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If A Girl Isn’t Pretty

I’m utterly lost in daydreams of New York at the moment and I’ve no idea why (although I think the Transit of Venus had something to do with it). Like most romantics, I carry New York – or at least the idea of New York – in my heart.

Who doesn’t dream of soaking up the sun on a Brownstone’s stoop, or walking up Broadway with a tall dark handsome man you’ve just met at one soiree or another. I want to go to Delancey Street, so I can cross it, I want to have an apartment on Bleeker Street simply because I love the words Bleeker and Street and how they look and sound together. I want to know the owners of my local deli, I want to meet my gang of new best friends in a tiny bar somewhere and I’d just about sell my soul to skate at the Rockerfeller Centre in a red coat in the winter time.

My love affair with New York began when I was about 8, and I watched West Side Story for the first time. The Sharks and the Jets, Tony and Maria, Bernado and Anita spoke to something deep within my soul and I’ve been a New Yorker ever since.

Does anyone else remember when this was painted on The Valhalla at Glebe?

To be sure, it’s a beautiful story, a love story and a tragedy and I defy you to sit through it without needing to reach for a tissue. But like any great work of art, it’s not simply about plot. Although written over 50 years ago, the music is contemporary and the politics of the story are, unfortunately, as relevant today as they were then. But if that holds no interest for you, watch the film and see if you don’t want to race out and buy metres of purple silk and tulle and have it rustled up in a dress that Rita Moreno would be proud to shimmy around in.

It is, and has always been, my favourite movie.

And then there’s Funny Girl, a film about a smart sassy woman, who rollerskates, wears the perfect leopard coat and hat, sings “I’m the Greatest Star”, falls in love with the wrong fella and ends up in tears at the end. But doesn’t it just make you want to pack your bags, move to the Lower East Side, order bagels & lox and fall in love with a putz?

Oi vey, those fingernails. Ms Streisand is clearly, not a knitter.

Oh, Vogue patterns, if you ever release a pattern of this coat, I’ll take the first plane to Africa and hunt me down a fake leopard or two.

And let’s not forget the original New York It Girls.

I went to New York, 20 years ago this month, which could explain my current hankering. And while I was there I bumped into my cousin, who unbeknowns to me was in NYC, sat on the steps of the library, ordered a bagel from a street vendor, took the Staten Island Ferry and gazed at up Liberty. There’s a tiny part of me that feels far away at the moment, so perhaps all I really need is to buy a shoebox in Darlinghurst and walk everywhere. Again. Or perhaps it’s time to hitch a ride on Airforce One, and try my luck in the Big Apple. I don’t know what it is, nor I suppose what I’m trying to say. I just thought you might wonder where I’ve been all this time.

I’ve been here, in New York City.

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