New York City, NY
If yesterday’s poor weather led me to the art gallery, today’s perfect sunshine ushered me towards the High Line. Now a reclaimed and creative public space, when we first came to New York it was an abandoned elevated rail line. Over the years, we followed its reinvigoration with much interest starting with our first visit to the Meatpacking District, where the line begins. Back then, the Meatpacking District was still exactly that with a few cool local haunts dotted around in between. Amongst these was a little french diner called Florent which we’d learned about via a REMO t-shirt design and where I once received a compliment on my t-shirt (not the Florent one) by New York’s foremost Drag King. Sadly, the hipsters now have the run of the place and Florent and other founding institutions were priced out of the market they’d created. It closed its doors in 2008 and I haven’t cared for the Meatpacking District since!
Apart from the High Line of course. Being up there in such a reflective space away from the hustle and bustle, I couldn’t help but contemplate the changes we’ve seen in the city over the years and wonder at how much less I might be noticing now that I’m down to only one set of eyes, and not the good set! Still, I put them to good use taking in the realised vision of those guerilla campaigners who I’m sure invented seed-bombing and whose efforts have now been richly rewarded with 2 more stages of development planned further up the line.
I sat in the sun for a long while marvelling at how different the scene was today – so lush and green compared to last time when we had to push snow off the seats to sit down. Too lovely a day to be too maudlin, I got and took myself to the Chelsea Markets for a Rhubarb, Cayenne and Ginger iceblock – spicy and delicious. I then meandered through and around Greenwich Village, Soho and Tribeca taking in any number of sites including those made famous by movies and shows I don’t even watch yet somehow know (yes, I’m talking about the Magnolia Bakery and of course Washington Square from my eldest sisters favourite movie ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and my second eldest sisters favourite movie ‘August Rush’!).
Keeping an eye on the time, I then had to rush back to Broadway for another attempt at The Book of Mormon lottery… to no avail. It wasn’t looking good and I didn’t want to leave New York without seeing something so I headed to Times Square to take up my place on the half-tix queue. In all the theatre chatter over the last couple of days whilst waiting for the lottery to be drawn, a few people had mentioned The House of Blue Leaves. Someone had also mentioned Edie Falco was in it so it seemed as good a choice as any to my ill-informed self. I got my ticket and decided to spend the hours before the show retracing some more old footsteps.
I headed towards midtown west to D’aiuto Baby Watson Cheesecake shop – I suppose a fairly non-descript bakery but one we discovered on our first visit and have been sure to return to each time. To this day, my house keys are on a Baby Watson keyring. I made an obligatory purchase just to have it put in a box and tied up with string before heading up a couple of blocks to the Tick Tock Diner – another old faithful. It’s a classic american diner that still runs that way it was 60 years ago, without pretension or fuss and with a menu that’d take a week to read cover to cover.
I must’ve been engrossed in the experience because the next time I looked at my watch, I realised that I had to run to get to the theatre, almost literally! I didn’t even have time to register the posters out the front, just run it, sit down and look at the Playbill program that had just been handed to me. Imagine my surprise to learn that not only was Edie Falco in it, but in just a few minutes, I’d be meters away from Ben Stiller and Jennifer Jason Leigh! How I missed that little fact, I do not know. But like I said before, I’m down to one set of eyes and not the good ones, just in case you needed proof of the fact.
The play itself was incredible – billed as a black comedy, it was definitely more tragic than comic. It was beautifully performed, especially by Edie Falco. It had one of those endings that had the audience departing the theatre much more quietly than they arrived. I took my sombre mood down to Times Square to shed some light on it which seemed to do the trick. There’s not much in this world that can’t be temporarily overwhelmed by the bright lights of this big city.