You can take the boy out of Winnipeg…
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 06/07/2022 (215 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A recent business trip to New York City brought me reminders of Winnipeg, both good and bad.
In late May, I spent five nights in the heart of New York at the Knickerbocker Hotel in Times Square. The location is perfect, as the rooftop terrace is across the street from the ball that drops on New Year’s Eve. As soon as you step onto the road, you are on Broadway, with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child playing a half-block away.
Walk a few more minutes, and you will see theatres hosting the likes of Hugh Jackman, Billy Crystal, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Matthew Broderick in Plaza Suite. Add the giant video screens and tourists from around the world, and the place is electric 24/7.
I sat in the hotel lounge on my first evening in town, enjoying a pint. To my right were a musician and PR agent discussing a tour and speaking of legendary bands (the musician’s back was to me, and I could not place him). Directly in front of me was a group of folks talking about theatre.
As the evening progressed, one member of the theatre crowd began to look familiar to me, but I struggled to place him. He was sitting at a 90-degree angle, and I recognized something about him. I tried to place him without staring too much.
He had been silent early on, preferring to listen to others speak, but I finally knew who it was once he joined in the conversation. It was Winnipeg’s own Len Cariou. Younger readers may recognize him as Henry Reagan from the police show Blue Bloods, but Cariou made his name on Broadway in the original version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. He shared billing with Angela Lansbury and starred opposite Lauren Bacall in a theatre adaptation of All About Eve.
Cariou may be the most famous alumnus of Miles Macdonell Collegiate, where he spent two years that included being involved in the school plays. My mom swears a relative of his lived down the street from us. It was an excellent way to begin the trip.
Not too far away was another reminder of Winnipeg, though not as pleasant as my sighting of fellow Buckeye Cariou. Walk down Broadway, look up, and you see the unmistakable biceps of Peter Nygard. The location at 1435 Broadway was home to offices, design studios and showrooms.
It seems strange that the signs are still up in New York City, given that many references to Nygard in Winnipeg have been removed. I couldn’t stop long because I only had one day off, and there was so much yet to see.
East Kildonan community correspondent
Tony Zerucha is a community correspondent for East Kildonan. Email him at email@example.com