Today I returned to my office for the first time since last Wednesday's explosion near my building in Midtown. Our building, among dozens of others, ended up closed not only on Thursday, Friday, and the weekend, but also Monday and Tuesday of this week. Everyone in our area ended up with a surprise six-day weekend.
It's been a little spooky for some people returning to our building. Though I left about twenty minutes before the explosion, I overheard the story of co-workers who heard and felt the explosion while sitting at their desks, saw the rising plume of smoke and debris, and after reaching the ground floor by stairs saw only the explosion site, fearing the entire surrounding area had suffered the same fate.
Another co-worker reported being on the street when the explosion occurred and witnessed a man start losing it on the street, screaming "They're blowing up the subways! They're blowing up the subways!"
There are still stretches of streets and avenues shut down, blockaded and guarded by police. A gaping crater remains where the pipe exploded and ripped open the street. Buildings in the vicinity of the crater have windows blown out or covered in mud and debris.
Most of the people I talked with were glad to be back to work after the extended break, especially with deadlines coming down the line, disaster or not. It seems that, for many here, returning to our office's regular rhythms and routines is something of a relief.
(No Harry Potter spoilers here, so read on without fear.)
Harry Potter fever struck New York City this weekend. At Saturday brunch in Hell's Kitchen I saw the orange cover peeking out from under quite a few arms and nestled on more than a few tables beside piles of pancakes and half-finished mimosas. This morning on the way to work I also saw the book poking out from more than one bag.
Many Potter fans finished their copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this weekend. I was reluctant to finish the book in one burst, however, purposely dragging it out. This being the last Harry Potter book, I didn't want it to be all over only hours after I got the book in my hands.
I'm about two-thirds of the way through the book (page 502 of 759). Things spice up half way through the book, and since reaching that point, I'm definitely having a harder time putting it down.
This weekend I'm going on a camping and canoeing trip in the Adirondacks with Dylan and our friends Addison and Evan, and I plan to finish the book while on the five-hour drive. That is, of course, assuming that I can put the book down between ogling the scenery, talking with the boys, and stuffing myself silly with copious amounts of road trip snackage. (Did anyone say mini powdered donuts?)
On Sunday afternoon, after reading several good reviews, I decided to see the Sienna Miller and Steve Buscemi film Interview, and I have to say that I'm a little disappointed.
Sienna Miller plays Katya, a popular film starlet almost known more for her off-screen antics than her acting (feel free to insert the name of any number of young, blonde actresses here), and Steve Buscemi, who also directs, plays a political reporter who has been assigned to interview Katya. What transpires is a cat and mouse duel to the death in the form of a celebrity interview between the spoiled, coke-snorting actress and ego-driven, ethics-averse reporter.
Sienna Miller delivers a livewire performance (as she did in Factory Girl, which was just released on DVD last week and is definitely worth seeing for her gritty and stunning portrayal of Warhol muse Edie Sedgwick), but her performance alone isn't enough to propel Interview to the realm of true greatness. Steve Buscemi is enjoyable, too (remember how great he was in Fargo, too?), but the film seems to stay too long, and the characters threaten to leave too many times without doing so, leaving the audience feeling like both characters are eventually crying wolf.
That said, the movie isn't a disappointment altogether. There are moments that crackle and snap, and the ending provides a little whoop of satisfaction. The biggest reason to see it, however, still lies with Sienna Miller, who's becoming an actress to keep your eye on now that her performances are being seen outside her native England.
Today Josh and I got a very sweet e-mail from actor and singer/songwriter Jay Brannan. We're trying to arrange an interview with him, and hopefully we'll be able to bring that to you guys soon. Cross your fingers!
In the meantime, check out some of his songs here.