He thought about Thanksgiving and Christmas, when everyone gets together at Leo's, the Garden City institution at the corner of Seventh and Franklin, and he wondered what it would be like this year.
He recalled the Christmas after Colin Ferguson had killed six people on a train as it pulled into the station, not far from his home.
"I remember that Christmas, people came out -- Garden City people always come out -- good or bad," he said. "We had some laughs, and you'll have some laughs this time, but it'll never be the same."
People went on trying to make it the same, though. One Monday, the Garden City Women's Club had tea, cookies, and samba lessons at the Garden City Casino. Across town, the annual Chrysanthemum Bridge went forth across card tables in the basement of the Garden City Community Church, and later that afternoon, kids huddled on a green field with long shadows, for football practice.
Not everyone in Garden City, however, considers themselves of Garden City, and so it was more difficult for Linda Curia, perhaps, to find refuge in such habits.
Her husband was Larry Curia. He was 41, a corporate bond trader for Cantor Fitzgerald, and a father of two. He was going to school at night to get his four-year degree, and he had said once that he wasn't the best broker on Wall Street but that he was pretty good, even if he was tiring of the grind. Two more years, he joked, then he would pump gas.
He was not a ubiquitous face in town, except for Saturday mornings, when neighbors would see him on his bike, his two children, Cherilyn, 8, and Mitchell, 4, riding behind him.
The Curias moved to Garden City from Staten Island seven years ago.
They had lived in a nice house, but their neighbor was an auto mechanic who liked to fix cars in his driveway.
It is the kind of thing that was unlikely to happen in Garden City, Larry Curia figured. It was ordered, and it was safe, and Larry Curia was an ordered and safe sort of person.
He had found out about Garden City from colleagues at work who lived there, and it was Larry who had picked out the house on Second Street.
His wife is from Long Island originally. She grew up in a mostly working-class family and is a real do-it-yourselfer, which, it is her perception, puts her at odds with the typical Garden City lifestyle. She snakes electrical wiring herself, trims her own shrubs, and her husband would often give her power tools for birthdays and Christmases. She used to work accounts payable and various temp jobs until her children were born. She stays home with them now and earns a little money making curtains for people, and some of her clients live in Garden City.
"I'm sure people are like, She lives in Garden City in a big house,' but I'm not a prima donna, and this isn't how I grew up," Linda said.
Without her husband, in other words, she believes she has no particular affinity for Garden City. It is lovely, and she has a few good friends in town, but Linda Curia has never been embedded in village life.
Garden City has the last active Welcome Wagon on Long Island, which women join when they move into town, and which immediately connects them to circuits of dinner parties and play groups and the like. She joined Welcome Wagon but dropped out.
"I signed up and then said, You know what? This is a waste of time. And a little bit cliquey,'" she said. "You kind of felt you didn't really belong. Especially because my husband wasn't one to socialize. He did so much socializing with Wall Street that when he was home, he wanted to be alone."
She and her husband spent most of their free time fixing up their house or else taking the kids on weekend trips outside the village.
In October, Linda Curia's daughter was taking ice-skating lessons in New Hyde Park, rather than playing a village sport, where parents make friends with each other on the sidelines.
There were paint buckets and drop cloths in the Curias' dining room, and tags dangled from the new refrigerator in her brand-new yellow kitchen, but Linda Curia had no income.
"Today, I had to go food shopping," she said. "I have bills in my husband's name, and those have to be answered, and a list of 12 people I have to call today, unemployment, Social Security. This is the third day in a row I've called unemployment, and I have to call a psychologist for my daughter and for myself to speak to, and find out what's going on with this refrigerator panel; it doesn't fit right," she said, and she walked over to it, and pushed against it. "The other one's by the door. I have regular bills that need to be paid. ... Financially, I don't know if I can stay here."
She had the sewing machine out on her kitchen table, where she was working on some curtains, and there were a dozen red roses there from a neighbor.
Her son played with the spools of thread, unwound several of them, and now she had to wind them up again.
A player gone
Pickup basketball season started the night of Oct. 15, over at the St. Paul's field house.