Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Day in New York

It was kinda like it was when I first got here, but at least it wasn't very cold.

I really don't think I did this kind of thing before I got to Hoboken, but it has happened so often since I arrived in December 2007 that I'm beginning to wonder if early senility has set in. Confused and without a cell phone, I wondered if I was in the wrong place or the wrong time, wasn't sure I could find the place I was going or if the person I was supposed to meet was going to get there.

I was to meet John at the Hoboken PATH station at 11 Thursday. From there we would go together to Lincoln Center to see a movie at the Jewish Film Festival. We had made all the arrangements on Facebook, even down to his explicit instructions about the quickest way to get to Lincoln Center (get off the PATH at 33rd and walk to 7th Ave. to the IRT and take the uptown train). I walked briskly and timed myself--it took exactly 20 minutes to get to the PATH station from my house, and I arrived ten minutes early. It was when I got there that I realized I had left my cell phone at home.

Okay, I was a little mad at myself. I had charged the phone and it was sitting on the granite kitchen counter, waiting for me to pick it up, but once again I had left it behind. I don't have a whole lot of need for a cell phone, but this kind of a day was when I knew very well having one along could avert potential disaster. I had given John the number, and it would be very helpful if he could reach me to tell me when he was getting near the PATH station. I waited for 20 minutes, 30, and began thinking, "What if we said 11:30 instead of 11 as I remembered?" I decided to wait until 11:35 and then go get on a train which would be about ten more minutes before leaving. I could find my way to Lincoln Center using John's instructions, and catch him there--or maybe he would find me on the train.

I didn't see him on the train. I went to Lincoln Center, which is quite transformed since I last was there about 20 years ago. I found the theater where the Jewish Film Festival was being held, but no John. He had set the whole excursion early to allow plenty of time to get into the theater in time to get a decent seat. I knew he had already paid for two tickets online and wondered if he'd gotten there early to get seats. I waited. When it got to be about ten minutes before show time, and dozens of little Jewish people had come in couples and groups to file into the theater, I realized I probably had missed John somewhere along the way. I kept thinking if-I-were-him-looking-for-me what would I do and always came to the conclusion that I would give up on me and just get my ass to the theater. But no John. So I went through the worst-case-scenario scene and decided that we had simply missed each other, damn myself anyway for not bringing my cell phone--and there were a lot of movies in Manhattan I'd just as soon see. I had time to find one. I started in that direction when I found John heading toward the theater! He told me that he had actually said to meet him at 11:30 and when he saw he was going to be ten minutes late he called my cell phone to let me know.

The upshot was we got into the theater in time to get good seats, and yes, the Walter Reade did fill up. We saw a fascinating antique called The Bar Mitzvah, which was charming in it corniness, and afforded us the opportunity to learn a little about immigrant Jewish life in the early 20th Century and see a performance by the legendary Boris Thomashevsky and his wife, actress Bessie Thomashevski, having a great time, singing, emoting, and generally chewing the scenery in classical style. There was an introduction, some comments by the grandson of the couple (the eminent conductor Michael Tilson Thomas) and a question and answer period after the movie.

John and I had a cup of coffee and a nice long chat after the show and went our separate ways. I picked up a bottle of wine at Sparrow's on Washington Street on my way home. By the end of the day I felt quite good about knowing my way around New York so well; I had learned some more about my Jewish friends, and certainly John knew a little more about me. I also came one step closer to learning to bring my cell phone with me on my travels. There were five messages from John when I checked it.

1 comment:

Steve said...

It is hard to imagine the time before cell phones... but it was not that long ago. No better place for an adventure than NY either, just glad it turned out so well. I also forget my cell at the most inopportune times :)