a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘subway’

Christmas in New York~Rockefeller Center Tree Goes Up

Christmas 1You know it’s Christmas in New York when you stumble into Rockefeller Center and you see THE TREE going up. I had never seen it in this incarnation before, covered with box-like scaffolding on all sizes. This year’s tree is shorter and squatter I noticed. Wider. Not the usual tall, majestic, overwhelming Spruce of days and years gone by.

I stumbled upon it when I decided to go underground in Rockefeller Center as the day got suddenly colder and winter was indeed comin’ in. Everyone kept giving me directions and of course they were all contradictory and wrong, and I went around and around corners, all marble seemingly, and passed the place where you can see the ice-skaters skating like mad around the Rockefeller Ice rink.

As I tried to find my way out of this  golden marble, Art Deco maze, I was reminded that it was here on “The Howdy Doody Show” at about age 6 that I made my television debut as a member of the Peanut Gallery. I still get chills. So much of my life was inrevocably STAMPED by destiny that day. My little brother John was on the show, too.

And downstairs, in a Schraft’s that is no longer there, after the show, my beloved British grandmother, who lived with us, remonstrated me for trying to eat peas with a knife. I couldn’t very well manage it. They kept falling off! And we could see the skaters skating by outside even then.
Schraft’s is gone, but the skaters go on skating. “The Howdy Doody Show” is gone, but Rockefeller Center remains almost completely unchanged. And I’m still in Show Business. For richer, for poorer (mostly poorer).

My parents did NOT want me to go in to Show Business, but what were they thinking putting me and John on “Howdy Doody” at such an impressionable age. I was in kindergarten and he, a year younger than me, was not even in school yet.

And as I accidentally emerged (I was still looking for the subway), I ran smack-dab into the giant Christmas Tree and all its’ scaffolding. Announcing to all that the holiday season had already begun in New York. The stores were all decked out with their Christmas displays everywhere you looked. And I hadn’t dressed warmly enough.

Just wandering around underground in Rockefeller Center is like time traveling. A New York landmark, encased in the same golden marble it was when I was on “Howdy Doody.”

Did I ever find that elusive subway? No. Since I was above ground and a bus immediately came, I took the bus. Native New Yorkers like myself know you have to KEEP MOVING.

 

 

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 Blizzard of 2010, Scary stuff on the Great WHITE Way!

And how did I a native New Yorker cope? Well, as you all know, who’ve read the previous post I went to see a Broadway show! “Lombardi” and amazingly the audience turned up, all Football fans, seemingly, as I described previously, and also amazingly the stars turned up too!

All the lights were ON on Broadway last night and today now that the heaviest snowfall I’ve ever been trapped in is over, the shows that are scheduled for Monday night performances will all go on as planned. All the stars must live within walking distance is all I can say.

It was snowing so heavily and the wind was so high I was literally blown down into the subway when I was first attempting to go out to see “Lombardi” last night. I staggered up to the nearest bus stop with a scarf wrapped around my head, but there was NO BUS or any traffic at all for that matter in sight, so I continued staggering this way and that, nearly being blown down by the gale force wind, and into the nice warm subway.

I have never felt the subways were so welcoming IN MY LIFE. But first I had to negotiate the snow-ladden steps.

There was a subway worker below me,  shoveling the steps like crazy, but this particular station had three flights going down. I guess most do now that I am counting subway flights and I could see the two lower flights, enclosed as they were by the subway station itself, were pretty clear.

I was going so slowly taking only one step at a time that a man offered to help me.  And he said, “Do you need help getting down, sir?”

I was astonished that I looked so shaky that I needed help, but also was surprised that he said “Sir” and not “Ma’am” as that’s what I usually get when I’m all bundled up and with a scarf wrapped around my head!

The subway came right away and it was pleasantly, if not almost tropically warm. It was jammed though and I couldn’t get a seat. People must have been waiting a long time for this one. But since it came almost right away, I didn’t mind.

Getting off, getting out and getting UP the subway steps was much easier and faster and now I could see above me that the storm had increased ferociously even though I had been underground for a very short time.

I left the house at 6pm for a 7pm curtain and boy, was I glad I did! Since the subway had come so quickly, I got there in a very timely fashion. It was hell crossing the street to the Circle in the Square theater and I wondered if indeed there was going to be a performance that night. I didn’t call ahead to check.

But the TV news shows said that all the shows on Broadway were open tonight, so I assumed “Lombardi” was, too.

And indeed it was. The lobby was not exactly packed, but it was quite full and I managed to find a seat on a lobby radiator to sit down on before the house opened. It seemed like everyone who had bought  a ticket before this monster storm happened had indeed turned up.

Then once ensconced inside, it was all business as usual, except for the rather stunned, credulous expressions on most audience members’ faces. Like they were as surprised as I was that we had all gotten out in a BLIZZARD to see a Broadway show! But we did!

And the show did go on with the entire star-studded cast intact and performing their hearts out!

See previous post~

Ah! The delights and dangers of being a dedicated New York theater-goer! Ah, Broadway! Ah, Wilderness!

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