The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Five New York experiences that make me want to go back

with 20 comments

New YorkIt’s been quiet at the blog recently and I feel a little bit bad about it. Not because I didn’t update; as a hobby blogger I’ve got the privilege to write for fun rather than out of duty. It’s not a job.

But blogging ethics tells me that I should have put up a sign to inform the regular guests of the café that this blog wasn’t closing down or anything. I was just gone fishing for a few days.

The “fishing tour” went to New York City, where I’ve spent a week that passed far too quickly. I’ve been inhaling the crazy every-thing-is-possible atmosphere (alongside with a lot of substances from cars and all sorts of disgusting smells that I’d rather not think of). I’ve stared at the skyscrapers in wonder, constantly with a silly smile on my face and Simon & Garfunkel’s entire production has been playing nonstop in my head as I’ve been strolling in Central Park.

I did pass a film team as they were shooting, but actually I felt as if I was constantly in the middle of a movie from the day I arrived. You’re so far away and yet so much at home because all the sights are so familiar, from the yellow cabs to the strange clouds of smoke that come up from the streets every here and there.

In this post I’d like to share a few of the things I did that are related to movies and entertainment and that I’d recommend you to do if you get to visit NYC.

Radio city hall 1
1. A guided tour in the Radio City Music Hall
This is a place with a glorious past, claimed to be the largest indoor theatre in the world. Many are the film stars who have attended the grand opening premiers here throughout history. The theatre has been restored in a lovely way. We got to meet a member of the dancing group Rockettes, but most of all I enjoyed to imagine what had taken place here back in time. And I can’t wait to revisit Woody Allen’s Radio Days.
2. A visit to an IMAX theatre

In the far distant corner of Europe where I live, we don’t have fancy things such as IMAX theatre. In the city where I live, there’s only one classic theatre with a big screen left. Apart from that, it’s all about small locations in multiplexes. Some of the rooms are so small that the screens are approaching what people have at home. So I knew that I wanted to grab the opportunity to see at least one movie in a big format, knowing that it might be years before I got the chance to do it again. The movie in question was not one I would have chosen if I could (Jack the Giant Slayer). But this said: size does indeed matter when it comes to movie watching. My jaw dropped considerably.

set tour
3. A TV and film set tour

Many hopeful actors come to New York to try their luck. Very few can make a living that way, so they may end up as guides, which is lucky for us. The three hour long bus tour went ever so quickly with a showman holding the microphone, pointing out all sorts of places of interest. The only bummer was that there wasn’t enough of Woody Allen included in the tour. I guess he’s not as popular in US as in Europe.

Museum of moving the moving image 1
4. A visit to the Museum of the Moving ImageMuseum of the moving image 2
Museum of the Moving Image is a comparatively small, but very enjoyable museum situated in Queens, far away from the crowds at Times square and the more famous art museums on Manhattan. In the permanent exhibition you can see a bunch of items that have been used in film recordings, such as costumes and models.

Among my favourites were the model of the Tyrell skyscraper from Blade Runner and the doll with the spinning head they used for The Exorcist. There are also a bunch of interactive experiences, where you can test out sound editing, making an animation and reading lines for a movie. I suspect that the intended target audience was teenagers, but I had no shame and did this myself and had a lot of fun doing so.

5. A night at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre
Maybe I’ve watched too many Seinfeld episodes, but it felt as if my New York holiday wasn’t complete before I had seen some stand-up comedy. I ended up, not at some fancy, pricy place around Broadway, but at a small, crowded and utterly charming theatre in East Village, where tickets range from free up to 10 dollar a show. I watched something UCBcalled Lasers in the Jungle  and you’ve probably never heard of anyone involved in it. But you know what – the amount of fun isn’t decided by how famous you are or how expensive the tickets are. It’s settled by how good your writing is and how well you deliver it. Despite the fact that I’m so picky with humour that I sometimes suspect I have none, I laughed quite a bit. And I mourned that there is none such club where I live.

Wrapping it up
So what can I say? I had a blast.

My jetlag is slowly leaving my body, but my mind hasn’t quite landed yet. It’s still lagging, longing to get back to the place where many dreams are broken, but new arise every day, endlessly reaching for the world of miracle and wonder somewhere up in the sky.

Written by Jessica

April 7, 2013 at 11:23 pm

20 Responses

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  1. Sounds great! Who did you see at the UCB?


    April 7, 2013 at 11:26 pm

  2. I always find it amusing when tourists get so excited here in Dublin when they recognise places mentioned by writers like Joyce, Yeats and Beckett. For me I had a similar experience visiting New York, L.A and London. Every street name seemed familiar from some strand of pop culture.

    • I guess it’s the same thing with Stockholm…. It’s really not exciting when it gets too close to you.
      I’d really love to go to Dublin one day! Need to read more Joyce though to prepare properly! 🙂


      April 7, 2013 at 11:41 pm

  3. I love New York. When I was there several years ago, I happen to walk down a street where Willem Dafoe was filming. We stopped to have a look & spotted him. I can’t remember the film, think it was one that went straight to DVD!


    April 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    • Awesome! We were told that it wasn’t unusual to see celebrities around in the streets, but I never spotted anyone. But then I mostly stared at the skyscrapers, just couldn’t take my eyes from them.


      April 8, 2013 at 8:27 pm

  4. Crossing my fingers for a more detailed IMAX review.

    • I’ll write a bit more about it as I review the movie. I tried to take some pics inside before the screening started, but tbh my cellphone was a bit lacking for this purpose. Or my photography abilities.


      April 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm

  5. I love New York. This was a nice tribute.

    Mark Hobin

    April 9, 2013 at 12:40 am

    • Thanks! I just go on and on about the pleasures of NYC now. I had to arrest myself a little not to write a three times as long tribute.


      April 9, 2013 at 7:23 am

  6. I absolutely love the Museum of the Moving Image.

    Dave Enkosky

    April 9, 2013 at 1:48 am

    • Yes, it’s a gem! I don’t think it’s all that well known. There were no queues such as the ones at Guggenheim and MoMa, which I also visited.


      April 9, 2013 at 7:24 am

  7. Great post! Glad you had fun at NYC. Thanks for the tips!


    April 9, 2013 at 7:50 am

    • Thank you Fernando! Indeed I had fun. I did a lot of other wonderful things as well, like seeing Phantom of the Opera at Broadway, visiting the Guggenheim and MoMa museums and attending Jon Stewart’s Daily show as one in the audience. It’s just a shame I had to go home again.


      April 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm

  8. I visited the Museum of the Moving Image quite a few years ago (my best friend lives in Brooklyn) and I got to re-record dialogue of Humphrey Bogart’s talking to Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not. So it was like I was exchanging witty repartee with Lauren Bacall. Goosebumps.

    Awesome that went you there. That feeling of longing to go back to somewhere you’ve just returned from is, somehow, alternately awful and wonderful, isn’t it?


    April 10, 2013 at 12:45 am

    • Ýay! That’s great to hear! I did two dialogues (no one in queue): Some like it hot and The Wizard of Oz. Great fun!
      Travelling is always a bittersweet experience. So much joy. So much sorrow.


      April 10, 2013 at 12:47 am

  9. Sounds like a great trip. Have not been to NY yet, but will save this post in case I will in the future 🙂


    April 24, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    • It was wonderful. I think of it every day. I love travelling and journeys like this don’t go out of your system all that quickly. I can’t recommend NYC enough. Those are just a few samples of things to do and see. I did a lot of other wonderful things, such as being in the audience for a Daily show with Jon Stewart and watching a musical at Broadway. Empire State Building is a beauty but beware of the lines… United Nation’s headquarters is a place you might want to see irl. And then there are all the museums: MOMA, Met, Guggenheim and whatnot. Don’t get me started, I’ll never stop!


      April 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm

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