Memoir Piece - Monkey In The Morning

A regular occurrence for me is recalling New York moments. It is now close to three years since I moved back home to Australia permanently, but those moments from our New York life come flooding back all the time. Given the cultural and intellectual diversity of this urban giant, it was almost certain that each day you would encounter a moment that left you dumfounded, or at the very least shaking your befuddled head in utter disbelief. It is one of the many things that makes New York so intriguing. You have to laugh, or at the very least have a quiet chuckle to yourself…

-And so it was one unsuspecting Saturday morning. I awoke after a pleasant Friday evening spent entertaining friends. I felt ready to dive head long into the weekend. Meaning, I did not feel seedy or disoriented. Vicki was standing at the north facing window of our then apartment looking down at the rooftop opposite.. She had a puzzled look on her face. ‘That’s either a small child or a monkey in a suit down there’ she announced. I immediately looked out the window and after focusing for a moment, I said rather officially. “Ah, that’s definitely a monkey. On the other hand, it could be a really ugly child!”

Sure enough, on the rooftop below, a small chimpanzee sat on a box, wearing a suit. The monkey was surrounded by about sixteen assorted humans. It became immediately apparent that filming was in progress for a commercial of some kind or other. The monkey sat impassively on the box until his female handler made a gesture with her hands, at which point the monkey would immediately stand to attention and puff its chest out. This action was repeated at least a dozen times, before the monkey became somewhat bored with the whole exercise and began picking its nose. This action made me think that small boys and monkeys share a lot in common. The handler then approached the monkey, and placed a re-assuring arm around her star attraction, offering an affirming pat on the shoulder.

Now I’ve been looking out windows all my life, and I have to say that was the first time I had seen a monkey in the morning –anywhere!

We then looked out the window that offers a panoramic view of the Hudson River and across to New Jersey and were able to make out the figures of swimmers splashing their way towards 23rd Street past the cruise ships. They had entered the water at 79th. Street as part of the Annual Hudson River Swim. Tiny specks thrashing down the western side of Manhattan island, dwarfed by the mighty cruise ships at anchor. I kept thinking that it was fortunate that they were swimming along the Hudson River, as it is marginally less polluted than the East River. I had to admire their stamina, their craziness.

By that time I was more than ready to settle into some breakfast. The day had started with a flurry of excitement and we had not even left the confines of our apartment. What other city could offer such amazing, home entertainment? I was almost apprehensive about stepping out into the street. I mean how many New York moments could a body absorb in one day?
Back home in Mornington, life is somewhat more predictable on the streets around here, --but I am still on the lookout for monkeys in the morning!


  1. 7.5 years in Manhattan and no monkey sightings for me. What a great story!

  2. Funny, I just wrote something about my morning in the Village on Saturday. I don't think I could ever move from a spot so close to come and go from NYC. But I applaud you Alan,


Post a Comment

Popular With Other Visitors

The Wonder of Wordplay

Launching Your Writing Program With Bold Intent in 2018

Learning How to 'Zoom In' When Writing

Helping Student Writers Find That Vital Spark of Inspiration

The Quest For Independence Among Student Writers