The Ziegfeld closed recently.
Really. The Ziegfeld. That gorgeous red-velvet icon of a theater. It’s the type of thing that makes me want to say “it’s the end of an era!” and press the back of my hand to my forehead, actress-style.
Because, you know, it’s the ZIEGFELD.
You can mock, but my agita is real. This was the place where I saw Lawrence of Arabia including intermission, where I waited behind a metal barrier for the Love Actually actors to traipse down the red carpet*, and where I climbed the curving old stairs to see tons of movies I now cannot recall.
Fucking age. It gets to all of us.
The Ziegfeld is not a pristine memory, for me. I saw plenty of bad movies within its confines. But what lives in my memory of the Ziegfeld is a quintessential New York experience. I remember standing outside, mocking the folks standing online for 2 days for Star Wars episode 2 (because Episode 1 had been such a nightmare). I remember being outside on line for the Sound of Music Singalong and walking away before I got into the theater. I remember something unmemorable being my first 3D movie experience, and I only know it was there because I recall throwing out my 3d glasses after the end, in crappy cardboard boxes so out of sync with the glory of the Ziegfeld’s decor, and thinking “at that price I should keep the glasses.”
Yes, the end of an era. I will never see a movie at the Ziegfeld again.
But in the end, I must acknowledge the Ziegfeld is merely my second best memory of watching movies in NYC. My first is the Worldwide Cinema where I watched Beautiful Creatures for $2 a pop. Brilliant movie, underground on the West Side. So I must acknowledge the Ziegfeld is more of a venue than a movie experience.
And so, when I see things change like that, I think of how it marks an ending for my New York Persona. Because the venue is gone, like so many other things.
But then I think – I thought the same way when CBGB went out. I had seen so many acts there – probably more live music there than movies at the Ziegfeld! I saw David Bowie’s art displayed at CBGB next door, went to the goth nights at both, saw live music that reverberated off the walls while my platform heels sunk into the rotten wood of CBGB’s floors.
And now CBGB’s is a John Varvatos store. I give the man credit for how he transformed it, but still – it’s a STORE.
Like so many other things in NYC that I once loved. Turned into a retail opportunity. The NYC I originally fell in love with has grown into something altogether different. I still love it, though. I still love the cracks and creaks of culture, and the underground scene I still see wisps and whispers of.
Which makes it terribly sad that here I am, about to leave NYC.
It’s not a specific choice, on my part. But when one’s spouse is given the opportunity to chase a dream, and you’re not anchored, you let them go. And you go and support them.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those folks who write those annoying goodbye letters to NYC. I love it here. I’ve loved it more in the past 4 yrs than in the decades prior.
But sometimes, other things take priority. And I’m excited for the challenge.
For now, I’m planning on a long-term relationship with New York. And hey – I’ve done long distance before, multiple times.
If I can do it with people, I can do it with a city.
*Seeing Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, and Emma Thompson up close was a joy. Fuck the movie – I’ll always remember how sweet the actors were.