Note from New York
In New York to visit with one of my all-time favorite Broadway divas to see if we’re a love connection for her memoir. She graciously invited me to stay at her loft but I decided on the spur of the moment to roll in a day early and connect with her yesterday. Full disclosure: I decided this at 4:55 AM Wednesday, right after Jerusha dropped me off at the airport and Gary called me to say, “I thought you were supposed to go tomorrow.”
Moral of that story is as follows:
1) Don’t buy the cheap daytimer that runs with the school year instead of the calendar year, because September arrives and – fnark – no more pages. And the daytimers for next year start in January. The intervening autumn months are spent flying by the seat of one’s Post-It-note-stuffed pants.
2) When you’ve got one foot out the door, the other foot might as well follow through. You never know what adventures might ensue. Don’t waste karma cussing. Make the most of a good screw-up. Best way to travel, write, and live your life: no reservations.
So here’s me, rolling into Laguardia at 11 AM, no place to go, only two days worth of socks and undies, and the world is my oyster. I ducked into Au bon Pain just on the freedom side of security check, one of my trusty satellite office locations where I know exactly the right internet to piggyback on. I google mapped my diva’s location and searched on hotels nearby. Pricey. Dang. Finally found a hostel-type flop house in Chelsea where I slept on a single bed and shared the bathroom with a pleasant enough man from Portugal. I was told upon check in that if there was a problem (I guess he mentioned this because there was a hooker in the next room, earning her daily bread), I was supposed to run three doors down the block, up four flights of stairs to apt 4A, and pound on the door. I was told that “Voolahree is help.” Very comforting.
This is a great neighborhood. Usually, I’m in either the Ave of the Americas publishing ghetto or kicking around the tony brownstones near Central Park. Here, funky fashions stride past the window, everyone is very artsy but purposeful. (Unlike the artsy slackards of LA, who seem to hang about a lot, their only excuse being how great they look doing nothing.)
I’m writing this at a place called Spoon, where they serve a good selection of organic vegan food plus a few items snatched from the free range and grilled with incredibly spicy dressing. (So I feel very healthy, but I probably smell like a dragon.) I won’t be able to post until later. I’m told that “We eschew that wi-fi crap.” I asked if there was a Starbucks nearby and received a scathing glance that conveyed a message in the vein of “why don’t you just go step on newborn bunny heads, you soulless moron.”
Well. I’m off. Gotta check out the Gucci knock-off bags on the street outside, then continue my covert ops, nosing around the diva’s neighborhood, trying to get a sense of what she might want to say about it.
At the Hollywood Diner on 6th between 17th and 16th, a few hopeful wireless rides popped up on the list. “Not a greedy bastard” offered only a few bars of signal, and “Free public internet” got me nowhere. I’m always scared to log onto anything like that, but if you can’t believe in the good of people, what’s the point?
“People are no good,” says Ari the manager. “You’re lying to yourself.” We engage in a long spirited discussion of world politics, psychology, and the upcoming election, and I plan to give him a hug as I walk out. I also plan to leave a good tip in hopes that his faith in humankind will receive a small booster shot. The clientele here is more elderly folks than groovsters. I had a nice talk with Annette, who told me she is 85 and has never used anything but soap and water on her face. She looks fabulous.
The waiter tells me he wants to move to Houston. He asks me all about it, and I tell him the paltry price I paid for my house and how there’s flowers all year round for people who are good at flowers, and excellent restaurants for the rest of us.
And that’s New York. I’m waiting for a call from Allison, my sort of goddaughter, a starving theatre waif who undoubtedly needs a good meal. We may be back to see Ari later, so I’d better forego the hug. Don’t want to give him the wrong impression.