My first trip to New York City, it was 1980 or so. My father, whom had this... anal knack of finding exactly what he wanted at the lowest price, decided he wanted a pimpmobile. He had a classic 66 Thunderbird all my life, so this was our first "second car." Why my father wanted a deep blue, two-door, Mark V Lincoln Continental was beyond me. But he scoured and searched want ads in nooks and crannies that only a determined control freak like him could do (which is why he was good at his job, I suppose, as a defense contractor/consultant). His search led him to New York City, and since my mother said I'd never been there, she insisted I come along. So we drove from DC to NYC in a car trip that I slept through, mostly. We got a hotel on Times Square (I think), in a Ritzy Hotel right across from several porno theaters. I recall my mother thinking this was funny, ironic, perhaps, that we were paying so much for a room with a view... of 25 cent tittybooths. Anyway, the guy we bought the car from looked like he was right out of The Sopranos. Friendly, Italian descent, with a spoiled little granddaughter living in an apartment with a neon sign right out the window. I think his name was Eli. He smoked big cigars, and that was my father's concern: the car smell. Long story short: we got the car, it was in nice condition, and the cigar smell left eventually. Even came with 8-track quadraphonic stereo (don't laugh, it sounded GREAT in the back seat) and a CB radio (my father's call sign was "Blue Max").
In 1985, a gaming group I was with decided "We're going to Origins," which was a gaming convention near New York City. So near, we got lost and ended up driving around it for a while. I would never recommend driving to New York City, and definitely not THROUGH New York City, in a beat-up 1972 VW Beetle. That was hell, but that's a different story.
So as you can see, I never got to see NYC proper. Never had a NY Pizza, never been to the Garment District, Greenwich Village, or even the Empire State Building. The first time, my mother did convince my father to go to the Statue of Liberty, but that was a one-two-three-go! time of pace, and I remember a ferry, a line, and a really dirty interior of the Lady of Liberty (she's since been reconditioned in 1986). I also wanted to go on top of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, since I saw it featured on "Three-Two-One Contact" showing how you can measure g-forces with a rubber band, some poster board, a market, and a tennis ball in an elevator.
Well, that's not happening, sadly. Ouch.
I have friends in New York. I have my friend Eddie Macha, Broadway costume designer, and my friend Ellen Reif, whom I haven't seen for a while, and last I heard was still working on her acting career. Then there's my friend Merideth Jenson, who is a social worker, last I heard. There are also other friends from an online community I am on I want to see.
But that's not the real reason I am going.
I want to do touristy things, like get crap I don't need that says "I [heart] NY" and cheezy street stuff. I want to get a back massage from an old Chinese guy. I want to go on top of the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, and see Central Park (in the daylight). I want to eat Jewish deli, NY pizza, and street vendor hotdogs. I also want to see a show while I am there, possibly "Hairspray," possibly "Modern Millie." I wonder if someone is showing an off-Broadway production of "Man of LaMancha?" I also want to be in the audience of the Daily Show or The Late Show with David Letterman. I also want to see the crater that was the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center.
But that's not the real reason I am going.
The real reason is something spiritual. I can't describe it, it's like I need to see NYC for some reason to fulfill something. Some writer's thing. I want to wander around with my son and just hang out. I will do some of these touristy things to take me to places, but I need to find the NYC in me. DC, I love you, but you're... flabby, for a city. No tall buildings in town (we have an ordinance that states no building is allowed to be higher than the US Capitol), DC is a give of black and white contrast of too wealthy and too poor with little interaction between. I haven't found the "soul" of downtown DC yet. I think I need something to compare it to.
I hope I can afford it. My company has a corporate shuttle jet and corporate discounts all over the city. I could get and stay there cheap, but my company is waffling a lot, financially. I may not even have a job by April (there are no indications of that, in fact, just the opposite, but the winds change quickly in the tech world), or my company might be having so much trouble, they cancel the corporate jet. I have also considered train and even regular plane. I was once on a shuttle from DC to Newark, and was one of THREE people onboard a DC-10. Talk about comfort.
So hopefully, by the end of April, we'll have a lot of photos on here to share.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000037.html