Movies and Music

I had gotten to the movies early. So, as is my way, I snuck into another movie, “The Kids Are All Right.” The plot seemed layered, poignant, funny. Awesome actors — Julianne Moore, Annette Benning, Mark Ruffalo! Gotta love it. Great.

the trailer –

I had gone to see “Get Low.” You can’t go wrong with Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Bill Murray, in the 1930s. Duvall, a hermit, plans a party for his own funeral to reveal his deep, dark secret. The story’s about church, forgiveness, ordinary kindness. Good.

the trailer –

After the movies, I was near Central Park and remembered a red door to a church somewhere nearby. I couldn’t find it. Then I saw this door.

The Society for Ethical Culture. I can’t remember what lecture, peace rally, performance I had seen there. It definitely feels like a church from the outside. Solid, old, massive. It seemed something was going on inside. A service?

A stooped woman entered through the oak doors and gestured for me to follow. I did.

Inside the auditorium, yes, not a sanctuary, but a performance space, there were middle-aged people in jeans setting up a film shoot, doing a sound check, talking into cell phones.

One of the guys on the stage was either Peter or Paul from Peter, Paul and Mary. I’m pretty sure it was Noel Paul Stookey. (Thank you, Google, for helping me verify this.)

I watched him sing for a minute. This was the guy — relaxed, nice guitar playing.

A production assistant told me they were getting ready to film for an upcoming PBS half-hour special. It looked good (but not as good as “Get Low” or “The Kids Are All Right.”)

I didn’t want to overstay my welcome. I snuck out the same way I snuck in. I didn’t really pray, just stood for minute, listening to music. That’s church too.

I don’t know what happened to the older woman who had motioned for me to follow.

Synchronicity happens in New York (more than any other place in the world, I think).

You follow someone; you lose them; you find something cool; you listen to a snatch of music; then you go back out into the night.

“There is Love” was not a labor of love, because love is not labor when given away. In fact, love is not love unless it is given away. – – Noel Paul Stookey’s liner notes

Synchronicity Happens Here

I believe that synchronicity – those magical moments of epiphany – happen more frequently in New York City than anywhere else in the world. I don’t know if there are studies to back me up on this. But I swear it’s true.

Like, one day you wake up in New York City, and all of the yellow cabs’ hoods are covered with these super-bright Peter Max-type flowers. Another day, there are big orange flags flying above you in Central Park.

Another day you’re riding your bike on Central Park West and you see Leo DiCaprio getting out of a car and he’s talking into a phone. So, you slow down to hear what he’s saying. And he says, “Ah, love’s labor lost.” Real sad-like. 

That’s what I’m talkin’ about. This blog is an homage to my city. It is a city I dreamed about when I was growing up in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, Illinois — also, Hillary Clinton’s hometown, which the New York Times once called the “lily whitest of towns.”

I remember as a kid looking at a picture of the skyline of Manhattan and wondering what life would be like inside that picture. Now, I know.

Living in NYC is not all glamorous celebrity sightings. I live in the slow lane alongside the fast lane of NYC. I don’t go out clubbing or to socialite events. But I do try to see every new show at the MoMA.

I try to get to every one of my kids’ AYSO soccer games. To do that, I usually have to drive through Harlem to get to Randall’s Island where they play. That’s when I wonder if I’m the only Soccer Mom in the country pointing out the historic Apollo Theatre on the way to the day’s game.

Sometimes I wonder if it is the city that keeps me going or is it possible that people like me — people in the slow lane who live in and love NYC  — keep the city going?

I love NYC theatre, museums, schools and parks. I love parenting my kids here. I love the brilliant people you meet and the amazing places you walk by every single day.