A year ago I was in New York, picking up my number for the NYC Marathon on a rainy Saturday, then running the windy streets the next day. It was glorious. Earlier this week there were trucks along Central Park West unloading and connecting massive coils of cable, wiring the park for the end of the race on Sunday. This year I’ll be watching rather than running (Matt is all trained and ready to do it again) and I’m not sad about that. In fact, I’m excited. This wasn’t a year for marathon training, but it’s still a year to enjoy the city.
“You’re four for four,” David said to me Wednesday night as we walked back up town after seeing “An American in Paris.” I didn’t know what he meant at first, then he pointed out I’d chosen two plays and two restaurants over the previous two days and each had been excellent. We were both surprised by the skilled mix of classical, modern and show dancing (with a heavy emphasis on ballet) in “An American in Paris,” all of it smart and sharp, set against back drops that danced across the stage too, the streets of Paris and the Seine coming in and out of view as panels whisked across the stage on free rolling wheels swirled by dancers, a dazzling art show in motion.
“A View From the Bridge,” directed by Ivo van Hove (excellent profile of him in last week’s New Yorker), with a set as stripped and modern as Paris was 50’s and lush, was gripping on Monday night. This revival of Arther Miller’s 1953 play had the unmistakable stamp of van Hove, wringing the heart out of a play. David and I had started the morning packing the car in New Hampshire, and by 11:00 p.m. we were walking up Broadway to our AirBnB on the Upper West Side, stunned.
We had dinner at ABC Kitchen on Tuesday night and lunch at Gabriel Kreuther on Wednesday — fantastic foodie experiences that we were hungry to enjoy, having walked 20 miles over two days by then. We walk when we come to NYC — into and around Central Park, up and down Broadway, back uptown from the 9/11 Memorial, through Soho and Noho and Union Square and Herald Square and in and out of the overload of Times Square multiple times on this trip, with tickets to three plays.
Yesterday we walked another 7 miles on a day when we’d planned not to move around too much. But between a morning stroll through Central Park marvelling at the massive sycamore trees, a visit to the American Museum of Natural History and a walk back down Broadway for the play “Hand to God,” we logged a lot of miles again.
Walking back up Broadway last night we were still talking about “Hand to God,” an outrageously funny play that stars Tyrone, a sock puppet brilliantly played as an alter ego by Steven Boyer. With its irreverent take on religion and incisive portrayal of the pain that can arise from mistaking emotional silence for morality, it’s a deeply affecting play that cuts much deeper than the laughs foul-mouthed Tyrone draws with his dark monologues on religion’s failure to truly lift the human spirit.
Our spirits are certainly higher after a very full week in the city, a much needed mini-vacation when David and I only focused on what we wanted to do. A week for us. And we’re not sad about the week coming to an end, because now we have a weekend with Emilio and Ava, and we’ll be back in the city on Sunday, watching Matt, and tens of thousands of others, run.