If the upper west side made me want to wake up in New York City forever and the Tommy Hilfiger tour made me want to work there, then Holly Root made me want to pack up all my earthly belongings in a rolling suitcase so I could pull it directly up to the door of Manhattan, knock, and thereby immediately move in.
I’ve written about agent Holly Root before, so you know I find her delightful. In person, the only thing I didn’t like about her is that she listens too much and too well. I wanted someone to walk inside Joe’s coffee shop and kindly button my lips together so I could just soak in the Hollyisms. You can find them online sometimes, in interviews with her or on her twitter page. “Eyes on your own paper” – that’s one of my favorites, as she teaches us all to please, for goodness sake, fight jealousy and just walk the journey we are meant to walk.
And I think what I love most about her is how much she loves her life. It’s ridiculously inspiring. I’ve been writing about New York so much now that I don’t think I can find a single new word for how much I loved meeting with Holly. To be sitting in a Manhattan coffee shop at what could technically (if you live inside my head) be called a work lunch for the New York City part of my career and to be meeting there with one of the most delightful people on the planet, well, this is why my mother asked if the rest of the trip would be a letdown. And I said, “You mean the rest of my LIFE?” But that, no, the rest of the trip and the rest of my life all looked very, very good.
After our conversation at Joe’s, which I wish I had recorded word for word, Holly walked me to my subway station with directions on how to change trains at the next stop and then wind my way through Little Italy to the restaurant on that night’s itinerary. It’s impossible to describe the giddy feeling of navigating that little trip by myself. IMPOSSIBLE TO DESCRIBE. On the subway, I got a text that the restaurant had been shut down the day before by the health department, so the group chose a pizza place across the street instead. I joined them only a few minutes late and devoured a chicken roll to die for.
We went to Blue Man Group that night. I highly recommend this show, because it’s full of inspiration about how noisy our lives have become and how much information we take in and how little we create. I loved that part. I did not love the part where I felt old. What was that? The screaming teenagers? The rolls of toilet paper? The black lights? I don’t know. It was very, very cool, but I did. I felt old. If you’ve been to the show, tell me you can relate. If you can’t relate, don’t tell me!
And then it was time to sleep again in New York City. I loved going to sleep in New York City, and I loved waking up in it. On Thursday morning my alarm, having been checked and double checked about a million times the night before, worked fine, and I got ready early enough to skip, I mean, uh, walk normally and adult-like, to the Subway around the corner for a Diet Coke to go with the chocolate chip mini muffins I’d bought at CVS on Tuesday night. Thursday was Central Park Day, and I smiled from the moment I opened my eyes.
It had rained the night before, and I felt every single drop of water that fell on me from Central Park’s green leaves. I wanted to bottle them and keep them on a shelf of all the things I loved about New York. Now, technically, my Central Park experience paled a bit compared to the attractions we’d seen with a guide. We didn’t always know where we were going, and I worried we’d miss the things I wanted to see most.
And then there it was. There it all was! A gazebo, a wooden bench and a bottle of wine, a painter actually painting, Bethesda Fountain, Bow Bridge, the Boat House – we just stumbled onto them like something bigger than the park was shaking and tilting it to steer us to its best and brightest parts. At one point we got out a map and that Something Bigger even sent us a human, a real live person with gray hair and a dog, to snap our maps closed (“I don’t like to see people opening their maps,” she said, “There are too many odd balls in the park”) and point us in the direction we needed to take next. That direction led us to a tunnel, which led us to Fifth Avenue, which led us to the Met.
Ah, the Met. I’ve never spent so little time in such a beautiful place. We raced through the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Raced through it. The group sales people gave us gifts and an abbreviated spiel and a quick idea of the layout after which we spread out and zipped through Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, the Byzantine Empire, Statues, paintings, armor , and fashion like we could actually take in enough of its pieces apart from each other that we could share it later and try to make a whole. Not possible. My experience at the Met, for instance, consisted of a half-run to the terrace for a gorgeous photo session of Manhattan towering over the treetops of Central Park, followed by an attitude of lingering but fast-paced stroll through the exhibit on American women’s fashion, and then a glance at my watch after which I walked as quickly as possible through the pearl-white statuary like the one at Pemberley in Kiera Knightly’s Pride and Prejudice and made it to the door just in time to head to Planet Hollywood for lunch.
That’s right, People, I speed-walked through the Metropolitan Museum of Art in order to make lunch on time at Planet Hollywood. This, too, was my New York.