Here are more of my favorite quotes from the archives (originally posted on May 29, 2006):
Robert (at the eastern end of the Channel Gardens): Do you all know Gertrude Stein?...Well, she was a great modernist...a poet, novelist, playwright...you might know one of her famous lines--'Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.' Anyway, after Gertrude Stein first stood here, she said, 'The view of Rockefeller Center from Fifth Avenue is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen ever seen ever seen.'
Baffled boy (raising hand): What was wrong with her?
During a conversation over coffee with a mother and daughter from Alabama, I was told that New York was by far the largest city the girl had ever seen. She had almost gone to D.C., but her school canceled that trip after 9/11.
Girl: Instead we went to Chattanooga.
Robert: That's nice. I've never been to Chattanooga.
Girl: YOU'VE NEVER BEEN TO CHATTANOOGA?!?!?!?
Robert (trying not to spill my coffee): No, but I'd like to go. What's in Chattanooga?
Girl: Well, um, there's this building where all these fish swim around.
Robert: An aquarium?
Girl: That's it! You have been there.
In front of the Customs House, an eighth-grader from (state withheld for the sake of the history teacher) asked me about the different places I grew up. When I mentioned Hawaii, specified Pearl City on Oahu, he jumped up and down.
Excited boy: Were you there?
Excited boy: Were you there when the Chinese bombed Pearl Harbor?
And the last comment comes from Daniel, a high school student from Arizona. His line has become a personal favorite for the simple reason that I haven't been able to stop using it since April. There's a moment in the musical, Spamalot, when, with the boom of a cannon, there is an explosion of colored confetti that swirls throughout the entire theater. After the paper finally settled over our audience, Daniel turned to me, nodded slowly, and with great critical authority, announced: "Now that's real Broadway."