Every once in a while something special happens that you don’t realize at the time is special, but later you understand that something nice happened. This has happened to me a few times in my life, and unfortunately I didn’t understand it until later. What do I mean? Well, let me give you a few examples.
Many years ago, the mermaid and I ventured up to the Rainbow Room, because we heard they had a fabulous band and view of Manhattan. We got there late but didn’t realize that to be seated in the Rainbow Room at the time, you needed to order dinner. We naively told the Maître d that we weren’t hungry and he allowed us to sit in the main room, order salads and drinks, and enjoy the view, band and dancing. It was a magical night. Somehow we missed the fact that someone was just being nice to us. So when we told friends and family and we returned with a group and everyone tried to order only a salad we were politely asked to leave. A bit of a bummer.
Same was true when we went to the Gansevoort Hotel and saw the guy in all black with the security ear-piece, not realizing there was a line to get in, and asked if we could go up to the rooftop bar? He took one look at us and said sure go up. We didn’t realize until later that he decided that we would maybe have a drink and probably leave, and it wouldn’t matter. He was being nice. And guess what, we did. But if we went back with a group we would have been at the end of the line.
Which brings me to a column I wrote a few weeks back about the Central Park Summer Stage member program. For those who remember that column, it was about the Indigo Girls, the tent with the seats, the free beer and wine, the beautiful portable bathrooms with the wood floors and all for the cost of a $150 membership. Well, some blessings are really well disguised. We recently went back to hear Matt Nathanson play. The mini-mermaid turned us on to him when she was in mere flippers. So the mermaid and I invited our two mini-mermaids and off we went to Central Park for an evening of fun and music with Matt, who by the way didn’t disappoint.
When we arrived we could just feel the difference. It was not a rainy night like the Indigo Girls; instead it was a beautiful, comfortable night with a long sunset. Matt was the opener for Phillip Phillips, who attracted a sold out crowd. We went to the members line and strolled right in like last time. Got to the desk and they gave us our wristband like last time, but this time they gave us another wristband, this one to prove that we were 21. A little strange but ok, I mean the drinks are free, right? We went straight to the tent where there were plenty of empty seats, but were interrupted by one of the youngsters working the event: “don’t we go in here?” Oh no sir, that is for members only; but, we are members see our wristbands. Oh yes, but you are not the highest-ranking members. Oh, my. Where do we go? You go down there where the benches are. Hmmm, ok. So we trek to the benches, and they are enclosed, but we then realize that we are separated from the drinks and more importantly the really nice bathrooms. Excuse me, we murmur; don’t we have access to the nice stuff? No sir, that is for the super members. Hmmm, well, what does that cost I ask sheepishly? Well, sir, that costs $1,000 per membership. Woooo! Ok we’ll just sit here then.
The seats were still excellent, and the beer and wine was the same, only at a price. The bathrooms were standard porta-potties but clean and well cared for, but it was not the same. When the mini-mermaids got there, they asked – hey this is nice, but not like you described in the article. And we told them the story. In the end, we had a beautiful night with our two mini-mermaids listening to Matt sing and tell stories against a red-sunset over the Central Park treetops. We were blessed. The first trip to Summer Stage was a blessing in disguise, a New Yorker being nice when they could be, which in itself is pretty cool. Just know if you go, it’s not what I wrote the first time, but still pretty damn good.