Titirangi Storyteller

Telling tales from around the world

Posts Tagged ‘NY

Some things I noticed in New York

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190309NYC - Midtown22Back in March 09 my pal Bindi and I abandoned our husbands to ten days of looking after themselves so we could take a little jaunt of our own off to New York. You may recall in the piece Planning for New York on the Cheap, that we made a zillion plans and hoped to get around to as many as we could. In brief, we did a few – like Bindi was dying to go to the top of the Empire State Building and I couldn’t give a stuff about it, so whilst we were on our way into Macy’s I pointed it out to her.

If she’d had a paddy, I would have taken her – but she agreed there were so many more interesting things to do. Two of which DID involve a Paddy – one the St Patrick’s Day Parade, which, after a leisurely breakfast we dashed off to see – had enough after fifteen minutes and then went and bought shoes from her favourite designer who just happened to have a shop on the street we were watching the parade from.

190309NYC - Midtown24We didn’t go to St Patrick’s Cathedral either. We stood there on Fifth Avenue with the cathedral to our left and Saks on our right and made the only sane choice under the circumstances. I took photos, Bindi bought perfume. And we had the most divine chocolate at the Charbonnel et Walker Chocolate Cafe.

All up I took over 1000 photos. Not surprisingly, it’s taken me this long to get through them – and there are still several hundred languishing as RAW files on my hard drive, but this TIME business is just so flawed – if I can’t buy some more, I wish I could borrow it. Although I suspect the only time I could afford would Monday mornings, or Friday at 3PM, which would be going cheap, but wouldn’t be of much use, either.

There are a million New York stories – and I can tell you about a third of them. And eventually I just might… What I like about THESE photos is they tell stories of their own, so I don’t have to waste time with words. Your interpretations of the stories are most welcome!

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

18/07/2010 at 9:05 am

New York, New York

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new-york-new-york-posterMartin Scorsese has made more than a dozen films set in New York, New York, but the one that bears the full name of the city was shot on a Hollywood lot – an homage to the MGM musicals of the 40s.
You can’t help wondering what he was thinking. It was 1977. The previous year he and Robert deNiro stunned critics and audiences with Taxi Driver and Travis Bickle’s improvised “You talking to me?” soliloquy. They return with DeNiro clad in oversized shoulder pads and spats, noodling a saxophone and bullying America’s sweetheart. This against a background of 40’s big band lounges and painted sets, with a full half hour of Liza Minnelli ‘starring’ in a musical movie-within-a-movie.
It bombed. The studio withdrew it, axed 40 minutes of music – and it bombed again. When it came to musicals, audiences wanted Saturday Night Fever or Grease. And if the story was brutal, Scorses himself had taught them to expect reality, not rough stuff mixed up in glossy sets and glitzy costumes.nyny3

30 years down the road, the timing of its release is irrelevant and Scorsese’s  musical passions have extended to docos The Last Waltz with The Band (1978), No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005) and last year’s Shine a Light with the Rolling Stones. He’s more than paid his musical dues and New York, New York is worth another look.

nyny5If it’s not one of Scorsese’s finest efforts, this movie takes chances, many of which play very well. DeNiro is loathsome as Jimmy Doyle, gifted saxman and borderline sociopath who sweeps the equally talented singer, Francine Evans (Minnelli) off her feet and marries her before she fully understands what she is getting into.  Their on and off-screen chemistry is palpable and much of their banter is improvised with the cameras rolling.

The two-disc set includes and introduction and commentary by Scorsese as well as interviews with Scorsese and Minnelli and the producers reflecting on what they loved about it as wnyny3_jpgell as why audiences hated it, alternate takes and alternate ending, deleted scenes, storyboards, a photo gallery and more. Best though, it comes with both the edited and original versions. If you’re a musical lover, glory in the Busby-Berkeley extravaganza. The rest of us however will enjoy studio’s cut much more.

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

29/04/2009 at 12:23 am

Planning for New York on the Cheap

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xmas-07-usa-0144I’ll be leaving for New York in just a few days now. Hard to believe it’s already here! When I booked the tickets back in January, it seemed like March was an aeon away. But I’m leaving Thursday night New Zealand time. It’s a 12-hour flight to Los Angeles, but I will be arriving in the morning before I left. In fact, I’ll make it to New York in time for a late dinner – right around the time I left Auckland. I love that – it’s like I get a whole extra day. Except that coming back, it takes two full days to get home, which I really hate.

Since this was an impromptu trip and I am going with my friend, Bindi, instead of my darling spouse – we’ve decided to do it as cheaply as possible.

loftHooray for Roomorama! I found a gorgeous loft down by the Brooklyn Bridge for $200 a night ($100 for each of us). My sisters are organising a welcoming party for us in our own home on Saturday night! Take that Hotel Club, etc and your deep-discount Manhattan hotel rooms starting at $250/night each! Actually, booking it was a tiny bit nerve-racking. We booked for eight nights and had to pay up front. $1600 US is nearly a month’s wages with the shrinking kiwi dollar – what if the place was a scam? A couple of apartments I inquired about did feel a little ‘scammish’ but this one didn’t. Fortunately my sister was able to check it out for me and confirm I’d made a good choice.

brooklyn_bridgeBut what will we do there? While the choices are endless, we want to do as many cheap and free things as possible. I got very organised – tracked down a couple hundred websites, cross referencing the ones that wanted me to pay for addresses with Google. Everything has gone into a spreadsheet – so much we couldn’t possibly do it all, but I like the idea of waking up in the morning with a menu of things to pick and choose from.

If I’m in the mood for a boat ride – there’s the free Staten Island Ferry – and we get to see the Statue of Liberty along the way. Feeling like a healthy walk to burn off some of the NY cheesecake? The Brooklyn Bristaten-island-ferrydge is a couple blocks away. Check out local culture – how about a doggy fashion show or a watching a basketball game at the West 4th St basketball courts. For a little classical music, there’s free Opera at the New Yorker hotel, Bach at noon at Grace Church and the Metropolitan Museum of Art has a to-die for ensemble in the atrium for the price of a glass of wine.

met-of-artI hear some of the finest gospel in the US can be heard in any of a half dozen churches in Harlem and Brooklyn – they’re happy to have you and it’s free – but when the plate is passed I also hear they expect you to be generous.

upright-citizens-brigade-theater_v1_460x285Every museum has a free day and they’re not all on the same day, so we can go to as many as we want. And of course there are dozens of gallery openings – where the art is fabulous and if the wine isn’t properly cellared – there’s no charge. The Upright Citizens Brigade has two nights of free comedy, hundreds of clubs have live jazz or blues with no cover charge. There’s so much to do in the Big Apple that doesn’t cost a cent, I’m wondering why I haven’t done this before?

circle_line_12june04This will leave us money for a Broadway show (1/2 price at TKTS), a trip around Manhattan on the Circle Line (and maybe a discount limo ride home after.) Bindi wants to shop at Henri Bendel and I am looking forward to Macy’s on Herald Square. Fortunately we agree on Saks and street vendors – we love them both.

Algonquin Hotel

Algonquin Hotel

I’m looking forward to a slightly posh lunch at the Algonquin Hotel, where Bindi and I will bask in the lingering glow of Dorothy Parker and the Vicious Circle. We’ll gossip and say terrible things about the passersby. And we’ll also make a stop at The Chelsea Hotel, just because I’ve always wanted to go there, and considered staying there this trip – but it’s gotten a bit pricier than the days when Leonard Cohen and Sid Vicious stayed there (not at the same time…) I wonder if it’s it’s still cool.

We considered making a booking at a Michelin restaurant to have one ultra fabulous dinner – but nah – it would be out of place. This is about having fun and doing it in style, without breaking the bank. I figure our biggest expense will taxis and pizza. Mmmm New York pizza…  Just a few more days and I’m there!

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

10/03/2009 at 11:38 pm

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