The Fruitstand in NY

The name of my blog comes from mishearing a line in Ryan Adams' "Damn, Sam, I love a woman that rains". The original line goes:

"I'm as calm as a fruit stand in New York, and maybe as strange."

But you know what? Fruit stands are not so strange at all in New York, nor calm (is anything calm in NY? I wonder). In fact, they're everywhere.

I'm not going to go through my whole visit here. We did all the touristy things: visited the Met, MoMA, even the museum of Natural History, went up the Empire State Building, made a boat tour, saw how little there is to be seen at ground zero, went to Battery Park, had pizza on Mulberry street in Little Italy, inhaled the smells of Chinatown, strolled in the Village, had a picnic in Central Park, walked down 5th Avenue and over 125th street in Harlem, had a cappucino from Starbucks and a Cosmopolitan at a restaurant with a group of 4 female friends chatting right behind us, took a taxi over the Brooklyn Bridge, etc etc etc, bla bla bla.

Don't get me wrong, I loved it all, and wasn't bored for a single second, I just imagine it'd be boring to read all the details.

But then: the absolute highlight of the trip? We went to Shakespeare in the Park! To be precise, we saw the first showing of Romeo and Juliet, starring Lauren Ambrose of Six Feet Under fame, and Oscar Isaac, apparently well known on Broadway, and who played Joseph in The Nativity story.

It just felt like the ultimate NY experience. I'd heard about Shakespeare in the Park, but we only realised it was on when we stumbled across it that morning. We naively showed up only an hour before they'd start handing out tickets (the tickets are free, you get them on a first come, first served basis) and followed the line that had already formed until we finally found our spots, three bends in the road further.

Everyone was just sitting calmly in the sun, with a book or a laptop, often an iPod, some with folding chairs. Entertainment was provided in the form of a flute player who made sure "Hey Jude" was in my ears for the next two days, the bossy Rosie who informed us of the rules, and three people selling merchandise.

The guy sitting in front of us told us he'd once gotten there at 8:30 and still left without tickets, but this being the first day, we were in luck, and 1 hour before was enough for the three tickets we wanted. We had subway sandwiches and canned beer (my father made sure to photograph "the crime": my 17 yo brother taking a sip) in the park beforehand, and I felt like I could move to the city right that second.

The play was good, if somewhat long. Romeo and Juliet were good, but I was most impressed by Mercutio (Christopher Evan Welch). There were still some start-up problems (some forgotten lines, torches that went out when they shouldn't and didn't when they should) but the set was impressive, a shallow pool with a movable bridge over it. More than everything though, it was amazing just to be there: in the middle of Central Park, with mostly New Yorkers around us, fireflies around the lights, the occasional duck wondering what all the fuss was about and sometimes a chopper to remind us we weren't in Verona.

Second most memorable thing? Well, I am, and remain, thoroughly a film geek, and it WAS raining the first day we were there. So can you really blame me for draggin my brother and father to see Grindhouse in the Cinema Village, the only theatre in Manhattan still showing it?

I'll get more into it, especially QT's offering, later, but suffice to say I came out bouncing. I'm so happy I saw it the way it was originally intended, and not chopped up like it's now being released in the Netherlands (a longer version of Death Proof is out now, Planet Terror will be released in August). I might (movie buff that I, after all, am) go see Death Proof in theatres here after all, I'm more than a little curious about Vanessa Ferlito in that missing reel, but I'm glad I saw Grindhouse as a whole in a tiny little theatre in the Village.

To sum it up? I had an amazing time, and am now painfully crashing back to reality.