Sunday, June 12, 2011

One Summer Daze in the Big Apple

It is not officially summer, but the weather gods don’t know that, or just don’t care. Record-breaking heat on the East coast has my flowers wilting and early veggies sagging in the hot sun. Some of us procrastinators tear through closets and bins in search of summer gear.
On a day New York City is supposed to break 100, I leave my beach town bungalow for the steamy streets of Manhattan. The date was arranged weeks ago and could not be changed.
Arriving in Port Authority bus terminal, I slowly made my way to the street and a slow trek downtown to Greenwich Village. Before leaving the terminal I detoured to the ladies room. Do you have any idea how difficult it can be to find an accessible rest room on the streets of Manhattan!? One tip I have learned is that rest rooms are on the upper floors of department stores.  
I walked over to Broadway, staying on the shady side of the street, then Fifth Avenue. I wandered into some interesting-looking stores, including two vintage clothing shops. I just had to keep reminding myself – I am in the big city. Don’t look too shocked at the prices. I passed the Museum of Sex. There was no way I was going in alone; this was a place to be experienced with a couple of girlfriends. (For anyone interested, it is at the corner of 27th and Fifth Avenue.)
I arrived in the Village, hot and tired, a couple of hours after leaving the bus terminal. I found an air-conditioned café, cooled off, then meandered through streets populated with unusual boutiques, cafes, wine bars, ethnic eateries, tattoo parlors and a variety of other funky shops. I love being a tourist in the big city!
I was meeting a friend; a children’s author and playwright. A new play of hers was being previewed following a one week workshop at NYU. I came to New York to see a rehearsal; I was unable to get to the city for the official opening production.
My friend and I had an early dinner and headed over to the theater. As a newbie writer I am interested in all of the behind-the-scenes goings-on of a stage production….the original play-on-paper never before subjected to the spoken word; actors attempting to interpret the words for the first time; the playwright rewriting all night; the Director overseeing the production and the stage crew figuring out what to do. Then it miraculously all comes together (although sometimes it doesn’t) as the lights dim and the curtain rises.
The play, Walking Toward America, by Sandy Asher, is a poignant tale based on the true story of a girl’s journey with her family from Latvia across Eastern Europe during World War II. The story begins as a happy four year old chatters about a family holiday get-together and moves on to the threat of the Russian army moving into Latvia and the family moving out. The girl’s father, a soldier in the Latvian army, refuses to join the Russian or the German army. The family survives years of war and refugee camps; the little girl of four at the beginning of the play is 17 when her family finally arrives in America. The woman, members of her family and friends are all descending on New York this weekend to see the play. I believe they will enjoy it immensely. Good luck on the premier of your play, Sandy (or should I say break a leg…).

1 comment:

  1. I would never have made it in the heat. Sounds like a fun day, though.