A City So Nice...
David Letterman used to say, New York, New York, a city so nice, they named it twice. Sure it’s nice, but who do ya know in New York?
ears ago, when I was one of the hosts of the television show, ‘The Vancouver Show,” I was fortunate to be sent to various cities in the U.S. to attend what were known as movie junkets. Film studios like MGM, Paramount, and 20th Century Fox flew reporters from all over the continent to a big city, like L.A., Chicago, or New York, put them up in a fancy hotel, and then sent them to a private screening of their new film.
Following the screening there would be two days of interview sessions with people involved in the movie. It would usually be the director and a couple of the actors. The reporters would take the videotapes of their interviews back to their tv stations and air them as part of the entertainment segment of the newscast, or t.v. shows.
Usually, you would fly in on a Friday, screen the movie that evening, then Saturday, and sometimes part of Sunday you would conduct the interviews. If you were really lucky all your interviews would be scheduled on Saturday morning, and that would leave the rest of Saturday, and all of Sunday to sightsee till your flight left for home, Sunday night.
On one particular junket to New York, that very thing happened to me. All my interviews were done by midday Saturday. I had checked before leaving home to see if my beloved New York Yankees were in town that weekend, and as it turned out - they were! I grabbed a cab in Manhattan and headed for my first visit to Yankee Stadium! The cab driver was a college kid, and as we drove I told him it was my first visit to Yankee Stadium, he said, “So, you’ve never been to the Bronx? Are you on an expense account?” I said yes, “Well how about I give you a tour of the Bronx before we hit the stadium?” And we did. Now this would be in the early 80s, and the part of the Bronx that he took me to looked like a war zone. Burned cars up on blocks, kids playing in the spray of opened fire hydrants, quite the sight for a guy from the suburbs of Vancouver!
When we got to Yankee Stadium, I thanked him for the tour, and asked where I could meet him after the game to get a ride back to Manhattan. “After the game? You won’t find me in the Bronx after dark!” What! I asked him how I was going to get home. He said, “As it starts to get close to the end of the game, you’ll notice some of the fans will start to get up and head for the exits. When you see that, join them. Most will be heading for the train that’ll take you back to Manhattan.”
I enjoyed the game, was thrilled to be in Yankee Stadium, and as the game was nearing the end, just as he said, people started to leave. I left with them. When I got to the train station, I saw a young couple waiting for the train and asked them if this was the train that would take me back to The Plaza Hotel. They said it was, and as a matter of fact, they were getting off at the same station. They asked what I was doing in New York, and I told them, and then they asked if I had ever been to the Playboy Club.
Now, I’d naturally heard about it but had never been. “Well,” the guy said, “I’m a member there, how would you like to be my guest tonight?” He said he was going home to change into a jacket and tie, and I should do the same, and he’d leave my name at the door. I said that would be great, but the only problem was, when I packed for the trip, I packed a 3-piece grey suit, but somehow there was a mixup, and I had a grey jacket, a grey vest, but brown pants! This didn’t matter for the movie junket interviews, I was only shot from the waist up, but to show up at the Playboy Club in a grey suit with brown pants was, well, more than a fashion faux pas!
He looked at me, and in that wonderful New York accent asked, “Who da ya know in New York City?” I said, “Nobody.” And in true New Yorker fashion, he said…”So who gives a sh*t?”
Ya gotta love New York City, a city so nice they named it twice!
Till next week...
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White Rock, BC • Canada V4B 3Z2