Month: August 2009

The Mystical Woman with the Camera


As I was walking home from a disastrous date on the opposite side of Manhattan, comforting myself with a podcast of the Rachel Maddow Show, a woman came rushing up to me frantically asking, “Where is the cross town bus? On what street is the cross town bus???” Well, I recognized her from the Harvard Club, but she didn’t know me, and I didn’t let on. “I don’t live on the East side,” I said. “I’m sorry” and pulled out my iPhone in a futile attempt to figure out the bus system.

“I’m in a rush,” she said. “I have to go see a celebrity.” “Oh, who is it?” I asked, not really that interested. “Darryl Hannah,” she joyfully replied. “She’s at Barnes & Noble.”

“Hanna Montana?” I said. “Oh, Darryl Hannah. Yes, my nephew has a photo with her… or is that Bo Derek?”

“Well, how are you getting to the west side?” she asked anxiously. “I plan to walk,” I said. “In the dark?” she exclaimed. “No!”

Just then, another ear-budded woman came into my companion’s orbit, and she repeated her question, “Where is the cross town bus? Is it on this street or 67th?” The woman couldn’t answer her interrogative and so my new companion dismissed her in a way that quite annoyed and antagonized the woman, who exclaimed that she should get a map!

But this did not deter her. “Come with me,” she said, as she accosted other people on the street. Finally someone from a crowd yelled after us, “It’s on 67th Street.”

“Come with me,” she repeated, and we hurried to 67th Street. Just as we got there and were trying to ascertain whether there were in fact bus stops on this thin, dark street, I glimpsed a bus, a block away, making its way up the narrow thoroughfare.

With my park-crossing sneakers on, I made good time to 67th and 5th, where I reached the mythical bus-stop. And just as she caught up to me, the bus pulled up and opened its doors. She wasted no time, stepping in front of the patiently waiting bus-riders, and got onto the bus.

At Columbus Avenue, she jumped off the bus and started heading north. “But the entrance is right here,” I called after her. “No,” she said. “She’ll be HERE.”

As we turned the corner to the less than savory street, she spotted a town car. Not a very nice one, but nonetheless a black sedan with an ethnically head-dressed driver. “This is it,” she said. “All these people are autograph hounds.” I looked around at the sparse collection of somewhat seedy individuals.

Just then, a garage door opened that I didn’t even know existed, and an entourage of people with incredibly high heels emerged – including Darryl Hannah. The autograph hounds descended, and my new companion nicely asked, “may I take a picture?”

“Of course,” said Darryl Hannah, who seemed sincerely sweet despite her stiletto heels. And my friend took three lovely, lovely photos.

With that, my partner in adventure headed south where, she said, the Jonas Brothers were likely to be found. And I walked home in awe of this mystical woman, who seemed to know exactly where to be and when.