In and of itself, that's no great pronouncement, literally MILLIONS of people have been to New York City. (And, of course, millions of people LIVE in New York City.)
But when I was a child, growing up in Columbus, Ohio, in the 1950's and 60's and watching endless hours of television shows about educated, cultured, erudite (not to mention rich) people living in New York City, I couldn't imagine ever actually visiting there. I realize this says more about my lack of imagination as a child of the West Side of Columbus than it does anything else, but there you go. The idea that I could share a sidewalk or a Sardi's with the likes of Danny Thomas, Barbra Streisand, Mary Martin, Dick Van Dyke, Ed Sullivan, etc. was just a non-starter, ya know? (And once I read Hubert Selby Jr.'s Last Exit To Brooklyn as a teenager in 1968 I was scared shitless to step foot in N.Y.C.)
Anyway, I've now been to New York City any number of times: on vacations, on my 2001 honeymoon at The Plaza, on rock & roll missions with Watershed and Hamell On Trial. (At one point in 2005 when Hamell was formulating & finalizing what would become his acclaimed The Terrorism Of Everyday Life one-man show, his management company was flying me back & forth from Columbus to N.Y.C. once a month just to run lights and stage-manage the work-in-progress runthroughs at a tony Manhattan comedy club. I felt like a rock & roll star, except there was no dope, hookers or Chinese food.)
In all of those visits, though, right up through last summer on a Watershed tour, I have never been able to shake the feeling of being a fish-out-of-water-hayseed Midwest boy staring up at the tall buildings in the Big City. The visit detailed below - penned for the late-lamented Elliott Murphy Newsletter that manager-extraordinaire Charlie Hunter published in the 1990's - was no different.
© 2013 Ricki C.
Murphy piece © 1992 Ricki C.