NYC Nostalgia

I am not that into jazz.  I don’t like opera either.  I hate musicals.  Musicals are BY FAR the worst.  Give me a Jazz Opera any day over a musical.  Jazz is good for dinner parties.  Opera is good for snoozing. Musicals should be banned. Thank god they are relegated to Times Square.

We went to hear some jazz the other night.  It was a rare night out in Manhattan and we felt too old for dancing (nevermind that it was 8PM) and a movie felt like a cop out so we went and pretended to like jazz (I think my husband likes it – or he’s better at pretending to like it).  There were Memphis-style ribs there so I was alright.

But here is what  I found.  While other people were toe tapping and head bobbing, I was transported back to nostalgic NYC moments.  It was MAGICAL!  It was so Woody Allen!  The memories came flooding back – old days living in Manhattan and what that was like. Here are a few examples:

  • I will never forget my first Fancy Pants dinner.  It was a work dinner in 1995 at Lespinasse at the St. Regis hotel.  I was raised well but honestly, I had never seen so many forks.  There were utensils everywhere.  I don’t remember what I ate but I do remember the wine.  It was from Château Latour and everyone oo’d and aaa’d when it arrived tableside. Nancy, we’re not drinking Boons anymore.
  • Starting the 1996 NYC Marathon was a great moment.  Good chance that will never be repeated so it’s worth noting and it was so New York. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons was playing.  It was cold.  And it was the first time I’d set foot in boroughs other than Manhattan.  I was so provincial.
  • In 1994 I had this amazing new group of friends (not surprisingly, our favorite show was Friends).  We were all new to NYC and working 80 hours a week.  What joy that was.  On a rare night off we treated ourselves to a grown up dinner.  We went to Gotham Bar and Grill.  It cost each of us $80 a head when all was said and done.  Forget the 5,000 calories I ate that night – the bill almost killed me.  It was about 10% of my rent at the time. The standouts – everything we ate was presented vertically (honestly, so precious) and it was the first time I had Frangelico.  Silly me, I thought that meant I had Arrived.
  • I took myself alone to a trapeze class once.  Why that memory came back while listening to jazz is beyond me.
  • My husband and I snuck out onto the roof of The Metropolitan Club one night (we were at a wedding) and shared champagne while overlooking my favorite view of the City – the Plaza, the Park…it was all magnificent.
  • At this point in the jazz all sorts of snippets appeared fast and furious – rooftop parties, awful blind dates that ended with fake calls from rescuing girlfriends, dinner gatherings where a slew of Brazilian dancers showed up shaking their THANGS, concerts at the Garden, a million mani/pedi mornings with friends, waiting for Brunch Eggs, frantic apartment shopping writing deposit checks against a too low bank account, riding home on the subway with my fishbowl on my lap after getting laid off in 2001, getting engaged and eating Crif Dogs to celebrate…where has the time gone!
  • And then probably the most serene memory showed up…one time when it snowed after my then boyfriend now husband and I were coming back from a dinner at Luger’s (overrated but fun). I am not sure why we were up by Central Park but we were and it was 1AM and snowing so we went walking in the Park.  Do this if you ever have the opportunity – forget danger.  Nobody is mugging anyone in a beautiful snowstorm.  Never before have I been in the Park when – far as the eye could see – we were the only ones there in complete, snowbound peace.

New York City is different for me now.  It’s expanded to Brooklyn but also contracted – kids have a way of making that happen.  But turn on some jazz and there she is.  Larger than life, yet right here and as only New York can be, in your face.

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