On this first day of 2012 I wish to remember my first glimpse of NYC. While I arrived from Rome a few years later than this film below, it was, more or less, what I walked into. The sidewalks of Rome and the path to my beautiful and enormous 4 bedroom "Piano Nobile" floor apartment on Via Bocca di Leone, in the Spanish Steps neighborhood was traded out for some mysterious reason for a 400 square foot apartment with one bedroom and bath in NYC's Greenwich Village. It was a healthy five floor walk up that made your chest pound by the time you got up to 4th floor.
At times, my generous mother even had needy guests stay with us for months at a time. There would be four people in that tiny apartment with hardly a kitchen. And then there were the parties...and boy, could my mother throw a party!! Usually 3 or 4 a month. Almost all writers, artists and art collectors with I'm sure more than a few street people spotting a free drink to be had. My mother had an uncanny ability to do what Jesus did with the multiplying of the fishes in finding a way to have enough booze for her guests. Sometimes so many people came that there would be a complete takeover of the small Morton Street apartment building. People all over place... the stairwell, the roof, the firescape. I was always present for these parties. And I was taken to parties as well. It was the best part of my childhood to see and hear the goings on in these get togethers. Some were more exciting than others. Like the party my mother's good friends the Italian newspaper journalist Marco Cesarini Sforza and his wife, the glorious Antonietta gave for John Huston in their beautiful upper east side apartment. I can remember that party so well. Huston's film "The Bible" had just opened. We actually did not see the film or for that matter, any films because my mother suffered from claustrophobia so movie theaters were out for her. A lively and packed party was one thing but closed and dark places with people surrounding her was quite another. But what I remember most vividly from that particular party was the crowd telling Mr. Huston that, at age 9, I wished to become a movie star. I'm not sure I really had a passion for acting, just the fame. I was most certainly suffering from what must have been the first case of ParisHiltonkardashianitis. That prompted him to prop me on his lap and rightly explain myself. I must have done a good job and I really wish that I could remember what I said because he let out a huge laugh, gave me a hug and promised to put me in one of his films when I turned 18. The crowd roared with laughter. I was such a flirt. Even at that age.
But I digress...The Village had become our strange refuge from the fairytale that was my childhood in Rome. The end of innocence but the beginning of a new life in a city that remains my most loved home. And where I learned from all those around me, especially my mother, how to be cool without being cold.