The to start with time Robert Hammond broke up with Dan Barasch, it was for the reason that he heard an unsettling sound at the close of their next date. “Someone told me at the time that, if you hit it off with anyone and you begin listening to bells, all those are not wedding ceremony bells but alarm bells and you need to continue with warning,” Mr. Hammond reported. In March 2009, the metaphoric ringing in his ears prompted by Mr. Barasch was unmistakable.
Mr. Hammond, 51, is a founder of New York City’s Higher Line, the deserted rail line in Chelsea that was transformed in 2009 into a linear park that now appeals to millions of people. His introduction to Mr. Barasch, 44, came as a favor to their mutual close friend Jane Bliss Birk.
Mr. Barasch, who hoped to start off a system that would allow artists to exhibit their functions in subway stations, was accumulating guidance on how to get started out on a New York Town community task. Ms. Bliss Birk established up a meeting in early March. Mr. Barasch left it deflated.
“I gave him my full story about this underground art set up challenge, and he had some valuable tips, but I could explain to he wasn’t all that interested,” he said.
Ms. Bliss Birk listened to otherwise. “Robbie named me appropriate soon after they achieved and explained to me Dan built him weak in the knees,” she claimed. He questioned if Mr. Barasch was homosexual. When she verified it, he texted immediately and asked for a date.
Mr. Hammond, now the govt director of Buddies of the Substantial Line, the nonprofit team he co-started in 1999 with Joshua David, is from San Antonio. His mom, Pat Hammond, named herself a homemaker but was regarded as the kite girl for her in depth selection of kites, which have been highlighted in the Smithsonian. “She was truly an artist,” he claimed.
He graduated from Princeton with a degree in background and moved to Manhattan just right after. In advance of performing on the Superior Line, Mr. Hammond was a self-taught summary painter with commissions from eating places and hotels like the Battery Park Ritz-Carlton he also worked for internet start-ups.
Mr. Barasch, now the chief executive of Supplying Docs, an on the net estate arranging company for nonprofit companies, grew up in Chappaqua, N.Y., and graduated with a degree in governing administration from Cornell and a master’s diploma in public coverage from the Harvard Kennedy College. In 2005, he moved to Manhattan for a position as a promoting supervisor at Google.
Between his co-staff was Ms. Bliss Birk, who became his most effective friend. Ms. Bliss Birk understood Mr. Hammond from San Antonio, wherever they went to large university jointly. In Manhattan, they reconnected at functions Mr. Hammond routinely hosted for displaced Texans.
Mr. Hammond and Mr. Barasch’s 1st day was on March 9, 2009, at the restaurant Cookshop, adjacent to the Substantial Line. “He experienced produced this dinner reservation for 6 p.m.,” Mr. Barasch mentioned. “To me that was hilariously early. But we had such a enjoyment time we did not leave right up until they shut.”
Exterior, they discovered a wooden packing crate they made a decision would be excellent for an artwork undertaking. They dragged it to Mr. Hammond’s 10th-ground business, where by they experienced their to start with kiss. Right before they parted, date No. 2, much less than a 7 days afterwards, was on the textbooks.
That a person finished considerably in different ways. On the stroll dwelling just after tapas in the West Village, they talked about location up a 3rd date. “I was excited about it, but Robbie stated, ‘Let me give you a contact,’” Mr. Barasch stated. “I was crushed, to be sincere.”
Searching back again, “I’m cringing, just truly embarrassed about that,” Mr. Hammond explained. “My contemplating was, it should really be a sluggish melt away. If I appreciated him this a great deal, it’s a indicator it is not heading to do the job.”
They remained friends. Mr. Hammond, who experienced promised Mr. Barasch in advance of the Cookshop day that he would aid with the subway art challenge no make a difference what, retained that assure. Except as an alternative of bringing artwork to the subway, the project advanced into the Lowline, an underground park in the former Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal Mr. Barasch co-founded with the designer James Ramsey.
“I kept turning to him” for guidance, Mr. Barasch said. “At a certain stage I felt he was the only human being in the town who comprehended what it was like to attempt to do anything that requires politics and fund-boosting and house-earning and neighborhood development and commencing a nonprofit.”
The Lowline, announced in 2012, stays in the scheduling stage. Mr. Barasch is its executive director. “We would go on these lunches and not phone them dates, and then have these uncomfortable goodbyes.” His attraction to Mr. Hammond was however tugging at him, and he sensed he wasn’t the only one particular with unrequited feelings. “But I thought perhaps he’s a tortured soul. I wasn’t heading to pursue it.”
In 2013, Mr. Hammond pursued it for him. By using textual content, he asked Mr. Barasch for a day. “I know you are going to in all probability say no,” he began. Mr. Barasch, even though, was activity. That summertime, over burgers in the East Village, they rekindled their romance.
But Mr. Barasch’s before intuition had been appropriate. Mr. Hammond’s soul was in distress. In the summer time of 2014, after he returned from a trip to India, where he grew to become a Vedic meditation trainer, they broke up yet again, this time a mutual selection.
“I was just unhappy,” Mr. Hammond stated. “It was a person of the most complicated decades of my life.” He had lately stepped down from his role at Mates of the High Line and was figuring out his next shift. The vacation to India was supposed to assist. But he was still having difficulties.
At the end of 2014, when his substitute at Friends of the Large Line stop soon after only a couple months, Mr. Hammond resumed his position there. “I had created a large deal about leaving, but my gut was telling me to remain,” he stated. “The other issue my gut held indicating was, get again together with Dan.”
The likelihood of Mr. Barasch risking heartbreak a 3rd time seemed remote, but he went with his intestine. In June 2015, Mr. Barasch agreed to have evening meal with Mr. Hammond. At Gramercy Tavern, Mr. Hammond, who was so nervous his legs were jackhammering underneath the desk, told Mr. Barasch he liked him.
“I was positive he would reject me,” he claimed. Mr. Barasch admits to main trepidation. “My guard was up substantial,” he reported. But by the time they still left the restaurant, he agreed to have dinner with Mr. Hammond when a week.
That fall, with the dinner plan holding regular, they improved the frequency of their with each other time at a dwelling Mr. Hammond rented in Tivoli, N.Y. “It’s a magical little city,” Mr. Hammond explained. “We connected up there.” But toward the finish of the calendar year, issues was brewing once again. “Robbie made a decision he required to have a infant,” Mr. Barasch reported. “It wasn’t a little something I desired or was completely ready for.”
Mr. Hammond’s paternal urge wasn’t new to him. “I figured out that I needed to be a father when I was in my 20s, but I was never settled plenty of,” he reported. “I felt damaged that I was in my 40s and couldn’t have a child.”
By 2016, he was investigating surrogacy and treading thoroughly, but hopefully, close to Mr. Barasch’s thoughts towards parenthood. “I thought Dan would arrive around.” After a large amount of chatting and months of partners treatment, he did arrive around. Not to turning into a father, but to the plan that he would be in a marriage with someone who experienced a kid.
In 2017, Mr. Hammond lined up an embryo and a surrogate. That summertime, the couple flew to the surrogate’s residence in California for an ultrasound. Mr. Barasch fought a wave of ambivalence. “I wanted to be like, Oh my God, I’m so enthusiastic,” he said. “But I felt a lot more panic than pleasure.” All that modified when Rigsby Hammond was born on Jan. 18, 2018.
“Dan and I were able to be there for the start and to keep the toddler towards our bare chests,” Mr. Hammond mentioned. “The matter that was most shifting for me was looking at Dan with Rigsby, how joyful and connected they the two looked.” On the flight property, Mr. Barasch was all in. “All of a sudden we had been associates in something that was actually rewarding,” Mr. Barasch reported. “I felt like, Wow, I love all of this.”
When they introduced Rigsby residence, it was to a two-bedroom apartment in the West Village they moved into in 2017. They ended up nonetheless doing work on their romance. That tumble, it was in for a different blow. In October 2018, Mr. Hammond proposed to Mr. Barasch more than meal at Cookshop. Mr. Barasch, who was by now in the method of adopting Rigsby, claimed he desired to think about it. Mr. Hammond still left the restaurant harm and humiliated.
“It was uncomfortable,” Mr. Barasch explained. “I mentioned, Let’s hold talking about it. We went back again to couples therapy, and we retained on elevating Rigsby, executing our issue.”
When the pandemic arrived, the threesome decamped to a rented household in Salt Issue, N.Y., where Mr. Barasch experienced loads of time to consider. “I was seriously wrestling with, if a person of us obtained sick and died, what would come about to Rigsby,” Mr. Barasch claimed. “I also believed, if I died, my only regret would be not marrying Robbie.”
Throughout a stroll on March 19, 2020, it was his change to propose. Mr. Hammond, who had examined the boundaries of Mr. Barasch’s enjoy so lots of instances, was elated. He claimed yes.
On July 20, 2021, Mr. Hammond and Mr. Barasch were married less than a big oak tree at Mr. Hammond’s loved ones farm in Blanco, Texas. The event, to which only a dozen relations and two pals were being invited, doubled as a reunion. Mr. Hammond hadn’t witnessed his mother, and his father, Corridor Hammond, given that ahead of the pandemic. Mr. Barasch’s moms and dads, Caryl Barasch and Dr. Gene Barasch, and sister, Sarah Barasch, flew in from Florida and New York.
Mr. Hammond’s brother, the Rev. Jeff Hammond, the rector at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Fredericksburg, Texas, officiated a quick, traditional ceremony. Rigsby, who is now 3, was a ring bearer. Both grooms wore linen shirts and gentle trousers with boots. Mr. Barasch tucked a boutonniere of wildflowers into his front pant pocket Mr. Hammond wore hand painted flowers trailing from his chest pocket.
Right before they stated their “I do’s,” Mr. Hammond’s 20-calendar year-previous nephew, Graham Hammond, study the poem “So Substantially Happiness” by Naomi Shihab Nye, a family pal from San Antonio. Under the shady oak tree, so significantly contentment was palpable.
On This Day
When July 20, 2021
The place Blanco, Texas
A Singing Matchmaker Before the ceremony, Mr. Hammond and Mr. Barasch released Ms. Bliss Birk, who serenaded them with “Can’t Enable Falling in Love” on ukulele she acquired how to participate in the instrument for the event.
Texas Design and style Right after the ceremony, the wedding ceremony social gathering collected at the farmhouse for a barbecue lunch catered by the Outdated 300, a Blanco favourite. Soon after taking in and toasting, the group adjusted into bathing suits and took a dip in the Blanco River.