I’m pretty sure my dad still thinks of NYC like it was in the 70s. He worries about his little girl walking past scores of porn palaces when ever she sees a Broadway show. He imagines I’m the only WASP to venture north of 86th Street on a daily basis. When I got robbed on 25th Street at 8:30PM, he wasn’t the least bit surprised. “Well, you’ve lived there eight years,” he said, like duh, I should expect people to grab my belongings any time I turn the deadbolt on my apartment door.
Last week I turned the corner onto my block in Hamilton Heights and entered a time warp (and I don’t mean the dance in Rocky Horror).
Orange cones and antique cars lined the street. A blinding light shone far brighter and far above the usual street lamps. The block was blocked from usual traffic, but no one stopped me from walking to the door of my apartment. Or from taking a bunch of pictures before I stepped inside.
It was clearly a film set. I learned they’d been shooting scenes for HBO’s upcoming show “The Deuce”.
“The Deuce” explores the porn industry during the 1970s. I’d seen plenty of selfies from the set of this show, my actor friends who do background work posing with their period pornstaches. Now here it was on my block!
There I was, finally living in the city just as my dad remembers it. If my dad had a cellphone (he doesn’t #stuckinthe70s), I would have Facetimed him to show him the cars on my street. He might have thought they were cool, or maybe they would’ve just made him miss his 1969 Austin-Healey.
Writing this makes me miss my dad, far away in California.
The air conditioning units give it away. It’s 2016. In 40 years, I may very well think of NYC exactly how it is today.
“Um it’s 2056”, the kids will say, rolling their eyes, “New York hasn’t been that way since the teens.” (Will 2010-2019 actually be called the teens? Super weird.)
“New York was my oyster in the teens,” I’ll reply, “Oysters are extinct now be we used to eat them raw at happy hours in midtown. New York was my oyster, and that’s how I’ll always remember it, thank you very much,” then I’ll pause before continuing, “You really should read my blog all about that time.”