Bohemia Blog by Agent Kevin Santos
When I was a kid, I knew I would not be a knight in shining armor rescuing a princess from a tower. A storybook love affair didn’t seem written in the stars for me. However, when I met my now husband, Brandon, in a parking lot in Millburn, NJ, time stopped and the sight of him literally took my breath away. Whether I thought it was possible or not, the feelings of a fairytale romance smacked me in the face like a ton of bricks. And when Brandon, and I got engaged on 12/20/2010 on Laguna Beach we didn’t quite yet know how this story was going to play out.
You see, Brandon is from Mayfield Heights, OH and I’m from Las Vegas, NV, not the most gay friendly of places. Even more importantly, where we both lived and loved, NYC, the most gay friendly of all places, still hadn’t legalized same-sex marriages yet. So we roughly planned to tie the knot in nearby Connecticut, where our friends Ian & Kasey had gotten married. That was really our only tie, and actually the only time either of us had been to Connecticut. Not the most personal location. So when same-sex marriage was legalized on July 24, 2011 I called Brandon in shock and in tears, that something I had yet to even dream, was now possible.
We finally started planning our legal New York City wedding. The Plaza was out, too expensive. Natural History Museum, too expensive and in our price point, events are held in conference hall on the top floor of the museum with no cool exhibits around you. BORING! On October 20th, 2011 I needed to go for a walk because there was a huge rainstorm the day before and now it was a gorgeous fall day. I walked one block east from our apartment on 162nd & St. Nick and…I kid you not!! A cool breeze rustled through the trees, sending leaves adrift through the air as the clouds parted and a beam of sunlight shone on a white house perched on a hill in the distance. I walked toward the house, carried by the breeze. I couldn’t BELIEVE that this place existed in the middle of Washington Heights! I walked around the gated grounds, took it all in, and knew that this was going to be where we going to get married.
After I walked the grounds, I walked back home through Sylvan Terrace, which we affectionately call “Harry Potter Land”, and immediately went on the Morris-Jumel website, and to my surprise that had a small tab for Events with the all important “Wedding” subtitle. I called and spoke with the then Director Ken Moss, and he walked me through the process, and suggested a few caterers and vendors for the event, never once balking on a gay wedding, which was subconsciously, and maybe consciously, a true fear of mine. Having our special day brought into question was not how I wanted it to go, and luckily, it never did no matter where we went!
One of the caterers Ken suggested was Spoonbread, INC. the catering company of Miss Mamie’s Spoonbread Too on 110th between Morningside Dr. and Manhattan Ave. owned and operated by former Wilhelmina model, Norma Jean Darden and her fabulous assistant Philip. They made us both feel at home, and their food is killer!
We ended up getting married on 10/20/2012, one year to the date that I stumbled upon the mansion, and the exact opposite of our engagement, on the front steps of the Morris-Jumel Mansion, in Washington Heights, with food prepared by Spoonbread, INC. of Morningside Heights, a block away from our home.
I pass by the mansion several times a week. I walk our dogs in the park whenever I get a chance. My favorite place to park our car is in front of the mansion on the cobble stoned Jumel Terrace, I like to imagine I’m parking my chariot of horses there. I guess I did end up with a storybook ending after all. And it all happened Uptown.
I live Uptown. I love Uptown. We tied the knot Uptown. Come check out what magical things are happening Uptown!