R.I.P. Michael

Today, as I emerged from the Clark Street subway station onto Henry Street, my eye was drawn to a bright spot of color beyond the doors. Moving closer, I saw that the vibrant hues were actually candles and bouquets placed on the sidewalk. The location, just outside a college dormitory, is a stop for a private bus that shuttles students from their Brooklyn residence to Manhattan.

Feeling dread, I approached the man working in the coffee stand adjacent to the spot and asked whether he knew anything about the flowers. Sadly, he told me that early yesterday morning a student had committed suicide; he’d leapt from an eighth-floor window. “My boss,” the man said, “was here when it happened. He didn’t see the boy fall, but he heard him hit the sidewalk.” He pointed out that the pole of the bus stop was covered with handwritten notes carefully taped to the steel.

As we spoke, a young woman came out of the building and knelt at the makeshift memorial, arranging a box of sweets among the flowers. The boy who fell, she said, was a close friend, only 19 years old. He jumped to the cold, dark street at 2:15 a.m.

I later read more about the tragic death in the newspaper, including the name of the young man who died, Michael Simmons. He was a talented actor who had recently arrived from Tempe, Arizona to study at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. My heart goes out to his friends and family.

R.I.P. Michael.

Flowers, candles and a box of sweets

Notes on the bus stop pole


A friend mourns

The Brooklyn Paper: Death plunge at the St. George Hotel
New York Daily News: Friends say mushrooms contributed to fatal fall

2 Responses to R.I.P. Michael

  1. Alice says:

    I am a friend of Michael’s family and I just learned of the devastating news. I don’t know how long it will take for Michael’s family to recover from the shock of losing Michael, but perhaps one day they may want to have your photos. I really don’t know. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain they are going through. But I just want to leave you my contact information just in case. Thank you for your words and for the images that have captured such tragic sadness.


  2. Heather says:

    Hi, my name is Heather Neal and I’m Mike’s best friend from Arizona. This article upsets me greatly because Mike did NOT commit suicide. If you knew Mike, you would know that he loved everything about his life but mostly his fmaily and freinds and he’d never hurt them like this. I ask that you please remove this article or write a new one saying he fell which is what really happened. Thank you.


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