What's it about?
Colin Quinn: The New York Story is a one-man show performed by Colin Quinn and directed by Jerry Seinfeld. In the show, Quinn tells story of the evolution of the modern day New Yorker.
What'd I experience?
It was a calm and restful Sunday evening. As I was walking down West Fourth Street towards Commerce, heading to the Cherry Lane Theatre, it all looked like a movie set. It definitely prepared me for the show I was about to watch. Although I felt as if I’ve been preparing for this show my whole life with everyday experiences as a New Yorker myself.
He (an overhead voice) instructed us to shut off our phones, speaking on how one would feel a bit bothered if they already had their phone off. Or how some would wait until they are told to turn their cell phone off, like a typical New Yorker. I was in the fourth row and as soon as I sat, Colin Quinn wasted no time. He warmed up the crowd immediately with jokes (via the overhead voice). He had me laughing hysterically before he even appeared on stage.
Once Quinn got on stage, he spoke to the audience as if we were his buddies at the bar, a very casual and welcoming mood. He started the show with the Native Americans. He sparked an interesting point when he said “they were the first ones here… according to them,” implying that maybe the Native Americans weren’t the first ones here. I guess no one is gonna say “hey, this technically isn’t our land because we killed the people that were here before us.” He was making me laugh and actually stimulated my curiosity.
He then went on to explain the origin of names like New York, the names of all five boroughs, Yankees, Broadway, etc... The name New Amesterdam was given by the Dutch in the 17th century prior to New York which was given by the British in 1664. Oh, and another characteristic that the common New Yorker picked up from the British which was the feeling that we are better than EVERYONE else, across the globe. It may be good…but “it isn’t New York.” Ya know?
The Irish played a huge role in the development of the New Yorker, they were the reason for the NY sarcasm or as the Italians would call it the wise ass. I went to church prior to attending the show that day, so I understood this next point wholly. He said that the Irish people, to this day, are the only ones who get the intentions of the Catholic Church. People aren’t supposed to be coming out of church singing and dancing and happy. The Irish come out of the church saying “the priest made a good point today making me realize I’m a human piece of garbage. I need to stop sinning and change my life for the better after Jesus Christ died for our sins.” I laughed so hard.
Then he mentioned the Jews/Israelites element of not caring about anyone else’s opinion but those whom we think highly of and relentless ambition. The Italians set the volume and tone to our language, having us naturally speak in a high volume without even noticing it. The Puerto Ricans contributed the pace to our speech, they speak English with a Spanish accent and really stick to the pace of the city, faster.
It brought a smile to my face when he spoke on my nationality, the Dominicans. Any Dominican would agree that when Dominicans came to this country we acted as if “New York was waiting for them.” lmaoooooo. This is the kind of sense of status that we walk around with till this day. It’s amazing. Quinn said that we even made the Puerto Ricans complain and that really brought a sense of satisfaction to my heart.
This show is not meant for tourists. It is a show for New Yorkers, especially those who were around before the digital age. They will appreciate the nostalgia. But we can all feel the pride that one should always feel when being a native New Yorker. It’s a reminder that this city is The Center of the World.