During his sabbatical year, which he is to spend at the Institute for Advanced Study, Nash decides to live in New York City instead of Princeton, finding an apartment in Greenwich Village. Nash is attracted to the Village’s “Old World charm” and the “frenetic rhythms” of the city. Nash’s parents have also decided to move to New York for John Sr.’s work, which worries Nash: he believes that they might try to convince him to marry Eleanor.
Though Nash eventually decides to marry Alicia, his decision to move to New York—and his fear that his parents will force him to marry Eleanor—betrays his own abiding sense of independence.
That September, John Sr. suffers a heart attack and dies at the age of 64. This loss is yet another “fissure in the foundation” of Nash’s world, his carefully put-together life. Meanwhile, Nash begins to consider asking Alicia to marry him. Like Nash, Alicia has decided to move to New York; she takes a job at the Nuclear Development Corporation of America. By November, she and Nash are engaged, though he does not give her a ring. Nash and Alicia marry in Washington, D.C. in February in a small but elegant Catholic ceremony.
At the same time, the death of his father shakes Nash: “fissures” are beginning to form in his formerly stable life, which is slowly beginning to spin out of control.