Monday, July 17, 2006

New York, New York

A couple of weeks ago I returned from my very first visit to New York City. I think I had in my head this idea of what NYC was like, based on movies and TV shows. Oddly, they don't capture the city at all. Or at least, not in the way I experienced it. It's noisy and crowded and you can practically sink your teeth into the pungent air--a far cry from my hometown in Alabama--but it does have a certain gritty glamor you don'tfind in other big cities.

What an amazing place to peoplewatch. No wonder so many books, plays, TV shows and movies are filmed there; the storyline possibilities are endless. And I've never encountered so many people from so many different backgrounds anywhere before in my life. I like to think that I grew up around kids from more nationalities than you'd usually find in Alabama, because my hometown is host to NASA and tons of other government and military agencies and contractors that bring in a wide variety of rocket scientists, physicists and computer programmers (which naturally means that many are specialists from other countries) but I swear you can't walk down any street in New York without hearing a language other than English every couple of blocks. It was completely cool and made me wish more than ever that I was a polyglot.

We stayed in the theater district, just above Hell's Kitchen, which is another fascinating place. Because of the name (and the movies) I thought it would be scary and ghetto-like. But in reality, it isn't that scary and you'll find restaurants and shops from dozens of nationalities--Chinese, Greek, Afghan, Italian, Thai, and the list goes on...

My favorite part of the whole thing was walking around: walking down Broadway, through Times Square, walking through the way-cool Village (apparently nobody but out-of-towners calls it "Greenwich Village"), through Hell's Kitchen, the Upper East Side, Central Park...

And my husband and I saw our very first Broadway play! The revival of Sweeny Todd was literally the coolest thing I've ever seen on stage. It starred Patti LuPone, who was AMAZING. The tiny cast played all their own instruments--they were the cast and the orchestra, which you'd think would look stilted but actually was fascinating to watch. I'd recommend going to see it over something more traditional like Phantom of the Opera.

And the shopping! Not that I could buy anything from the beautiful Fifth Avenue shops, but it was heaven just browsing. But Chinatown--now that's more my price range. I'm now the proud owner of a very pink (and very fake) Balenciaga motorcycle bag.

I'll add more as it comes to me. Must get back to work and quit wasting time!

No comments: