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#2893: Man Who Loved St. Pat. (fwd)
Man Who Loved St. Pat.... by MICHAEL DALY...NY NEWS O3-19-2000
The gray, wet chill of the millennium's first St. Patrick's Day fit the
sight of a birthday card nestled among the candles and flowers on the
sidewalk outside the Wakamba Cocktail Lounge on Eighth Ave.
"Don't think of this birthday card as being late ...," read the
message beside a drawing of a long-faced Charlie Brown on a pitcher's
mound. "Just think of it as sending your birthday celebration into extra
The card was for Patrick Dorismond, whose 26th birthday was Feb. 28. His
mother had named him Patrick because the next holiday was St. Patrick's
Day. He had always considered March 17 as his second birthday, his extra
innings. He was one Haitian-American who always celebrated St. Patrick's
Day with as much cheer as any Irishman, no matter what the weather. By
all accounts, Dorismond was already in exceptionally good spirits on
Wednesday night, smiling, laughing and joking as if there were nothing
better on Earth than to be working the 3 p.m.-to-11 p.m. shift as a
security guard with the 34th St. Partnership. "Patrick, why are you so
happy?" a fellow guard remembers asking. "Tomorrow is payday," Dorismond
was heard to say. Dorismond seemed even happier at the end of the shift
as he changed from his blue, near-cop uniform in the partnership's
third floor locker-room office on W. 35th St. He stepped with
fellow guard Kevin Kaiser into a night that was warm with the promise of
spring. The temperature was in the 50s,10 degrees higher than usual for
this time. Just up Eighth Ave.,the two men turned into the Wakamba
Cocktail lounge. The first door opened easily, but the second remained
locked until one of the bartenders checked them out. They looked nothing
like trouble to her, and she buzzed them in.
Dorismond and Kaiser started down a long bar where men who work by the
hour sat on stools, nursing long-necked bottles of Corona beer. Lights
flashed overhead. The jukebox was blasting such hits as "Dejate Querer"
by the Dominican sensation Fernando Villalon.At the back, the two men
came to a small dance floor and a half-dozen tables. There they joined
some visitors from Chile.Dorismond went up to the bar and paid $4 for a
Corona. The bartender, as usual, stuck a slice of lime down the neck.
he walls in the back are mirrored, and Dorismond spent the next hour
surrounded by reflections of his delight. The next day would be payday,
and the one after that would be the day for which he was named.
Dorismond returned to the bar for a second lime-flavored Corona. The
bartender would remember that he was not one of those customers who
expected table service. He told her how much he liked her native
country, the Dominican Republic. He said he planned to visit there the
following week, but she was not sure if that was just talk.
After midnight, Dorismond and Kaiser left. The bartender watched through
the front window as the two stood outside. Dorismond got on his cell
phone while they waited for a taxi.At work, Dorismond's usual post was
at Herald Square, but he also was detailed to the taxi stand at Penn
Station. He often escorted people to the head of the line and helped
them with their bags. Getting a taxi for himself apparently was a little
harder, even with the crackdown on cabbies who refuse to pick up black
men. Dorismond and Kaiser were still waiting when they were approached
by a man in street clothes. The man asked if Dorismond knew where he
could buy some marijuana. Dorismond would no doubt have been right in
assuming that he was asked this question for the very reason that the
cabs were slow in picking him up. His mother would later say, "All
his life, my son had to deal with the attitude that because he is
black that he is a criminal. "He would get very angry if people treated
him like he was a criminal," she would add. The particulars of the
scuffle that followed remain contested. Nobody disputes that Officer
Anthony Vasquez's semi-automatic pistol discharged once, or that
Dorismond fell with a fatal wound to his chest. Blood poured from his
mouth as he struggled for a final breath of that warm night air.
On payday, a cold rolled into the city, and the attendant downpour
scoured the last traces of Dorismond's blood from the pavement. The rain
changed to snow as the marchers assembled the next morning for the St.
Patrick's Day Parade. As the parade proceeded up Fifth Ave., mourners
for the other Patrick erected a makeshift shrine on the rain-scrubbed
pavement where he bled to death. The wet, chilly air had forgotten any
promise of spring as Dorismond's fellow guards signed a scrap of
cardboard bearing the words "34th St. Partners We Love You."Kevin Kaiser
signed a second, larger scrap."RIP with love," Kaiser wrote.
AS THE snow ceased, a tearful woman in a black leather coat set down the
Charlie Brown birthday card. She was Dorismond's cousin, Naomie Michel.
"Life was short for you," she wrote. "Thanks for being there for me
during the tough time I had, and I love you for that."Michel also signed
a piece of cardboard bearing Dorismond's nickname when he worked as a
deejay, "Evalanche." She began to speak of his ability to get the
dancers hopping, but keep them peaceful. "He was unique," she said.
Michel dissolved into tears, and she was still sobbing when the parade
for the other Patrick broke up. A group of people in green came down the
block, looking puzzled by this woman who stood crying in the street on
St. Patrick's Day.