I was an X-Files fan from day one. But I did not understand Seinfeld until I moved to New York in 1997. I look back on both as shows that reveal the 1990s, at least in how folks use cell phones, and how technology changed through out the decade
With Seinfeld – friends have often heard me say this – I did not like a show with such ridiculous, unrealistic characters. Then I moved to New York City and immediately remarked, Seinfeld is tame. I became a fan immediately – months after the famous wager. Seinfeld helped me transition into being a full time New Yorker, to the point a new cast mate in the Improv show remarked “You say ‘YADA YADA YADA’ a lot.”
I finally got through Bucky Dent and Miss Subways. This blog post is more born from experiencing Miss Subways but thinking back both books are wonderful exposes on the city I love to call home.
I know every character in these books – Ted, Marty, Mariana, Emer, Con, Izzy yada yada yada…
Even Sidhe seems real, despite supernatural qualities. He is a New York Irish imp. My mother’s family is very New York Irish. I know this rhythm of speech. I cannot wait to see that scene when Sidhe first appears on the big screen. I am jealous of the actor who gets to deliver these lines.
After finishing chapter one of Miss Subways I had one thought, “BEEN THERE!”
Emer’s experience on the Subway – minus her #metoo issues with manspreader Manafort – is universal. That process of reading, and re-reading ads, poems and more (Every comic in NYC made jokes about that Lost and Found panel from a few years ago with a wooden leg) on the walls of the subway in an effort to avoid eye contact.
As a self aware actor, trained in physical performance (Alexander, Mime etc), I question how awkward must I look trying not to appear awkward. So much better when on way to an audition,, rehearsal or other focusing destination.
As Emer travels from socialite networking event to uptown building to sketchy China Town back rooms, David Duchovny paints the town with his words. One could say the same as Ted discovers the magic of sweet plantains in Spanish Harlem – I pictured a particular coffee shop near the E125 Street Metro North station where I have eaten plantains before heading to Westchester or Connecticut for gigs
What I truly love about Miss Subways? I almost believe the supernatural elements of the novel. The same way I buy into the time travel magic of Midnight in Paris. These cities feel magical, especially at night. When the eyes get a little heavy, the lights seem to glow like a wizard’s orbs.
Even scenes of the Dragon King in Central Park and Emer’s descending into the hidden depths of New York’s forgotten Subway tunnels and stations, seem possible, if only slightly beyond belief as real.
The only thing I would have changed in either book? Ted and Marty should have seen far more traffic driving north on I-95. That drive can be pure torture. Driving to the climax, perhaps sitting on the interstate parking lot would have slowed the dramedy too much. The book, after all, was not titled I-FUCKING-95.
These books rival a Woody Allen movie in their love/hate relationship with the great city. New York is one of the characters. Combined with House of D, David is becoming quite the fictional chronicler of New York.