New York Moments
This week I experienced two New York moments back-to-back, but in very different settings.
On Tuesday night, I went to see the new 21st Century Choreographers performance at the New York City Ballet. I had originally planned to go on the weekend, but had new plans and thus had to switch to Tuesday. My usual seats weren't available so I decided to upgrade and get center right on the second tier (I normally get the partial-view cheap seats).
Everything seemed normal in the first set (the ballets were fine as were the costumes—all designed by fashion designers in the new NYCB tradition). After the first intermission, as the lights went out and the second set began, a woman in the row in front of me pulled out her cellphone flashlight in order to continue reading her playbill. (Just so we're all on the same page, this is unacceptable behavior at the ballet or any theater performance.) The woman to her left told her to turn it off. It seemed that the former was going to argue the point, but then complied...only to take it out and turn it back on 30 seconds later to finish reading the passage.
At the end of the piece, the cellphone wielder turns to the woman to her left (hereafter named "the complainant") and starts berating her for her rudeness, in that the complainant should have been nicer when asking her to turn off her flashlight. She storms off after a few minutes with her very quiet [husband? friend? older, gentleman lover?]...only to return a few minutes later to the row in front of her previous one. This sets off the complainant, who says something to the effect of "oh hell no!" and in turn storms out of the auditorium. Flashlight lady turns around to the friends of complainant and starts telling them how rude their friend was and continues the argument.
Deciding that I'd had enough of the nonsense, I left for some fresh air—only to find the complainant talking with an usher outside, saying that she won't go back in as long as the flashlight lady is in there. The usher was on her walkie talkie and telling the complainant that she needs her manager to handle the situation. (Poor usher. I bet she never expected this kind of thing when signing up to volunteer at Lincoln Center!)
When I returned to my seat, the managing usher was seated behind the flashlight lady, listening to her complain and also basically saying to both ladies, "Can't we all just get along, for one piece?" I honestly think they held up the intermission just to resolve this because it went on for seemingly twice its normal duration.
The last piece went by without incident, save for the person sitting next to me who spent the entire time sucking on a cough drop. The flashlight wielder and her date left during the curtain call as she smirked and turned, giving a "buh-bye" wave (though her cool exit was hindered by those on the aisle not expecting a passerby at the moment). Bring me back to the cheap seats!
Wednesday night I went to a Yankees-Red Sox game. Theirs is a big rivalry, and I was slightly perturbed to find so many Red Sox fans sharing the bleachers seats with me, feeling comfortable enough to boo and cheer for their team on our turf ("this isn't the bleachers I know"). But then I realized that most of the groups of Red Sox fans around me were actually there with Yankees fans, as if they were groups of friends from college that came together to enjoy the game despite their allegiances. And that's much cooler to see than simply fans sticking to one's side. Respect.
What made it a magical New York moment, though, was that we (that would be, the Yankees) were down. And really down. Down to the point where it was bringing me down, and I was feeling increasingly resentful of the jubilance of the Red Sox fans around me (even though, in all honesty, my fandom is fickle and superficial). And it was starting to rain. Many Yankees fans had left, and the seats were half empty.
In my disappointment, I almost missed it—a grand slam that landed right in front of my section! Immediately Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" comes on as it sinks in that the tables had turned within seconds, and not only had we gone ahead but that was a walk-off home run! Immediate hugs and cheers ensued, in the rain under the lights. No fighting, no biting. Just magic and baseball.
So, I guess there's a moral here. Don't judge a book by its cover, and hey, you never know.