New York State of Mind

 

Christmas time is special to me. My last post was about the good and bad memories of the holidays and how things change as your family grows.

This year we had our youngest son and his family here for the weekend prior to Christmas. It brings you back to those days of yore when you see the holiday through the eyes of a six-year-old!

 

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Midweek my oldest son gave me an early Christmas gift, Alvin Ailey in NYC! We took the train up and got to the theater just in time. The performances were all choreographed by Alvin Ailey, who passed away many years ago, and the dates of the original dances went back as far as 1960! It was very special.

 

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Being in New York, especially at Christmas, brings back so many memories. We never lived in Manhattan but, when I was a talent agent in Philly I went up there a lot. So, I thought I would share some of the crazy experiences with you.

As Jeff and I were walking uptown from Penn Station I remembered the time I walked downtown to Penn Station after a huge snowstorm. I knew it was going to snow and went up anyway. Who knew it would be a blizzard? This was in the ‘90’s and weather forecasting wasn’t anywhere near as exact as it is today.

It was snowing as I stood in line outside the station waiting to get a cab. I had clients to see in SOHO and didn’t want to be late but, everything was running late that day. When I arrived at the studio it didn’t surprise me to find half the appointments had been canceled.

One of the actresses’ I was friendly with suggested we cancel the afternoon and head uptown to her place and wait out the storm. Finding a cab took a long while but we got to her home just as they were banning vehicles from the streets.

Her husband was home and had made a pot of soup. It was the perfect dinner as the snow piled up. I called Dave to tell him I was snowed in but, would catch the early train next morning. I was grateful to have good food with generous friends and a warm place to stay the night!

The next morning I gathered my things and stepped outside to a ghost town. I’d never seen NYC still and quiet. It was eerie. Cross streets were not plowed and the garbage trucks were outfitted with plows going up and down the avenues.

I got to the corner of 84th and 2nd Avenue and headed south. Every corner was a mountain of snow and sidewalks were sketchy, so I ended up in the street a good part of the way. Fortunately, traffic wasn’t a problem. Carrying my briefcase and tote bag was.

 

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I was in much better shape then and somehow, I made it to Times Square and hitched a ride with what might have been the only cab in all of NY to Penn Station. Of course, all the trains were late but they were running. I will never forget that trip!

Another time I was in the city on business it was pouring rain. I had several clients to see and, as seems to always be the way on rainy days, cabs were few and far between. I never mastered the subway system, don’t ask me why, so I walked around a lot that day. When I got back to Penn Station, at rush hour, I found a shoe store, bought a pair of sneakers and threw my shoes away. They were ruined.

The worst trip was when I drove instead of taking the train. Again, I went to the studio in SOHO but, this time I found a place to park on the street! Eureka! I thought. Fool that I am.

When I left the studio, my car was gone. I went back in and my friend told me it was probably towed.

“But, it was a legit space!” I exclaimed as he laughed.

He did some checking and confirmed it was towed and told me how much it was going to cost me to get it out. I can’t recall the amount but it was much more than I had on me and they don’t take credit cards at the impound lot.

My youngest son was working at a restaurant in midtown so I took a cab there and prayed he would have some cash. He did, thank God!

When I got to the impound lot and went inside I could see my car through the door. I stood in line with all the other poor suckers slowly steaming. When I got to the window the charming woman asked for my vehicle registration.

“It’s in the car,” I said, “but, I can see it right there so I’ll be right back!”

“No,” she said, “an officer will escort you then you get back in line.”

There is no arguing with these evil beings, so after another hour, I finally got my car and hit the road.

I’ve had so many great times and good memories in NYC but, somehow these are the crazy ones that stick out. At least I can laugh about them now.

Do you have any crazy NYC stories? Do tell!

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukah! Happy Kwanzaa! Festive Festivus! To ALL!

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12 comments

  1. Alana

    Having grown up in New York City – yes, and not just Christmastime, but winter in general.

  2. Roxanne Jones

    Great memories, Barbara! I don’t recall any really crazy times in the Big Apple, but fondly recall when I took Hubs there (before we were married) to celebrate his 50th in late November. We took the train from Boston, took in Les Miserables on Broadway, ate and drank too much, and I bought a little paper mache Santa that I still have (it’s sitting on my mantel as we speak). Happiest of holidays to you and yours!

    • Barbara

      Here’s to a peaceful New Year, Roxanne!
      xob

  3. Pia

    A lifetime of stories
    NY is at its best the day after a blizzard!
    And blizzard parties are the best parties ever

    • Barbara

      Too bad I couldn’t hang out for a blizzard party, Pia, and couldn’t wait for the streets to be cleared. So mountain climbing it was!
      Here’s to a peaceful New Year!
      xob

  4. Linda

    I would advise people to never drive to Manhattan if you can avoid it, and I’m a New Yorker! Sorry about the tow but so glad to read your happier memories. New York in a blizzard is magic. The sounds are more muffled, the scenes prettier, people a little nicer. Happy Holidays!

    • Barbara

      There really is something magical about the city covered in snow, Linda!
      Happy Holidays!
      b

  5. Haralee

    Great stories. Isn’t it the truth that we remember the drama more readily. I go to NYC every year with my sister, sisters in the city. This time we went to check into our hotel we were told all full but their other hotel could accommodate us. They called us a cab , gave us $10.00 for the trip and the concierge told the cab driver the address. We got in the cab just a yaking away when we realized the cab had stopped . Flat tire and the cabbie hailed another cab for us and went about changing his tire when we realized we didn’t know our new hotel! The cab drivers shared info and we got there safely!

    • Barbara

      That’s a great story, Haralee! And, people who’ve never experienced the big city wouldn’t believe there could be such kindness!
      Have a happy New Year!!
      b

  6. 1010ParkPlace

    I love this story! Yes, I have several NYC stories. They’re not what many people would imagine since New Yorkers are a pretty generous group! Thanks for sharing. xoxox

    • Barbara

      I would love to hear some of yours, Brenda!
      xob