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COVID-shocked New Yorkers hesitant to return to reopened city

Some Midtown movie theaters opened Friday. The Paris has “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Excellent but runs longer than the trial itself. Another has superb Frances McDormand in painfully depressing “Nomadland.” Perfect this time of pandemic, lockdown, poverty, death, hunger, vaccines, burials, immigrants, homeless, unemployment, despair.

In one theater — no elevator, escalator or concessionaire — we were the only two bodies. Nobody. Not one soul came late. No leftovers from a previous showing. Not one other human. Not one single person. A lone usher said we must wear masks during the film. The good news? The place was antiseptically clean.

One gym rat who belongs to an expensive gymnasium and works out steadfastly maniacally daily — probably even flexes his middle finger — said he was the only one there. The lone human working out on the StairMaster, bicycles, treadmill, whatever.

Early 7  p.m.ish, one lady walking upper Madison Avenue found she’s alone. Totally alone. By herself. Solitary. No other soul on the entire block. Terrified, she found a cab. With NYC’s opening green light — why’s everyone not everywhere? Answer: They’re scared. Not budging.

A new movie shtick. Hotel Paradiso in Paris developed a hotel-cinema hybrid. Classy suites doubling as private screening rooms. Room service plus six MK2 Nation theaters. It’s organized access to streaming services, 2,500 DVDs, high-quality projector and 10-foot screen in each room.

Great idea. When legit movie theaters all reopen maybe they’ll stick beds in them.

Pay attention …

Agatha Christie’s baby years are coming in a TV series. “Young Agatha” is set in Devon, England, in the 1900s. It’s how, mourning her father, she grew from precocious teenage to great mystery writer … Another reprise. “Father of the Bride” schleps down the aisle a third time (1950 had Spencer Tracy; 1990 Steve Martin). Next, Andy Garcia in a Cuban-American family. Even Streisand hasn’t had this many comebacks … Another returnee is Shakespeare in the Park with “Merry Wives,” adapted from “Merry Wives of Windsor.” This one’s set in Harlem since, as Her Maj might put it: “Nothing merry going on here.”

Ticket to paradise

An old handbag uncovered an old 2014 ticket for “The Elephant Man” at the Booth. Remember dressing to go out at night to exciting Broadway? Remember dressing? Remember going out at night? Remember openings? Remember glamour? Remember theater? Remember Broadway?

Fancy wrapping

Summer’s comin’. Geoffrey Weill’s “All Abroad: A Memoir of Travel and Obsession,” says to get out. Visit. Like the room-service burger he got at an Agra hotel that came elegantly with a mini Heinz ketchup jar, and his foie gras toast “arrived wrapped in a linen napkin.” Oh, please. You get the same thing in my kitchen — except the foie gras is chopped liver.

Now read this

Oxford’s publishing Eddie Shapiro’s “A Wonderful Guy: Conversations With the Great Men of Musical Theater.”

Confessional shrink sessions. Who did what, how often, to who, stage left, stage right or backstage: John Cullum, Len Cariou, Joel Grey, Ben Vereen, Raúl Esparza, Terrence Mann, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Michael Cerveris, Norbert Leo Butz, Gavin Creel, Cheyenne Jackson, etc., and a partridge in a pear tree.

Leave Cy alone

Former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart blew 1988’s Dem nominee for president. Allegations of an extramarital done-it with Donna Rice Hughes done it. He told reporters: “Tail me, go ahead. You’d be bored.” They did. Not bored, they crashed him. Lesson: Don’t challenge enemies. Cease challenging DA Cy Vance. To redeem his legacy after dismissing other charges against the family, he just might willingly oblige. An ex-president won’t do jail, but family members insulting a judiciary? Go easy. Anything’s possible.


It’s vacation time. But mind, if you look like your passport photo, you are not well enough to travel.

Mumbled only in New York, kids, only in New York.

Chevy Chase recovering at home after 5-week hospital stay

Steven Spielberg directing his own semi-biopic