I remember landing, and seeing all the big buildings,
and being superexcited about this new adventure,
and also, of course, being reunited with my mother.
She was waiting there to pick me up.
Most of the experience that Michael (Douglas)
and I had we’ve never been able to talk about.
It’s terrible! But I had a rule: If he was coming
home with a girl, he had to bring another one too,
or he wasn’t allowed in.
I arrived in New York City at four in the morning
feeling very romantic. I raised my fist – “I’m going
to conquer you yet!” – the way Eugène de Rastignas
does in Balzac’s Le Père Goriot. I was all alone,
so I had breakfast at the Automat across the
street from my hotel. All the food was yellow:
the eggs, the coffee, even the meat.
Within my first month of living here, “normal” daily tasks of New York such as hailing a cab or crossing streets (without checking traffic) had be learned quickly. The key to blending in while learning the ways of the city is to appear as confident as possible. Not an easy task for someone who had never transferred subway trains in a major metropolitan city, and was fearful of getting lost dropped off in the mid of Staten Island.
To help me get over the tough learning curve of The Big Apple was a book about fellow newcomers – My First New York: Early Adventures in the Big City. I drew inspiration from famous people who had braved the city before me. The humor in their adventures and truth in their recollections inspired these illustrations. Plus it gave me something to do, as initially I didn’t know a soul here. (And neither did some of them!)