On Monday I went in to NYC via Long Island Railroad. I’m pretty familiar with NYC having lived on Long Island all my life. The Island is the home of beaches, shopping malls and the occasional serial killer. And yes there even is a film festival out in the Hamptons.
But I was on my way to Tribeca in downtown NYC.
I am embarrassed to confess I walked West instead of East.
I could excuse this by saying I recently suffered a catastrophic computer crash which left me shell shocked and unable to tell left from right. But, while the computer crash did happen I still should know University Place is East of Fifth Avenue.
Instead of taking an easy left off of Fifth Avenue on 13th street to University Place I went right and ended up walking all the way to 8th avenue. Which is really dumb and a waste of time though it was a nice day for a long walk.
There I broke my long standing rule not to ask for directions and asked a particularly tall and blond couple for directions. How could I not see that this tall pair was not New Yorkers, but Australians?
They looked at me with what can only be described as pity and then they said: “We’re tourists.” Words that cut me to the heart and left me feeling like a day player in a Woody Allen movie.
I did find a non tourist coming out of an apartment building. I knew he wasn’t a tourist because he looked like an extra in a Woody Allen movie and we all know Woody knows how to cast New York.
When I asked where University Place was he looked at me with pity because, well, I was obviously directionally challenged.
He pointed me back East. And then proceeded to tell me: “Walk to Seventh and then to Sixth and then to Fifth and then to University Place. It’s a fifteen minute walk.”
Only a native New Yorker would know the precise timing of the journey and exactly fifteen minutes later I arrived at the Tribeca Film Festival Press Office on the corner of 13th Street and University Place. The organizers have set up a nice home for the press with rows of Macs, small screening rooms and friendly faces to get you set up and on your way.
Getting my Franklin “D” level press credentials was easy enough. I found out that “D” level gives me access to all press screenings and the Target Tribeca lounge. I’m relieved it’s Target and not Walmart, though I can’t imagine Walmart ever being involved with a film festival, anywhere, not even on Long Island.
While getting my press credentials I discovered that I was among “my people” the writers. My people carry backpacks or messenger bags, bottles of water and a supply of pens.
The first thing I decided to do was not look at the packet with its listings of films because that would make too much sense. I decided that I was going to get my hands on one of those very cool Macs that were sitting there just waiting to be used. I figured that once the festival got started I wouldn’t get within ten feet of those computers.
I will say that the festival is expansive with an almost terrifying number of films. There are, from my perusal of the lists quite a few very serious explorations of many subjects that impact out lives on Earth. Which is great, truly it is. Of course you do know that means what I really want to see is “Speed Racer”. Yes, all the profound films about the human condition just can’t compete with a big budget studio film about a guy and his car.