember but nothing serious Carlos once ended up being taken to the hospital by the cops. Perhaps sleeping outdoors after a long night. No need to go into that! This was a long time ago. Anyway, he wakes up there and he's got an IV in his arm but he feels ok, except maybe hung over but not even that really bad, so he's like I'm out of here. While he concocts a plan he decides to go have a smoke outside. He's wearing only a hospital gown loosely tied in the back. And, of course, cowboy boots. While he's standing in the doorway, he notices an icecream vendor down the street. It's summer. Carlos wants ice cream. So he takes the whole operation, IV pole, bag, and gown flapping in the breeze, down the street to get some, eats it, and is back in bed before the nurses even know it. (I was in the hospital recently and tried a repeat of this maneuver and believe me it's harder than it sounds). But the best part of the story is yet to come. Carlos was living with our friends on Eckford street in Greenpoint at the time. That apartment and the people and things in it are an entire other topic of some historical interest to future generations, but I digress. When I came to visit later that day, Carlos had broken out of the hospital AMA and was calmly sitting in his room, feet up, having a cigarette, IV still attached and IV bag hanging very neat and professional from the wall. My mouth hanging open I said "What, how, I can't believe it!" Without missing a beat I think he said something very blase like "well, I could use the fluids."

    Oh man, I love that story. That is pure finesse, pure cool fearless Carlos as I remember him. It is from our more rambunctious days so I hope no one is offended by me sharing it.


  20. Matt (DJ Mr. Fine Wine) was unable to post his beautiful comment- big thanks to him for sending it to my email. I have such great memories of the Horse River Social. GREAT memories.

    Matt writes:

    ..Our Royal Oak party, Horse River Social, was the best I've ever been involved in. It was Carlos's idea. He had started coming to see me DJ at Botanica as a teenager around 1996 or '97 and would always say that he wanted to put together a dance party with me as the DJ. This talk went on for years, till in 2005 he showed up unexpectedly one night with the owner of
    Royal Oak in tow and we all shook hands and started it up.

    He came up with the DJ name The Paw for himself. For the first couple years he would do an hour's worth of warming up at the beginning of our party, often before anyone walked in the door. He'd play the same little pile of 45s and the same LP tracks every month with great gusto
    ('Beautiful Brown Eyes' by King Curtis, 'Tickle Britches' by BB King, 'American Bandstand' by Buddy Guy, 'Tighten Up,' 'Pony Time'), then I'd take over a little before midnight and stay on all the way to the end as Carlos hosted, greeted, grinned, whooped, hollered, stomped, and danced his ass off till his suit was soaked through. Toward the end of the night every month he'd come up to me and say 'You're gonna play some of MY stuff, right??' and I'd assure him that I would. What he meant by 'my stuff' was the most frantic, hyper-speedy 45s I had, which were his favorites for dancing: Clint West's version of 'Night Train,' Otis Redding's 'Shout Bamalama,' a few others.

    As time went on and he got more confident on the turntables and acquired more records, he began doing sets during our peak hours and showed a great flair and feel for it, which was no surprise considering what a fantastic dancer he was. When things started slowing down for us at Royal Oak in 2008, he'd sometimes see the despondent look on my face early in the evening as I realized not enough people were coming through the doors, and he'd say with complete assurance, 'Don't worry, Matt, it's gonna be a
    GREAT night!!' And it usually was, in terms of fun if not numbers. Our next party, Honeysuckle, had an auspicious debut but then never really took off. We were talking about doing something new in the fall.

    Carlos wasn't a hotshot record collector like some others I've DJ'd with. He would happily play tracks off compilation albums or reissue 45s. But what set him apart from the others was his unbridled enthusiasm for music and dancing. In that, he was peerless. And unlike lots of other DJs I know, who often seem to be enthralled with the same sounds and the same
    big-ticket records, Carlos opened my ears to possibilities that hadn't occurred to me before, especially the viability of playing blues and doo-wop for dancers. I am indebted to him for that, and for dragging me into partnership with him in DJ nights I wouldn't have had the patience or energy to chase or promote myself. Though he may be physically gone, The Paw will live on in my DJ box, and in my heart.

  21. Hi Melissa,
    I met Carlos three weeks ago at Bliss café on Bedford. I was waiting for my nightly steamed vegetables when he stopped in to pick up one of the waitress’s lamps, which he had offered to fix. Ewelina, the waitress working that night, introduced us, correctly believing we would enjoy each others company; after we shook hands Carlos ordered a piece of cherry-berry pie and took the seat on the opposite side of the table.

    The first thing I noticed about Carlos, aside from his horn-rimmed glasses and clearly capable hands, was his voice. His cadence was smooth, easy, confident, the timbre slightly high pitched, as if a general, pervasive mirth was responsible for its quality. He had the voice of a pure raconteur, and, as the people who were close to him already knew, he didn’t disappoint as a story teller.

    He first explained how the electricity moved through the broken lamp sitting before him. He explained it was either a sequenced or parallel current, and the different methods he would use to determine which one it was. Most of what he had to say was technically over my head, but nevertheless I was mesmerized.

    From lamps the conversation moved seamlessly to traveling. I was surprised, and more than a little delighted, to learn that if he could go anywhere in the world, he would choose Japan. He referenced his training in ju-jitsu, and his love of the textiles native to one of the more northern islands. He told me his interest in textiles first began as a teenager when he taught himself to sew; he laughed when he expressed regret that his mother had refused to teach him as a child, convinced that it would feminize her son. He laughed again upon remembering his excitement after “inventing” what he thought were revolutionary stitches, only to learn that they were fairly standard, if not fairly complex, techniques.

  22. I asked about the wedding band on his ring finger. He told me it was in memory of his dead cat. This answer, while true, he explained, at times provoked intense reactions from women, which in turn would force him to politely decline any untoward offers, as he was in a committed relationship.

    We discussed our mutual love of bikes--he had owned a series of DeLaveaga single speeds, and a Cannondale that was faster than the rest, but ultimately soulless (it was so fast, in fact, that he recalled going around a corner he had turned countless times on other bikes, but this one slid out from under his behind, dumping him partly beneath a parked car. He remembered looking down, he told me, and seeing the pin pricks of blood blooming across his forearm. That night, in the shower, the pain of the hot water rinsing across the torn flesh was more excruciating than any he had experienced before, which says a lot given his martial arts background). An evidently careful man, he had been careless with these bikes, leaving one after another outside unlocked, only to return hours later and discover they were gone, including a beautiful periwinkle frame he had prized above all the rest.

    He told me stories about the days before he went straight edge: sauntering into the subway with a freshly uncorked 40 (he made the perfect sound effect with the side of his mouth—krressh krrissh!) and a lit cigarette, only to come face to face with a phalanx of uniformed policeman. In his altered state, he was mildly bemused when they let him chug the forty and finish the cigarette before issuing him the inevitable citation; only later did he realize how lenient they had been.

    Another time, after a night of heavy drinking, he had passed out on the L train, only to awake in Canarsie, bereft of his glasses. By this time the sun was rising in the east, and without his glasses he couldn’t resolve the world around him into anything sharper than abstract shapes of color. He wanted to go home, and, after drunkenly consulting someone in the station regarding the direction of Williamsburg, he hopped off the platform and onto the tracks to start the long return trip. Two policemen saw his wayward journey and jumped in after him, finally getting him onto the right train with no further issue. He slept the entire way back.

  23. And then there was the infamous Warriors Bike ride, that started at midnight in the Bronx and snaked its way down through a series of challenges and boroughs to Coney Island. Carlos grinned has he added up the mushrooms, 40’s and blunts he ingested pre-race and how he kept it together long enough to win a game of handball at the second checkpoint, after which reality thoroughly deserted him, and, in the pouring rain and with two flat tires, he abandoned the race for the downtown 1 train. He told me he must have stood on the platform for nearly two hours, hypnotized by the tiled mosaics of the floor and walls, convinced the patterns had come to life and were going to devour him. Eventually he made it home.

    We had been sitting and talking for nearly an hour and a half when the restaurant closed and I felt as though we parted ways friends.

    The following Saturday, the 8th of August, I was eating a rare lunch at Bliss when he came in for a tofu scramble and something sweet. He took the seat next to me at the counter and we chatted with the familiarity of old friends. We talked about his ji-jutsu training, how for a time he used to punch the walls of the subway station while waiting for the train in order to breakdown the bones of his knuckles so they would grow back bigger and harder. He was undersized for the sport and he needed any advantage he could gain. He told me he had recently begun studying drumming, and after hanging a speed bag in his apartment he found enjoyment in beating out the rhythmic patterns he was learning. He told me about his aversion to street-fighting, how, despite his training, he always left the scene when an altercation was imminent. You never know, he told me, when someone is seriously going to get hurt in one of those things. You never know, when some teeth might get broken. He told me how one time a playful slap with the back of his hand had split the forehead of a friend. You have to be careful, he said.

  24. He told me about his old apartment, the loft on North 1st street with the abundance of space, and how he was now looking to sell the furniture because they were demolishing the entire building. His current place, he confessed, was a railroad apartment and when he first moved in the seemingly restrictive layout concerned him. But it had turned out surprisingly well, the biggest surprise being when his girlfriend, Laurel, moved in, their coexistence being nearly blissfully harmonious.

    I had finished my meal at this point in the conversation, and, fully aware of his love for sweets (he told me in some cultures they have dessert before the main course, as the sugars act as a warm up for the digestive processes) I offered him a piece of my Dagoba dark chocolate bar. He declined after looking at the packaging. I’m vegan, he told me, and this has milk in it. Also, it has a lot of unsaturated fats, and I have really bad cholesterol. I looked over at his plate: he had carefully and evenly spread the tofu scramble atop the long piece of toast, over which thin slices of avocado were arranged in a sequence of half moons. What about that avocado, I asked, doesn’t it have quite a bit of unsaturated fats. He laughed like he always seemed to laugh. I’m not giving up my avocados he said.

    The last time I saw Carlos was when I was leaving Bliss last Thursday. I hadn’t seen him come in, and he called to me from the counter where he stood with his girlfriend. Hey CK! Hi Carlos, Hi Lo….Lorena? Carlos laughed again. It’s Laurel, he said, but I kind of like the sound of Lorena. She gave him the look a woman gives the man she loves when he teases her. I’ll see you guys soon! I said, and walked out into the night.

    I found out Carlos had passed on Sunday from Ewelina, the woman who had introduced us. It hit me harder than I expected the death of someone I hardly knew could hit. But from reading what you wrote and all the comments below I guess that is fairly standard for Carlos; if you can expect anything from him you can expect to be surprised. Not knowing him well, I cannot say if this is true, but I imagine this was the first and only time that surprise was not accompanied by delight.

    I wish peace to all those who’s lives felt, however lightly, his wonderful touch.

    Carlos, you will be missed.

  25. RIP my good friend 'Cowboy'
    from english james

  26. Wow- all of your memories are amazing. Eva, I laughed my ass off at yours... I had heard about this a bit, a few times over the years, but never the full story. Only Carlos... man!! And CK Swett, thanks so much for your comments- just goes to show how much an impact Carlos had on EVERYONE, no matter how long the relationship.

    Again, wow.

  27. hi melissa,

    i'm just home from the viewing, and i want to say thanks for setting aside this space for people who want and need to share their memories of carlos. it's hard to accept what has happened, but reading the beautiful posts on this page and sensing the waves of impact he had on so many people has made it easier.

    thanks again,


  28. hey eva : Did that IV thing happen more than once? Indeed the Eckford house must be discussed. But about a month after we moved into North 1st he called late at night from some public hospital, arrested for being too drunk. He kept sneaking calls to me on his cell for the next few hours, scheming his escape. (In the end I think he told them he needed to use a pay phone.) The ice cream incident I vaguely remember from one of his cell calls, as it was happening, and also that a cop had brought in a junkie, and Carlos had made the cop cry by telling him at length what being a junkie is like. Also that all the nurses really liked him. The calls ceased and an hour later he resurfaced at home, walked straight in and took the IV, still attached to his arm + hidden under his jacket, and hung it on this beautiful wooden and brass IV stand I had for no real reason, previous to that moment. I'd found it on the street somewhere, and brought it with me when we'd moved in. He'd helped me load the truck from my old place, and put it on the truck himself, noting both its odd beauty and it's arguable uselessness. 'That's what it's for!' he said that night as he walked in, and laughed about it for days. He believed in this kind of confluence. There were a lot of things like that in that house, random elements, waiting for their moment. He left the IV in and slept it off, took it out sometime the next day.

    There was another time he came home and said: 'I woke up with wood chips in my mouth.' Face down in a playground. This was a month or two later. I well knew who I was living with at that point, so my first question was this: 'How long before you knew where you were?'

    '40 minutes', he said. He walked in a random direction until eventually he realized he was in Queens. For my next question I followed a hunch: 'In those 40 minutes, what's the furthest away you thought you might be?'

    He smiled and said: 'Well, one time I woke up in Boston...' and then broke into a long story about a different time he 'woke up' in California with some very nice Japanese people who had an RV or something. They drove him back the next weekend.

    A couple years later there was a full-page cartoon in the NYPress, Summer 2003 (I think), of a guy in a lion suit, passed out in a pile of garbage by the Bedford stop. Carlos made the suit himself, wore it almost every day all summer. At some point the tail was lost, and it became a bear suit. I'm still trying to find that illustration.

    Too many stories to tell. Carlos was a wildchild of grace, who touched more people than anyone I have ever met. His impact on all of us cannot be overstated.


  29. Jaimie- I'm posting your pics right now- thanks for sharing- they are great.

    Everyone else, thanks for the memories. Check out the online edition of the Post tomorrow... there's going to be a story about Carlos and the benefit.


  30. I'm making a small audio piece about Carlos and the people who miss him.

    You have memories you want to share? (People definitely do!)

    Contact me, or meet me at the Glasslands benefit and we can step outside when we aren't dancing.

    He had such an astounding effect on so many people. I'd like to make a simple piece in remebrence. Intersperced with high energy soul of course!


    bobby d.

    Call or email me! :

  31. The second day I moved to NY in 2001 I sat on the side walk in Williamsburg and people watched. Carlos rode by on a bike in a buttoned up shirt, tight jeans, with big curly hair (he had an afro back then), black glasses, and cowboy boots. I just remembering thinking to myself how much I'm going to love NY. Little did I know a few months later I would be introduced to Carlos through friends. His lively, youthful spirit kept me on my toes and guessing. One day he and I took a trip to Fort Green just to hear a gospel group sing in a large baptist church. We didn't stay long, then decided to get balloons for our train ride back. It was a completely bizarre and wonderfully random day. A great memory to keep with me forever.
    RIP Carlos. love Nicole S.


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