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NYC Day 1

It’s 9 p.m., and your faithful correspondent is ready to pack it in. Well, I did get up at 6 this morning, and this is New York, which exhausts me just to think about it.

The flight was great; I sat next to a man who has an art gallery on Ossington. At Newark, he was picked up by an artist he manages, a giant in a cowboy hat, and I got on the train and made my way to East 9th, the East Village, where I’ve rented Gail’s apartment for 3 days. She too is in the visual arts, a painter, but makes a living as a bartender and by renting out her flat. I knew it would be small, and it is small, funky, interesting, with a Mona Lisa beaded curtain, vintage lamps and furniture. It’s a 4th floor walk-up, no microwave or TV or bathroom – there’s a toilet in a tiny room, and a shower booth in the kitchen that you climb on a stool to enter. You wash in the kitchen sink.
Hey, it’s an adventure, it’s a great location, and for the next few days, it’s mine. And best of all, I’m connected to her cable and so to you.
I set off to walk to 26th, the Stella Adler Studio, where I had an appointment with the Director Tom Oppenheim. A leisurely stroll up through the buzzing Village to crowded 5th Avenue. Popped into a store or two that had “Sale” signs and found out that today is Fashion’s Night Out, the start of Fashion Week and a huge event all over the city, stores putting on entertainment and having … sales. Yes, sales. “The centre of it all is tonight, ” said the young man, “in Soho.” I was glad I hadn’t booked a theatre ticket, and decided I’d wander with the crowds in Soho instead.
As I stepped out of the elevator at the Studio, I saw a face I recognized immediately – the actress who plays the psychiatrist on Law and Order. So exciting. I went over and said, “I expect you to tell me what’s wrong with me.” She laughed.
“Nothing, I can tell,” she said. We had a chat about how devastating the cancelling of the show has been for NY actors. Her name is Caroline McCormick and she’s about 8 feet tall.
Tom and I had a great talk about the theatre, particularly about his friend Mark Rylance. Last year, Tom sponsored a talk and reading at the Studio about my book, which seemed to go over well with the students. The great news is that he has offered to throw a book launch for the paperback edition of the book, which comes out next spring. We talked about getting actors to read excerpts of Gordin’s plays, as we did last year. It was a thrilling encounter, worth the trip just for that. A good friend on West 26th. Two of them, in fact – his wife Nina, who also works there, is wonderful.
A deke into the Morgan Library, one of my favourite places in NYC – and this time, they have a special exhibit on LISTS. As a 100% list-mad person, I needed to see these lists, mostly by relatively unknown artists. There was a “self rating chart” drawn by one, where he marked himself day by day on “appearance, industry, neatness, loyalty” and many other criteria, and always found himself wanting. There was a list of Things to Do made by the architect Eero Saarinen two weeks before he died – and it’s 3 long yellow pad pages long! My favourite was H.L Mencken, the humour writer, who in 1927 was asked to send some information about himself, and sent a list of 29 things, including #20, I believe the U.S. will blow up within the century, and #26, I drink exactly as much as I want, and one drink more.
A long meander home, buying groceries and wine. And then I set off again, to Soho for my fashion adventure. Mistake. Well, no, now I know it’s something no one under the age of 23 should attempt. The streets jam-packed with little fashionistas tottering along on sky-high heels; Japanese shoppers laden with parcels shoving through the crowds with lists on their Blackberries of the next best place to go – thousands and thousands of people. A zoo. Get me out of here.
Home, to climb up into the shower and get into the blessed bed.
By the way, the weather report on-line indicated that the chance of thunderstorms for the whole day today was 80%. So I carried umbrella and rain jacket. Guess what? The storms were in the early morning. The rest of the day was perfect, warm with a breeze, not even a drop of rain. Merci, weather gods.

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2 Responses to “NYC Day 1”

  1. Lyn says:

    Enjoy your time in the Big Apple Beth. I enjoyed your vivid discription of the flat. It sets the tone nicely with NYC flavour. I will look forward to hearng more about your little adventure.

  2. beth says:

    More to come, Lyn. What a city!

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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