Wednesday, March 25, 2015
A few years ago I blogged about my love for the romantic world of late night NYC. Since this is the one of the most exciting and romantic of cities, the allure of nighttime NYC takes on an especially sexy sheen. Nighttime NYC is a place of bright lights and dark streets, of people working to keep the city going while others are out there partying, of friends and lovers coming together, of crime, of craziness, of ... endless possibilities. All of us who were young (or old) in NYC have our special memories of this city at night.
That's why New York magazine now has a whole special section called After Midnight where various notable New Yorkers write about their memories and impressions of New York at night. This electronic "scrapbook" is interspersed with stories about NYC at night back in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when things just as shocking (if not more so) when down in the nighttime environs of NYC.
I had many late nights in NYC back in my pre-child years. This included outings with various friends and significant others, most recently my wife. Back in 1994, I remember leaving a party at 4 AM in the Village and we walked up towards midtown, watching the city wake up (this was the same day, as it turned out, that OJ Simpson would go for "the ride of his life" out in LA). I remember all those nights in the early 2000s when, hopelessly single, my friends and I would go out to bars and, eventually, to places like Veselka and Caffe Dante for dessert. And, naturally, the many late nights with the special lady who would become my wife.
One night, back in 2008 (after this blog was created!) stands out. My wife/then girlfriend and I had gone to the They Might Be Giants concert at the Beacon Theater on the Upper West Side. I had mentioned this in passing to my brother who indicated that he and his girlfriend were also planning to go to the same concert. Afterwards, the four of us repaired to Big Nicks Pizza Joint for late night snack and there, for the first time, the now-wife and I got to the know the person who would become my sister-in-law (and mother to my niece and nephew). It was a lovely night and, in retrospect, a transitional moment in all of our lives.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
If you love NYC as well as the comedy stylings of the great Tina Fey, you MUST watch the brilliant new Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It's funny, sweet, thoughtful, and a great new NYC show! And no, I'm not being paid to plug this (although I wouldn't mind if I was ...).
Thursday, February 12, 2015
At 12:01 AM today New York City achieved a new milestone -- ten days without a single murder. Ten days ... and no one was intentionally killed. That's amazing. Historic.
Congratulations to the people of NYC for not killing each other. And congratulations to Mayor De Blasio for keeping our city safe.
Of course, I'm sure that Republicans, the NYC tabloid press, and other assorted haters are seriously depressed. After all, when De Blasio was elected they were shouting that NYC would soon spiral into a cauldron of murder and mayhem, a pit of hell of death. Instead ... crime has never been lower. And now this.
Sorry GOP and De Blasio haters -- your worst fears are being realized. De Blasio is a good, competent mayor and the city is safer than never. You lose. And everyone else wins.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Ten years ago one of the most fascinating art exhibits in NYC history debuted in Central Park. It was called simply the Gates. Created by the eccentric artists Christo and Jean-Claud, at over twenty-five years in the making, the Gates unfurled for the public on February 12th, 2005.
The Gates was a massive sprawl of Japanese inspired "torrii gates", made out of saffron-colored nylon fabric, which covered the entire expanse of Central Park from 59th to 110th Streets. (Torrii gates appear at Japanese Shinto shrines and are symbolic portals between the physical and spirit worlds). For the last two weeks of February 2005, this public art exhibit transformed Central Park, pulled in over 4 million visitors, and generated over $250 million in revenue for NYC. It made the Central Park of our loving collective conscience into something different, something exquisite -- like looking at your child dressed up in a beautiful custom.
It was an amazing sight to behold.
Walking through the Gates, as I did one chilly Sunday afternoon with my mother, was a wonderful experience. Having walked through Central Park many times in my life (and many times with my mom), strolling through the Gates with her felt like we were walking in the park again for the first time. And, of course, we were not alone -- many other people were also milling around us, amazed by the splendor of the exhibit. And that's what was so incredible about the Gates -- it made you look at something you had seen before many times but differently, it created a unique experience, and it brought you closer to the people you were sharing the experience with. It was very special.
And then ... it was gone ...
Obviously, the Gates was meant to be temporary. By the end of February 2005, they had vanished, never to return. And that was part of the experience of the Gates: its very nature was ephemeral. It wasn't meant to last. The Gates was meant to be an experience, a moment in time to remembered and cherished. And now, ten years later, it still is.
P.S. There was a live blog of the Gates back in 2005 that is still, thankfully, available to peruse. It's a wonderful real time like at this amazing, once in a lifetime exhibit.
P.S.S. The pictures of the Gates that you see here were taken by a family member of mine back in 2005 and are exclusive for Mr NYC readers.