I am delighted to be the next stop on the blog tour for author Lynn Marie Hulman’s new book, A Miracle At Macy’s. As part of my stop I have a wonderful guest post by Lynn on the films that have influenced her.
New York City: A Character in the Films that Influenced Me the Most
I’m a New Yorker, through and through. New York City is my spiritual home, despite the fact that I wasn’t born here. I’ve crossed the line where I’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere else, and some would say that makes me a native. I won’t fight the point, but I know I belong. This is my city, and I’ve known it since my age was in the single digits.
I knew it every year, when I watched A Miracle on 34th Street during the winter school break, snuggled up in the “nest” formed by my Grandma’s bent legs at the end of her long sofa. I wanted to be little Natalie Wood with a real-life Santa of my own to make all of my dreams come true.
I knew it when I was way too young, but stayed up late with my big brothers to watch “Saturday Night Live,” it’s intro framed by black-and-while photos of the subway, Times Square, and the iconic taxi cabs that I practiced hailing on the sidewalk of my Midwestern cul-de-sac.
Because cable TV hit Louisville, Kentucky before helicopter parenting did, I watched Woody Allen’s Manhattan, his first film to be shot using the widescreen Panavision process, at an age too tender to understand the sophisticated themes, and yet the sensibility stirred something inside me. That shot of 58th Street at the base of The Queensboro bridge, overlooking the East River drew me in as surely as did the urbane banter and references to life in what I believed to be The Capital of the World.
As if I weren’t already convinced, along came the movie Fame. As a pre-teen with a penchant for using a hairbrush as a microphone, and singing along to the soundtrack of Grease I couldn’t think of anything more thrilling than a bunch of attractive, talented, multi-culti teens abandoning their ham-and-cheese sandwiches to leap up on the tables to dance and belt out show-stopping tunes.
Ghostbusters lured me in for a number of reasons. First of all, I’m a sucker for funny nerds, and the four Busters each had his own charm, charisma, and allure. Second, the portrait of New York apartment life thrilled me. Having grown up in a two-story with a basement on a corner plot of land with a lawn, I longed to be svelte and sleek like Sigourney Weaver, living single in and upscale pad. I didn’t, of course, want to be possessed by the demons living in my high-rise, but that’s the price you pay for prime real estate in the city. Location, location, location.
Next came Desperately Seeking Susan, with a be-laced Madonna gal-palling with Rosanna Arquette all over the Lower East Side where I would later live (4th Street between C and D, baby, before Avenue A got gentrified.). Then Big, with charming Tom Hanks playing FAO Schwarz’s life-sized piano with his feet. Then came Moonstruck, which made me long for a working-class Nicolas Cage of my own. Kramer vs. Kramer made me want to raise my kids near Central Park.
But for me, the mothers of all New York movies are the Nora Ephron Rom Coms. Call them schmaltzy if you will, but you’ll only be helping my case that these happily-ever-after for broken would-be lovers with hearts of gold movies are pure New York. I think we all know the first thought that pops in to our minds when we think of Katz’s Deli on Houston Street… Meg Ryan and the “I’ll have what she’s having” scene from When Harry Met Sally with Billy Crystal.
Meg shows up again, this time with Tom Hanks, in Ephron’s love letter to An Affair to Remember, Sleepless in Seattle. It may have Seattle in the title, but what lingers with us is the breath-stealing “Will he or won’t he?” moment on the observation deck of the Empire State Building.
Meg and Tom pair up again in another Ephron flick, which is possibly one of my all-time favorite films, You’ve Got Mail. As if the quirky love story weren’t enough, the story takes place in brick-and-mortar bookstores, one being a tiny independently owned charmer on a tree-lined Upper West Side street. I never tire of sipping lattes and eating slices of European-style cake at Café Lalo on West 83rd Street, the site of the movie couple’s first date. Comedy, coffee, romance, and New York. It’s like it was written for me.
These memories have clearly had an impact on me. I owe a debt of inspiration to all the makers of the movies I’ve mentioned, but especially to Nora Ephron. Kind readers and reviewers have described my writing as “cinematic,” and some have enthusiastically declared that A Miracle at Macy’s should be turned into a film. If I should ever be so lucky, I’d insist that the director see New York City as one of the main characters. I’d want the locations in my book, from Bryant Park, to The Waldorf-Astoria, to Central Park, toThe Plaza Hotel, to 5th Avenue, to Macy’s, to be given loving respect, the way the great Nora Ephron made sure hers were respected. It’s the least The Big Apple deserves.
A Miracle At Macy’s was published by Harper Impulse on the 18th of October, it is available to purchase from Amazon
You can find out more about the author and her books by clicking here