11 April 2007

Desire in Times Square

You could have knocked me down with a styrofoam peanut last night when I strolled down W. 44th Street near Seventh and did a double take to make sure The Streetcar Named Desire was parked on the curb. No, not the play. The actual streetcar, a dark green metal job that clearly bore the destination "Desire" and appeared to be from New Orleans. It sat on a trailer bed which was connected to a semi cab.

"Some movie shoot," I thought. I walked up to the semi and spotted a man who looked like a truckdriver. He was. "What's with the Streetcar Names Desire," I asked, trying to put it as simply as possible. He confirmed it was the actual vehicle, a working streetcar that had been carted up from the Big Easy to New York to inspire people to take a trip down south to distressed New Orleans. "You know: `Stella!,' the driver's friend offered, helpfully." It had been parked there from two days and folks had taken tours of the car all day. It was closed now, sadly.

Desire was due to hit the road Thursday morning. It was on a national tour, with Chicago the next stop.


Trish said...

About Ben Ash: It first arrived when I was livng at 54th & Seventh. I vividly remember the day they were about to install their sign. For a brief moment the facade was bare and one could clearly see the ghost letters "AUTOMAT". It kind of broke my heart when Ben Ash slapped their tacky sign over it. I never ate there.

Unknown said...

There never was a "Streetcar named Desire," really. There was a streetcar line named Desire, torn up in 1948. Some of the streetcars that ran on that line are still around, now running on New Orleans on Canal or St. Charles, or in other cities or streetcar museums. This would seem to be one of them. But you can't say this is THE streetcar named Desire since there never was one single streetcar named that. Pre-Katrina, there was still a bus route named Desire, but that's not nearly as evocative.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Christof: Technically, you're right, of course. But your point sort of reminds me of when people correct you when you say Grand Central Station instead of the train depot's TRUE name, Grand Central Terminal. Thanks for the clarification, nonetheless