The photo was shot by my friend, Eric Mirell, in 1972. It looks across the parking garage by where he lived on Kingsbridge Terrace. I was seventeen and had lots of hair. Albert was the young chimpanzee we took care of in my high school’s Animal Care Program, which trained students to be zookeepers at the Bronx Zoo. We also had a lion, Angela, who we walked through the Bronx one day.
On this day, Albert held me close as any young child would when out on the streets of NYC. I took Albert to my house where he promptly climbed the curtains and wreaked havoc on things. It was EPIC! New Yorkers are fairly naive about anything outside of the norms of the city and seeing a chimpanzee blew a lot of minds. I also had a boa constrictor that I trotted around from time to time.
On a personal note, I see my face and darkened eyes and it reminds me of why I left the city barely eighteen months later.