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by Elynne Chaplik-Aleskow
Once upon a time there was a character in a movie who was a free spirit with a love of adventure and life. Her name was Holly Golightly and she was played by the deliciously charismatic Audrey Hepburn. Her character inspired my secret plan.
This movie had a magical effect on me. I was sixteen when I saw Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the first time. By the time I took my first trip to New York, I had seen the film four times.
Of all the cities I have visited in the world, New York is my most favorite and precious. The city has an infinite rhythm of its own. The opportunities of what to do and see are endless. Day or night one can eat. There is always choice for entertainment. The city is alive. It is a life-force.
I love the anonymity of New York. There is a need I have for the quixotic sensibility New York offers me. I am renewed and inspired by my immersion into this city. One can experience any art form. It is a walking city filled with amazing neighborhoods, quaint groceries, delis, cabarets, music, museums, parks and the ultimate in theater–Broadway.
Being in the audience of a Broadway musical, I transcend the reality outside the theater building and am uplifted magically into the all encompassing talent on stage. The actors play to me beyond their potential to the ultimate of their gifts. The productions are often works of art. To be in a Broadway audience is one of the most satisfying moments of my life. It is for me existence in another dimension.
My first trip to New York was liberating. During the day I visited Central Park and the pond where Holden Caulfield watched the ducks in Catcher in the Rye. I went to New York’s museums and walked Fifth Avenue. I played at FAO Schwarz Toy Store. I awoke every morning in my own fairytale waiting to see what the day in this city would offer me.
Holly Golightly and I breathed New York in the same way. I inhaled its anticipation first feeling it in my toes as it worked its way up to my chest and made my brain almost light headed. Tonight was the night I would implement my plan. This was a private plan. I had shared it with no one. It was all mine. I was a romantic and I was fearless.
The theater performance I attended ended around ten forty-five. I walked through Times Square to one of New York’s twenty-four hour markets and bought doughnuts and milk. Carrying this sweet treasure I made my way back to my hotel through the exiting theater crowds.
Back in my room, I waited until midnight. With my package in hand I headed toward Tiffany’s on Fifth Avenue. The door to this jewelry store is recessed. In the darkness of the early morning I stepped into the doorway and put on my sunglasses that were almost identical to those Audrey Hepburn wore in the movie. I unwrapped my donut, opened my milk and proceeded to have breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Suddenly I saw a male figure pass the door in which I was standing. Almost immediately he slowly walked backwards and stopped, staring at me. I could see him more clearly now and realized he was a police officer.
“What are you doing?” he asked in a thick New York accent.
“Having breakfast at Tiffany’s, officer,” I replied suddenly feeling self-conscious.
“Oh yea?” he responded totally unconvinced. “You should know better than soliciting here.”
“Soliciting?” I repeated. “No, officer, you do not understand. I am having breakfast at Tiffany’s. Audrey Hepburn?” I stammered. “The movie?”
He just looked at me and shook his head. “Move on,” he said.
At that moment I hoped that he thought anyone wearing sunglasses and drinking milk in the middle of the night while standing in Tiffany’s doorway must be a tourist.
He had unexpectedly interrupted my fantasy but I had done it. Like my favorite movie character I was in New York having breakfast at Tiffany’s. It would always be a once upon a time moment for me.