Plans for a Proposal
What Michael Canty, the seventh of nine children, wanted most was to create a family like the one in which he grew up in Schenectady, N.Y. He loved having lots of like- minded people around him. He accumulated friends — from childhood, Loyola College and Carr Futures, where he was a trader — and drank beer with them at bars like Molly's and Chumley's in Lower Manhattan. He was the friend his friends turned to. All of them called him their best friend.
He spent weekends at the Canty family house on a lake in the Berkshires or with Erin Clifford, whom he planned to marry. They took their first trip to Europe last summer: one day in London and 12 hours in Paris, where, Ms. Clifford said, they saw "the front of every building" and ate in the city's "only bad restaurant."
Mr. Canty, 30, was thinking of memorable ways to give Ms. Clifford the ring on which he had a deposit. He was leaning toward the Berkshire house as a setting, and here was the plan: he would take her out in the boat and drive near the shoreline, where his 16 nieces and nephews would brandish a sign: "Will you marry me?"
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 8, 2001.