Thou shalt not covet a NY dweller's apartment. But come on, how can you not? I did it when I lived here and I'm doing it on this visit. This morning I hung a left on 92nd street and there, on the south side of the block, are two clapboard townhouses...clapboard, in Manhattan! Just gorgeous with plantings outside, a bench to sit on. Let me in, let me in!
In the mornings, supers are out hosing down the sidewalks and watering the plantings around the base of the plane trees that dot the blocks. I had the NY "beat up" syndrome this morning. Felt like I had a hangover though I hadn't touched anythiing but water. Part of it is getting up early and runniing in the park. Part of it is walking, everywhere and part of it is being smashed into the subway with the million minions. So I lingered awhile this morning before getting out.
Instead of the reservoir I walked up to 104th street and the Vanderbilt gardens. Back in the day I used to go there with a book and my journal. It's a lovely garden maintained by the Conservancy, complete with gorgeous fountain and reflecting pools, ancient wisteria vines and gorgeous plantings. Right in the middle of one bed I smiled to see colorful chard. Of all things, up in the wisteria arbor, chiseled into the slate is a circular design engulfing a star and the word "Virginia." Don't know the signifigance...the state where I live now? A woman?
Back through the park and I always imagined that the fields up here were those depicted in the Salinger story "The Laughing Man." Of course I used to imagine all sorts of Salinger references and even hung out up on 104th and Riverside, near the Glass family apartment. Sat there on a bench once and wrote J.D. a long letter that I never sent.
Before coming back upstairs I reached for the twenty I'd stuck in my sock and went into the wonderful Corrado pastry shop where two women in Yankee caps smile and say "Good Morning" and get you whatever you want. This morniing I added some 3-berry scones to my coffee order then climbed the stairs to grab the NY Times off the landing.
Gil was still sleeping and so I went to the kitchen to get myself some breakfast. Years ago I painted this kitchen, an almost impossible job as it is so crammed full of stuff. At that time I did many things for a paycheck and painting apartments was one of them. Bernice, Gil's Mom, was alive then and living with him after relocating from Aurora, Illinois. She used a walker and smoked Kents nonstop, crocheting and watching the soaps at an ear-piercing volume. Up on a ladder I heard a man say, "But I love you" immediately followed by Bernice's declaration of "Liar!" She always got it right.
I went to Times Square last night and got a ticket to "One Man, Two Guvnors." The lead, James Cordon, just won the Tony for his performance as Francis Henshall. The play is an English import based on a Commedia dell'Arte play from the 1500's, updated to Brighton in the 1960's. Just incredible. At one point "Henshall" leaves the stage and goes into the audience for two "helpers." He needs to move a trunk. From the mezzanine I couldn't see him but heard the audience react as he returned to the stage with none other than Donald Trump - yes, the Donald. The place went nuts and Donald, jerk though he is, did a good job of playing along. Cordon had great fun with him, giving him encouraging pats on his rump and, finally, "firing" him. Really wonderful.
Before the show, with time to kill, I went up to the West Side and dropped in on an old friend, the very gay man who used to cut my hair. I rang the buzzer and he let me in, thinking I was the extermintor. We howled to see one another again and Keith regaled me with stories of a "retarded" dog his niieceowns, his success at selling an investment condo, root canals...Keith was a voice of sanity during my NY acting years and when he came to see a play I'd written with a gay hairdressing character he let me know, in no uncertain terms, that when we did the film, he'd be available.
Afterward the lights of Times Square were overwhelming, thousands of folks there reveling in it all and taking photos - me, too. Then I walked over to the east side, passing by Rockerfeller Center to catch the train uptown at Lexington and 50th. Still hotter than snot here but hey, it's summer in NY so...FUHGET ABOUT IT!