It wasn’t always that way. When I first moved there in 1983, I was still “brainwashed” about New York being one enormous crime scene in the making.
That was probably typical of kids like me who grew up in the San Fernando Valley and learned everything they knew about New York from watching Serpico or The French Connection. Or any cop show from that era.
So, when I moved there, I was actually quite nervous for about a week, especially around “bad sections” like Central Park, Times Square, Greenwich Village…
Now when I go back, I have to remind myself sometimes to be a little cautious; I have so many great memories of things that took place in Manhattan in the ten years Tamra and I lived there, almost one memory per city block. Some blocks, like 21st and Eighth Avenue, where we worked at The National Improv Theatre, I have THOUSANDS of good memories.
Strangely, Radio City didn’t figure into any of these memories until last December, when we made a family trip to see their Holiday Extravaganza. It hit me that I had never gone there in all the years we were in New York; I did walk past it every week, but never saw a movie, concert or anything else there.
What a show we saw! It was overwhelming, frankly. And the art deco lobby… don’t get me started!
The closest nice memory I DO have to that building is at nearby Rockefeller Center, when I was once hired as an illustrator in 1984 or ‘85 to do quick portraits of Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer up at the production offices of Saturday Night Live.
I happened to be working as a cartoon character designer for Thundercats just up Fifth Avenue when I got the call, so I took some pencils and a pad of paper and walked down to 30 Rock and drew the Spinal Tap guys.
I drew them in their incarnations as The Folksmen for a sketch in that week’s SNL show, for a faux record album. I remember Billy Crystal walking by and glancing approvingly at my portfolio…
So, soon– more memories of Radio City! Some really wonderful ones!
See you on TV! America’s Got Talent, Tuesday night, August 6 at 9/8 Central on NBC.