A few months ago, I had just about decided to skip a trip to New York this year. I try to get down there once a year at least. Then I got the idea into my head to look for a road race in Central Park. And I found the perfect thing. So I booked the trip for a long weekend, from which I just returned Monday evening.
Took the train down, picked up my race packet and hit the Whitney on Friday. They had some strange old Claes Oldenburg films (Happenings) from back in the day and a Hopper showing. I do love Hopper.
Saturday was a beautiful day for a 4-miler, and I had one of my best paces of the year – even considering the finishing field was 5500 or so. Central Park…what a paradise for running, strolling, biking. It’s not hyperbole to say that it’s the grandest public park in the world (and they said it).
Saturday night (after spending the day in the park, exploring as I never had before, I went to see a comedy adapted from a 1935 Alfred Hitchcock movie: The 39 Steps. I had just watched the movie a few days earlier so I was prepared. What was surprising, is just how faithful to the dialogue and action the comedy was. To a point. The story arc was very faithful, and the signature lines were verbatim. The twist was that the eye-brows were arched, the glances double takes (and in one case multiple takes) like the table scene from Beckett’s Malone.
The big goof and liberty were the references to Hitchcock movies peppered throughout the play: a sign post with blackbirds, a gauzy simulated shower curtain complete with Psycho music. References to ‘looking out the rear window’ and ‘we’re like strangers on a train’. Probably the funnest one of all was a frieze behind a gauzy screen with stick figures, one of them being an Alfred Hitchcock figure on the left and planes dive-bombing our hero ala North By Northwest.
The fella who played the Robert Donat part looked just like him. Dead ringer. A fun time.
Sunday I hung in Union Square and listened to some jazz later in the day. In my next life I’ll live in New York.
But be a RedSox fan.