W42ST Daily 7/21/2020

A sunset walk along the reservoir. A heavily wooded area on one side, a bank of trees on the other, creating a cathedral of foliage over our heads. A storm was threatening to the east – huge, grim clouds and deep rumbles of thunder in the distance. Then, occasionally, a flash of lightning through the trees.

We’d brought a flask of cocktails – upstate nature is great, but we’re still New Yorkers, FFS. And as we stopped to drink, the darkness spread around us and, in the oppressive humidity, it felt almost like something physical – a hot, heavy blanket. Our sense of unease grew.

In the silence, we glanced far behind us – down the empty path we’d just taken – and up in front, nervous laughter failing to conceal a raw fear of what might be crouching in the darkness, unseen, waiting …

We’ve seen the movies, OK?

Then – a sudden rustle, and a loud thud, like a hoof, perhaps? Heavy, deliberate. A rush of wind, as if an unnamed beast had been running towards us then taken a sudden and unexpected bank to the left to avoid its prey. A deer? A bear? The four horsemen of the apocalypse? We didn’t wait to find out. 


Cups clanking, shouting, singing, creating any kind of noise that might keep the danger at bay, we sprinted the mile and a half back to the parking lot, never looking back.

Reaching the rental car as the light finally failed, we were breathless, hearts racing, a little hysterical, finally daring to glance behind us. 

Nothing. Of course.

There are dangers – seen and unseen – everywhere. But I’ve never been scared in the city like I was that night. Dragging my suitcase up five flights of stairs to my tiny, hot-as-balls Hell’s Kitchen apartment, I felt safe, and said a small prayer of thanks for my life here. Getting away – even escaping for a day or two – is one of life’s greatest pleasures. But there’s no joy greater than that of coming home.

“It’s with tears in our eyes that we have to admit it is highly unlikely that Therapy will ever reopen,” announced Tom Johnson, co-owner of Therapy on W52nd St. “Every one of you who has ever worked here, performed here, partied here… We love you. And though we cannot be together today, always know you are Therapy’s family.”

Phil reports on the end of an era, as one of Hell’s Kitchen’s favorite gay bars closes its doors for good.

Rubbing sunscreen into a friend’s skin this weekend, we were reminded of the transformative power of a human’s touch – and how badly we miss it. The comforting feeling of a hand on your arm, a hug, a kiss, a random physical encounter with a stranger … how did we ever take such things for granted?

Harry Styles’ ‘Watermelon Sugar’ is today’s earmworm – an anthem dedicated to touching. Enjoy.


Times Square is going online with its Broadway Buskers series this summer, starting today, with performances from Heath Saunders (The Great Comet, Alice By Heart) and Rachel Potter (The Addams Family, Evita, Wicked). Stream it.

Ayodele Casel and Torya Beard present a series of video performances of solos and duets to your home, courtesy of New York City Center. Get an energy boost at noon every Tuesday.

New Victory Theater brings us a month of free dance performances and workshops, all online, for all ages. The first – an excerpt of Good Island – is available to stream now.

The Strand’s book club brings us a special event tonight, featuring the Oscar-winning writer and director talking about his memoirs with Ethan Hawke. See them here.

On Thursday, Fountain House Gallery celebrates 20 years of incredible work. Join on Zoom to view its anniversary exhibition, a celebration of the resilience of the artists who live with mental illness, and a reflection of the city and its people that have prospered through crises. There will also be a live DJ set. Details here.  

Thanks to those who have written to us with words of appreciation, bought us coffees (and cocktails), and offered their services to support the work of W42ST. We see you and love you. Many have also contributed financially, helping to keep the neighborhood connected and updated at a time when we’ve lost all other revenue. Our gratitude is boundless. If you can help, any amount, no matter how small, makes a massive difference.