Monday, May 26, 2014

Posting in the Dark: Perfect Pleasures and Crushing Let Downs in the Big Apple


The best of company: Niece Lisa and her son, Noah ("Mister McFiddle" by me)

Sounds exciting.  Truth is, I am hacking this out on my laptop on another of Amtrak's charming milk trains, the LakeShore – no, make that the LateShore Limited, bound someday for Chicago.  Must hurry, for once there, I will post this via e-mail.

Gotham the Great and Glorious is still a draw, but I've had it with Amtrak, and doubt I'll be returning for a long time, if ever, unless I can break my fear of aerial commuting.

The Gershwin Hotel, my home away from home, went from $139.00 a night to three hundred (new cold-hearted owners), so I found a little room without even a chair at the Hotel Newton, nice enough, on the upper East Side..  My niece, Lisa, who arrived a day later, found fabulous quarters in Times Square Area at Candlewood Suites, for about the same price!  Hers was like a mini modern apartment.

On my own, I looked forward to taking in the Monopoly board game exhibit at the Forbes Gallery, not knowing till I got there that all those cool looking people entering the building  were going to work on upper floors at Forbes magazine.  And then, once the gallery opened, I learned the Monopoly set and all the toys had been sold a few years ago! .... Onto to another museum I've wanted to see, the Guggenheim and, boy, am I glad I finally saw it.  What I loved about Frank Lloyd Wright's circular layout is how it guides you on a clear path up up up, from one display to the next.  They're showing work from the Italian Futurism era, a rare discovery that I can see helped set the stage for the radical violence of Hitler and  Mussolini. ... One of the best special exhibitions  I've ever seen ... So good, that only a few steps into, I took the free reference ear phones, etc, that came with it, back to the front desk and got rid of them. I'll take the art as it strikes me without somebody telling me what to think, thank you, world of superfluous technology.

New York: How Disgustingly Hollywood of You! ... For lunch, I revisited Café 28, around the corner from where the once bohemian Gershwin Hotel once stood.  Then to the Gershwin, to savor the atmospheric front lobby, drenched in seductive shades of red.  But, once inside, all I could see were panels blocking that space from passage.  I was mortified to learn that the lobby  has been gutted!  Something else is to go there - maybe an extension of the Sex Museum down the street.

At the gutted Gershwin, were rooms went from $139.00 to $300.00 - yes, I went somewhere else.  Beyond the  temp panels, gone is the red lobby and all the art work in the halls and rooms!

I talked to a young doorman.  "It is all gone," he said, "all the paintings on the floors, everything."  The woman who owned the Gershwin sold it a few years ago, how could New York have allowed this to happen?  I thought such a rape only occurred in Tinsel Town. 

Disney's Newsies, I grabbed a half pricer ($92 – can you believe?). Show tells a great little story, really more a play, the dialogue scenes are so strong, with so-so songs and terrific dance work, and like so many bloated tuners, too long.

This kid is so much fun to hang out with and watch cavort through toy stores.

.... All of this amidst the ever-present threat of rain.  Now comes the Big Letdown.  Niece Lisa's great expectation was of our seeing the hot new show After Midnight. She nabbed three tickets, for me, her and her little bright boy, Noah, all of eight.  We got there, high expectations.  Woman scanned our tickets, made a face.  Looked again.  "These are for last night."  My poor niece nearly fainted, so I went into consoling mood, and we regrouped (heartless box office manager would not do anything, although the tickets can be re-used under certain conditions).  Out into the rain we straggled, losers before midnight, to an ice cream sit down, to sugar away our tears.  I took Rocky Road. 

Next morning, we played my game, still in development, Can't Stop Shopping.. Here is how good it has become, and this was NOT scripted: While Lisa was offering me valuable feedback  on the wording of the rules and images on the Act On Coupons, Noah, I thought, was buried in a bed pillow and sleeping. But, no, said Lisa, he is with his little  i-Something playing a video game.  And, then, he wanted to join us to be the banker for second play of the game, and THEN, he wanted to play the game!  How honored I felt that he, with a mind of his own, would break free of his thickening electronic addictions for a board game – which, ironically, could end up someday, if commercially lucky, being sold as a mobile board game.  And then Noah can play it in bed.

We had also taken in the Big Apple Circus out in Cunningham Park, which I will review upon my return.  Lovely ride out to Queens, such a different world, so airy and evergreen.

About the Big City, the best thing I can say is this.  These New Yorkers are so friendly and outgoing when asked for directions — even when they sense you are lost and go out of their way to assist.  All of them.  One young guy, who had helped me at a subway ticket window figure out how to get to Forbes, a little later came running down onto a platform after me:  "Sir, you want the other side!" .... My take?  Together, the residents share a great pride in and love of their city, and each may feel that how they treat a tourist will reflect upon their home. They are A Number One.  Top of the Heap.  Blue Ribbon Boffo.

How I'd love to go back.  Not on Amtrak.  I've had my fill of endless delays. Of squeezing myself into and out of the claustrophobic closet-sized  "sleepers" outrageously overpriced.  How I wish this railroad ran like those of my lucky youth, when I rode the Shata Daylight, the North Coast Limited, the Super Chiefs, the real California Zephyr.  I've given up on a hopeless wish for modern age rail. 

I'll be posting this during my shortened Chicago layover.  Train is now two hours late; its NY-bound counterpart that limped past us yesterday was then six hours behind schedule, and counting. I'm posting safely via my e-mail, because with XP windows, as some of you will know, I dare not go on-line lest the "bad guys" come after me.

So... once  I press "send" on my e-mail, I will have no way of checking how this looks on my  blog..  And If you got here, that means the entire mess got through — Be kind; I walked this wire without a lifeline. 

Au Revoir, New York New York.


Harry Kingston said...

Sounds like you had the trip from hell on Amtrack.
I think a freight has the right away over amtrack.
I sure we could go back to the age of steam as when that engine came it shook the ground and that lonesome steam whistle.
And a steamer attached to a circus train, WOW, pure heaven.
Harry in Texas

Showbiz David said...

Well, Harry,
I think I am Amtraked out. How I'd love a long distance train ride that kept on going and going (like one in China), quietly, efficiently, without constant loud intercom announcements from conductors and others who can't stop announcing -- and endless delays. Just straight ahead; too much to ask for these days.

Funny, when millions rode the rails, before public address systems, yet most everyone seemed able to get where they wanted to go. And what relative serenity!

Where there is no competition, the only game in town can do whatever it damn well pleases.