Friday, January 16, 2009

Park And Fly

On any given Thursday, there are few places in the world more exciting than New York City. I woke up this morning expecting that the most exciting thing to happen all day would be attending Matty’s inaugural party as club promoter: Sexy Back Thursdays at The Park. But then Sam jumped up from her desk next to me yelling “A plane just crashed outside our office!” and the day briefly took an entirely different turn.

A US Airways flight glided down in the Hudson river a few blocks from my office and quite literally outside the window of my old River Place apartment off the West Side Highway. All of the passengers and crew lived which allowed everyone to start with the gallows humor immediately without fear of much reproach. My favorite comeback being: “If we stop flying, the geese have won.” As it was, the landing and rescue were so quick and uneventful I have to assume that some of the NYC-based passengers merely stepped off the rescue boat, hailed a cab outside the Circle Line Tour and headed back to their respective apartments. After all, they didn’t have much time to change out of their wet shoes and head downtown to Matty’s fabulous new party, and New Yorkers are, if nothing else, a resilient bunch.

I do love The Park. It reminds me of my childhood fantasy of opening a kitschy indoor restaurant designed to look outdoors. I would call it Picnic and everyone would eat fried chicken and hot dogs at wooden picnic tables with red checkerboard tablecloths under a bright kleig light sun. The Park, with its indoor/outdoor motif and heavy doses of camp (what’s with all those Hitchcockian stuffed birds around the back bar mirror?), serves up heaping helpings of broken Asian doll along with expensive cocktails and high-end entrees. It is the restaurant of my childhood dreams if I had grown up in the West Village instead of Utah.

Suffice it to say, Matty’s party was a huge success. And why not? All the usual suspects were there. Gray in black. Mike without Ryan. Charlie in a v-neck sweater. JD and Clayton canoodling while Terry looked on at his handiwork approvingly. Even Brian Babst appeared at the front bar, already armed with lines from tonight’s 30 Rock. He insisted he wasn’t staying long but more than an hour later, I found him upstairs in the Penthouse crush looking determined. Meanwhile, Matty swirled around us all, a social Sonja Henie, skating effortlessly through the scene, smiling for the camera. Chris and Josh were skating too, though their routine was off and I think the judges noticed.

And in the center of it all: me. Poorly dressed as usual, long underwear hidden under my free American Idol shirt, surrounded by Gossip Gays in tiny preppy suits and nerd glasses. They made me want to shove them down the concrete stairs, turning the base of the steps into just a pile of mangled cashmere sweaters and shattered spines. I was inappropriate as usual, pushing my way through the crowd with zero regard for anyone’s safety, including my own. Even creating a short cut by walking across a pair of couches until I nearly stepped on a handsome stranger and his fag hag. “That’s not good for the furniture” I said to him as I climbed back down. He smiled back in a way that said he was charmed now, but sober and in daylight, he would not be so thrilled with me. Story of my life.

Maybe it was the cold but Los Angeles was a hot topic of conversation at Matty’s soiree. Brian deadpanned a story to me about gays in LA stocking up on tonic water like the end times are coming because “it doesn’t have any calories.” JD lamented the shallowness of the LA boys and worried aloud that “the plastics” had followed him to The Park. He seemed amused when I told him that my attitude problem practically got me run out of West Hollywood on a rail. The locals insisted that perhaps I would fit in better in New York, though when I arrived in Manhattan, all anyone ever asked for the first two years was if I was from LA. Perhaps I belong somewhere in between.

Later at the coat check as I bundled up inside my ski parka (an angry lesbian fashion shot fired across a sea of fitted wool coats) a different handsome man came down the stairs and smiled at me. “You look warm,” he cooed, but my only thought was making my train. I muttered “I certainly hope so!” as I pushed past him. After all, why look so out of place if I can’t at least prevent frostbite on my way home. And all apologizes to him and Kathleen Turner but body heat is not how I plan to ride out the winter.

Oh what a night, as the songwriter wrote. The coldest night of the year, of many years even. A plane crash down the street. Only in New York, kids. Only in New York. But as I said before, we New Yorkers are a resilient bunch. I probably didn’t do much to bring sexy back to Thursdays, The Park or the parka for that matter, but at least I was there. And, more importantly, despite my continued surly attitude, I did have a good time.

1 comment:

Tom said...

This post is detailing the night of the gay clones.