Three Whoops! for New York Stories

During these stay-at-home times, I’ve been consuming a lot of books and movies set in New York City.  

Photo by Pixabay on

This time last year, we were planning the itinerary for my family’s first visit to the Big Apple. We spent a full week in Manhattan’s summer glory, visiting colleges and exploring the sites with my childhood friend as our resident guide. 

Life looks a lot different now, what with quarantines and travel bans and disrupted education plans. Though it will be a while before we can go back, there’s plenty of New York stories to help me reminisce and dream. 

Here are three, fun-fare New York stories that are worth a Whoop!

1. The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

It doesn’t matter if you are 11 or 51, it’s hard to resist a good running away story. Even more so when the hideaway is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

“When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere; she wants to run to somewhere – to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and preferably elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.”

I first read this book as a grade-schooler. I can’t remember if I ordered it from Scholastic or if it was a sibling hand-me-down.

Regardless, the paperback book was well-loved as measured by the worn cover, dog-eared pages, and water stains.

My library offers an audiobook, recorded in 2007 by Jill Clayburgh and a fabulous 40th-anniversary epilogue by the author, E.L. Konisburg.

2. Birders: The Central Park Effect: a 2013 film

This 2013 film is eye-candy for anyone who loves birding or who loves New York City. 

It came to my attention during last month’s #blackbirders week. Chris Cooper is one of the birders featured in the film, along with an array of young and old New York birders who surprise and charm with their love of birds.

Birders is available on Amazon Prime. Here is a short trailer. And here is a review by Cornell Labs with recommendations for other bird movies–including my favorite, The Big Year starring Steve Martin. 

3. Out-of-Towners, a 1999 movie

This is a Neil Simon comedy starring Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn as a couple of empty nesters from Ohio who have a night of escapades in the Big Apple.  

My husband and I selected this movie on Netflix because a) we are about to be a couple of almost empty-nesters; b) we were hoping a screwball comedy would be an antidote for screwball news. It did not disappoint.

The original Out-of-Towners movie was made in 1970 and starred Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis.  The 1999 version is fun to watch if only to be reminded what life looked like before smartphones.

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