Thursday, December 07, 2006

‘We’ll have Manhattan…

…the Bronx and Staten Island too’. A few hours in NYC and you get song fatigue: almost every street and building strikes a chord. All the great songsters lived there: ‘Every street’s a boulevard in old New York’; ‘…you'll love the people you meet/ on Mulberry Street’; ‘…on the avenue I’m taking you to, Forty-second Street’; ‘…what street/ compares with Mott Street?’. The Waldorf, where Cole Porter’s Steinway stands in the lobby as if waiting, the Algonquin, where ‘April in Paris’ was written – and so on.

Calling Big Apple Greeters sounds a pretty naff thing to do, especially if you claim to know the town, but what better way for people to get to know a neighbourhood – sorry, neighborhood (why do they remove the ‘u’ for simplicity but leave the ‘neigh’?) – than to have natives introduce visitors to their own nayborhoods? It’s a simple but great idea.

Eileen is the ultimate New Yorker - a local of Greenwich Village, and an enthusiast.
It was cold – but not cold enough to deter the Washington Square chessnuts.

We could have seen The Producers 25 miles from here, in London, but somehow NYC seemed more appropriate. Terrific production: great songs, (Brooks once said his poetic inspiration was W. S. Gilbert , of Gilbert and Sullivan, and it shows) and script, played – or overplayed – to perfection. Even the old lines – the camp Carmen Ghia doing the ‘Walk this Way’ joke – get laughs.

We’ll be back when it warms up a bit, ‘though we wouldn’t like to have missed all the Christmas stuff – even pushed my way through the mob to snap Macy’s windows:

Tesco latest: I didn’t have time to send that indignant letter to Mr T. before we left – which is just as well. Two messages on the answerphone: one asking if I would re-enter the order and one saying please ignore the previous call. But then a man called Stuart rang from Dundee. I didn’t even mind being dragged from jet-lagged torpor because he apologised for the problems and said that if I cared to re-enter the order, they would deduct 25% from the cost, plus a further goodwill deduction. (I know I should have pointed out that the Gigondas that was £34 a case when I ordered it is now £54, but I was overcome with gratitude.) How did he know? Did he read my bog?
Who knows - anyway, the booze will be delivered after all and if you come by you’re sure to find a wee drop of bubbly (cooking, of course). And stuff Calais.


Ed R said...

I's too bad you cant' make a showing of 'Spamalot' while you're there. I wonder if Abby O'Brian is still dancing in it?

riviera writer said...

Hi Ed. We tried 'Spamalot' first but it was sold out. Maybe next time - or in London. Cheaper but less fun.