I was very saddened yesterday, when I heard the news that Esther Cohen had passed away the previous night. I had been lucky enough to meet her in New York last year, first at our fan meetup and then briefly before and after the second concert in Radio City Music Hall.
At the fan meetup, after the dinner and music ended, I nervously approached Esther. Having never met her I wanted to make sure I came across well and not intrusive in any way. When we started speaking she was so kind, complimenting me on my accent, which given that doesn’t happen often I was delighted! I complimented her on the wonderful red jacket she was wearing which she told me she had bought in a shop like H&M! We spoke about me being from Ireland and how much we love Leonard in Ireland and how she had never been here because she preferred to travel to more exotic locations!
We then had our photo taken and I asked her would it be ok to put it on my blog to which she told me she would be honoured and was indeed honoured that we, the fans of her brother allowed her to share our experiences with her. I told her we were honoured she wanted to be a part of it. When I think back to this night I find myself typing through teary eyes. Our conversations on the Sunday night at the concert were brief, but precious memories to me now. I’m honoured and lucky to have met such an amazing person.
Gwen and Esther
Esther listening to the music.
These lyrics from Leonard’s song Boogie Street have been on my mind since yesterday:
“We are so lightly here, it is in love that we are made; in love we disappear”
Sincerest condolences to Leonard and the rest of Esther’s family and friends. Rest in Peace Esther.
Apologies for the serious delay with this post! I had it ready to post shortly after returning from New York so no excuses as to why I am only posting it now except to say live Cohen withdrawal symptoms is the only excuse 😉
When in New York there was a fan dinner organised by Dick Straub and his wife Linda for the night before the first concert on April 5th in a wonderful restaurant called East of Eight which is beside The Chelsea Hotel. Before the dinner I took the opportunity to take a couple of photos outside the hotel.
After this it was time to go join everyone else in the restaurant and it was great meeting up with friends I’d met before and also to meet new friends. We were joined on the night by the wonderful Sylvie Simmons who with Ali Hugh’s and Brett Avery treated us to their renditions of Leonard’s songs before, between courses and after our dinner. Sylvie has written my favourite to date biography of Leonard so it was a pleasure to meet and speak with her and I also enjoyed my conversations with Ali and Brett. Apologies for the quality of these photos. I didn’t want to use the flash and blind you all!!
Also in attendance was Leonard’s sister Esther Cohen. It was a privilege to meet and speak to this wonderful lady who told me when I asked for permission to publish the photo of us on this site said she was honoured that we allowed her be part of our experience. I replied that we are the honoured ones.
After the wonderful dinner and music and speaking with friends and our special guests there was one more treat in store where it had being arranged by Dick for us to get a look inside The Chelsea Hotel. The hotel is currently closed for renovations so to be able to have this glimpse inside was precious and is a wonderful memory to have.
I’d like to say thank you to Dick and Linda for organising this wonderful night, to Sylvie, Ali and Brett for the entertainment, to Mandy for taking the photos of me with Esther and of me inside The Chelsea Hotel and Esther for being so kind and gracious when I spoke with her.