The A Train grinds to a stop and doors gasp open. On the platform the acrid brakes assault my nose. Holding my breath, I leap up the 59th Street stairs. Ah, sky. From Columbus Circle I can gaze at Central Park, place myself on a path free to meander and imagine I can smell the flowers. Instead, I wait at the light in a throng eager to cross towards 57th. Like a drag strip timing light, some pedestrians jump the green and claim their piece of the crosswalk as the last taxi’s bumper flies past. To pass and be passed, it’s all good. I am on my way to Carnegie Hall for the first time.


Blaise Kielar received Honorable Mention in the 2022 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize for an excerpt from his memoir in progress, "Be Heard: The Quiet Kid Who Started the World’s Loudest Violin Shop." He opened Chapel Hill’s first violin shop in 1978 and retired from a music retail career by transitioning Electric Violin Shop into the first worker-owned co-op music store in the United States. He plays jazz violin and clarinet in several bands and leads the Bulltown Strutters, Durham’s community New Orleans brass band.