Max Krauss, a social worker by day and a guitarist by night, left his home in Park Slope, Brooklyn, one morning in mid-February 2018, and headed to his parents’ Manhattan apartment, perched high above the Hudson River on West 125th Street, where he grew up.
Like most visits to his former residence, Mr. Krauss, 38, was checking in and catching up with Lois Putnam, his mother, and Robert Krauss, his father, both retired Columbia University psychology professors who were now homebound.
“My father is a polio survivor, but he’s 89 now and his mobility is limited,” Mr. Krauss said. “My mother is his primary caretaker.”
They spoke for a while in their longtime, 11th-floor apartment, and Mr. Krauss had a bit of news to share with them. A few weeks earlier, he had met a woman named Emily Young, 39, a singer and actress, who joined his then-band, Sweet Cash.
He told his parents that she was also a native New Yorker, and that they both graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1999, though they never met there. Mr. Krauss, who graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and received a master of social work degree from Simmons College in Boston, said that Ms. Young had graduated from Brown, from which she also received a master of fine arts in acting.
Mr. Krauss, who was also a social worker at Harlem Village Academies East Middle School in Manhattan, turned a romantic corner with Ms. Young in November 2018, when they were still members of Sweet Cash. Mr. Krauss described the group as a “Johnny Cash tribute band that played a lot of outlaw country music.”
Later that month, Mr. Krauss and Ms. Young left the band and teamed with two other musicians to start one of their own, Sweet Nothing. “We were a vintage rock band,” he said, “everything from Sam Cooke to Janis Joplin, as well as our own original music.”
Soon Mr. Krauss and Ms. Young were head over microphones for each other, sharing stories about their past, as well as songs each had written that were never sung.
“I found him to be an excellent guitarist, and to listen to him on the phone at times, in the role of social worker, really turned me on,” Ms. Young said. “He was surprising in so many quiet ways.”
Mr. Krauss was equally smitten. “She was beautiful and had an amazing stage presence and an incredible ability to sing and perform,” he said. “I knew right away that she was someone I wanted to marry.”
By the time they formed Sweet Nothing, they knew they would marry each other. Mr. Krauss knew that he had to devise a plan to ensure that his parents would see their only son exchange wedding vows with Ms. Young, as well as witness their first dance together as husband and wife.
Ms. Young felt much the same. So when they decided that their wedding would be in the summer of 2020, his problem — finding a venue to accommodate his mother and father, who uses a wheelchair — became her problem.
“The idea that Max’s parents wouldn’t be there to share in the best day of our lives was unacceptable,” said Ms. Young, who is the lead singer of Sweet Nothing. She is also an original member of Fiasco Theater company, most recently appearing in its production of “Merrily We Roll Along,” which ran from December 2018 to April 2019 at the Laura Pels Theater in Manhattan. She also had a recurring role in the 2019 Netflix television series, “Living With Yourself.”
“Max and I didn’t know what we were going to do,” Ms. Young said, “but we knew we had to do something.”
In May 2019, Mr. Krauss was back again visiting his parents, with the pressure of finding a suitable wedding venue building each day.
After their chat, Mr. Krauss retreated to his old bedroom. He began gazing at the river below, as if the answer to his problem might come bobbing along in those dark, choppy waters.
“Things were not looking very good,” he said. “There weren’t too many options.”
Then one day later that month, Mr. Krauss’s ship came in.
In a miracle of sorts, the U.S.S. Baylander, a decommissioned aircraft carrier that was stationed in Vietnam appeared on the Hudson, as if through the currents of the past, and docked directly outside the building where his parents lived.
Mr. Krauss immediately called Ms. Young, and together they soon boarded the ship, which was tethered to the Hudson River Park in Harlem, to investigate.
They met the ship’s captain, Scott Koen, who told them that the 131-foot vessel, which began its service in Vietnam in 1968, was the world’s smallest aircraft carrier.
By 1986, Mr. Koen said, the Baylander was transformed into a helicopter trainer for the Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard. It went on to complete 120,000 error-free helicopter landings, with a record of 346 landings in one day in June 1988.
In July 2020, the Baylander took on yet another mission, the couple learned, when it was transformed into a floating, outdoor restaurant.
Mr. Krauss and Ms. Young told Mr. Koen and Michael Trenk, managing partner of the restaurant, that they were planning a small wedding, with only nine guests because of coronavirus restrictions. They asked both men if they could marry aboard the Baylander, explaining the situation with Mr. Krauss’s parents.
Though no wedding had ever taken place aboard the ship, Mr. Koen and Mr. Trenk, who called Ms. Young and Mr. Krauss, “a wonderful young couple,” said they were fully on board with their plan. Mr. Krauss’s parents could now easily see the ceremony from the comfort of their home.
The couple were married Aug. 23 on the bow of the U.S.S. Baylander before Rabbi Jill Hausman. They were in full view of the groom’s parents — the ship’s bow faced New York, its stern, New Jersey — who watched the late-morning ceremony from their apartment window while being “hooked up electronically,” as Mr. Krauss put it. An iPhone set up on the bow enabled his parents to hear the ceremony, along with all conversation taking place during the four-hour event.
Among the nine guests aboard the ship were the bride’s parents, Louisa Young, a homemaker, and Dennison Young Jr., a semiretired lawyer who is an active board member with the Boys and Girls Club of America. Both of the bride’s parents live in Manhattan. The guests were treated to lunch served on the lower deck.
The newlyweds danced to their first song by Sam Cooke, the words “let the good times roll” booming on the ship’s sound system.
“We were able to experience their wedding as participants, and not merely spectators,” the groom’s father said. “It was quite gratifying.”
On This Day
When Aug. 23, 2020
Where The U.S.S. Baylander, docked at West Harlem Piers on the Hudson River in New York
What They Wore The bride wore the Sutton Gown, a satin, floor-length gown with a bustle train that is part of the Jenny Yoo collection. The groom donned a light blue suit by Bonobos, with a white-rose boutonniere and brown leather shoes by Johnston & Murphy.
On the Menu Lunch included short-rib tacos, lobster rolls, Caesar salad with shrimp, New York-style pretzels and pizza with prosciutto and arugula.
Sweet Ending Dessert was a chocolate and vanilla cake made by the groom’s older sister, Pam Krauss, a cookbook editor from Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.