Omar was a semi-permanent fixture of e William street by NYPD for years. Whether skateboarding, smoking joints in the alley, or slinging pizza, he was always nearby when I first moved into my apartment at 609 e William. As our friendship progressed, the joint smoking was relocated to inside my place, where he increasingly spent his free time and all of his breaks during work. While we shared many of the same vices and indulged in the same self-destructive habits, what we truly bonded over was art–in all its mediums–but at first, music specifically. He introduced me to Chance’s “acid rap” and reacquainted me with Enter Shikari. Perhaps it was his New York origins, but he exuded “cool”. Without a doubt he was one of the 2 or 3 coolest guys I’d ever known. So, without any effort on his part, people turned to him as an authority on all such things, particularly those party favor-related. There were many fun times had, but the memories of Omar I cherish most are the quiet ones, him revealing a part of himself that was muted in his interactions with more casual friends. We’d bullshit, share music, and he’d draw as I wrote, a common playlist we created together and the only sounds in the room as we steadily worked. He did a series of drawings for my apartment and then transformed a desk and a small table into pieces of art; later, at my house two blocks away, he illustrated my wall with his signature hipster dude, smoking a joint behind a pair of shades. It would be the last time I saw him alive. (interestingly, in what seems like stunning prescience, he had an altercation with bigs over some past pettiness; Bigs was the aggressor and clearly in the wrong; Omar took the bullshit in stride but warned what a terrible person Bigs was) For a stretch of time there, he was my close friend, trustworthy confidante, and constant inspiration. The world is now a little less colorful place without him.
[the following is the rougher, more detailed version]
Although we encouraged not-our-best behavior in each other, Omar was one of the best friends I ever had and remains one of the two or three coolest dudes I’ve ever met. most of my memories – good and bad – of living at 609 e William and working at nypd include Omar, if not centrally, at least periphally. As soon as I started working at the pizza place downstairs, we became fast friends, but the impetus was my gay roommate who had some kind of crush on him and made it a point to invite Omar upstairs whenever possible. What started out as sharing a joint during his break eventually turned into a regular happening. Hell, by the end of my lease, he had a set of keys to my apartment. I remember him coming up via the fire escape and crawling thru the window even if I was passed out in front of the tv, waking me up to do a few bumps or smoke a bowl. I remember him coming over before work, PlayStation packed away in his backpack, getting high as he would draw for hours on end, even all over my furniture (that I still possess to this day). What stands out most about Omar, despite his many flaws (and I know them all too well, having the same ones myself) was his generosity of spirit and giant heart. We were kindred in so many ways–artistic, drug addicted, wayward souls. I remember the last time I saw him…it was my girlfriend Kasey’s 21st birthday and Omar was in town from New York. He texted me and I convinced the rest of the gang to have the uber take a detour to pick him up. I had some lyricas, blow and paid for all his drinks. We all went back to my house to crash, having one of those unforgettable nights which you can’t really remember and then the next day he drew all over my walls. The world is a little less colorful place without him.