a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Hurricane’

New York After Sandy ~ A City Broken in Two

New York City is broken. Hurricane Sandy broke it in two. There are now two parts to my beloved city, the Light and the Dark. The Light is virtually untouched by the tragedy of the disaster.  The electricity and power are ON. And now even the subways are running.

But south of 30th Street on the West Side and 40th Street on the East is “The Dark.” There is no power at all. No light. No heat and in many high rises no water! The street lights are out. There are patrol men and women in uniforms directing traffic. Oh, and the buses and subways are free.

In the daytime there have been soooo many buses, more than I’ve ever seen in my life, and yesterday the subways started running again but only to midtown. Queens travelers I think are fine. And the Bronx, where I am from, is totally AOK.

I have not been able to replace my lost remote, so my TV remains dark, and the only news I get is from the Internet and most importantly from what my friends tell me. Or people on the buses I ride tell me.

I was always a huge bus-rider and it’s now like 9/11 here AGAIN where people are all turning to total strangers that they are sitting/standing next to and talking about The Conversation, the Catastrophe. Just like 9/11 when the notoriously rude New Yorkers all of a sudden WEREN’T. They became instantly friendly, concerned.

The people downtown, the Village, Lower Manhattan even Chelsea, are all looking like refugees from some war-torn country. Evacuation is the what they all should have done and many have, but many people can’t leave their cold, dark apartments. And in the skyscrapers downtown there is also of course no elevator service.

People are literally trapped as the weather turns ever colder in the high rises.

When I lived in London in the ’70s, I was always surprised when I saw and heard the British and especially the Cockney disdain for living way above the ground. Now it seems wise.

Me? I’ve got heat, light, and water. My internet is working. And so are the elevators. But when I had to venture out to 23rd Street on Wed. it turned into a really harrowing ordeal. Going downtown the bus was as jam-packed as the subway at rush hour and I was checking on my storage room downtown, where all my playwriting and past TV shows are stored, and while my floor was OK, the basement was flooded and everybody who had anything stored there lost everything.

There are still no lights downtown. Block after block as far as the eye could see, not one light on in ANY buildings.

And no subways at all in the lower part of Manhattan.  It’s frightening. It’s shocking. It’s sad. It’s terrible.

Meanwhile, uptown the party that is New York goes on. Everybody in the “Light” area seems almost universally giddy, upbeat, rushing to the next Broadway show or movie.

And yes, the movie houses are now open as of yesterday, I think.

I went to see a screening of the upcoming “Lincoln” and went uptown on a bus(which was free)to the suddenly appropriately named Lincoln Square.

On the way up there was this terrible traffic snarl. Why? Well, there was this crane dangling over W.57th street, which is closed off for blocks. It took a long time, but we got there. And coming back, we got a subway (also free) I can’t tell you how happy I was to hear the rumble of the always noisy subway for the first time in days!

There weren’t a lot of people on it. But every body who was on it was in a good mood, because they were riding on it and it was going. Just down to W.34th Street. But it was going. And it was bright and warm. And everybody was happy to be on it. THIS is a New York first, too. Smiles all ’round on a subway!

The Buses are Running! But not the Subways!

It’s Wed. in the AM, and the buses came back on today in New York at 5pm. But the subways are not running. And the elevators are back on in my building, but I hear that downtown there is no power! STILL!

And it’s getting cold out. I FINALLY got outside again tonight as the sun was quickly setting, what little there was of it. I didn’t wear a coat. But I found out once outside that I really needed to.

Starbucks and McDonald’s, bell weathers of a Return to Normal, were back in action.

And every other store or restaurant seemed to be lit up. But there were plenty of black spots, too. It was like an array of rotten teeth.

It’s all quite frightening, especially with the knowledge that Lower Manhattan is a Dead Zone.

I always thought of New York City, especially Manhattan, where I live, as impregnable. A fortress. A place where Mother Nature did NOT rule. That has changed.

Tomorrow afternoon, the theaters open for Wednesday matinees, and Broadway will be all lit up, once again, but outside of the buses how will theater-goers get there?

I never thought I would live to see all these horror movies come that show the destruction of New York over and over again come to life, but these are the images I’m seeing everywhere. And hearing about.

But I have light and power, so I should consider myself lucky. And I do.

And it started to get really cold tonight. And thousands of New Yorkers have no heat. And many, many thousands more in the Tri-State area. Frightening.

But this is the city that survived 9/11 so it can survive THIS! New Yorkers are nothing if not TOUGH!

Oscar Updates as Gold Derby Puts Leo at NY#1 for “Django”for Supp! Dwight Henry Is #2 “Beasts”!

The great Tom O’Neil lets us know just what is what with the Oscar race on an almost daily basis. Certainly weekly. And for sure, monthly. Now that we’re reaching the last day of June, it’s interesting to note that the race that has changed THE MOST is Best Supporting Actor!

June 1, it was wacky Jaoquim Phoenix for Paul Thomas Anderson’s Scientology take “The Master“. Now, less than a month later, Joaquim is nowhere to be found at the top of this category. Possibly because Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone of http://www.awardsdaily.com clued Tom in that Joaquim is THE LEAD in “The Master.” Lol….And who’s at #1 now? Why Leonardo DiCaprio, as a scuzzy, sleazy slave owner in Quentin Tarantino’s Civil War shoot’em up “Django Unchained!” With Harvey Weinstein at the helm, this could certainly happen.

However, right behind him, is non-actor until now, newcomer Dwight Henry playing Hushpuppy‘s abusive, alcoholic father for “Beasts of the Southern Wild”! I don’t think Dwight Henry was even on the chart last time I checked! Go Dwight! He’s a baker turned actor and really scores in this magnificent debut film of Benh Zeitlin.

Phenom-of-the-Year Zeitlin has NOT managed to crack the top five of the directors chart. Go to http://www.goldderby.com and see who the rest are. Usual suspects, all. All previous Oscar Winners.Spielberg, Tom Hooper, Ang Lee, Except Paul Thomas Anderson who tops the list, and I’m so sure won’t win. “The Master” is going not to be a loved-by-the-masses film, I’m feeling. Scientology isn’t a topic that the ticket buying public is going to warm to. Where the now critically acclaimed “Beasts of the Southern Wild” sure is.

And it’s 6-year-old heroine has cracked the top five of the Best Actress contenders. That category is still headed by my darling Laura Linney for “Hyde Park on Hudson.” #2 in Best Actress is Carey Mulligan for “The Great Gatsby” and #3 is Keira Knightley for “Anna Karenina.” Keira’s always nominatable, as of course is Laura. Previous recent winner ++is #4 for the French language “Of Rust and Bone.” And then comes Qu’venzhane Wallis at #5.

I think it speaks to the strength of “Beasts” A+++ reception that BOTH Dwight Henry and Qu’venzhane Wallis have popped into the top five since the month began! And Dwight Henry is #2! Higher than Benh Zeitlin or QW(as I will now abbreviate her). The charges of racism that were thrown the Academy’s way when Viola Davis lost(though Octavia Spenser won – albeit in Supp.) for “The Help.” Dwight Henry could be the beneficiary of the famous Academy catch-up boomerang effect.

What they don’t do right one year, they correct the next.

And it’s also interesting to note that Anne Hathaway still seems to be a mortal lock for Best Supporting Actress for “Les Miserables,.” nailing one of the best trailers in movie history, which is already playing at a theater near you.

Likewise Daniel Day-Lewis in Best Actor and “Lincoln” for Best Picture remain where they were June 1.

It’s the arrival of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” that has shaken this list up! Good! No! Great! Go Team “Beast”!

Irene, after…

Well, Hurricane Irene is allll over and the air is fresh. The sky is an incredible blue, the type of blue most seen in the Rockys. No clouds whatsoever, just this pure, clear blue, and New Yorkers are walking around again and they’re smiling.

And the city looks like somebody just took it out and washed it throughly which is exactly what Irene just did.

The subways are running. The buses are running. The taxis were ALLLLWAYS running. And everything looks strangely new. And everyone looks very well rested.

Which shut up in their apartments, they all were.

A cleaner New York…and no one was killed or injured…Now THAT is amazing…

As I prepare to dive into pre-TIFF movie screenings here in NYC before I leave…I hope they are going to be good….There are soooo many films and sooo many titles…Well, it takes awhile to sort them all out…but “Coriolanus” tomorrow night, looks to be a good one. Directed by and starring that helluva nice guy Voldemort, I mean, Ralph Fiennes, and a Volumnia that is said to rank with Vanessa Redgrave’s best and may garner her ANOTHER Oscar…We shall see.

Irene closes EVERYTHING!

I have never seen anything like this. And no, I wasn’t able to get my Morning Buzz coffee from Whole Foods ground. Every Starbucks is closed. Every store with a coffee grinder is closed. Burger King is closed. McDonald’s is closed. The BANK is closed!

There seemed to be a police woman at every subway entrance posted to tell the public no dice.

And yes, it started to rain again, the minute I left the building, but this time I had a super-huge umbrella. It was just drizzle, really. On and off, as I searched to get my coffee beans ground.

Broadway shows are closed, as I mentioned, til next week. And yet, and yet, there were a lot of dazed looking people wandering around, looking bewilderedly at all the closed stores. And oh yes, the movie houses here, closed, too.

All those stunned, not stunning, white people staggering around in this multi-racial New York, wearing nothing whatever dressy, were undoubtedly tourists, who HAD found a hotel in Manhattan, but now with all the buses and subways shut, they are just stuck within walking distance of their hotels…

And there were still a few people with pull-suitcases(I know there’s a better word for that, but I can’t think of it at the moment. I must be dazed a bit, too.) but only a few, and they were all guys…Last minute-itis…Gets you stuck.

Never before has New York City which LIVES by mass transporation, ever had it ALLLL shut down.

Me, I’m getting cabin fever stuck in here…And the storm has yet to reach here…We’ve got two more days of this. Or a day and a half…I guess I’m glad I stocked up, and ran around, and endured those lonnnnnnnng lines the way I did yesterday and this morning, because now….there’s nothing….

The one restaurant/fast food place I saw open was PACKED with people, all hungry tourists, PACKED.

Ugh. When is this going to be over???

The rain has completely stopped, as have the buses & subways….

The rain has completely stopped. At least for the moment. No thunder in the distance, as I heard briefly this morning, as I dashed about. And one thing that I DIDN’T do is at Whole Foods yesterday, I forgot to get my coffee beans GROUND!?!?

Should I go out now and see if I can accomplish this before Irene makes it IMPOSSIBLE???

Hmmm…I just might….

Irene Catches me in a torrential downpour, then my phone is dead!

I make ONE last grocery run and get caught in a torrential downpour on the way back! Soaked through to the skin! Shirt, pants, shoes, everything! And as quickly as it started, it stops, but I’m still soaking wet.

I see Duane Reade locking customers out and the check-out winds all the way back through the store, like a snake coiling. Something I have never seen before there. The sky turns from grey to white and back again. The buses stop running. People with pull-suitcases heading – where? The Port Authority? Hotels must be packed! Cabs, however, are EVERYWHERE! So people CAN get around Manhattan, if they can catch one. The city is drowning in a sea of yellow. Taxis. Mayor Bloomberg, nor no one can shut them down! SOMEbody’s makin’ a fortune today!

And now the sun is coming out!

But I return home to find my phone is dead, which also means no internet.

My trusty ole dial-up computer Windows 98 gives me instructions. “Check the phone modem connections” or something like that. And I frantically move furniture to find that YES, the phone jack is out of the wall. My vast collection(not really) of movie posters having dislodged it slightly. Just enough to disconnect EVERYTHING and send me into a panic. But as you see, the internet is back on! Phew!

And all on Anthony Del Col’s birthday! Happy birthday Anthony! He’s in Toronto awaiting the opening of TIFF. Where I hope Hurricane Irene is NOT being felt. Anthony is of Conor and Anthony the Kill Shakespeare guyz and to refresh your memory and to get a Shakespearean thrill, check out www.killshakespeare.com He’s turning 34 today, for those who MUST know.

He’s hopefully going to be doing some co-hosting duties and awards chat once I get to TIFF! But first I have to survive Irene, and keep the phone lines ON!

A first few drops, the streets are deserted….Irene begins

And so it begins. Grey storms clouds everywhere. Humidity almost tropical. The streets are strangely deserted. But the buses, this AM, are free!!!

I “rush” to the library this morning to pick up some last minute “holds” that came in while I was in Montreal, and of course, THE LIBRARY WAS CLOSED!?!?!?

On Channel 7, ABC news told me the libraries would be open today, but not Sunday. So I zoom over there and IT’S SHUT!!!!

Fortunately, another free city bus came by instantly. I ran, yes, ran to catch it, and I caught it.

The streets more than a bit deserted for a Saturday morning in NYC. And the traffic’s light. Lots of people with pull-luggage not able to leave from the airports and so heading for the Port Authority Bus Terminal, which evidently IS still operating. Everybody trying to leave. Except those that live here. Like me…

Only Applebee’s had X tapes across its’ windows facing the street. Stores beginning to close, but many still open.

Duane Reade’s still  operating with GIGANTIC lines.

But the air seems fresher, though humid. And NO seagulls. Usually before a storm the seagulls fly inland. A few sparrows, and of course, pigeons! Pigeons, the symbol of New York City. They never leave. Like me.

Hurricane Madness Begins in New York

Still vibrating with the joie of the Montreal Film Festival, I return to find this massive Hurricane Irene approaching NYC! I’m a native New Yorker and I have NEVER seen the kind of grab-for-it madness that I witnessed at several food stores today, with lines also like I’ve never seen. People grabbing seemingly everything off the shelves in all the stores I hit.

Water was what was missing mostly from grocery store shelves, as I trudged wearily homewards after waiting on endless lines for what seemed like hours. This is what it must be like back in ole Moscow, where it was always showing people lining up for bread. And that’s exactly what frenzied New Yorkers where doing today. Sheesh. You’d think they’d never seen a raindrop before.

There have been storms that have hit this city, but they have little impact. And it’s the Media, of course, whipping everyone into a worrisome frenzy.

Big storms don’t really hit here much and New York is so solidly built it doesn’t make a lick of difference usually. It just giveth the weathermen something to get excited about and take up air-time and drive-up ratings with. It’s good television, I’m sorry to say…


And this is the BIG but, Mayor Bloomberg is closing down all public transportation tomorrow, Sat. at noon! Now THIS has never happened before. It effectively freezes everyone in their tracks and makes those at home HAVE to stay there. Or walk, which I do a lot of anyway.

People were out in droves on the street, all with grocery bags or one sort of the other. And they all looked inordinately stressed. Like the Hurricane was going to blow the skyscrapers over. Not gonna happen.

It’s only a category 1 anyway. And as it inevitably wends its’ way up the coast it always gets weaker.

My mother always regaled us with stories of the hurricane SHE was caught out in Providence, R.I. in 1938. The one that knocked Katherine Hepburn’s Connecticut estate down.  She could never stop talking about it.

But I will. Here.

It’s just massively inconvenient. But then, I can still walk to the Library! Unless all the stores and businesses start closing tomorrow at noon, too. Which they might.

I’ve got a LOT of DVDs of movies to catch up on before departing for TIFF, or the Toronto International Film Festival, which is my next stop, and for all of you who read me regularly know, that’s where I started blogging last year! And I’m STILL doing it! I can’t believe it! And I will be blogging from Toronto once I get there, which is still 10 days or so away. So hold on. Or rather HOLT! ON!

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