New York Hit List: Things to do and see

Just spent ten days in New York for work. But the work part is (sometimes) boring, so let’s talk about the play.

1) Seeing Psychedelic Furs at Music Hall of Williamsburg…for FREE. (Thanks well-connected friends!) My favorite Psych Furs song is “Ghost in You” (nailed it), but the best video of this show that I could find was “Pretty in Pink.”

And…there was more Brit pop! These Brit pop dance parties happen monthly, but somehow, my psychic timing is spot on. I’ve caught them on two trips in a row now. (Apparently these things were, at one point, a phenomena.) See Notes 1.

2) Partying into the wee morning with a fab actress called Ashlie at a bar called South (for South Slope, not because they played three Lynyrd Skynyrd songs in an hour) and eating truffle pizza at a bar called Toby’s and finishing up at a bar called who-can-remember-at-3am and meeting smart, sexy people and pinching myself, because, really, is this work? (It was.)

ashlie_web

3) Visiting the Kit-Kat Club. Because Emma Stone can’t really sing, but neither can Sally Bowles. And because Alan Cumming was stunning as the emcee. And because I had just finished reading Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, which is the perfect set-up for this sort of thing.

4) Pulitzer-prize winning play on Broadway? Yes, please.

Afterwards, to prolong the cultural confusion, I slipped back to my HQ, the Financial District, (an out-of-town friend was lovely enough to lend his condo) and ate at the Pakistan Tea House. A woman from Lahore dished veggie curry and nostalgia about the fort and Badshahi Mosque and friends left behind. Then, in a display of familiar Pakistani hospitality, she threw in a free chai. Because if you’ve been to her country, you’re family. Bonus points because she acknowledged that kitchari is a real thing (point 7), and she told me how to make it.  (Notes 2)

5) New York City Ballet is amazing and not even that expensive ($40-60). Jerome Robbins’s The Cage is essentially vagina dentata as dance. A woman (or female creature?) sleeps with a man/male creature, then snaps his neck like a twig between her almighty thighs and takes him back to her Amazon tribe, where he, and any other hapless male who wanders by, is (sometimes tenderly) dismembered and devoured. The kicker? This thing was choreographed in 1951!

DANCERS-master675

photo property of NYC Ballet

Items 6-10 to come, but for now, I leave you with these:

Notes:

1. This reminds me of how, back in 2005, I met the crew that ended up as my bff’s for my short-lived stint in L.A. A week into the city, I drug my only pal, a camera assistant I’d met P.A.-ing on the low-budget set of a film that would never go anywhere, to what I thought was a Brit-pop/New Wave dance party at some shadowy Hollywood place called, I think, The Dragonfly. We did find dark, industrial 80’s pop there. We also found lots of bare flesh and people being flogged and whipped and swinging from the ceiling in complicated black-leather get-ups and dancing in g-strings with glittery pink and purple dreads flailing. Turns out, New Wave night doubled as fetish night. We found some “safe”-appearing people and danced with them and afterwards, walked to the 24-hour taco stand together, and they became the ones who hiked through canyons and attended Japanese zombie movies and vintage horror flicks at CIA and road-tripped to pirate parties in San Fran with me. Lucky for me, they weren’t what they seemed. They went to fetish night intentionally.

2. Twelve years ago, I spent the summer in New York, mostly in Brooklyn, sleeping on a Fort Greene pull-out couch in a communal living room. But the last two weeks, I cat-sat for a woman I’d met at a gallery, who lived in a tiny apartment with an unbelievable view. Her subway was Chambers Street – the World Trade Center stop – in a time where the air was still considered toxic and the city offered financial incentives for people to live in the (once and again) posh neighborhood. My last night, a friend and I wandered lower Manhattan till the sun came up. It was a ghostly, ominous Gotham City, and at first it felt delicious and surreal, like being inside a b/w graphic novel. Then, inexplicably, it felt too heavy and soul-crushing. I started crying. I was moving to Boston to take an internship, and I should have been excited. But I was newly 22 and overwhelmed and had been living out of a single suitcase for two months. I’d left my cat and possessions in my childhood bedroom, graduated college and taken off on a Greyhound bus.

Then we turned a corner and there was a beacon – bright, all-night (back then) comfort in a samosa. It was the Pakistan Tea House, all long glass counters and plastic tables. The man behind the counter told us about three-day weddings and plied us with free deserts.  We took a bag of samosas back to the apartment for the southeast Asian doorman.