A Great Night in New York City

When I remarried and moved the NYC 4 years ago, I would wake in the morning and I felt lost.  Thank goodness for my swimming, at least I had one constant, early in the morning to get me out and moving.  I had no friends, not even acquaintances, no car or idea where to go, north, south, east or west.  One of my friends, back in Jerusalem, told me to take a book, go to a café and read, then start a conversation with someone else reading, “Oh, I was thinking about that book, how is it?”.  It wasn’t working for me.

I used my own personal resource of things I love to do to be my guide, how to proceed.  (I am sure you have some too and I would love to hear what they are.  Maybe I’ll try something new.)  Here are some of the other hidden treasures I found in the city (which by the way can be any city, anywhere).

The subway became my first resource to exploit.  I love the colors, the street fashion and the maze of intricate ways to traverse the city.  Not to mention, it functions as the way to get from point A to B.

I promptly joined the New York Public Library.  There are locations everywhere and the librarians help in every way to expedite all avenues of fiction, nonfiction, text and sources in all forms.  I took my computer and iPhone into my local branch one day for a “technical hookup class” and got one on one attention.  There are computer classes in local branches, summertime lunchtime concerts and loads of other activities, take your pick.

Talk radio is sweeping the country again.  Many of us have  childhood memories of waking up, coming down the stairs for breakfast and hearing the morning radio in the background.  It was as familiar in our generation as Walter Cronkite or Huntley and Brinkley.

Today, peoples’ mornings are still fixated on the news and information, but the process has evolved.  People digest news in the form of print, digital and television and catch up on the world by way of Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat.

When I was studying for my CPA exams, I took a review course late at night.  On the drive to, Dr. Laura, one of the most popular talk radio hosts in history, hooked me in.  On the drive home, it was the soundtrack from Cats.  The melodic resonance of the host’s voices and the haunting feel of the music sometimes eased the tension and frequently moved me to tears.   Whatever it was,  I have been listening ever since.

Today, walking and subwaying all over New York, I have become one of those hooked up pedestrians.    I listen to Moth slams, public radio podcasts, audio stories and books.  I love being so moved to tears by a podcast that my eyes are so blurry that at times I don’t see where I’m going when I exit the doors of the 1 train.

Following are three of my top suggestions for entertaining evenings and afternoons out and about in the city.  Don’t be afraid to discover the ever changing world and in the process expose our minds to new experiences, celebrate diversity and frequent places where young audiences attend.

The Moth is a venue of curated events that feature an open mic.  The evenings usually have a particular theme and anyone can tell a five minute story, no notes allowed.  It perpetuates the culture of storytelling. The Moth has events in locations all over the country.  We went to a Moth MainStage in Manhattan one evening last week.  There were 5 incredibly moving storytellers whose stories were 10-12 minutes long.   One story was a teacher who dropped everything in his life, including all chances for livelihood to go on tour with the Spice Girls, culminating with the champion photo with Victoria Beckham. How interesting is that! Next was a woman who escaped South Sudan on foot to Kenya with an 8 year old brother and her own child by way of Ethiopia, Portland and Minnesota, to live to see her daughter graduate law school.

On another evening we went to a live jazz show at Smalls Jazz Club in the Village.  The place is not fancy to say the least, but the crowd is lively, the atmosphere is cool and the music rocks!

I also recommend trying the vintage movie theaters.  Lincoln Center has a film club and the Paris Theater and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas has an old fashioned arthouse feeling.  The movies are off the beaten path and it’s a great place to sneak away and play hooky from the world for a couple hours.  And car chases, while still sometimes there, are more novel.

If you live in New York City, try to get a NYC ID card and join Clubfreetime.com which can give you access to more citywide sites, and many are free.

Wherever you may live, open the door to a new experience and leave it ajar.


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