Sunday, September 06, 2009
Remember me to Herald Square
This post started out as a grab-bag post about the book I'm reading (Lolita) and the website I'm starting (watch this space for details!) and how I subsist entirely on tomatoes and chickpeas in the summertime--essentially, all the reasons people hate blogs, if people do in fact hate blogs--but it turns out that I mostly wanted to talk about New York. (And anyway, my love song to chickpeas is really only posting for the sake of posting. You're disappointed, I know.)
I took myself to New York for my birthday weekend--I met up with my friend Lauren and saw my new favorite piece of absurd legally dubious feminista musical theater, 9 to 5: The Musical. This may be like the time I started to see deep philosophical meaning in 13 Going on 30, but I loved it: talented women working together and loving it, dance-y production numbers, soaring girl-power ballads, truth about women and work and friendship and love, and Dorothy Hamill haircuts, all with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton, who is really just a walking, talking lesson in talent and work and grace and really enormous everything, isn't she?
And if all of that weren't enough, I propose that if Allison Janney wore a white suit every day, men in sparkly-pinstriped suits really WOULD follow her around everywhere, singing her praises and dancing in formation, like so (...wait for it, ignore the quality, and enjoy the rest of the clips):
We also improvised a walking tour of Lauren's (former, but still adopted, and hopefully again someday) stomping grounds on the Upper West Side: a stroll through Riverside Park, a bit of shopping, the low-down on which famous people live where, a stop for ciders in one of the ubiquitous neighborhood pubs (a book from which DC could stand to borrow a page or two: ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME, DC?). We did not meet any of the fictional characters who clearly inhabit that corner of the city (Liz Lemon, meet Joe Fox!), but there was much friendly chatter and making of small memories, and that is maybe the best thing you can hope for in a city like New York.
Even if New York weren't the most fun you can legally have on the East Coast, I think I'd have to go there periodically just to eat. That city's got FOOD. Every time I go, I find something new that I can't live without: enormous buttery jammy hamantaschen, or the hot spinach-and-goat-cheese croissant-y thing at the Israeli place we ate at after the show, or the cinnamon babka I bought at Zabar's--known to non-locals as "the Upper West Side grocery store in You've Got Mail where Meg Ryan has no cash," and to everybody else simply as "heaven"--and ate all week as birthday/breakfast cake. I suspect this is why New Yorkers walk everywhere: they wouldn't be able to move if they didn't. Too much good food just lying around, waiting to work its deliciously sinister magic.
So it's finally happened: I've become one of those people with "I Heart New York" stamped on their consciousness--perhaps not enough to ever live there full-time, but enough to dream about how I could, if I wanted to. (This is probably why I don't: people who live in New York, who can claim to be New Yorkers, don't dream about it--they move.) The good news is that, even as I dream wistful dreams of Jewish bakeries and eighteen miles of books, I'll be back--this weekend, to be exact, and then at least once (possibly twice) in October, and then for Thanksgiving. I'm so glad; I wouldn't want to leave it alone yet. We're just getting to know each other.