I just discovered I have missed the Broadway ‘revival’ of Glengarry Glen Ross, starring Al Pacino as Shelley Levine. This is a huge bummer. Not only do I love David Mamet in general, but I am especially fond of the lads of the swampland in Florida real estate agency. The thought of actually seeing Al Pacino (we are talking AL PACINO here) live and in one of my favourite plays (although I could watch the movie version on endless loop but it really wouldn’t be the same thing, although come to think of it also has a pre-blomped out Alex Baldwin and there is not too much wrong with that) and the thought of missing it by only a few weeks (it closed on January 31) is almost too much to bear. Which led me to remind myself how much I love New York, New York. Here is why:
You can actually see real actors on stage, up close and personal so to speak, however one of the first Broadway shows I ever saw did not in fact star a name brand actor. It went one better than that: it starred Natalia Makarova only one of the most famous Russian ballerinas of all time in a revival of On Your Toes. This was when I was living in Saskatoon , a wasteland of many kinds including the cultural variety, and managed to get myself a junket to NYC so it was a double dose of heaven. I still have the program somewhere.
Manhattan is a walking place. This is of course because you can walk faster than the traffic. The bonus is you get to experience the humanity of the street culture of the most urban of urban places. I love the guys flogging bagels from their little carts and the ones selling dubious street meat. Even better, are the guys who sell the counterfeit designer handbags. The moment there is even a whiff of a cop, they scuttle like cockroaches into the nearest alley.
There is a Home Depot in the middle of downtown New York. Seriously, there is – at 59th and 3rd. It has no parking lot (of course). It is sandwiched between a luggage store and a Taco Bell. I have never been inside the store but I imagine that, instead of orange aprons with their names on them, all of the sales help wear black t-shirts with ironic name tags (‘hello my name is…”) on top of skinny 7 For All Mankind jeans. I think they may actually sell lumber but delivery is definitely in order. I once saw someone moving into a tall skinny townhouse on the upper West side. Their piano was hovering in mid-air above the sidewalk, apparently the only way there was a hope of getting it into their second floor living room. Luckily gravity will be on their side when they move out.
You can see famous people anywhere at all. I once dined within spitting distance of John Cleese at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill. And if that isn’t enough name dropping in one paragraph, I am pretty sure I saw JFK junior running in Central Park and nearly positive I spotted Yoko Ono at an obscure gallery in Soho.
The ambience of New York is like nowhere else in the U.S. Washington is too politically correct. San Francisco is too hip(pie). Seattle is too caffeinated-granola. Miami is too Spandex. Denver is too Gortex. Chicago is too Oprah. I rest my case.