Musings of an Irish-American

Sometimes I think about stuff, and then I write it here…

Monthly Archives: January 2009

reflections from NYC

Last day here at the Public; here’s a little ditty as a reflection on my experiences here
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As we began, I knew not what to expect
So please allow me a moment to reflect
On the many ways I will remember NYC
Though our time was short (weeks numbering 3)
We began with a connection in Charlotte at the airport
Where we had to run from our terminal as if competing in sport
Then we got to the city, our residence the Y
Tried to use our room keys, didn’t work, don’t know why.
Going to diners for breakfast, lunch or dinner
Personally, I most prefer “brinner”.
Taking African dance and seeing Ailey live
Masters of their art, to which I strive.
Scavenger hunt in Manhattan, as if in a rat race
Going to all sites, doing all tasks, finishing IN LAST PLACE.
Seeing comedians, both good and bad
Drunk hecklers both times, still good times were had.
Seeing the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Impressive exhibits, each and every part.
Speaking in silly accents for no reason at all
In a diner, or on the street or walking down the hall.
Using TKTS to go see Broadway shows,
Phantom and Avenue Q (the best ones) we chose.
Also In the Heights was quite a sight to see
Equus not so much (Daniel Radcliffe’s wee-wee).
Coming to the Public and meeting all the staff
From the start I knew I loved it, because they made me laugh.
Papering for the Public, and coming to see their shows,
First Love, County of Kings, the break/s (and LIGA kind of blows).
Walking around Battery Park, seeing the Statue of Liberty,
Then to the Brooklyn Bridge, over and across went we
Safely and soundly, (thank God) and a photoshoot for three!
Seeing fake Elmos everywhere I went
Along with Duane Reade pharmacies, “argh!” I’d lament.
Going to see the opera at the world famous MET
Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice”, that I’ll never forget.
Leaving my phone in my room, and using a public phone
Leaving and coming back to South Port- TKTS closed at 6- if I’d only known!
Seeing the Broadway premiere of The American Plan
Thanks Steve, you’re a really great man.
But the thing I’ll remember most fondly,
An experience I hope I never forget,
Was an afternoon spent in Central Park
No purpose in trip, no souvenirs to get,
Just the company of a great friend
One whose friendship (I hope) will never end.
So goodbye New York City,
I’ll miss you very much
But if I know me (I think I do)
I’ll soon be back in touch.
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-MJH

a creative force

Last week here in NYC. Things have gone well so far; weather’s been a bit mercurial, but it’s January so I’m not super surprised. No work tomorrow (or today) because of Martin Luther King Jr. Day; so we’re going to gallavant around NYC like tourists for a bit and get in all of the sights that we haven’t seen yet. 

Busy week because of the Under the Radar Festival at the Public; it features lesser known playwrights/performers and foreign theater troupes, leading to an amalgamation of any type of theater that you could possibly think of. Last weekend I saw a Samuel Beckett novella and a one man show about growing up in Brooklyn featuring his hip-hop/rap skills. This weekend I saw a show about making a show by a troupe from Amsterdam (imagine how much sense that made) and a biographical show featuring dance, spoken word and percussion/mixing by a guy that met Jay-Z before he was anybody. Now that the festival is over, I don’t know what the Public has in store for me during this last week but I’m excited just to get back into it with those wonderful people that I work with.

Lots of happenings over the course of the week: saw Equus with Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths (Radcliffe: nude = bad; Griffiths: overweight = going to have massive coronary on stage sometime in the near future), alumni party with some very active DePauw alumni and Phantom of the Opera on Broadway last night (with yet another DePauw alum in the company!). The last I believe was possibly the most enjoyable because I had not seen any incarnation of the show before last night (yes, I’m sure that’s a surprise to some of you, but get over it). It was extremely well done and the music and the story worked very well together. Brunch today with DePauw alum Nancy Ford, who was kind enough to provide her insights about DePauw and our experiences and New York and her experiences; I think these kind of connections are very important as a reminder of where life can take us and the help we can find, if needed, in all sorts of places. All of these happenings included multiple visits to NYC diners where, at any given time of the day, you can order breakfast, which I did (I’m a big fan of brinner) without hesitation. 

I’m dealing with some issues about returning to DePauw because, as some of you loyal readers know, Greencastle is no New York City. I’m not saying I have some sort of expectation of what’s going to happen, but I’m afraid I might miss the hustle and bustle of the big city while starting for second semester. We’ll see…

One thing I’ve learned quite a bit about during this trip are the intracacies and importance of conversation and communication; there is no better feeling or better experience than to sit in a diner or walk with a friend in Central Park and talk about anything: your life, their life, life in general, the weather, the sights, expectations, hopes, dreams, fears, family, and so on and so on and so on. There’s also nothing better than to talk through difficult issues with the hopes of finding a solution or gaining some unfound insight about an issue that you didn’t quite understand before. It makes me want to reconnect with people in that way in so many different ways and for so many different reasons. With that, I leave you with this quote to ponder about conversation and listening:

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward, and we want to sit in their radius. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”

Here’s to a great last week in N-Y-C.

-MJH

birthday reflections

Never before have I celebrated a birthday without my family until today (well, yesterday technically). It was an odd feeling, getting up and going to the Public for my internship without the well-wishes of my family. That’s not to say that I didn’t receive well-wishes from the people here on the trip, but, as I’m sure you can tell, it’s not exactly the same. The folks at the office were kind enough to get cupcakes from Crumbs bakery to celebrate my birthday, which I couldn’t have been more happy with, given that, this time last week, they didn’t even know who I was. I think it says a lot for the quality of people with whom I work.

Then a haircut to clean up my look, as my hair was getting shaggy and unmanageable, and dinner at a deli in Times Square with a few good folks from this trip before heading off to our panel discussion for the evening, right before which I received a birthday phone call from my brother (with Happy Birthday Song rendition and all). After the discussion, we went to a jazz club: the Jazz Standard at 116 E 27th St. We heard a tight hour-long set in the  chill backdrop of this basement jazz club, compliments of a fellow student on the trip who got us in sans the twenty dollar cover charge. It was after this event that I started to wonder if my family was going to call me at all for my birthday. Little did I realize, since I had turned my phone off in the jazz club, that my family had left me a voicemail. So, I decided to call them and speak to them in person. It was nice hearing their voices, and I didn’t really realize how much I missed them until I started to say goodbye to my sister. Something about it made me tear up, but I think it’s because, no matter how much we think we can get by without our family, there’s something, somewhere, deep inside of us that always remembers how much they really mean to us and that we need that support and care that really only they can provide.

But I digress; I wanted to take a little time to reflect on a bit of a discussion I had with a friend of mine today (to whom I can either refer to as “my good friend” or “one of my best friends”. as we will find out). This friend referred to me as their “best” friend, and, to be honest, I guess I was a little dumbfounded by it. I’ve always seen the “best friend” designation as a term to be used for that one confidante that you feel so comfortable with you could tell or share anything with them and know that they’ll support you no matter what. Note I say “one”. This friend told me that the term “best friend” really can’t be used unless it’s mutual, which is understandable, but still doesn’t reconcile the exclusivity I feel the term denotes. I mean, I do feel this person is someone that I am close with, closer moreso than I am with a lot of people, but I guess it scares me to use the term “best friend” because, to me, that means there’s no other, just an assortment of good friends that aren’t the “best”, as it were. 

It leads me to another point about how close one can really be with another; does the connotation of “best friend” mean that there’s no holds barred, no stone left unturned? I feel that’s something else about being referred to as a “best friend”, but also a reason that it has to be mutual- if I’m not ready to share everything with you, but you are with me, then I can understand why you wouldn’t refer to me as a “best friend”. However, I feel there’s a tipping point with this, only in the case of having a best friend of the opposite sex; if I’m not sharing something with you because it makes me feel uncomfortable, it’s not because I don’t want to, but maybe because I can’t, maybe because I’m afraid that it’ll make you jealous or change the dynamic of our relationship; but, I digress once again, because really, that means that it’s gotta be a two way street- what is shared by one is shared by the other and vice versa- for it to be a designation of being a “best friend”.

NYC is treating me well so far, hopefully better for the next two weeks.

So here’s to twenty years
More for hope and less for fears
Bringing laughs instead of tears
Hearing cheers over jeers
Thanks for twenty wonderful years.

-MJH

the big apple

I can definitely say this: I am loving New York City (or at least what I have experienced so far).

Although I am currently worried about paying for my meals throughout this month, I think things are going to be great as I spend this month of January in New York.

After arriving in NYC at La Guardia airport, with a connecting flight from Charlotte, NC (which involved a fun run from Concourse E to Concourse B) we got a chance to meet the people responsible for our wonderful internship opportunities in NYC. Personally, I will be working at The Public Theater, a non-for-profit theater organization that is responsible for the New York Shakespeare Festival held every year at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park and that holds year round productions in their own six stages. I haven’t a clue yet what I’ll be doing, but my staff host seems like a wonderful guy and I’m really looking forward to working for this organization with such a wonderful history. After meeting our internship providers, the Center for Creative Resources, myself and about six other group members traversed down Broadway to Times Square. After getting over the initial “Oh My God, I’m in New York everything’s so bright and amazing”, I realized that Times Square is great for about 12 and a half minutes and then, after all of your senses are overloaded (including smell), you get sick of seeing another brightly lit sign or blown up picture of a celebrity.

This morning, myself and my friend went to The Church of St. Paul the Apostle on Columbus Ave at 60th Street. It’s a beautiful church that just had its 150th anniversary. I was intrigued by the homily (or the parts that I remember, as my friend did actually notice that I accidentally dozed off in the middle) which was about letting the message of the Christmas season of Christ’s coming among us as a child to keep us from our cynicism (of which I partake regularly). I don’t understand how that works, as I am a hopeless Cubs fan, but am cynical about almost everything else in my life.

After wandering a bit, we met with our group and went to the Route 66 cafe, on 9th Ave at 56th street for a free brunch (gotta get the free food while you can). After a delicious 7-Grain French Toast (with delicious apples and strawberries) our group wandered around (back down towards the Times Square area again, which isn’t half as bad during the day because the lights aren’t as imposing) and then headed to a special dance lesson at the Alvin Ailey American Dance School, at 9th Avenue and 55th Street, where our group went through a great warm up and then learned a full African dance (lots of sweating and missteps, and the rest of the group did wonderfully). Then, after wandering around a Whole Foods and realizing that there was no point in blowing money at such an expensive venue and perusing the shops at the Time Warner center, a quick shower back at the YMCA on the West Side where we’re staying and then dinner. Myself and two friends ate at the Cosmic Diner, at 8th Avenue and 53rd Street, where I had hot pastrami on rye for the first time (wonderful) and we walked past the closing of Hairspray on Broadway. We were on our way to our group’s activity, which was to see a special 50th Anniversary show of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company at the New York City Center (On 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues). Never before have I seen a dance performance that was a seamless production of athleticism and artistic vision. The performance was brilliantly well done and I am so glad that it was part of our schedules. Then our entire group went to see the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center before they take it down tomorrow, and then travelled (without incident, mind you) to the Round the Clock diner in East Village. A great time was had by all and we’re ready to take on NYC head-on.

I don’t know what the likelihood of me being able to update very often, but check back and hope I can find an Internet connection :-).

-MJH