The other day my 4-year old son informed me he has a wife. Her name is Ugg, like the shoe…not like yuck. Apparently Ugg is 103 years old and is from Florida (makes sense). And lately Ugg has celebrated a birthday every other week. I think she’s up to about 110. Several months back Jack tells me that Ugg lives in an apartment on West End Avenue and West 100th Street (she’s obviously left Florida). I asked why she lived there and he innocently looked at me and matter-of-factually said, “Because that’s where she lives, Mommy.” (Please see “Like Mother, Like Son” for a refresher)
One of my favorite things about living in New York City is being able to identify places around the city that have been featured in movies, television programs, books and even songs. I’ve always been a creature of pop culture and there’s nothing better than listening to Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” and knowing each and every place he mentions in the song. And I love that I can be walking around places like Riverside Park and stand in the very spot where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks finally realized they were in love in “You’ve Got Mail,” or just a few blocks down, recognize the place where they found a dead body floating in the Hudson River on a Law & Order SVU episode. It’s all so cool.
So imagine my surprise when I opened one of those daily deal emails and saw an offer for a children’s book about a phone booth in New York City that’s located at the corner of West End Avenue and West 100th Street. What?! Ugg’s apartment? Did Jack know about this? Does he have a future as a location scout in New York City?
The book is called, “The Lonely Phone Booth,” and it’s from children’s book author, Peter Ackerman. The idea came when his then 3-year old son, walking past the corner of West End Avenue and West 100th Street asked him, “Why is that phone in a box?” That simple question inspired Ackerman to write a wonderful children’s book told from the perspective of the phone booth, and last year, the Manhattan Children’s Theatre even turned the story into a play.
So in true New York City fashion, the family went on an adventure last Sunday to the corner of West End Avenue and West 100th Street and sure enough, there it stood…The Lonely Phone Booth. And also in true New York City fashion, the building was totally under scaffolding. But that did not stop Jack from jumping into the booth, picking up the phone (I had plenty of Purell at the ready) and calling…you guessed it…Ugg! She wasn’t home.
And for all you trivia buffs – today there are only four outdoor phone booths left in New York City and they are all located on West End Avenue. Who knew?