I was a little bit worried because I had bought a ticket for the cheapest seating, last three rows in mezzanine. But – Hakuna Matata – I had a good view from there.
What was annoying however were the people sitting next to me. To my right I had a young Arabic couple. They both came in jogging pants, the woman wore a headscarf. She was feeding him ice cream. But that was not the problem. The problem was that they did not stop chatting when the performance started. After a while I hissed them a “schsch” and the young woman looked at me as if I came from another planet. But she was quiet then.
To my left there was a young French speaking woman. She smelled like an ashtray and talked very loudly in a voice that sounded like at least two packs of cigarettes a day. If she didn’t talk she either laughed or coughed. She could not stop checking her phone all the while. When the “Hakuna Matata” scene was performed, she started dancing in her chair, snapped her fingers and – joined the singing.
In the intermission I moved a row down, where there were seats available. There I could watch the second act in peace.
What totally amazed me were the two kids playing young Simba and young Nala. They are just 1o and 9 years old and did such a great job. What must it be like for them, to act as main characters in a famous musical show on Broadway? What is their daily life like? Do they go to school in the morning?
I had started the day with a breakfast chat with Shoshannah. She told me about a crazy road trip from middle Europe to India she had been on with her former husband in a VW Kombi in the sixties. It sounded like she has lived an adventurous life.
Then I set out to continue my literary walk of the Upper West Side that I had started a couple of weeks ago. I first walked up Broadway to check out lunch options around and ended up in an Asian place called Vine across the street from Columbia University. I had a lunch box there containing miso soup, a salad, a sushi roll and spicy shrimps in ginger sauce. The place was very busy, the food was tasty.
Then I walked over to Amsterdam Avenue and found myself right in front the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the one with the nice garden I had visited months ago. The Hungarian Pastry Café across the street. Everything felt so familiar. I walked down Amsterdam to 96th Street and back to Riverside Drive, where Uwe Johnsson had lived and the second part of my walk started.
It took me up Riverside Drive, passing dwellings of Saul Bellow, Gertrude Stein and Hannah Arendt.
Back on Broadway I picked up a raspberry and cheese muffin and walked home to have a tea with it. The friendly doorman asked me to sign the book again – once a day.
I did some communications before I dressed up – just a bit this time – for Broadway.
After the show I took the express train to 96th Street and walked home from there through the nightly Upper West Side. I came across Westside Market and stepped in to buy a bagel for breakfast and some cheese for now. It might become my new favorite grocery store. It’s just closer than Fairway’s and has a wide selection of reasonably priced (mainly European) cheeses.
What I learned today: