Live From New York!

Okay, you got me.

It is not exactly live, an inherent disadvantage to the written word.  And this is not a full Saturday Night Live skit or tribute.

But it is lively.

As in I’ll be sharing my amazing and lively first ever journey to the Big Apple.  Or as I see the great city of New York as the Confluence of Humanity.  So many humans from so many unique walks of life all walking around the same place at the same time.

And I’m no rookie here on the planet. I’ve been around the proverbial block a few times. Six years in the Corps, five decades of vacations, moving to different states  and a love of languages, I have seen and heard a few things, but nothing like New York City.

For my wife and I, the city was merely a compilation of a lifetime of movies and television.  The setting for a giant slice of Americana.  Law and Order, Sex and City, The Odd Couple, to mention a few and the movies, so many movies I could be Serpico on patrol or even King Kong around the Empire State Building.  So for us, we were walking on stage.  It does get a little weird when you recall fictional body count scenes walking around Central Park on an otherwise gorgeous Sunday morning.

I knew Times Square gets crazy crowded for New Year’s Eve, because we saw it on TV.  However, I didn’t know the crazy crowd was year round.  The sidewalks and cross streets are not big enough to hold all the humanity and the crush of it in a few spots would be surreal if I wasn’t stuck with everyone else hoping the walk signal pops on to free us all from the moment.

The United Nations is just a building, the real deal United Nations are all the people from all over the planet in one American city.  The concept of the great melting pot is tricky, it doesn’t always work, but when it does, it happens in this city.  An imperfect place to be sure, but the perfect place to find out who you are.

One can’t help out every person in need there, but a few can be helped and it is great to see the moment I don’t have a dollar to give the very troubled man on the subway, a nice lady across from us does.  No one has to be nice, there are no rules about kindness, so it is always a good thing to witness.  As the argument in an episode of Friends it is tough to have a completely selfless act.  However, feeling good helping others works for me anyway, even if it doesn’t hit the selfless mark.

With kindness there is also the rude or jaded factor, but that happens any place you pack a pile of humans into tight spaces.  I love the diversity.  I love trying to figure out which language or accent I’m hearing.  I love the attitude.  One full day walking around the city, it kind of rubs off on you.  And not the John Travolta bee-bopping Saturday Night Fever style attitude either.  I’m talking Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy, “I’m walkin’ here!” attitude.

The chest puffs up, shoulders out, owning your space a little bit, and more of a stride as cars try to turn into the area where people are crossing the street.  It just starts to happen, when in Rome, ya’ know?

We caught a musical, and a fun place to start was The Book of Mormon.  A fantastic play that was flawlessly performed and all the hype I had heard was absolutely correct.  I could see it again tomorrow.

Of course, we just missed out on a chance to see David Letterman.  The Ed Sullivan theatre is a block and half from where we stayed, but Dave retired a few weeks back.  The first day we were there, all the Letterman signs were still up on the building, but the next day they were gone.  So, for a couple of kids raised on television, and with New York as key backdrop, it was a slightly melancholy moment.

And the season was over for Saturday Night Live, so no chance to heard those famous words that title today’s blog. It wasn’t live, but it sure was lively around there. We did walk by “30 Rock” and Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall and a few dozen other buildings we had heard of or watched on two dimensional screens.

We did a couple tourist type things, but couldn’t hit a fraction of the available activities in the three plus days we had to explore.  Instead of trying to cram all the sights in, I was at peace with it, since I know I’m coming back.  I don’t know how or when, but I do know this:  The city that never sleeps is bigger in real life than any kind of back drop for Broadway or Hollywood.

Restaurants, Irish pubs and knock-off handbag carts for as far as the eye can see in Manhattan. A glimpse was had, and it was not enough. Besides, we bought enough hip-hop sample CD’s off the street, we could instantly get into the music production biz.

I want another bite at the Big Apple and hopefully soon.