You live in New York City, and sometimes you complain.
OK, a lot of times you complain.
The subway’s too crowded. There’s way too much traffic, thanks to the near-constant street construction (hey guys working on 58th Street and 1st right near my apartment, how many freaking years does it take to re-pave a 20-foot area? Asking for a friend). Prices are insane. The noise can be ear-splitting. Yada yada yada.
But man, when New York City is great, it makes up for so much of that. When you have a perfect Manhattan afternoon like we had Saturday, I fall in love with this place all over again.
My wife, baby son and I went to Central Park for the day, and it was just perfect. Sun shining, low humidity, and lots of green space to spread out our blanket under a tree.
There were sunbathers out, and parents like us with small children. Ice cream stands every 100 feet. Music emanating from the Central Park Summer Stage series. I got up and walked around at one point and within a 20-foot radius, saw five guys playing hackey sack in a circle. A bunch of kids playing soccer. A lone saxophonist trying to hustle up a few bucks. An improv theater group performing in front of at least 100 people gathered tightly in a circle, with laugher roaring. A little kid trying to stuff a ginormous hot dog in his mouth, while his dad looked on in amusement.
It was exactly what you hope a summer afternoon in New York would be like. The variety of people, sounds, smells and sights make it such a glorious place sometimes, because the tableau that’s created is like any other I’ve ever seen.
It wasn’t the greatest day ever, just a small slice of heaven.
And just a small reminder of why I heart New York.
**Next up today, this is the strangest home run I’ve ever seen. A softball player in Montreal named Renaud Lefort, playing for Les 4 Chevaliers, hit a twisting, backwards home run in a game last week.
If he tried that 1,000 times, he’d never be able to do it again. Very cool…
**And finally today, the much-acclaimed new Kurt Cobain documentary, “Montage of Heck” has sat unwatched on our DVR for a few months, simply because we didn’t have the 2.5 hours straight required to view it.
As proud Gen X members, my wife and I were fascinated to see the treatment, with the full cooperation of his family, of one of the most iconic and tragic figures our childhood. And it got a ton of positive press and three Emmy nomintations.
But the movie was, well, kind of a mess. There was lots of good stuff in there, showing us Cobain’s awful childhood, where his terrible behavior got him passed off from one relative to the next. And the scenes with Courtney Love and others talking about Cobain’s musical genius, and his tortured relationship with heroin, were gripping. This was one tortured, deeply unhappy man.
But the rest of the film was just so all over the place. Director Brett Morgen, who did the fantastic ESPN 30 for 30 on the day of the O.J. chase, made a lot of poor decisions with the movie, foremost of which trying to use incredibly quick cuts and bizarre animation to bring to life Cobain’s journals and diaries.
There was no chronology or structure to the movie that we could tell, and so many important themes (what led Cobain to heroin in the first place, how his music influenced so many) were pretty much left to the side.
It’s a shame, too, because Cobain’s life and brief but meteoric career are fascinating. Would love to see a better movie on him than this.