Saturday, September 16, 2006

New York stories

Time to flashback to another one of my travelogues (always hoping a publisher will read these and realize they should be assembled as a book). This was my New York trip in May, 2002. With 9-11 still fresh in my mind, it was my first time back in Manhattan since that fateful day.


The trip started on a high note. Security agents made me take off my shoes, remove my belt, stand with arms outstretched while they did the thing with the wand, and finally, got patted down. Although that was pretty nice actually. I tipped the guy. Magic hands. Flew in with Goldie Hawn. The pressurized cabin really did wonders for all her face work.

Stayed at the Omni Berkshire on 52nd Street. Nice hotel. One complaint: their pay-per-view movies were all actual Hollywood movies. Yeah, that's what businessmen alone in their rooms want to see -- Martin Lawrence comedies. To me, a trip to New York City isn't complete without checking in on the latest adventures of that housewife who always seems to be home alone and that nice pool man.

Visited relatives in Forrest Hills. Prices for homes out there are on a par with Beverly Hills. It's outrageous. Especially since two blocks away it looks like every neighborhood in every Spike Lee film. Plus, it was hard walking down these tree lines streets without missing that housewife and the pool guy. I wonder if she ever got that diving board fixed.

Museums included the Modern where I must see my Monets every trip, and the Natural History where they had a big exhibit on baseball. Among the features is a film showing clips from Hollywood related baseball movies/TV shows. Much to my surprise, a segment from the SIMPSONS that David and I wrote was included. Boy was I excited. I'm now included in that museum twice -- the film, and of course the section on dinasours.

On Sunday in Manhattan they had an Israeli Parade, a Cuban Parade, and a bike race thereby insuring that every single street was blocked off and no one could get into the city to participate or view any of the events.

I visited WCBS-FM and met NY radio legend Cousin Brucie for the first time. Nice guy but that hairpiece -- did he borrow it from Marv Albert?

Spectacular weather the entire trip. Even the Carole King looking girls (60% of the NY female population) shed their customary schlump coats.

Walked past CBS (Black Rock) one day and saw a woman leaving the building in tears. Boy, if that wasn't symbolic and perfect.

Even though Up Fronts are beginning I did not bump into a lot of TV types. But their hotels probably did have the housewife and pool guy so no wonder they weren't out on the streets. Who knew you could do all those things in a jacuzzi???

Glad I was able to skirt the Up Fronts this year. Imagine being that producer who has to go up to ABC and plead to get the Kim Delaney show renewed? Or the poor schmucks trying to convince FOX that they now know the problem and now know how to make the 80's SHOW work (we want to set it this season in the 90's).

The Mariners swept the Yankees in the big ballpark in the Bronx this weekend. I could not have been happier. The Mets must be hurting. They have radio ads telling fans to buy tickets now for the Arizona Diamondbacks....coming in in August.

The main purpose of my visit was to meet songwriter Ellie Greenwich and talk about my idea for a Broadway musical. Since I'm on a quest to write things that will never get made and certainly will never make me any money, I figured what better that a musical??? But it's a labor of love and Ellie is truly one of the neatest and most talented people on the planet. Her apartment was pretty amazing as well. Every inch of wallspace is covered by gold records and awards. To get to the bathroom you go past six gold records, take a left at the two "songwriter of the year" certificates, and make a right at the "Songwriter Hall of Fame" placque.

Thanks to Jerry Zaks I got a houseseat to see PRIVATE LIVES with Alan Richman. He was spectacular. One of the greatest comic performances I had EVER seen. It's a wonderful play anyway, but to watch such a comic master perform it was an honor.

Finally, a trip down to Ground Zero. It is so profound and deeply moving. And yet, I saw people walking around taking it in as if were just another tour attraction in Fun City. ("After Ground Zero let' s take a picture of that courthouse they use on LAW & ORDER") I still can't fathom the event itself, and being there, seeing it in person, makes it even harder to believe. Guess we all have to deal with it in our own way. What helped me today was going up to every fireman and policeman I saw and just thanking them.

Some closing observations: everyone smokes, everyone has a cellphone (which makes it harder to tell who the crazy people are since everyone seems to be talking to themselves), and there are an awful lot of very pregnant women. My guess is most of them have the same due date. June 11th.


Anonymous said...

I'd have loved to see Alan Rickman do "Private Lives". I saw him in "Les Liasons Dangeureuse" (Forgive horrible French spelling. I'm not taking the time to look it up.) on Broadway in 1978. VASTLY superior to Malkovich's grisly performance in the overrated movie.
I saw Maggie Smith perform "Private Lives" at the Ahmanson in 1974. Now THAT was sheer perfection; sublime.
That Sir Noel Coward guy could really crank it out, particularly considering he churned out "Private Lives" in less time than it takes David Kelly to do a one-hour first-draft. This is why I keep a photo of Coward in a frame on my desk wall, so positioned, that he is gazing at me in amused disapproval over my computer monitor, as if eternally saying, "A bit vulgar, don't you think? Why not make it better?"
Re: your final two sentences: We hear and think a lot about all the lives lost on 9-11. That comment made me ponder for a moment all the lives created that day.

VP81955 said...

Did you try to pitch anything to Goldie? And is she as nice as she's made out to be?

Anonymous said...

which makes it harder to tell who the crazy people are since everyone seems to be talking to themselves

Are you sure about that?

Anonymous said...

My horror story of visiting Ground Zero about three weeks after 9/11: There was a woman there who wanted one of the officers standing guard to take a picture with her parrot on his shoulder, with the still smoldering ruins behind them.


Anonymous said...

And on a vaguely different note... though predicted, there did not turn out to be a 9/11 baby boom in NYC.

Though if you walk the streets NOW, I swear any woman who isn't pregnant is either trying to get pregnant or has given birth within the year.

New York is now apparrantly family friendly! Come on in! Bring lots of money.

Anonymous said...

That' s one use for a can comment on things like Cousin Brucie's rug. Uncle Ricky tends to take umbrage when that subject is brought up over at ReelRadio.

And I don't know if you've heard that the professionally pious are now taking on adult films on hotel TVs as not family friendly, as well as offering lists of "smut-free" lodgings. I say, moot point, because the one who get the most upset about in-room porn are the ones least likely to afford travel in the first place.

New York hotel said...

What? an Israeli Parade?, a Cuban Parade? well, i visited NYC twice past 5 years and i had hoped every-time to get up in the mid-noon with the sounds of some cultural parades. well - I didn't. Maybe i need to change the hotel? :) next time I'll spare more time on searching the web for a "next-to-parades hotels"!