My First Two Days in New York City!

My first couple of days in "The Big Apple!!!" (PS: nobody here calls it that, says the person who's lived here for a total of four days and has in no way earned the right to be bitchy about the phrase "The BIG APPLE!!!) were a whirlwind of activity and adjustment.

I went straight from the airport to Queens, where I stayed with my friend Leslie and her husband (also my friend) Paul for the first couple of days.  Leslie is 1 part Tinkerbell, 1 part Gracie Allen (look her up), 1 part Robin Williams.  Times with her are whimsical and carefree, and if you aren't careful--- highly caloric.  I indulged in a couple things, but said "no" to a few others, so I ended up somewhere in the middle.  And what, with all this New York walking...

Some of the things we did:

  • Juniors.   It's a deli with locations in Times Square and Brooklyn.  It's famous for it's cheesecake, and has DIVOONDEBAR potato pancakes.  My gawd.  A little sour cream, a little apple sauce...heaven! I've now been there four times, and should start branching out.  But what can I say?  I find something that works and I stick with it.  I had a cup of the matzoh ball soup, some pickles, and a Diet Coke, in case you wondered
  • We went to the Actor's Equity Office and I got my Equity Card, which was a major step, and if you are in New York and want to audition for the good stuff, it is a must.  It's usually easier to get outside of NYC, so if you are a performer heading here, I would recommend making that a goal before you get here.  I got the card on first arrival because I had discovered two weeks ago that "Joe Hartman" was currently up for grabs as an Equity name, and for constancy sake, I wanted my SAG and Equity name to remain the same.
  • We saw Iris, which I'd been dying to see.  It's the final film of Albert Maysles, part of the team that brought you the gay classic Grey Gardens.  His most recent doc features Iris Apfel, an "octogenarian starlet" who rose to fame in about the past ten years for her massive collection of jewels and fashions, and for her ingenious and audacious ways of displaying them.  She's a beacon for any young artist or individual today, as well as those who may have thought they'd aged out of...well, anything.

Of course, the audience at 2pm on a Thursday was mostly an older crowd, and a reminder that many times in New York, the audience is as entertaining as the film.  Right before it started a gentleman took a phone call (on speaker phone no less) in which he discusses the US Open with some unsuspecting soul for about 6 or seven minutes, blatantly ignoring all the people around him who were "not having it".  They sighed audibly, shouting "turn off your phone!" and such, as I tried to hide my delight.  Quick Quiz!!:  Do you think this man ended the call when the previews started?  Answer:  Hell no!  He kept right on going.  Finally the manager of the theatre came rushing in, arms waving, and gave him the stink eye.  The older gent casually finished his call and apologized. 

Cut to after the film.  An older man in the first couple of rows had fallen asleep, and we gently woke him.  It so startled him he gave  little shout, and his eyes momentarily increased three times in size.  He was thankful we'd awoken him, and so dear.  He just lit up talking about the film and how he'd loved it so much the first time he had to come back and see it again.

  •   We went to the dollar store for some remarkable savings...

  • We checked out The Museum of the Moving Image for "free" night, and saw the Mad Men exhibit.  It was wonderful!!  They have a recreation of the writers room, sets from the show that were moved and reassembled, and many costumes, as well as the inspiration boards that were created for each character using vintage images.   
  • We watched I Am Big Bird (about Sesame Street puppeteer Caroll Spinney) on streaming as we ate egg salad sandwiches.  It was another really inspiring piece about following your own dreams, in spite of what others might, and definitely will say.  

Needless to say, after that much excitement I was ready to have some relaxing me time, and the past couple of days have been devoted to adjusting to my new home for the next three weeks, unpacking, and arranging things to make them feel like mine.  I've also done a shit ton of walking, and naturally getting lost.  Not much, I haven't wandered for hours, but a walk that should normally take ten minutes might take me twenty, as I home in on my destination like a very uncoordinated bat, bumping around in the streets until I finally make it to where I intended to go.  After a week or two in New York I should develop some grade A legs, if God is at all sympathetic.