Stumbled out of bed into the rain to buy eggs and met a media editor from Vanity Fair in the pasta aisle. You never know in this city . . .
Two nights ago putt-putting through midtown with PG in his Porche. Hey, how fast have you driven this thing? "Like 45!" he says. "I drive like a grandma." We never rise above second gear as we tack through Times Square and head East towards Tudor City to watch the sun set behind the Chrysler Building. On the way we stop by the Harvard Club for a tour––"Here," he says to the doorman, handing him twenty dollars. "Can you watch my car?" The man grunts and smiles.
"Let's go over to the Bloomberg Building," he says. "And then maybe we can get a drink at Le Cirque." But then no: Madison Avenue!
We find a parking spot conveniently located in front of The Carlyle hotel. "Come on--you're going to love this place!"
Inside a low-lit restaurant baby boomers are dining with their dogs resting beside them on the floor. Like walking into the gilded age. In Bemelman's Bar the murals witness an elder of the state, with his eagle pinned to the lapel of his sports coat, putting a balloon glass to his lips and letting that last bit of brandy slide onto his tongue. "Just add twenty-five percent," he says towards the bartenders, then shuffles through the room and out the backdoor to the avenue.
The bartenders rejoice at the sight of PG. Two stools are cleared for us at the bar. Wine materializes without order. One of the bartenders and PG get to work booking TT for the last week of June, while two of the boys who built Broadway--Jim Caruso and BIlly Stritch--get their set going in the middle of the room. Jim is lit by two halogens hanging off a column, and as harsh as it is, it's perfect. It's the New York I wanted to see when I moved here--not the 2006 land of panini presses, not the 2009 back lines of a third wave coffee shop latte art revolution, not the reclaimed wood and edison bulb throwbacks of 2012, and certainly not the current saccherin hell of ice cream shops and cupcakes and food trucks and flea markets. I realized then I want my nights out to feature a shitty light bulb blowing out the face of a lifelong performer still busting his ass to make ends meet despite having shared the stage with the likes of Liza Minnelli and Tony Bennett.
Because that's the goddamn truth about this place. You'll perform at Lincoln Center, then haul your instrument home on the subway and dodge a river of spilled coffee constantly threatening to reroute onto your pair of "good" shoes.
Billy takes a solo and Jim comes over to talk to PG and me. The boys who built Broadway are watching it turn into Disney World. The memories of the best days spin off them. I understand something else: it's okay to be jaded, as long as you keep trying to make it what you want it to be.