07 January 2010

New York State of Mind

Although I am a politically conservative fourth-generation Californian who got into a 3-against-1 fistfight in Times Square (me being the lone one trying to protect his then-wife's honor and rear from being groped any further), I still love New York City. Sure, it can be a real drag (especially in the summer), with folks chasing after (and inheriting) the wind on Wall St., causing international collapses of currencies, or others being too smarmy by-half ("I'm not a real eastern elitist intellectual, I just play one on TV"), with a stark and ever-present hegemony of liberal dems too large for one to sensibly shake a conservative stick at. Of course, L.A. can be a real drag, too, for lots of reasons.

But on a good day, when you're supposed to measure cities against their aspirational idealized selves, New York is awesome. We don't consider politics, instead we marvel at the architecture. We don't harbor sports team grudges, rather we hope-against-hope to hop into a NY City cab to have dinner at Gramercy Tavern only to discover ourselves, mirabile dictu, on Cash Cab

playing with our pals for all of those easy dollars -- without ever having to use our shout-outs!! I bear no ill-will towards Manhattan for its citizenry looking down their noses at us, we their bedraggled, besotted brethren in Los Angeles. (Quick: non-New Yorkers, name all five boroughs.) Besides, half the city has moved out here to the West Coast over the last 50 years anyway.

New York wears sophistication like a cashmere scarf tied into a nifty Parisian knot and struts the hell out of 5th Ave. wearing either YSL pumps or a NY baseball cap and black pea coat (dear gawd, hopefully not both -- I was trying to distinguish between the men and women just then). It has extraordinary restaurants in quaint little villages with tree-lined streets in the middle of the busiest and largest city in America. She is populated by beautifully hip professionals (at least in Woody Allen movies, before he moved to Paris) who take being in-the-know and well-read seriously, with its "city that never sleeps" insouciance, and thick skin that shouts a little further eastward "you ain't got nothing, you 9/11 assholes!" In fact, New York is the land that anchored our manifest destiny westward drive to the Pacific, and we love her for it. Even if she occasionally shouts Bronx cheers our way.

And, it's the place that gave us some great film schools and writers and directors. Below is one of my faves from 20 years ago, a short film called, The Lunch Date.

Adam Davidson directed this gem of a film that won the Palm d'Or at Cannes, as well as an Oscar for short film. You'll love it. Trust me, this YouTube posting probably won't last long, so watch it while you can.

Let us know what you think!


lisa golightly said...

Very well done little film ... and the music, you know I like that ! I've only been to Grand Central once, and it was one of the most alive gorgeous places I've ever been ( the whole city is for that matter ).


publius said...

great memories of this short! i enjoyed that very much... woody allen inspired, ya think? thanks, Fats!

Emm said...

Ha! I like New York a little bit. (Just a litle bit). I was proud to name all the boroughs except Staten Island though!

Alexandra said...

Ah, yes glad to see another written homage to New York City.

And I like all your comments! I appreciate you reading!