. . . and here I am, the 1st of May 2009, down under down under.
22 years to the day, it was a Friday afternoon in New York that I arrived, JFK, taxi to Mid Town, booked into Morgans Hotel where all the men wore black, commes de garcon no less, to which I quickly caught on and still have a ‘commes’ suit, albeit a bit worn, like me. But holding up well and still looks good in substance, like me J, today I am more Missy Miyake J
Friday night in Manhattan, May 1, First of May, Smugglers Day.
I slept, I admit. A flight from Sydney to LA to New York was not conducive to all night partying and anyhow. . . Madison Ave is not reknown for a great night life.
Midtown Manhattan, like Masterton, New Zealand, dies early.
The hotel WAS the night life. Soooo subtle, soooo chic. Soooo pricey!
Anyhow, I slept well, hit the streets of the Big Apple bright and early with the words of well meaning Sydney friends, “you will not find it easy to find accomodation in New York”, ringing in my ears.
I bought the NYT aka New York Times, ran my finger down the To Let page and voila, 137 East 35th, a brownstone, one bedroom, fully furnished, courtyard, the Gods were smiling, a phone call, “where are you staying, I will pick you up” said the voice. Murray Hill, very close to work, not a cool address back then, today it is the Murray Hill Historic District. http://murrayhill.gc.cuny.edu/e35thp/
Then it was simply a brownstone walk up, but to me, home.
“You will not find it easy, etc, etc . . .” yeah right!
First phone call, Alf Swindler, yep I still remember, holocaust survivors, building owner, drycleaners, my New York Godfather and God Mother. I still treasure their reference. I stayed a year, it was perfect, entertained visitors from Sydney, the ones who proclaimed I would not find . . . blah, blah, blah! Some who stayed wore out there welcome, one, who will remain nameless, left wearing a glass of very good burgundy over her virginal white dress.
What was I thinking. Germans make great cars, lousy lovers.
But, it was me who invited her to stay J wasn’t it? Merde!
I was blessed with that apartment and a couple of NY friends, Christoffer and Jackie, they made me very welcome, thanks to you both, wherever you are today.
Saturday, I was moved in and later that day, I was a bonafide ‘Noo Yoika’ wasn’t I, sitting in Café Dante on McDougall Street, New York’s Best Tiramasu. My favorite café in all the World, seriously.
My one bedroom apartment with a view of the Chrysler Building from my private roof top garden, Dogwood Trees, Azaleas, a BBQ, a killer view directly above Lexington Avenue. Awesome. Pinch me someone!
I was Film Editor, trained in Sydney, about to be christened in NY.
Monday, 3rd May 1987, I walked up Park Avenue South, taking in the neck bending sights, the yellow daffodils of spring, the ritzy apartment I fantasized over at the cnr of Park Ave South and 35th St. That one, I had to look down into, awesome. I fantasized that one for years, who lived there, what was it like, how much, all crass but well intentioned dreaming.
Up the Avenue, across 42nd Street, people, people, people. A veritable ant’s nest of people. Under the Hilton, aka PanAm building, through Grand Central Terminal’s main concourse to Madison Avenue and into the most disfunctional editing company, my A4 Visa sponsors, I have ever experienced, apart from the one I started in Venice Beach J 3 years later.
That night I walked back into the Concourse, down to the Oyster Bar and found my Home away from Home. No need for me to cook ever again. I ate there, often J
A dozen mixed oysters, a glass or two of Cloudy Bay, a short black Espresso, baked NY Cheese cake and walked home down Park Avenue to 35th Street and home. They almost got to start it as I sat down.
I lived in Murray Hill for a year until, dream of dreams, written on my pre-arrival wish list, a TriBeCa Loft. The Triangle Below Canal.
The Swindlers were really sad to see me go and invited me back anytime I wished. Bless them, they were truly good people.
90 Hudson Street, a top floor loft with a garden, my own private garden, a sun room, views out over DeNiro’s loft, down Chanterelle, THE hottest New York eatery.
It fit my written description of MY NY dream to a T.
From my garden I could glimpse the Hudson River, which in case you were wondering, you were wondering right? Is where I heaved, yep, heaved my first wedding ring. Such a profound feeling and, I still have the New York wish list.
If I hadn’t fallen in love, got married, I would still be there. Maybe.
I held great parties. I enjoyed great clients, great work. Clints flew me to London, LA, Mexico City and Xtapa. American Express, Master Card, Helene Curtis, American Airlines, all blue chip accounts. Budgets that made my hair curl. Clients lined up to work with me, can you believe it. If I was busy, they waited. Seriously. I find it hard today to accept that I could earn such money simply doing what I enjoyed doing, editing. To me it has always beaten working for a living. Do what you love and the money will follow, true today as it has ever been.
90 Hudson was around the corner from Puffies Bar & Grill, across the road from Zutto, a great Japanese Café. Café Dante was a 10 minute train ride, Odeon, a 5 minute walk.
I was in New York, Madison Avenue, Advertising. Bliss.
It was and still is my Mount Everest.
I lived 7 blocks from the WTC where we spent our wedding day lunch with my best man Nicky D’Antona. We were married in NY City Hall, St Patricks Day. Not an Irishman in sight. They were all at Puffies J
TriBeCa is sublime. Even after I left New York I would visit my old haunts, Café Dante and the Hood ,where I learned much about who I am and who I am not.
Not all bad J I even filmed there a week before 9/11.
Now that was weird. I was in NY on a very large 22 spot packagel of tvs aka television commercials, took an early morning taxi across town from the Paramount Hotel, down the East River to Wall Street, shooting miniDV as we drove, down past South Street Sea Port and there, as I alighted from the taxi, were the Twin Towers.
The sun had risen over Brooklyn Heights and the light was magic, not a cloud. I loved it. I walked around Battery Park, I knew it like the back of my hand. It was my running track, from 90 Hudson, across to Battery Park, up the West Side Highway to 42nd Street, across to Broadway and then turn right and Downtown. A good 10 miler. I ran in Harlem, I ran in Central Park, I ran over the Brooklyn Bridge. I raced 10 milers in the snow in Central Park. Ran the Corporate Challenge. I loved it.
Belonged to the NY Road Runners Club. Never ran the Marathon, that waited for my 55th birthday and the LA Marathon.
I arrived in New York in 1987, I was 44, had my birthday at Chanterelle, thank you Christy. I know that broke whatever budget we didn’t have, never have had J. No problem earning, just can’t save.
Then Hollywood called, New York was Crime infested, Grime coated, the fun took too much hard work, it stopped being fun.
Xmas, 1990 and the plan was to drive across America to my new Gig in Hollyweird aka Hollywood. Brand new Jeep Cherokee, bang. Some young rich kid from Queens cut us off in the Village. Merde! We went to Jamaica instead, then flew to LAX and Venice Beach whilst the Jeep got repaired. Don’t go to Jamaica, too much like present day Fiji, a true banana republic.
22 years ago, to the day and so many, many memories. Good memories, very good memories. I fell in love, I married, I was successful. My daughter from Australia visited, it was sublime, we cried together for the first time. Christy and me were very happy.
Christy didn’t visit New York again until Christmas 2002. Our last hurrah, our last Christmas together, it seemed appropriate in retrospect that we spent it in New York, going down her memory lane, the Lower East Side, such a pity we were so far apart. But I did run Central Park to Harlem in the snow, bloody froze didn’t I.
I returned to New York the week after 9/11 and videoed what I felt. It has now become a 45 minute hommage to the City that never sleeps. The City that will remain in my heart and mind the rest of my days.
I LOVE NEW YORK and New Yorkers, Let’s go Mets!