Food Film Festival a couple of weeks ago of course). It had long been on my list of things to do and I was very excited at the prospect of going to see the hilariously funny "The Hangover" on the opening night of River Flicks at Pier 54, just off 14th Street and Meat Packing, with a bunch of my friends.
We knew we had to get there early to secure spots as close to the screen as possible so some of us headed off from work at 6pm, stopped at Whole Foods to grab some bread, hummus, salsa, cheese, olives and of course some wine before making our way there.
We arrived at around 7.15pm (the movie didn't start until 8.30pm) and managed to secure a relatively good spot on the Pier where two long sections had been cordoned off to form viewing areas separated in half by a narrow corridor.
As time went on and more and more people arrived, chaos started to ensue. We thought our area was full but were dumbfounded when latecomers managed to literally squeeze themselves in the tiniest of spaces, sitting on other people's blankets in the process. I learned a new thing about New Yorkers' sense of personal space that night. They have none. They almost sat on top of each other, on top of us ... I was literally expecting any random stranger to at some point ask if it was OK to sit on my lap!
Of course sharing such confined space, along with a certain feeling of claustrophobia, comes at other costs. A very affectionate and demonstrative lesbian couple decided to squat the half a meter we had left between us and the people in front and proceeded to give us quite a show during the entire movie - I don't care about their sexual orientation but, straight or gay, but that's just not cool. And another other couple who sat at my feet talked loudly throughout. And I could barely see the screen. And it was 95F. And we were sitting on a blanket barely protecting us from the heat emanating from the asphalt. Not to mention how uncomfortable sitting on the hard ground was in the first place. And all the while we were trying to secretly pour ourselves some wine as drinking is strictly prohibited outdoors (a rule that, unlike in Central Park, was enforced).
All in all though, a very interesting experience and, despite the circumstances, one that I am glad to have ticked off my list and strangely enjoyed - if only for the comedy value of what was going on not only in the movie but also around us! There is something undoubtedly magical about watching a movie under the stars or - as no stars are visible in the New York skies - the gently blinking lights of passing airplanes ...