I have been visiting New York City in person since 1973 … and in my imagination for at least 10 years longer. In my childhood I first fell for the dream of the city through Dare Wright’s 1957 storybook entitled The Lonely Doll. In particular I was then and continue to be entranced by a single image of a doll and her companion bear facing the possible adventures of the pedestrian walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge. I wanted to be there. Broadway cast recordings and books of lives that touched and populated the city filled my world and my dreams as I grew older.
In 1973 I had my first opportunity to visit this real and fantasy world. I was an adolescent in a group of similarly aged theatre-struck characters from western Michigan who descended upon midtown Manhattan for our spring break and 10 plays in 7 days (or the like), including the original casts of A Little Night Music and The Championship Season and The River Niger and more. My first gulp of the city was textured and full and exciting and exhausting, and set a pattern for life. I have visited regularly in the intervening years for business, for theatre, for museums, for simply drinking in the air. Sometimes all of the above. This year a revival of A Little Night Music has opened on Broadway and at the same time (details to be provided as they unfold) this kid from Michigan may just join her spouse to actually live in New York City. Job change winds of change are blowing.
Today on a trip for pleasure and related to that whole job change adventure referenced before, I wandered the streets in the winter sun shining upon (and melting) the snows that fell this past weekend in New York City as it did throughout the region. White and wet and piles and puddles and wonders and blue skies and the city I love. Really, hard to contain my glee.
And the wonders and beauties of a wintry day in Central Park. Change the clothing and these 2009 scenes I enjoyed today of people strolling, dogs walking, snow men posing, and horse-drawn carriages promenading could have taken place in 1909. Stunning.
I choose all of the above. 2010 promises to be a year of change that may place me right in the middle of this city of my pint-sized dreams.