Last week, I just missed Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad up at Columbia, but I did dodge the motorcades and frozen zones around the United Nations, and undergo the requisite pat-down at the Clinton Global Initiative. What a wild week in New York, and it reminded by a little bit of 1960, the year of our blogging discontent.
A year after Cary Grant’s Roger O. Thornhill dodged assassins under the gaze of Hitchcock at the UN in the clearest stylistic model for Mad Men, Cuba’s Fidel Castro hit the streets of New York and the right-wingers in the press went wild. Castro spoke to the UN the last week of September, 1960 – by my estimation a month or so after the current episodes are taking place (I’m going by the comparison of the Nixon and Kennedy ads post-convention).
Castro went a bit north of Morningside Heights, staying in Harlem at the Theresa Hotel, where he held court for notables from Malcolm X to Langston Hughes. Ahmadinejad didn’t speak in Harlem, but he did mix things up at Columbia, bringing the tabloid fangs down on the University, much as they descended on the entire Harlem community in 1960.
I wonder if the writers will work in a Castro/New York reference in one of the final three episodes of this first run like they’ve felt compelled to cram in every 1960 pop signpost – “hey, how about that Psycho, huh?” Tonight, Sterling Cooper deals with the near-fatal heart attack of a partner and tries to hold on to its clients. The agency feels like it’s in a spiral right out of Vertigo, and man, that’s not a great vibe for the canyons of midtown, believe me. Back shortly – we commence at 10, and tonight I’ll keep my thoughts strictly in the comments section. Just easier that way.