This is Godfrey
As I was passing the entrance of Hamilton House on W. 73rd Street, Godfrey came out of the building. I asked him if he just had lunch, and with a big smile, he said yes. He is 85 years old, married and has been a retired structural engineer since 2014, having earned his degree from New York University. He was born in the Bronx. His mother died when he was 15 and at the age of 16, before he graduated high school, he wanted to join the army. His father signed the papers giving consent for him to join. He joined for two reasons - he didn't have money for college and he wanted to fight in the Korean War. He did not see any combat as the war was winding down when he arrived. He was assigned to an intelligence unit that was tasked with intercepting Korean messages and deciphering them. After discharge, he moved to Manhattan, went to night school for his high school diploma and then onto NYU. While working as an engineer, he tried out for the Metropolitan Opera. I said to him, "so your an opera singer too?" Instead of answering, he broke into song, with a big bellowing voice that seemed to echo up and down 73rd street.
After graduation, Godfrey worked on the Twin Towers for which he was very proud. He then added (as if it was necessary)"they came down, you know." After the towers were completed, the firm fired him. He spoke about a supervisor who did not know what he was doing, and the conflicts with him lead to his firing. He then worked for a firm that did work for the City of New York for the rest of his career. Godfrey lives with his wife. They have two sons who live in Brooklyn and who visit often. There are no grandchildren yet, but he is hoping.
I asked Godfrey what he liked about living in New York City and he said: "well you don't get any of those nasty tornados that you get in the mid-west and there is always the change of seasons to look forward to." When asked what he liked least about living in New York City, he said we have had more than just a few bad mayors. He believes DiBlaso has been more than a disappointment. "He has been an abomination."
When asked how it feels to be retired, he said he thinks he could still work, but not sure that many firms would consider hiring an 85-year-old man.
As Godfrey shook my hand and started to walk away, (seeing that I hadn't written anything down) said to me "I hope you remember all this."
I did. Godfrey is surely memorable for his energy, work ethic, and strong opinions.