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2003-11-02 @ 9:52 p.m.
manhattan memories

One year ago this weekend I was in New York City. I was only reminded of that fact when I happened to see old Puff Daddy puffing his ass off across the NYC Marathon finish line on the news tonight.

I had gone down with Married Guy and his wife. His brother was running in the marathon and he was going to cheer him on and give him a massage to help get him in shape. He also joined him for part of the run.

I had timidly asked if I could maybe sit in the trunk with the luggage or something to get a free ride to NYC. I, of course, got berated for my low self esteem, and he said, of course, I could come with them to New York City.

I then had part two of my trip dilemma. Asking my gay friend in New York if I could come visit him. I mean I knew the answer was pretty much an unqualified yes, but he had just opened in a show on Broadway (he's a stage manager) and had an oppressively busy schedule. And it was the weekend, which is jam packed with both evening and afternoon shows. So I wrote him an e-mail and got the ok, with the warning that I would probably be alone most of the weekend.

Well, that's ok. At least I would get to see him a little bit. I had seen him the summer before in Buffalo when he had been touring with a show, and we had had a total blast. We had gone on the Maid of the Mist under Niagara Falls. We were on a boat full on Japanese tourist. He's about 6'3", all the tourists were about 5' and we could not stop laughing about that. I think I inhaled half of the Niagara River that day.

So I went to NYC. Spent the night at Married Guy's sister's house in the suburbs because we got there so late, and I didn't want to go on the ferry at 1 a.m. I also hadn't been to New York City since the World's Fair in 1964 at age 6, so I had forgotten how the use the subway system. Silly me.

So the next morning, it was off to the ferry to visit my friend. It was a brilliant autumn morning. Sunny. Brisk. I felt strangely inspired to sing "Don't Rain on My Parade" as we headed towards Manahattan. Having not been to NYC since 1964, I managed to miss the Twin Towers in between which I was sad about, but I did see the exit when I got on the subway.

The subway was scary though. Not in crack-cocaine, drug-shootout scary, its just that I don't like being enclosed. Everytime I read about people being stuck in elevators or crushed in buildings but later being rescued I nearly go into panic attacks. But I knew my sweetie was at the other end of this big cylindrical tube, so I just held my breath for 150 blocks and popped out on the Upper East Side and walked several blocks to the waiting arms of G.

We had a quick lunch. I got to see his lovely 15th floor apartment, his boyfriend R, a theatre producer, who was just recovering from surgery, and SURPRISE! Another trip on the subway. Back downtown. My dear friend and his boyfriend had gotten me not one but TWO Broadway tickets for the day. Talk about sensory overload. A usual big day for me is walking up and down the aisles at the Dollar store and then going to the food pantry for a can of creamed corn.

So back on the subway, which wasn't quite as bad when you have a friend to hold onto. And then we got spit out at Time Square. Now I haven't been to Time Square since 1964, which was just a few days after the light bulb was invented I think. That place was INCREDIBLE. That was truly sensory overload in every sense of the word. Because at street level you are shoulder to shoulder with a sea of humanity, and then when you tilt your head upwards, every building you look at is either a movie or theater billboard, some kind of video screen or some mega light bulb extravaganza. I've never seen anything like it before. And the traffic. And the cops on horses. And the noise. Its very intoxicating.

So my friend, after a few errands, and after showing me which theatre he worked at, gave me directions to where I had to go, and I walked down several blocks, and turned into the theatre where HAIRSPRAY was playing.

Not really keeping up with Broadway these days, except with what my friend tells me in passing and gossip, I had no idea what HAIRSPRAY was. I had seen the John Waters movie with Divine of course, but had no idea, that I had 3rd row seats in one of the hottest shows on Broadway. And here I was with my First Show on Broadway (note initial caps, denoting extreme importance). And it was the hottest one. How cool was that?? I absolutely loved the show. Harvey Fierstein was hilarious. The music was infection, the costumes bright and cheery, and I had to just keep pinching myself to say, hey I'm watching a Broadway show in a Broadway Theatre (since, I am, after a total Broadway geek without the benefit of ever having SEEN a Broadway show on Broadway before) and Loving It!!

I walked out of the theatre and my friend was already there waiting. (His show was shorter). We went to the stage door. He's friends with someone in the cast. I got my picture taken with him. I also got Harvey Fierstein's autograph and got to hear old rumble throat in person. He's extremely nice...a kind of teddy bear Yentyl.

And then it was back to G.'s apartment (another subway ride). Changing of clothes. (another subway ride). Back downtown. A quick pre-theatre dinner at a diner Neil Simon used to frequent. And then onto show two. Movin' Out, Billy Joel's show about friends during the Vietnam war. It was everything my friend had promised. Touching, powerful, thought-provoking. I was just blown away at how such a slender storyline could be maintained without words. Oh but what movement! It was awesome.

I felt blessed getting to see the polar opposites of what Broadway had to offer in the same day. What a treat! After the play we went to a theatrical restaurant called Joe Allen's. Trendy a'la mode. I have to tell you. Gay men certainly know how to treat women. I felt like a freakin' princess. The bill came to like $62. He left a $30 tip. Whee! Groceries for two weeks for Welfare Girl.

We then hopped a cab and he took me out to a nice neighborhood overlooking the Queensboro Bridge. We were walking and walking. It was around midnight. Finally G. said, "Ah ha, here it is." It was like this little indented park in-between some nice buildings. It backed up to the river. It was dark, but looked really familiar. Then I realized where I was. It was the spot where Woody Allen tell Diane Keaton he loves her in "Annie Hall". I nearly melted. I loved that movie. And if G. wasn't gay I probably would have kissed his tonsils. I thought that was incredibly romantic to bring me there.

We then walked about 100 blocks back through Manhattan. I was really tired and achy with my fibromaylgia, but we did walk back through some wonderful areas. Got to see the United Nations building. The Plaza Hotel. We walked along Central Park for quite a ways and got to see some nice townhouses. G. showed me where he wanted to live someday. I told him I hoped he invited me down again if he did. We did finally catch a cab when we were nearly home.

When we got home I got this really bad case of the giggles. I guess I was really tired. I told him about my foray into high society earlier in the evening. I had been at his theatre and had been down in the bathroom. I was washing my hands in this fancy theatre bathroom with the cream of New York society looking on when suddenly I felt this soft feathery thing touching my ankle. I was like...what the hell? It felt like my cat or something. I touched the waistband of my skirt. Yeah, it was still there, and then I briefly glanced down, and down around my ankle was my black lacy half slip. It had fallen off me and was bunched up at my feet in front of the hoity toity gold-encrusted sink at this fancy New York theatre.

Oh shit

So without looking down, I quickly took one quick step back, and kicked it the hell under the sink, and walked out of the bathroom so fast, that nobody could have ever later identified me in a criminal lineup. G. and I laughed for a good 10 minutes on that one.

I told him "Don't tell R (his boyfriend) about this!" So the next morning, first thing...What do you think? We're eating our bagals..."Hey, tell him what you left at the theatre last night!!"

I naturally had to throw the cream cheese lid at him, but I really didn't mind because it was funny. I did feel bad for R though, because he had just had surgery and had stitches and it hurt to laugh, which he did. I did feel a little like a geek, but what else is new? It was funny.

So my final day in NYC was somewhat less eventful. I spent the morning with G. We walked around alot. He took me to Carnegie Hall. And the Dakota building where John Lennon got shot. We got interviewed by a Japanese television crew on the street. They asked G. what his favorite sport was. G. HAS no favorite sport (you know, the gay thing), so he said, ping pong. The female Japanese reporter just looked at him blankly and then they backed away. We walked about a block and then I turned and looked at him and said, "Ping pong?" And then we both burst out laughing and could not stop for about 10 minutes. We decided, in fact, it was a toss up, between ping pong and midget tossing.

He then took me to the Museum of Television History (or something like that). He hangs out there a lot since he's a media buff. But he did have to leave me early afternoon to get to a matinee performance. He gave me strict instruction on how to get back to the subway. I was like "no problem". Had lunch across the street. Felt like I was in a Woody Allen movie. Saw lots of Woody "types" there. It was fun.

Then I started walking. Now you know I have the attention span of a gnat. I had seen Radio City Music Hall down about a block and thought COOL! Why don't I take a look! And then I saw NBC Studios and thought COOL, I want to see that! And then St. Patrick's Cathedral. COOL! I want to see that! And before I knew it, I was completely freakin' lost.

Now if you're lost in NYC, never, and I repeat, NEVER, ask a hot-dog vendor what direction to go. Why? Because I think they all point to the direction of the next hot-dog vendor down the know, their brother Ali Hakim.

It took me a good hour to get back to Time Square even though it was only a couple of blocks away. And then I couldn't find the right subway station. And then couldn't find which subway in which direction to go.

I was totally freaked out. It was only about 40 degrees out but I was dripping with sweat. I was bumping into people. I started asking cops where to go. They gave me conflicting stories. I even got into a subway car and asked "Does this go uptown" and everyone looked at me like I was talking Swahili.

I finally somehow managed to get on the right subway. I was also worried because Married Guy was supposed to pick me up at G's apartment at like 4 p.m. and it was like 3:40 and I still had to walk from the subway to the apartment. So I got there. It was about 4:05. No Married Guy. G's partner was up in the apartment. I used the phone to call M.G. Married Guy was still like an hour away. He was stuck in traffic from the NYC Marathon. I couldn't get mad at him since he was my transportation home, but I was miffed. Especially after I hung up and G's partner said, "Oh, if we had know you were free all day, we could have gotten you another Broadway TICKET!!!"


So I just ended up in G's den, flopped down on his blow up mattress and staring up at the ceiling. Here I was in one of the most exciting cities of the world, with an hour to kill, and all I could do was lay on a blow up mattress.

Married Guy did eventually get there. He asked about my weekend and I gave him the breathless details. I was truly excited about having such a great weekend. His reaction. "Oh that's nice" and basically he did not talk to me for the rest of the 6 hour ride home. Or for the next 2 weeks for that matter.

He was jealous. Or that was my humble opinion. Especially after my friend from NY sent me a goodie package after I got home which included chocolates, a CD from the show I had seen and a shoe, which I had accidently left behind. I had told Married Guy I felt like Cinderella. Leaving a shoe, and having Prince Charming return it. It was just a freakin' metaphor for God sakes, but Married Guy got very pushed out of shape and made some snide comment about G. being my boyfriend.

He's gay, snickwits.

It was actually one of the few times in my life I called him on something. He said it was just his sense of humor. And I was like...WHATEVER.

But nothing can change the awesome time I had in NYC one year ago today. Thanks G. You're my Broadway baby...forever!

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Lyrics by Lennon/McCartney. All angst copyright by awittykitty