Originally published Aug 24, 2016
Today is Easter
I use the stairs at my hotel because between only two elevators in the building, you have to plan 30 minutes of waiting to get down eight flights. The steps were littered with jelly beans and a few other Easter candies (also, bizarrely, Advil). I thought maybe an insurance claims adjuster dragged his 10 year old son to NY while he made a presentation about risk assessment at the annual Geico conference. And Easter is his son’s favorite holiday and the dad’s hurried attempt at making it up to him was to hide candy on the stairwell of the Hampton Inn, but some 19 year old on her first trip to NY got in at 8am (right after he had hidden it) and busted open the box and started eating it, thinking how remarkable it feels to be an adult. This will be the end of Easter for this child.
I came to NY with my mom when I was eight years old. In 1978, the legend of NY whether true or not was that to walk on the street here meant that you would be mugged, raped, and killed. The only clear memory I have was literally running down the street by the hand of my mother to get to FAO Schwartz. While she was away at meetings, I stayed in the hotel room and got to watch the Neil Simon movie, The Goodbye Girl on pay-per-view. As long as I didn’t turn the channel, the movie would repeat and I watched the Marsha Mason magnum opus a total of three times in succession.
My relationship to this city is complicated because at once, it has everything that I think I might have dreamed from life from my eight year old perspective: access to art, and artists mainly, but at the same time there is something that is a huge disconnect for me in the experience. I tried living here for about two years, but came to the conclusion, clearly, about 1/2 way through that it would remain a remarkable place to visit. Not a home.
I am doing today what I love most about NY, which is to connect with interesting new people, and even better with interesting old ones. I just left the studio of uber-famous costume designer Reid Bartleme whom I have known since an awkward locker room meeting in Columbus when I was interviewing for the job of Artistic Director many years ago. He and his partner Harriet Jung have created costumes for a few works of mine and I hope many more into the future. He invited me over to see the studio, decorate Easter eggs, and plan our next super-secret project together. My eggs were the nicest but Reid made a good go of it and all I want to do is support him to do better in the future.
I began the morning by completing the second of two photo shoots I’m doing of dancers while I’m in town. I worked with model and former dancer Justin Bach. He’s a theater director as well. We shot in the DANY Studios up against the gimongous windows, playing to an empty Easter street below. Yesterday, I worked with a dancer from the Martha Graham School, Antonio Cangian. We shot as soon as I got off the train from Philadelphia. I didn’t have a location lined up, so I just had faith I’d find something as soon as I got in. I walked up the stairs and found a bunch of pipes with a big window so I set that as the location. When I got there with Antonio, the door to the roof was open and he was game to brave the freezing cold for the benefit of a gorgeous view of New York City.