Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The town, it is a'changin'

It's only April, but it feels like some important things have already changed in NYC in 2013. 

And I'm not including my own circumstances, where yours truly and family moved into a new home.

Specifically, it feels like the cultural and political axis of this town has moved a few degrees

Two months ago former Mayor Ed Koch died, and I indicated then that the city would be a different place without him. It seems like his passing was a forerunner:  a number of things -- some notable, some subtle -- have happened in the last few weeks that shows how our city is constantly evolving. 

Let's start with politics. This past week, our city's political scene was rocked when a Democratic State Senator and a Republican City Councilman were arrested for -- ready for this? -- trying to rig the NYC mayoral race.

Truly. Weird.

Apparently the State Senator, Democrat Malcolm Smith, was trying to bribe GOP party bosses in the city to let him on the Republican party ballot for the 2013 Mayor's race. The go-between Smith and these GOP guys was City Councilman Dan Halloran, a Republican. Mr Halloran was willing to help Smith get on the line in exchange for several thousand dollars in bribes.  This plan was so ridiculous that it defies description -- first, that Smith would ever get on the GOP line ahead of Joe Lohata, second, that anyone in NYC would vote for Smith for mayor.  

A couple of years ago I blogged about Mr. Halloran and what an odd duck he is. Apparently I understated the case -- he's an odd criminal duck.  

Too bad Ed Koch is dead. I would like to know his opinion about this "conspiracy" to win his old job.

It's still very early but it looks like the 2013 mayor's race is gonna be one for the history books.

Moving on, our city's cultural life is particularly fascinating right now.

First, this past week, the late great Nora Ephron's last play premiered on Broadway. Called Lucky Man, it marks the debut of legendary actor Tom Hanks playing the legendary New York reporter Mike McClary. McClary was a police reporter who uncovered corruption in the NYPD in 1990s and won himself a Pulitzer Prize in the process (he died on Christmas Day, 1998). Needless to say, he had powerful enemies but in the years since he passed, our city has come to realize that we owe him a debt of gratitude. And, of course, he owe Nora Ephron a debt of gratitude for giving us movies like When Harry Met Sally ... and for being an original New York voice. 

This play is a tribute to a great reporter by a great writer both of whom did so much to make our city a better place. Their pens our now silent forever. They left us too soon.

And, sadly, someone else is leaving us -- the amazing Elaine Stritch. The singer/actress has decided that, at the age of 88, she wants to go live with her family so she's leaving town and going back to Michigan. As she said in a TV interview recently, she gave his city a good 71 years. Mr. Strich originated one of the roles in the musical company and she's appeared in countless movies, musicals, and TV shows -- most recently on 30 Rock and in "A Little Night Music" which I saw her in 2010 and blogged about here.

Goodbye Elaine. This city won't be the same without you. 

But not everything is sadness. Not everyone is leaving NYC. In fact, something very big is coming into town.

"From 30 Rock in midtown Manhattan, it's 'The Tonight Show' with Jimmy Fallon!"

Yes, that's right -- after over 40 years, NBC's "Tonight Show" is coming back to NYC with a new host -- the current host of "Late Night" Jimmy Fallon. The show is expected to move here with Mr. Fallon as host in 2014. This is, as Ed Sullivan might have said, really big. After more than 20 years, Jay Leno is out as host and a new generation is taking over TV most legendary talk show. Most important of all, by bringing it to NYC, the "Tonight Show" is rediscovered its roots -- and once again showing that NYC is the cultural capital of America.

So the city is changing -- our politics are getting screwy, some legends are leaving us, and an old legend is coming back. 

Rapidly fadin'

And the first one now

Will later be last

For this town is a'changin'

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