So my madcap week in NYC is winding to a close. I can't even remember half the things I've done and it's only been 6 days. Actually my most potent memory is of being almost mauled by a giant chipmunk in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, whilst taking a nap in the sun. OK, so it wasn't like a human-sized chipmunk and perhaps mauled is going a little far but it was still pretty scary. I was taking a nap in the sun and awoke to find myself face to face with said chipmunk, which was gnashing it's not-inconsiderable front teeth. I screamed, chipmunk vamoosed. Now that I've got that horror of my chest, I'll try and conjur up some less rodent-focused stories for you....
Have mostly been staying with my mate Lee, who works in A&R for a record label here in New York and lives in an apartment on the Lower West Side with his dog Cato. His apartment is about the size of the kitchen and living room from mine and Anna's house in Richmond. It's a small apartment for one New Zealander (Lee), one Aussie (me) and one springer spaniel (Cato). Nevertheless, it's been great to be so much in the thick of it. The Lower West Side is a very cool neighbourhood and I've been indulging my passion for secondhand books though I know I'll end up lugging them halway round the world, cos try as I might, I just can't let books I've loved go!
The weekend was spent just exploring, seeing some good bands (including the UK soul singer, Amy Winehouse, at the Highline Ballroom - she rocked), seeing some great theatre and contemporary dance, attending several too-cool-for-school benefit parties (one for a new theatre company and one for a gallery). Then Lee and I holed up in the Hamptons for a couple of days. Yep, the Hamptons, of Sex and the City fame (they're probably namechecked all over the place but thats my only reference). The Hamptons are kind of like Portsea - for the mega rich. Yep. The houses are a whole new level of big. Lee had borrowed our house from a rock friend so we spent the day sitting on the deck drinking Lee's almost-toxic South Island Ice Tea (I think it might have had actual fermented New Zealanders in it). We made chowder and played scrabble and walked the dog on the beach, reveling in our impression of a really bad made-for-TV movie.
We then flew to South Carolina, to Charleston, for 24 hours. Bands, beer, crazy civil war museum, staying in National-Trust-registered house with actual bulletholes in the walls from the Civial War, more scrabble (seriously, you can never have too much scrabble). It was strange and southern and I can't do it justice here. You'll have to ask me about it when I get back.
So now Lee has gone to Phoenix for work and I've been filling the days by lying comotose in Central Park, a bit of museum action, some great films, the Bronx Zoo etc etc. I almost feel like a tourist, though people do ask me for directions all the time which makes me feel quite smug! Have also been exploring Brooklyn, which is such a fabulous neighbourhood. Filled with great bookstores, funky clothes stores and an incredible vibe. It's a great antidote to the tension of Manhattan and somewhat similar to home (feels very much like Fitzroy with a better view).
Am going to run now - Nik Pajanti (lighting designer from my work) is in town for a Broadway Lighting Design Masterclass so we're going to go and get drunk in the West Village, Melbourne style (that's really cheaply, in case you were wondering).
Next stop: Madrid.