Spent the morning doing publicity work for the shows and exploring the immediate neighborhood, which still had a bit of snow on the curbs even though the sky was clear. There's a ginormous tall housing development just down in the other direction from the subway, built of brick, which is hard for me to get my head around having spent so much time in Christchurch. Went shopping at the local supermarket, which sells eggplants/aubergines of tremendous size. We don't think they'd taste very nice, but they will certainly make good learning aids for Future Guidance.
First stop in town was Times Square. Joel pointed out that it is basically just a place people go to look at ads, which is quite weird when you think about it. The bigger the ads, the more people come, so the bigger the ads... more fun at night probably. Walking around in NY is kind of like reading Hamlet, you come across quotes you recognize all the time but you didn't know where they fitted in the text. Times Square, Central Park, 30 Rock- that end of town is less New York than New York Land, where you get to see all the sets from your favourite productions, jammed improbably close together like a studio lot.
Central Park still has quite a lot of snow and there's no leaves on the trees. Joel saw his first squirrel. It had a nut and it buried it, but he saw where, so if we get hungry later in our visit we can go back and get it.
After checking out 5th avenue and the Lego store in 30 Rock, I went to central station and got a subway at rush hour, which was a pretty fun experience. Grand Central is extraordinary and feels like a church, somehow quiet even when its full of people. Mum and Dad told me before I left to imagine them on their trip there in 1977, when they were quite a bit younger than I am now. New York was rougher then, and they are still a bit sore about being slightly conned by a camera salesman on their first day. They also still remember their first sight of a person with a gun outside of NZ, and I had a similar experience seeing the soldier leaning by the steps as I went in. There was a big circle of people at the centre of the main hall, and two cameras filming a man and a woman. Turns out it was a marriage proposal- no pressure or anything. Whoops and cheers at all the big moments.
I certainly feel very anonymous, much less self conscious, in a city this big. I'm always overhearing conversations which sound like scripts (probably the accents), like the woman on the subway from Central down to the East Village, talking about how now her partner is in prison she's "single but not single, like always alone but not single" or the guys next to me at Katz' Diner talking about how Donald Sutherland is hard to work with. No-one seems to care who's listening, so I can see how being a writer here would be easy, you'd just need to ride the subway or walk around a couple of hours and pick the the best idea you hear.
Spent the evening back in the East Village, which is a really cool area. I have a lifelong and chronic inability to have ID when I need it, and no faith in my ability to lie to/charm an american bouncer, so I headed home after the first bar. Writing this on Saturday am, jet lag seems to be no big thing for me this time round, which I am very thankful for.