Music Monday: New York State of Mind by Billy Joel

Some folks like to get away
Take a holiday from the neighborhood
Hop a flight to Miami Beach
Or to Hollywood
But I’m taking a Greyhound
On the Hudson River Line
I’m in a New York state of mind

-Billy Joel

The song’s laid back style contrasts sharply with its subject. New York feels anything but laid back; I know as the memories of the city in 1984 stayed with me for a long time. Sometimes I play the song with a yearning to go back. Strange I know. I want to look at the place differently, and I like it.

I like New York’s in-your-face attitude. I live in a small city, always straining to seem polite. I want to voyage some place nobody strains to be polite. They just tell it like it is, and the city hums with a frenetic energy best served in the space of a week. I have no idea if I could pack up and live there. To me the place is a writer’s mecca, a pilgrimage for book-a-holics like me. Writer’s converge on New York to be closer to the major publishers headquartered amid bookshops both chain and indie.

Oh, and the theatre.

I want to see live theatre and improv. I finished Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please, a book proving more of a manifesto than memoir. (It’s a great companion to Tina Fey’s Bossypants, much in the same way they compliment each other during The Golden Globes.) Poehler charts the course of improv with her group Upright Citizens Brigade. Right now Helen Mirren reprises her role as Queen Elizabeth in The Audience. I also want to check out The Labyrinth Theatre Company and see their shows. I first encountered them in a book entitled A Jesuit Off Broadway.

I want to stop reading about New York, and revisit it live.

People may want their Vegas vacations. Maybe lay around a beach in Cuba. None of that is me. I am in New York State of Mind.

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