Say what you want about Rudy Giuliani (and opinions vary regarding both his professional and personal lives), but when he was Mayor of NYC (1994-2001), it was a safer and cleaner place to live than it had been for a couple decades.
Cut to July 3, 2016. Denis and CootieBoy have left for CitiField to see the Mets play ball for a few hours. CootieGirl and I trek into Manhattan to wander around Times Square for a while before heading to a Broadway play for which we had tickets. The subway ride was uneventful, and CG was happy to know that between she and CB, she was the first child to actually set foot in Manhattan (even if he was the first to ride the NYC subway a couple hours prior).
We made our way to Times Square, which was teeming with people (including Naked Cowboy and dudes dressed up as Elmo and Cookie Monster). We walked around for a while, taking CG’s picture in front of the theater where “Hamilton” is playing (as close as we figured we’d get the whole week to being in The Room Where It Happens (that’s a “Hamilton” reference)). I showed her the New Year’s Eve ball, still twinkling up high in the sky over the “2016” lights.
After making a pitstop at the Hershey’s store (but not buying anything!) and a tourist tchotchke shop (where we DID buy stuff for her) we then proceeded to head further uptown toward the theater hosting our play. And that’s when I saw him. A young dude, in his mid-20s, clearly high/homeless/out of it, peeing on the sidewalk in plain sight. He didn’t even try to hide what he was doing as he swayed back and forth, eyes closed, not caring that his choice to provide a full frontal view might be a bit off-putting. I quickly diverted CG’s attention in the complete opposite direction of where the man stood, and picked up the pace to get past him.
Once safely halfway down the block, I asked her if she had seen him – she said no, and was surprised that someone would do that. I then said, “This ain’t Giuliani’s New York anymore,” and gave her a brief outline of his work as Mayor in the late 1990s when I worked in NYC.
Not before too long, we arrived at Studio 54, where our play, “She Loves Me” was being performed. My daughter is a new fan of Zachary Levi, which is why I bought the tickets (he was nominated for a Tony for his role in the play). Once in the theater (and blessedly out of the heat), we settled down to a very frothy, enjoyable couple of hours watching him sing and dance about falling in love with his pen pal, not knowing his pen pal was actually a co-worker that he despised).
Enthusiastic applause dispensed at curtain call, CG and quickly hopped back on the subway for Queens, where we met up with Denis and CB (basking in the glow of a Mets win) at the Museum of Moving Image. The museum is currently hosting an exhibit featuring classic arcade video games such as Centipede, Dug Dug, Qbert, and Space Invaders (just to name a few). The museum entry fee included a bunch of tokens, which were all gladly used. CB got to play an original Donkey Kong, while I gloried in finding TRON in the collection (and did quite well considering I hadn’t played it since I was 13 years old). Denis and CG took turns playing Qbert, while CG was thrilled to find Missile Command (which had been featured in an episode of “Chuck” that we had recently watched). What a fun time we had wandering around playing these old games! Once out of tokens, we explored an area of the museum that featured an exhibit on moviemaking, and had fun adding special effects to clips from Jurassic Park and Terminator 2, or adding our dubbed voices to a scene from Jack Black’s “School of Rock.”
At that point it was getting late, and we were tired from our full day, so we began the walk back to our apartment (which was only a few blocks from the museum), picking up some good NYC Chinese food on the way home (we had gone grocery shopping the night before after we enjoyed our BBQ feast, but opted for Chinese since we were tired).
All in all, a good first full day in NYC, even if it did get off to a, uh… distasteful start in Times Square.
Up next: Famous art, fireworks and rain, oh my!