Wednesday, March 30, 2005

New York Kills Me, It Really Does

This morning I was thinking: There must be a million and one themed tours you can do around New York City. However, as far as I was aware, no-one had yet created a Catcher in the Rye tour. Others may aspire to salivate at the window displays of overpriced shoe boutiques favoured by fictional newspaper columnists with Tardis wardrobes, or to seek out the subway grate made famous by a certain 20th century blonde pop culture icon, but personally I would much rather prefer to recreate Holden's lonely journey through the streets of Manhattan, pondering the seasonal fate of Central Park's ducks.

Of course, these days the moment you think you've had an original idea you go to Google and find that somebody else has beaten you to it. A lady who goes by the name of Suzanne Morine has built a really cool Catcher in the Rye Photo Tour website, complete with maps and URLs, detailing each place or landmark mentioned in the novel.

There was nothing more to be done except print off the map and start touring. Yippee!

I'd just finished breakfast at Eisenberg's Sandwich opposite the Flatiron, so instead of going chronologically I decided to work my way up on the map. Now it would appear that Holden was a bit of a posh chap- he never wanders south of Grand Central Station in the book (except once, when he goes to a jazz club in Greenwich Village late the first night). So that was going to be my first stop. Alright then, fine, but first I had to find a date to take skating at the Rockefeller Plaza. I tried hanging out at the dog run in Union Square.




No luck though. Apparently it's only good for picking up in the evenings. Fine, I thought to myself. Not having a date won't detract from the essential Holden experience per se. So I caught the subway up to Grand Central by myself to the first stop of the tour, sitting in one of the cars that had been very nicely decorated to advertise the new HBO show Deadwood.



I spent the rest of the day in character, wandering the streets in a deep existential funk. I won't bore you with the details. As Holden said, don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody. So instead, I'll leave you with a picture of me outside Radio City, where in the book Holden endures a bad movie after fleeing a phony Christmas show.



On my way through Central Park I went off the tour path for just a minute, to see the Dakota building, peeping up at the grand edifice through a forest of Japanese tourist ankles. The guards were eyeing me up a bit, but don't worry- I didn't have a copy of Catcher in the Rye on me.

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