At first glance you may mistake Sam Reichman for another NYU playwriting undergrad filling out his 3rd application at STRAND, or the guy at Hogwarts that Ginny Weasley was dating before Dean Thomas, or Eric Snowden’s political decoy. Someone who, if you saw him above 96th street, you might approach and ask “Are you lost?” And yet, this Anthony Rapp-Looking 22-year-old from Kansas City (And i mean Kansas City, KS) has lived in places that the average American would find far less appealing than Riverside Park at 2am. A former student at the University of Jordan, Sam, who is fluent in Arabic, has spent the past few years preparing for a career in refugee resettlement in the Middle East. Although he’s just graduated from college, he already has an impressive resume, having worked with an NGO providing health aid to Syrian refugees in Jordan and later teaching english and creative writing to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
We met at a poetry slam in the Lower East Side on his last night in New York City following his graduation from Columbia. On stage he announced that he was getting on a plane in the morning and didn’t know when he’d be back, and proceeded to read a poem –
“And isn’t it serendipitous-
the way the streetlamps hum with the quiet glow of the night sky…
Situations unexpected arise in New York”
They sure do.
I was heading out for a drink afterwards with TSNP friend + founder of Wildfire Open Mic, Nisha Asnani (who’s debut music video is coming soon, along with our Behind-the-Scenes feature) and we asked Sam to join us, where he told us more about himself over pizza and Brooklyn Lager. He has the sort of life story that makes you say out loud, “Damn. Well that’s a lot more meaningful than anything i do.” And so before he headed to Portland to see his sister and then off to India to kill time before getting back to work, i suggested we try to get something on tape.
And isn’t it serendipitous the way my camera battery, which had been flashing red earlier in the night, lasted long enough for us to shoot for almost five minutes up at Grant’s Tomb in Riverside Park. It was a modern day Chanukah story.