New York in October: day 2

First we head straight back to Lincoln Center.

Random lady in crosswalk, to Cabdriver #5: Asshole!
Cabdriver #5 to random lady in crosswalk: You asshole!

Overheard on Amsterdam:
Child: What happened to all the women with long hair?
Father: I don't know, maybe they moved away.
Child (pointing at me): What about her?
Father: She must like it that way.

The Light in the Piazza: ineffable sadness, unspeakable joy. Completely baffling, indescribable, thoroughly lovely. Lovely. A mother and daughter on holiday in Italy, and all they learn about themselves, about each other. Humanity and graciousness and understanding above all, and letting go. The skip a heart takes when everything changes. My favorite?Chris Sarandon as a flirtatious, expansive, deeply Italian father. And the unexpected ending, a breath held. Tears. Standing ovation, richly deserved. The music is gorgeous, lush, soaring, unabashedly romantic, but ultimately doesn't quite hold -- the lyrics are frequently clunky and there's no thread, so to speak, no common strands to connect the songs, to build the experience -- and yet. A spell is cast. Somehow you fall, and are grateful. Rewarded. And at the end, ah, the sunlight.

From Cabdriver #6
Me: Park Avenue at 38th.
Cabdriver #6: 8th?
Me: 70 Park Avenue, at 38th.
Cabdriver #6: 8th?
Me: Thirty-eighth.
Cabdriver #6: Eighth?

Dinner. Lamb steak frites, with some grass sprouting on top there. That's right, lamb. Let's not be pretty about this.

From Cabdriver #7: Silence. Thank Christ.

Welcome to Broadway, baby. You should see the lights.

Doubt: the Return Visit. Still phenomenal, the best sort of example of the power of language, the exhilarating drama of two people talking to each other. A nun, the principal of a Catholic school in the early 1960s, suspects that the priest is "taking liberties" with young boys. No action but this, a battle of wills between them, each waiting for the other to flinch. And it's searing, unsettling, shattering. A punch to the gut. Funny, too, although no one onstage laughs, or even smiles, not really, not once. "Nuns fall, you know," Sister Aloysius says at one point. "It's the habit." This apropos of nothing, and the audience clings to it. A small moment of relief. But then from the mother of one boy, when she's told the priest is very likely abusing her son: Let him have him then. And these unimaginable words, from her, almost make sense. Almost seem right, the best of all possible options. And the Amazing Cherry Jones, everything about her drawn stiff and inward, wired tight, her voice a harsh, pinched bark. She is all discomfort and sharp angles: talking on the phone, she holds her elbow in a straight line away from her body, almost a military salute, parallel to the ground. You can't teach that, I don't think; it is something deep in the bones. Once I go, she finally warns him, I will not stop. You believe her, and it's chilling.

Cabdriver #8: ugh, enough already. On a Saturday eve in the autumn, deep in the heart of New York City, we travel by bike-cab.