Last Night in New York

The New York City skyline was overtaking the sun as I made my way across the Manhattan Bridge to Nancy’s place in Clinton Hill for dinner last night.

Full of wine and stories, the evening was wonderful. At one point after the polenta had been been consumed and we were digging into the wrapped chocolates Electra had placed in the center of the table, Nancy seemed to remember that she’d once made a living illustrating children’s books.

“Just to pay the rent,” she told us.

I asked to see some of her work and, ever the gracious hostess, she obliged.

We paged through the pictures she’d drawn fifty-something years ago as she explained what inspired some of her sketches and admitted to us how she hadn’t liked some of the books very much and how poorly the “gigs” all paid anyway. Her drawings were brilliant, of course, because she’s brilliant, an artist who’s dedicated a life to creating things that stir people up inside.

On our way back to the hotel I looked up one of her books—Did You Carry The Flag Today, Charley?—and bought it so I could tear out and frame a picture I’d seen earlier, because it reminds me of myself on a lot of days.

Singing! Dancing! Paper!

There exists in existence a live, unauthorized musical parody of The Office and last night B, Sid and I trekked uptown to The Jerry Orbach Theater to watch it and as of this moment I’m still unclear about what caused me more enjoyment, the show itself or the look of pure glee on Sid’s face during it.

Also, did I mention that B and Sid joined me in New York yesterday?

Oh.

Well, they did.

The Gilsey House

While it’s a nifty thing that I can see the top of the Empire State Building from the bed in my hotel room, the building below it in the photo above is actually pretty noteworthy in its own right. Today it’s an pricey 40-unit co-op called the Gilsey House but according to Google it opened its doors in 1872 as a 300-room hotel. Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde stayed there. Also, it was the first hotel in New York City to offer telephone use to its guests.

As I lie here attempting to fall asleep amid the noise and the haste of this great city, I can’t help but feel a bit tickled at the thought that some years ago writers whose words I admire very much may have been doing the same thing on the other side of one of those windows just across the street.