One Week Plus a Day
The weather has been too beautiful in New York; it doesn’t seem right. Tomorrow is supposed to bring thunderstorms — unfortunately the first day that we are doing an outdoor event.
We’re feeding opening night of the New York Philharmonic tomorrow as a special “Live From Lincoln Center.” It’s a benefit concert — the Brahms requiem — and it will be “plazacast” to a large screen on the Lincoln Center plaza. Two days later, we’ll be doing another benefit opening night — this time the Metropolitan Opera’s (acts of “Ballo,” “Rigoletto,” and “Otello”) — again to a plazacast (30-foot screen). The Met has already raised more than $2 million for the relief efforts. Then comes the first “official” New York City memorial service on Sunday. It was originally supposed to have been in Central Park, but, due to security issues, it’s been moved to Yankee Stadium (still outdoors), with feeds to other ballparks around the city and with tickets given to the families of the dead, missing, and injured. The mayor promises a bigger event for the whole city in a month or two.
According to one producer, the mayor’s office of motion pictures and television is not issuing any permits for anything except a memorial or benefit event. Perhaps that’s why the John Lennon tribute on TNT on October 2 will now be a benefit to New York relief groups (it was to have been a benefit anyway — for a nonviolent world).
I’m not sure I’m a good reporter of what’s going on in the city, because I’m so busy these days. From what I see on my way to and from work, life in the city appears much as it did before. I am told, however, that theaters, restaurants, and hotels are doing poorly. As soon as I get a breather, I’ll start attending some shows myself. The mayor says it should be easier now to get into “The Producers.”
I have still not seen any bagel carts, but the hot-dog vendors are back — a good sign (unless you’re dieting). Some of the crew and I went to a pizza restaurant for dinner tonight; it was reasonably crowded for a Wednesday night.
Last night, I listened to the latest subway-service report on the radio, and I burst out laughing. It was like a Gilbert & Sullivan patter song about how to assemble toys — insert slot A into tab B, and so on. I wish I’d recorded it. It went something like this:
“The A is operating normally, except that it’s local in northern Manhattan but won’t stop at Chambers Street, 155th Street, or 163rd Street. The B is normal except for the pre-attack diversions. The C is not running. The D is normal except for the pre-attack diversions. The E doesn’t stop at the World Trade Center but has been extended into Brooklyn to replace the C. The N is replaced by the M in Brooklyn and the W in Manhattan and Queens. The R is replaced by the J in Brooklyn and the Q in Queens. The Q and W have no stops in Manhattan south of 8th Street except Canal. The 1 has no service south of 14th Street. There is no 9. The 2 and 3 run local from 96th Street to Canal Street; there are no stops at Chambers Street or Park Place. The 4 and 5 are bypassing Wall Street.”
All of that was delivered at the approximately the speed of a tobacco auctioneer. Amazingly, every New Yorker I know understands it all (or at least the applicable portions) — and is accustomed to worse. We LOVE our subways!
Some more info from the mayor today: There are 5,422 missing. That’s in addition to the dead and injured. There have also been at least 50 bias crimes (fortunately with no serious injuries) that the police attribute to the World Trade Center attack.
There are fall flowers blooming in Central Park. A friend called this morning on her way to work in lower Manhattan from her radiologist; a growth has recently doubled in size, and she might need surgery. Neither has anything to do with the attack. Life goes on, warts and all.
Is it time yet for a joke? We were telling this one at Sunday’s memorial event. It’s mildly off-color and relates to religious fundamentalism, but you might enjoy it anyway.
A member of an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect is getting married and has some questions, so he goes to see his rabbi.
“Rabbi, I know that men and women aren’t supposed to dance together, but after we’re married I may dance with my wife, right?”
“Absolutely not! There is a strict prohibition. Men and women must not dance together!”
“Not even after we’re married?”
“Not even then! It’s absolutely prohibited.”
The man starts thinking and gets worried.
“Rabbi, what about sex?”
“Oh, that’s completely different. Sex between husband and wife is absolutely permitted. It’s encouraged. It’s a commandment.”
“But how can we do it?”
“How would you like to do it?”
“Is it okay with me on top?”
“Is it okay with my wife on top?”
“Is it okay side by side?”
“Sitting in a chair?”
“Rabbi, why not?”
“Because it could lead to dancing.”