541 Notes From New York
First of two parts
(West 48th St.) -- This is a quiz. Who said something akin to this, when a Boeing 747 trailed by a military jet fighter flew low and slow near the Statue of Liberty on Monday, April 27th? "Holy (expletive deleted)! What the (expletive deleted) were they thinking?"
a) Barack Obama
b) Mike Bloomberg
c) Robert Gates
d) The entire population of the region and every witness
e) all of the above
Which public relations genius though up this photo op?
Some musings on and near Broadway: The Paramount has become a Hard Rock Cafe. Jack Dempsey's is an electronics clip joint. Colony Records, as we oldtimers still call it, doesn't know what it is. But while it's no longer a magnet for off-duty musicians, it still carries the sheet music they used, though not the vinyl. Brian Dennehy is brlliant in "Desire Under the Elms," and now that he as lost some weight, is a dead ringer for his father Ed, once a ranking editor at the Associated Press.
Ground Zero is a semi vacant lot, and apparently the number one tourist attraction hereabouts. It's all fenced in and on the fence are pictures of the grandiose Freedom Tower set to rise there... some year. You see some foundation work through holes in the ads for the eventual tower Across Church St., at the post office, it's business as usual. At the doorway is a fancy, embossed sign: "No Smoking In This Doorway." Underneath the sign stands a tiny woman wearing Postal Service I.D. She is lighting a cigarette. There is one newly completed building, and people are working in it. But too few to pay the mortgage.
Church St. is busy, but only because so many other east-west streets in the neighborhood remain closed.
The Subway is dirtier and smellier than some short years ago. But it's still both a pain in the neck, and a modern miracle. You CAN get there from here, wherever here or there is, and at any hour. Buses? That's another story.
The talk on television and in the papers is all about the Swine Flu. Out on the street, people shrug it off.
Hurley's: But first a word on NBC's studio numbering protocol. It's a number followed by a letter. 8H is on the eighth floor, 1A is on street level. When NBC moved in next to Hurley's on 6th Avenue in the 1930s, it was a marriage made in heaven. So much so that technicians installed an NBC telephone extension in the saloon which was generally referred to as "Studio 1H." Now, Hurley's is located on 48th near 8th. No more red-coated, white haired bartenders. It's still a good joint. Looks a little like the original and relatively inexpensive by theater district standards. But it ain't Studio 1H.
(Continued Wednesday 4/6/09)