She’s just so pretty, and talented, and passionate, and, and, so cool!
It was my first summer performing interactive theater and I had a major girl-crush. She was playing the role of a thief and she’d stolen my heart. We didn’t exactly become friends that summer. I was too intimidated by her awesomeness: her bonified spunkiness and the unabashed command of any stage. The next summer we both returned, this time cast in an all female trio of pirates. Piratesses. Our ship was “The Weaker Vessel” (a name we were thrilled to create ourselves), I was the captain and she was my powder monkey. We were working side by side constantly, I couldn’t let my girl-crush get in the way. So we became fast friends, bonding over morning car rides to Walmart (I admit it! When I live in Bumblefuck I shop there! I judge me too!), eating whole cantaloupes with a single spoon, and lying in the sun, sharing our thoughts. She’s still one of the coolest people I know, but I no longer get tongue-tied around her. See for yourself- you’ll probably end up with a crush of your own by the time you’ve finished reading this week’s featured Other New York cliché! Willameena, take the oars, I trust you not to blow-up my
Name/prefered pseudonym: Willameena Flint Jones
Borough and neighborhood: Astoria, Queens
They say no one who lives in New York is actually from New York. Where are you from?
I was raised in Big Sky Country. Missoula, Montana to be exact.
Bloomberg is banishing you from NYC. You have 24 hours before you have to pack up and leave for ever. How do you spend them?
Ahhhhh! So much to do and so little time! But as that is how I normally feel on any given day, I will choose to spend my last 24 hours calmly taking in the beautiful sites, sounds and tastes of NYC with my sweetheart along for the adventure. We shall call him Sneaky Pete.
Pete and I would wake up early, feed our cat a whole can of food, and head over to Neptune’s Diner. We belly up to the bar and have ourselves scrambled eggs, ham and hot chocolate with whipped cream ( all for under $5). This 24 hour diner has been voted NYC’s #1 Diner for numerous years. The wait staff wear vests and bow ties and are about the friendliest Greek Grandpas you’ve ever met.
We catch the M60 bus to Manhattan, because I love the NYC bus system (when it works). We get off near the Apollo and head south through central Harlem. I lived in Harlem my first year in New York and there is something so wonderful about the sense of community here. The streets are always alive with music, and people talking about their day. I love all the old men sitting in their plastic lawn chairs with boom boxes, playing dominoes, still at 60 years old willing to cat call that you are blessed to have those legs. Some might read it as offensive, I found it endearing. And as I’m already on 125th street, why not pick up a $5 sundress at Danice along with some $3 flip-flops.
As we wander down the lively streets, we stop on the occasional corner to get fresh-cut mango, a coconut icy and incense until we reached the North east point of Central Park. Here we enter the Conservatory Gardens, a required silent zone for peaceful reflection among beautiful tulips, cherry blossoms, magnolias and gorgeous fountains. We continue south meandering the many paths of Central Park until we find and rent a boat at The Boat House. This has been on the Pete and Willameena NYC to do list for almost 2 years now, thank goodness we finally can check that one off!
We stop to take a brief little nap in the grass, toss a Frisbee around and then continue south to the Central Park Zoo. I say farewell to Ida and Gus the polar bears, all the chinstrap penguins, and of course the talented sea lions, April and Scooter. Pete and I decide we must split and conquer to say goodbye to all our (human) friends. I meet NYCliche and all our fabulous lady friends for salad, scones and tea at Alice’s Tea Cup.
But it wouldn’t be a complete day in NYC without seeing a Broadway show so Pete and I meet at the Lyceum for a matinée of Venus in Fur by David Ives, our new favorite show. After having our minds blown by amazing acting, directing and design, we hop on our motorcycle to 12th and 1st Ave to eat some gluten free S’MAC… my favorite being the Parisian (mac with brie and figs).
We then cruise up the east side and over the 59th Street Bridge back to Queens. We arrive at RAPTURE where all of our friends are waiting for us. We celebrate our last night at this fun black lit, couch furnished bar that serves amazing coconut shrimp, nutella and banana crepes and fancy cocktails with names such as “Tie me to the bedpost” and “Red Panties”. After indulging in these delicious treats, we make the single block walk home. (The best part about having an awesome bar around the corner, no designated driver needed).
And yes Bloomberg, if you are making me leave NYC, then I am taking Sneaky Pete with me. I may have found the love of my life here in NYC, but that doesn’t mean you can keep him. Hopefully this will melt his heart, he will change his mind and let me stay. My narrow escape will attract the attention of some awesome Broadway producer who will then enlist David Ives to write the Broadway Hit “The 24 hr Adventure of Pete and Willa” Starring Pete, Willa and NYCliche (who will play the 20+ characters they met along the way, including herself at tea).
I love going to Columbus Circle at Christmas and watching the Stars in the Time Warner Building. Then I go down and get a gingersnap cookie and hot apple cider and walk around the holiday market.
What restaurant/bar you keep going back to, even though you’ve been meaning to try a dozen others?
If I am in Astoria, it’s all about the home southern cooking of Sugar Freak. Get their Sweet Tea Cocktail, either their fried chicken or crawfish ettoufee, and any of their amazing desserts. The dump cake is to die for.
Hot dogs or pizza?
Gluten Free Pizza if I am near Union Square, Hot Dogs if I’m at a Yankee or Giants Game.
Ever had a run-in with a celebrity (A-D List)? I have had a lot of celebrity sightings: Chris Noth in Starbucks, Cynthia Nixon at the Hummus Place, Tina Fey at my church watching me swing a butterfly around on a stick for Easter,.. the list goes on… I mean I do work in the entertainment business, so it’s not that unusual. But my favorite by far was while I was in a dress rehearsal for “Marat/Sade”. We were performing at Theatre 54, a small black box theatre that is housed on the 12th floor of Shelter Studios, a very busy voice and rehearsal Studio space in Mid town. I was dressed in my French Revolution corset and petticoat and had my face painted white with bright Pink eye shadow and my Hair brushed into the scariest Ginger Rats Nest one might never want to see. I was playing an inmate in the historical Asylum of Charenton and needed to run to the ladies room before we started the run.
As I entered the very cramped bathroom I just happened to bump into Maggie Gyllenhall. As I had just seen her magnificent performance in Classic Stage Company’s Three Sisters, I immediately began to praise her performance, not even thinking how scary I must look and how she probably would like to use the toilet. She was so gracious and thanked me for my compliments. We then each went into our bathroom stalls, did our business, came back out and washed our hands. We went to leave and as we parted she smiled and said… okay..it was nice seeing you.. see you later. Thank you Maggie Gyllenhall for not being totally freaked out by the insane inmate accosting you in the bathroom.
Sneaky Pete and I were walking by Union Square one day and I say casually, “Look honey, there’s a smurf riding a bike.” He looks up and confirms that yes indeed, there is a grown shirtless man painted blue with white shorts riding a bike with a white smurf hat on.
Plug something! Be it something you are involved in, your significant other/roommate/cat is involved in, or just something you think is extra-special and going on in NYC. If you’d like to follow “Willameena” the Actor you can visit: www.noramundegustuson.com. I am pretty good at updating what me/my Sneaky Pete/ or my kitty are doing there 🙂
Thanks, Willa, for taking a moment out of your crazy, hectic schedule to sit down and be a featured Other New York cliché! Part of me really hopes you piss off Bloomberg so “The 24 hr Adventure of Pete and Willa” becomes a reality…
What do you think of this series? Love it so much you want featured? Fabulous! Email NewYorkCliche@yahoo.com.