A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 331: Jack Goes Boating

May 15th · 1 Comment

img_7518I knew something was up when I biked by The Lake in Central Park and saw no fewer than ten rowboats afloat, each carrying exactly one man and one woman. And all the lovers were white. How strange. Also, what sort of romantic spark causes people to paddle out on a chilly, overcast Monday at 7 a.m.?

I rolled to Bethesda Terrace and saw a camera crew set up with all their armaments.  A twenty-foot-long camera boom hung over the water and pointed at a boat piloted by a fat, shaggy man who pulled gently at the oars. He chatted with his passenger, a delicate and lovely blonde. Clearly the man was the star. His blond hair had been teased to make him look like a wreck and besides, I knew that shape; these days, when actors are predictably muscular and trim, a flabby physique like that stands out.

img_7513I pulled out my point-and-shoot, but the rent-a-bouncer yelled, “no pictures!” He also shooed off the occasional jogger or biker who paced through oblivious to the action. A couple sidled up to me, transfixed by the action as I was.

Wow, they said. They were on fire, they said. They’d been in New York only a few days and saw Jason Bateman at Ben’s Kosher Deli, and got an autograph from someone I’d never heard of that they saw on the street, and now…this guy. Who is that, anyway?

“It’s uh,” I replied, leaning on my handlebar, as I realized I didn’t remember his name. “He’s one of those three-name guys. Anthony Michael…”

“John Phillip…” offered the woman.

Philip Michael…” said the man.

Michael Hoffman…”

We all stared at each other a moment.

“Philip Seymour Hoffman!” the guy yelled, probably loud enough for Philip Seymour Hoffman to hear from across the water. We nodded at each other to celebrate a correct identification of the species Homo Hollywoodis.

The woman walked over to the bouncer and asked what the movie was. He said it’s called “Jack Goes Boating.” Yeah, right. Sounds like the title a bouncer dreams up to make a tourist go away.

img_7515_2But I went home and checked IMDB and found that “Jack Goes Boating” is not only the working title of a movie, but is Hoffman’s directorial debut. Based on an off-Broadway play, the plot summary is: “A stoner limo driver looks for different ways to improve his skill-set as a way to attract a girlfriend.”

So, Philip Seymour Hoffman fans, let me tell you I witnessed it with my own eyes: Hoffman, leaning his corpulent frame up from his boat seat to kiss Amy Ryan on the lips.

Maybe it would have been sexier if I’d been stoned.

Tags: Entertainment · Personalities · Sights & Scenes · Why I Love This Town

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Bill and Marilyn // May 23, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    You’re back! This is vintage Ferris stuff.

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