Woody’s World

As a substitute for one of those big family Thanksgiving feasts, we watched “Hannah and Her Sisters” last night. Thanksgiving always makes me think of New York – from my first Macy’s parade (I froze and got groped by a stranger) to seeing Patti Smith at the Bottom Line, to trying to cook a turkey in a toaster oven and blowing the fuse for the whole building. Grease fires,turkeys that never thawed, dinners eaten at midnight or in Indian restaurants. Call it homesickness. I guess that’s what made me reach for Woody Allen.

Not that Woody’s world was ever mine. The holiday meals in “Hannah”, one at the beginning and one at the end of the film, are cooked to perfection and served by a maid, while everyone perches on cream colored sofas.But one of the pleasures of watching “Annie Hall” or “Manhattan” or so many of his movies was that I could project myself into a fantasy of what life in the city could be, if only I wasn’t an art student, or a punk rocker, or a struggling musician or an impoverished parent exiled to Brooklyn of all places. If I was, instead, an earthtone-wearing success who lived in some generic uptown. I think the closest I ever got to that other world was when my friend Adolfo talked me into charging an absurdly expensive pair of Ralph Lauren shoes on my mother’s Saks card. “You deserve them!” he said. Funny, my parents didn’t see it that way when they got the bill.

In my mind there’s still the possibility I’ll eventually wind up a cross between the saintly beige-attired Hannah, the wayward sexy sister Lee and the flaky, artsy Dianne Wiest one in her vintage clothes. I’ll stride around some part of Manhattan that doesn’t exist any more, on my way to a rehearsal of my latest play or a party in someone’s two story apartment. Has anyone ever actually seen a two story NY apartment, except in a Woody Allen movie?

But it’s not entirely correct to say that Woody’s world was never mine. Because I just remembered how last year we watched “Broadway Danny Rose”. It has that final scene, warm and sad, where Danny and his oddball clients, who are the closest he gets to family and friends, sit around the apartment eating TV dinners for Thanksgiving. And here we were, a couple of dishevelled show people, eating duck legs off of TV trays, watching the holiday on a screen.

11 thoughts on “Woody’s World

  1. Anonymous

    Awww, I read last week that 45 million turkeys were dispatched to celebrate Thanksgiving. Watching Woody Allen movies is more than an adequate replacement, I’d say.Mike

  2. Non, Je ne regrette rien

    maybe next year I’ll do a big ole ‘merican turkey roast in November… all the expat strays can come to my place … I missed cooking this year and also the histrionics… you don’t have to actually be RELATED to have histrionics, do you?! smile.Funny, Woody’s worlds always seemed so appealing to me … although I too have wondered just where in NY all those fabulous apts were …

  3. OneL

    I actually had a shot at one of those apartments once. Back in 1975, I was living on W. 69th Street and my girlfriend and I were looking to move in together. Through the block association, we learned of an apartment available in one of the large apartment buildings on the block. My girlfriend and I looked at it; it was great. Something like six or eight rooms. But nothing ever happened. I think that there was an estate involved and they were taking their time getting rid of the place. We couldn’t wait and so we ended up in a less spacious, more funky place over on W. 71 St. Just as well, as that relationship did not last another year.

  4. travelling, but not in love

    I love Broadway Danny Rose – such a great film.And I think that maybe Vicky Christina Barcelone may mark a return to form – ish. It’s cetainly an amazing performance by Penelope Cruz.Happy belated thanksgiving anyway. I think watching it on tv is the way forward….

  5. amy

    there you go, Mike – though I feel kinda bad for the duck.Yes softinthehead! Certain movies, the decor and clothing are the only memorable things to me.Kim, count us in for the turkey roast next year!I think we could’ve used some of your chili sauce Rosie.OneL there should be a list going somewhere of those fabulous apartments that got away – I think everyone has at least one in their life.Brooklyn lurker, thanks for the link – I remember Andy Schwartz doing the research for that one a few years back, it took them a while for them to put it up. Give my regards to the donut shop on Manhattan Ave…Thanks TBNIL and you’ve given me some hope for Woody Allen’s new movie – people keep telling me it’s terrible but I still must see it!

  6. Andy S

    A toaster ( with turkey or not) plunged the whole building into darkness? No wonder they only trust you Americans with 110 volts! Fuses in plugs are such a great British invention! ;0)

  7. the sandwich life

    ahhhhh….we watch Hannah and Her Sisters every Thanksgiving. It’s kind of the start of the holidays for me….. It was on TV the other night and my six year old howled—-“look it’s your movie.”Hope your duck legs were delicious….

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