NYC 2: B’way blocks/Fallon talks

Second in a series of dispatches from New York. 

I’ve got mixed feelings about the, for now, temporary move to block traffic on Times Square and Duffy Square in midtown Manhattan. (Look for yourself here)

The experiment, which started this week, certainly gives the pedestrian-congested area a loosening up. But the discount lawn chairs now scattered along Broadway make for some odd visuals.

Then again, I suppose that just adds to one of New York’s greatest pleasures — people watching. Not to be confused with “people hearing,” which is also fun. In Indy, we just aren’t tightly packed enough to overhear as many partial conversations as you do walking through Manhattan. Some choice ones today: “You’ve got to see the sweat that comes out of that man,” “You should talk to the judge who fined me a thousand dollars thanks to Shaniqua,” and “Yeah, that’s where I seen ‘Annie Got a Gun.'”

The street blockage may become permanent, depending on a number of factors including the traffic congestion on alternative routes, the economic impact on merchants, and the whim of the Mayor.

On Thursday, I joined the studio audience for a taping of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” The show itself was fun — with guests Jack McBrayer of “30 Rock” and a-very-well-comedically-prepared Jeanine Garofolo as guests. But the biggest treat was the house band, The Roots. From its extended pre-show number — including dancing tuba player — the group offered musical pleasure thoughout the show and long after Fallon was out of the studio and in his dressing room. Hear them slow jam the news with Fallon here.

Over the last two days,  I also attended the Broadway revival of “Hair,” the new Neil LaBute play “Reasons to Be Pretty” and the new musical “9 to 5.” Reviews of those in an upcoming IBJ print column.

After “Hair,” I did talk briefly at the stage door with Megan Lawrence, who was so much fun in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s concert version of “Guys and Dolls” last year and plays multiple roles in “Hair.” She raved about the sound of the ISO (“Sometimes I wanted to just shut up and let that beatiful music play”) and spoke with enthusiasm about playing Adelaide once again opposite Gary Beach and another symphony, this time the CTV Pops orchestra at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Canada. Like the ISO Pops, the CTV Pops is also headed by Jack Everly. The concert is in February.

Tomorrow: the publishing world comes together at Book Expo, and an evening of anything-can-happen cabaret.

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