I think that I'm a New Yorker at heart.
Bold statement, I know. Because I've always been very proud to be a Texan. And I've been living in Los Angeles for more than 20 years. But I really should have been a New Yorker. The Big Apple. Gotham. It's my happy place. I step onto the sidewalk and my heart lightens. I love the smell and the pulse and the excitement and the energy.
When I was a girl, my daddy's brother, Uncle Francis, lived there. 210 W. 70th St., Apt. 312, New York, New York, 10023. I still remember his address. Uncle Francis was an old bachelor (which means gay, but nobody in the family ever mentioned it), who was a musician and opera singer, who taught voice from his apartment. Uncle Francis would come to visit us every year, and bring me presents from the big city - special candies that came in a little metal tin, fancy lavender "toilette water", Twinings tea which was only available in the US at the time in tea shops in New York. It was all so...sophisticated and special.
Later, my best friend Kaysie's sister, Helen, moved to NYC, and we loved to sit and listen to her regale us with tales of the city - theater, ballet, museums, literature - it was everything I wanted in my life.
Alas, I never moved there. Why? Hmmm. I guess fear. And fate. When my friends and I left the University of Texas theater department, everybody had an option of where to go, New York or Los Angeles. Or some place for grad school. I chose...Dallas. Huh? In retrospect this baffles me. My thought was that I would model and get some acting work on my resume before moving to a bigger pond. Which worked for me really, I had a decent resume under my belt before moving to LA. And I'm probably more of a film/television actress than a theater actress. But I think a big reason I stayed so close to home is that Daddy was getting so old, and I wanted to be nearby if he got sick.
But I often think about what my life would have been like if I'd moved straight to New York. Found an apartment and a waitressing job. I could have modeled there. Pounded the pavement instead of driving the freeways.
I am very lucky that I am now able to visit New York every year, even if the majority of my time is spent on Long Island with the in-laws. I'm even more fortunate to have Aunt Grace's apartment to stay in while there - it's like having a free luxury hotel at your fingertips.
This visit, I've managed to get into "The City" (as the in-laws call it) twice. Jimmy hasn't been able to make the train trip because he's still weak from his hospital stay.
My old friend from college, Kevin Adams, is a brilliant lighting designer, who just won his THIRD Tony Award for designing Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which is currently on Broadway. Because Kevin is incredibly kind and cool, he got me his house seats for the show just two nights before the end of Neal Patrick Harris's run in the show (Andrew Rannells from The Book of Mormon and tvs Girls is taking over the role). My s-i-l Niki came with me, and we had an amazing time! The seats were PHENOMENAL - dead center, about 8 rows back. And NPH absolutely blew me away!
Then, Jude and I made our way into the city again this week, to meet up with my old college friends and have some fun. My college roommate, Lannyl, and her family live on the Upper West Side, and Jude loves hanging out with her teenage kids, who are older and cooler than he is.
We spent the afternoon strolling Central Park, and Jude finally got to visit Strawberry Fields, the area of Central Park dedicated to the memory of John Lennon...
...then Lannyl drove us up to the far north end of Manhattan for her daughter's rowing club practice. Amazingly, Lannyl (and this is SO Texan of her) drives an SUV around Manhattan. You have to understand that virtually nobody DRIVES in Manhattan, it's all public transport. But Lannyl has made it an artform, and drives her two kids around to all their activities every day.
Then, that night, we left Jude with the teenagers to eat NY Chinese takeout and play a Game of Thrones board game (Jude was in hog heaven), and we headed out to meet other old friends from college at THE COOLEST RESTAURANT I'VE EVER BEEN TO IN MY LIFE. Seriously. It was the restaurant/bar at the top of The Standard Hotel down in the Meatpacking District, fittingly called The Top of the Standard. The incredibly gorgeous and well-dressed hostess seated us, and we both just sat there with our mouths open, stunned by the view...
The place had a leather banquettes arranged stadium seating style, so every table area had this view, along with a jazz band that played Gershwin and Cole Porter, and de-lish cocktails. The place was the epitome of New York sophistication and style. I was just so happy. Why can't life be like this all the time? Okay, it cost a hell of a lot, but still...
But the best part of the place? The freaking bathrooms. Crazy. I asked the hostess where the bathroom was, and she pointed down a dark, candlelit hallway. I wandered along until I came to a series of doors. When I opened a door, I walked into a dark, candlelit bathroom and was greeted by this view...
The entire wall of the bathroom was glass! I'm assuming that it was so incredibly dark in there so you weren't giving all of Manhattan a peep show!
The next morning, Jude and I took the subway back up to the Boathouse in Central Park and rented a rowboat...
As I was leaning back, allowing my kid to row me around this beautiful place, I suddenly thought "I am happy." Which doesn't happen for me that often. I mean, I guess I'm generally a happy person, but I don't usually think "Wow. At this moment, I am really happy." But I was.
Will I ever get the opportunity to live in New York? I doubt it. How would we do that? Move across the country? Dislodge Jude from his friends?
Maybe when I'm old and gray, and Jude has gone off the college, Jimmy and I will make the move. I could become one of those terribly chic old ladies with a gray, bobbed haircut, and large black or red eyeglasses, who has season tickets to the opera and the ballet and has tea at The Plaza and lunch at The Russian Tearoom. And I can send my grandchildren fancy candies in little metal tins and lavender toilette water. Anybody want to come visit me? We can take in the Metropolitan Museum and have a martini at their rooftop martini bar. Who's in?
PLEASE make our other Happiness Spinners happy by paying them a visit!
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