Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Alice's Tea Cup

I had time to kill on 46th and Lex in between appointments. I thought I would grab a coffee and then I saw Alice's Tea Cup on E 64h St across from where Bernie Madoff used to roam happily. I decided it was probably too expensive or too "twee" for me, but I ducked inside as I also have this odd self-righteous, nobody puts baby in a corner streak in me these day. Commonly known around town as "defensiveness."

It was a little girly-precious, but the thought of a scone and a cup of tea sounded nostalgic. It is what my mum used to serve.

I was given a menu with a tea list that was as many pages as a wine list at a posh restaurant. I found it much like betting on horses; you go for the name that you like. There was a black tea blend called "Margaret's Hope." (Could also be a racehorse name in fact!) I went for that because that is my mum's name and I want her to have that for me. I got a French vanilla scone to go with because I am studying French and I am awfully vanilla.

My whole order sorted, I sat back at a table with an Alice doll encased under glass peering up at me and read a New Yorker article (see: yesterday's entry) about Samuel Beckett who oolong ago (tea joke) replaced David Cassidy on my wall. (Now there was a leap!)

Margaret's Blend was so wonderful and the experience of stopping for a moment in an isolated tea shop in the middle of Manhattan and being able to read an article in my breeds-like-sheep New Yorker was so relaxing.

Alice's Tea Cup is really a day spa.


Monday, March 30, 2009

"I Am Drowning in New Yorkers"

This was my Facebook status for a day. And I meant it. But what I meant was that I cannot keep the pace with the weekly delivery of New Yorker magazine. I liked that I kept the status loosely cryptic so one could infer anything. My own New Yorker attempt at being a wit, a fop!

I love this magazine and it opens me up to all sorts of worlds and ideas, but once you have finished an article on nuclear reactors in Russia and are ready to read a John Lahr review or tuck in to the fiction piece thinking that one day that will be your spot, PLOP another issue comes through the post. Arrggghhh. I haven't even dealt with DETAILS or Preservation let alone the self-help book or that bible on Manhattan that I could chuck at someone's head and cause real problems.

How do people do it? My friend Sue (an ex-subscriber) maintains that all people who say they read the New Yorker weekly are, well, liars. But I hear them and they are well-versed liars who also comment on all the NPR they listen to and read the New York Times (paper edition) cover to cover. And they have read the classics, they co-parent a dog or child and hold down a job and a relationship and get to the opera. Some have abs.

There I go comparing myself again.

I say I am drowning in New Yorkers and I suppose I mean the beasts themselves as well. It is a rat race here and I am trying to keep up. Oh and loads of them run marathons or pop off a quick 10K in the park for some lesser cause like feline cancer just cause they can.

I digress. Quickly.

So for today I will read what I can about solitary confinement as a form or torture and then I will wash my dishes and take a nap with a New Yorker on my chest.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

In the Village, Man

it's all peace love and understanding after all, ain't it?

I celebrated a big day today for me. 5 years. I am not sure what I feel but I know it is good. My good mates Frank, Pat and Sean went with me to Smorgas Chef on W. 12th Street the celebrate.

We had herring and meatballs for starters!

We went to this particular restaurant because I locked in "West Village" and "Breakfast/Brunch" on my Urbanspoon iPhone app and SHOOK it!

It was a great day out.

The Boys of Spring.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

GLAAD Media Awards New York City

I find myself in the darndest places. Here I am wearing a PRESS badge at the GLAAD Media Awards in Manhattan on the press line about to be a photographer for a MoxieQ. I know nothing about birthin' no photography, but I know in these hard economic times to say YES to stuff that will get you out of the house and onto the red carpet!

It was a fun night. I stood next to a ditz from New York Magazine who did the worst interviews and asked me if the head of GLAAD was gay. And, God bless her, she didn't know who Phil Donahue was. I swear it. She wore a very exposed red bra which I think might have helped her land some good lesbian interviews.

Here are some photos, but my good ones are on the other camera. Will have those for you soon.

Suze Orman - Financial Temptress

Phil Donahue. Before Oprah, there was Phil

Christian Siriano

Vanessa Williams. I was hurt she didn't recognize me from working together in Los Angeles.

Chris Noth. I managed to get all his bad angles.

Okay, I don't know this fella because I am out of the demo.

Tyra (all the way to the) Banks. The crowd went mental!! They really did.

More to come....including Clay.

Farmer's Market - Lincoln Center

Friday, March 27, 2009

They're in the Attic!

Even the poster evokes Lifetime TV, not legit theatre.

The amazing Irena Gut Opdyke

Went with my friend Bob to see "Irena's Vow" at the Walter Kerr Theatre. I feel like this is one of those "God forgive me" reviews because this is a play about the Holocaust and it was pretty weak. The play, not the Holocaust, of course.

How can one criticize a play that tells a story that demonstrates that "it" really happened and how bad "it" really was?

I know, I know.

Irena Gut Opdyke was a Polish nursing student who hid a dozen Jews when she was the housekeeper to a high-ranking German official during the war. She even had to become his mistress to save their lives. How can one even THINK - "Oh, not another story about a risk-taking Christian hiding Jews."

As Bob put it, "Schindler's Miss."

The story that the play is based on is an amazing and inspiring one, but the tone the playwright chose to take made me think of "Hogan's Heroes" with Irena mugging to her commandant, "Cellar? There's no one in the cellar." That sort of thing. And there was the hackneyed exchange of "Why didn't you tell us?" Ready for it?....."You never asked me." Yuk, yuk.


There were even beats in the play where my head went "Insert Song Here" as if this were supposed to be a musical. And OF COURSE one of the women is going to have a baby in hiding. I felt that one coming a kilometre away. The Nazis were buffoons one minute and then smashing a baby's head on the cobblestones in front of Irena the next. They make you laugh, they make you cry? This was awkward.

Nowadays it is really hard to pull off an original and effective Holocaust tale. But this true story (like so many) is so compelling it begs to be told daily and animatronially at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Complete with intact PowerPoint slide show of Nazi era photographs.

But not on Broadway. Not like this.

The moment that was best of all sadly was not even in the play. After the curtain call, the daughter of the real Irena Gut Opdyke came onstage and answered questions. She was amazing. I cried.

If only she could be there every night.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Got Wood.

I walked by a man sawing wood using a circular saw. It was on Broadway outside a shop. In the middle of all the hustle and car smell and craziness, I could smell the fresh cut wood and the slight wood burning smell caused by the fast motion of the blade. I just love that smell so much. It is an "honest" smell. It is not being anything but what it is. I suppose most smells are honest smells, but I don't categorize them that way. But this was one.

The smell brought me back to so many UNspecific memories. I think though, I mostly thought of summer school wood shop where I made an owl-shaped key holder that my parents were forced to adore.

It was a smell I never imagined to smell in a big city.

Wow, you really can get everything here!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pub Quiz NIght

Tonight I went to the 2nd Annual BAFTA EC Pub Quiz Night. It was held upstairs at The Perfect Pint on E 45th at 3rd Ave.

What an amazing turn out. I think the success and fun of last year brought them out in droves. Not to mention endless pints of lager and platters of fried food.

There were umteen teams of 6 people vying for the big prize (a book by Annie Liebowitz). My team was called "Madoff with the Answers" which won BEST TEAM NAME. (quick brag - I made up that name for us!)

"Madoff with the Anwers" - great group. We all brougth something to the table, but we could have used a James Bond expert. Sucked big on that category!

We won a Welsh Choir CD for BEST TEAM NAME!

And that was all we won.

No matter it was a GREAT night and kudos to Lisa for putting it on and Mark for being once again being an excellent pub quiz master.

The tres excellent Lisa and Mark

The Winning Team - "The BBC Bastards."


Grand Central Station with the Chrysler Building in the background.

I am not passing through this city. I live here. In fact I could walk down here everyday and look at this. I love knowing that I can. It is just inspiring. I think of all the generations of people who have looked up at this.

Blessed be!!!


And I feel it.

This part of town is growing on me. I remember when my dad would not even let me go up here. Now there are patisseries!

You can barely see The Apollo in the background.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

All in a Daze Non Work

Went up to to Harlem again today to Workforce 1. The clearing house of the unemployed. Where the flotsam and jetsam of the disillusioned gather. But we hang together. We hang together in desks with attached tables we haven't sat in since high school. Miss Jones took us through orientation which basically required her to read WORD FOR WORD off the PowerPoint presentation. (How much do YOU get an hour, Miss Jones?)

Kelly wore a smart business suit. Miguel the same. Sandy wore a black bra over a grey t-shirt. Not too smart in my opinion. But maybe we'll all end up being strippers and she has it right. My contribution was shaving. I shaved.

Israel called my name and I went to his desk. He said I needed to meet with a career counselor which is what I would have told him about 2 hours earlier. But, hey, you gotta follow the procedures. So I go back tomorrow. At 2.

And I was told I don't qualify for food stamps.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Officer, Hershey and Billy Elliot Assualted Me

Sure New York City can be a huge-ass, crazy, loud, wearing place. Full of HUGE-assed, crazy people wearing LOUD clothes (shhh-mostly tourists). Nowhere is this clearer than while negotiating through Times Square. It it like being in a human car wash where instead of giant brushes coming at you, young hucksters try to sign you up for comedy clubs on your right and barkers try to get you into Gentleman's clubs on your left and a woman in tights and a top hat blocks your way to hand your a flyer.

There is always some gaggle of tourists walking slower than your pace and there are signs everywhere telling your see this, drink that, wear this and eat this. Not to mention the constant scrolls on electronic billboards telling you The End is NIGH!!!

It is madness, but just up the road there is a quiet tree-lined street with beautiful brownstones and the most beautiful park in the world. Or a river to walk along. Or a neighborhood to sit and have a coffee and a bagel.

New York City works. It just does.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Top 10 New York Smells I Like Today

New York has loads of smells. Loads. And some are pleasant and some require a body bag.

Here is my list today that I noticed. In no order.

1. the dampness of the subway. (Reminds me of Glasgow - old and wet and historic)
2. new Band-Aids at the gym
3. garlic wafting out of the Italian restaurant on my corner
4. incense being sold on the street
5. Fresh apples at the Sunday market on Columbus.
6. The floating smell of fresh bagels from H & H on Columbus.
7. dirt in Central Park
8. cheap coffee in coffee pots in the church hall
9. the New Yorker magazine
10. The stairwell in "my" brownstone

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Another Gwyneth Paltrow Night in Manhattan

Water tower and Hudson River /out of window. Lovely food and decorative dish and tableware/ in of window.

Two New York friends plan to have a bite in New York and then go to film in New York. Though neither HAS to be about New York.

But what? How? Where?

Ask the the question where you are going to get the answer you don't know you need, but she does.


Hilary, being the more together one of the two of us, suggested her cool Tribeca pad for a light bite before a film in Chelsea.

So gracious. So PErfecT!!!

We ATE grilled Fish with Pesto Sauce.

It was from Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow's new website that seems targeted toward busy women who have a simple black dress, and do yoga. Maybe own some haiku books.

The pasta was Spelt. (I heart spelt) The fish was tAlapia. The pesto was fResh. It was all wonderfUl.

We then went out to see "Two Lovers" starring....Gwyneth Paltrow.

Gwyneth was wonderful in the film. We both liked it. It was a solid 3 Goops.

She can act, accessorize, raise two kids, keep a rockstar husband happy, start a webventure and open a gym all while listening to Madonna go on on the phone.

Who wouldn't do what she suggests?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Harlem Spring

The first day of Spring and as I threw open my sash what to my wondering eyes should appear?

Tons and tons of the most beautiful, fat snowflakes you ever did see drifting down as if they hadn't been told.

I was thrilled, but then remembered I had to go to 125th Street. I wanted to stay home and write a novel and watch the weather outside stay there.

But I bundled and got up to Harlem and it was MAGNIFICENT! What a great adventure. Travelling in New York takes no time; you just think it does.

This is not your father's Harlem. It is exciting and safe and mixed and clean. I want to go back and spend more time. In the REAL Spring.

The Historic Apollo Theater on 125th.
New York? Or Hollywood backlot?

Harriet watches o'er this three way intersection. See the snow?!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Madoff's Moving House

Bernie Madoff's old house: 133 64th Street between Park Ave and Lexington

Bernie Madoff's new house: The Manhattan Detention Complex.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Montage OR Le Montage

Life isn't like the movies. And WHY didn't anyone ever tell me this?

Case in point: The Montage.

When the protagonist in the film is either:

a. Falling in love
b. getting in shape to battle the villains
c. going through a tough, slow, painful rehabilitation...

we get to see it all happen quickly in a series of jaunty/sexy/stunning clips and there they are at the end in love, with a body of death, in the summer.

I realized today that:

a. I cannot blow bagpipes because of my residual bell's palsy.
b. I cannot balance or walk without staggering
c. I am single and unemployed with no prospects in either category.
d. I am struggling with French class

All this would be solved quickly and readily with The Real Life Montage.

Instead of having to go through slow, grueling mouth and lip and balance exercises, there would be quick cuts of me doing these with a hunky trainer set to a peppy song. Et voila - in 30 seconds cured!!

OR, I would be seen on the phone, using the Internet, pencil behind ear, cool best friend dog at my feet with a tie in his mouth that I would hastily put on to go out to interviews where I would get a GREAT job and fall in love with the Boss (who is from France) all set to something by Katrina and the Waves.


The truth is all of this ONLY happens when one (including me apparently) painstakingly goes through slow and daily exercises and LOTS of phone calls and emails and rejection over 8 or 9 months and asking guys out and getting knocked back until one says yes, etc, and practice, practice, practice with the French book.

It all only happens through TIME, PATIENCE and EFFORT.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

When Irish Eyes Are....

Does it get more cliche than this? What GREAT faces!

A picture of me NOT playing with the band.

My fellow bandsmen drinking out of paper bags. Class.

Today was totally Irish for me - I laughed, I cried.

It was a GORGEOUS day in Manhattan today and people were out in full GREEN force and I LOVED that. Smart woman in beautiful green coats and young "hooligans" in face paint and giant Guinness hats. The NYFD lads looking fundraiser-calender HOT in their uniforms and families all decked in green finery. It put a smile on my face.

I also think of my dad on this day as I know he would have LOVED to be here with me. This is HIS town; I am just visiting. And I would have LOVED to have been here with him. I saw the Empire State Building from where I was standing with the band and I always equate that with him as he grew up around the corner from it.

My dad's Empire State Building in the background.

I was listening to Van Morrison on my headphones on the bus earlier and tears just rolled down my face and I didn't care. I should have dyed them green! I felt so sad for the people I miss and Van can always bring that home to me.

I think the thing about longing and missing and frustration is that they can all be turned into tribute if I choose to look at them that way.

And now I do.

Here's to a great day for the Irish and all those who have gone before us and those of us still here!