The Time She Came to New York
Summary written by Miko
Sarah gets off the airplane and smiles as she passes the "Welcome to New York"
sign. At baggage claim, she starts telling a guy her whole story about
coming to NYC to look for her father. When she finally stops for a response,
the guy propositions in his accented English that they take a taxi to a hotel
for "sex adventures." Sarah steps away from him. Sarah's the last one,
sitting on the edge of the baggage carousel when it comes to a stop, her
luggage no where in sight. At the lost luggage counter, Sarah finally loses
her patience. The unsympathetic clerk asks for her address in New York and
gives her a consolation toiletry kit.
Sarah reveals to the taxi driver that she was conceived "here", which the
driver takes to mean the backseat of a cab. Sarah means New York City.
She tells the driver to go to her mother's apartment at 537 East 10th Street
instead of taking her to the hotel.
She gets out and stares up at the apartment building in wonder. The driver
says he's off soon, so Sarah hands him some cash without looking back at him.
The driver looks at the money and sees his huge tip and exclaims, "Thanks!"
Joss crosses the street towards the apartment building and sees Sarah
still staring. Joss asks Sarah if she is lost. Sarah responds that she's
"...not lost at all".
Apartment Manager's Door
Sarah knocks on the door, Cecelia, a young woman opens the door. Despite the
distraction of Cecelia's spiked blonde hair, Sarah asks if she can see her
mom's old apartment 3E. When Cecelia refuses, Sarah offers her money for
five minutes. Cecelia tells Sarah she can stay the whole weekend for $100.
Sarah runs upstairs, opens the apartment door only to find it still chained.
On the other side of the door, Romy asks Sarah what she's doing. Romy lets
go of the door when she hears her pager vibrating. She scurries around the
apartment looking for it, hoping it's about an audition. It's only her
parents, and she doesn't have a phone. Sarah tells Romy her mom was an
actress and lived in her apartment. Romy reluctantly lets Sarah stay for
the weekend, on the couch, since Romy is very late on her rent.
A guy is trying to talk Maguire into going out on the road with Bob Dylan,
and even asks Sarah's opinion. Sarah suggests getting the contract on paper
before making a decision. Sarah asks Maguire if she can use the phone. She
calls Bailey, but tells him she's staying at a hotel but can't receive
phone calls. She lets Maguire assume she's checking in with her mother.
It's late at night, and Sarah gets up to find Romy can't sleep either. Romy
is watching the Gorgeous Guy across the alley through their windows. He's
with a woman. Romy laments she hasn't been kissed in a long time. Sarah is
nervous about finding her father.
William Lanford Dance Studio
A dance class is going on when Sarah approaches the receptionist. She points
out William Lanford to Sarah. He's the dance teacher in the black tights and
hot pink shirt. Correctly assuming he is gay, Sarah still asks him if he had
ever been involved with her mother because she doesn't know who her father is.
Immediately William tells Sarah that the director of "Cyrano", Archer Fitzwith
was in love with Robin Merrin, that Sarah must be Archer Fitzwith's daughter.
The ballroom dancers continue to dance in a circle around Sarah.
Romy is mailing out headshots while Sarah is anxious but beaming about her
discovery. Hearing the noise from Cecelia's party below, Sarah begs Romy
to go and dance the night away.
The room is packed, with alcohol flowing. Cecelia rushes past Sarah not
even noticing her to answer the door. She pays the liquor store delivery
guy and tells him she doesn't have any extra money for the tip. Instead,
she lifts up her shirt and flashes him. Sarah climbs out the window to
the fire escape and sees Maguire across the street. She invites him up but
he declines. She goes back inside and dances wildly to the music.
Romy is getting ready for an audition. Sarah is trying on her clothes,
because she wants to look good to impress Archer Fitzwith.
Archer Fitzwith's Office
Sarah asks Archer Fitzwith's secretary to see him. His secretary asks
what it's about. Sarah says it's personal. His secretary assumes she's
an actress looking for a job and tells her to leave her picture and resume.
She offers to take Sarah's phone number, but tells Sarah he's leaving
for Moscow tomorrow after going to a benefit at Lincoln Center that night.
Sarah tells Maguire about not being able to see Archer Fitzwith. Maguire
suggests she sneak into the Lincoln Center event by dressing in a slinky dress,
carrying sheet music and saying, "I'm with the band." Sarah asks Maguire if
he needs his sheet music for the Dylan gig. He tells Sarah he turned it
down because they wanted A-list musicians.
Sarah tries on a red dress, but it's not right. She goes to try on a black
floor length dress. Maguire sees her through the curtains trying to zip up
Sarah tries to convince the security guard she's with the band, but she's not
on his list. Sarah points out how absurd it would be for her to dress up
to sneak into a boring event filled with middle-aged people. The band
members are arriving so the security guard asks the men if Sarah is with them.
Sarah smiles and waves charmingly at them, and they assure the guard she
is with them.
Inside, the classy band is playing, with Sarah singing "New York, New York".
As she sings, sometimes forgetting the words, she scans the crowd. She
whirls around when she hears someone call out "Archer".
Later, she follows Archer Fitzwith into the men's room. He heard her singing
and thinks she wants a job from him, so he walks out. Sarah stops him and
tells him flat out that she's his daughter.
In the lounge, Sarah tells Archer everything she knows, that she was conceived
during the play "Cyrano" her mother starred in and that he directed.
It ran from February to May 1978, and she was born in January 1979.
She tells him Robin Merrin died 2 years ago. Still, Sarah explains what she
wants from him, hopeful they can get to know each other. Archer confirms
that he was in love with Robin, but they never slept together. Robin
got together with a young, dangerous kid because she was 20 and didn't want
stability. As Archer tells her he would've married Robin and Sarah could
have been their daughter, all of Sarah's hope crumbles to nothing until
she's crying. She apologizes to Archer and runs out.
At a pay phone on the street, in between sobs, Sarah asks if there are any
flights tonight, or tomorrow morning. She wants to leave as soon as possible
and will fly standby if necessary.
Apartment Building Hallway
Sarah comes up the stairs and sees a piece of luggage near the door. She
complains its the wrong one. Just as she's going to open the door, a voice
asks her what she's talking about. It's Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan sitting on
the stairs waiting for their daughter Romy. They tell Sarah that Romy's
had one year to try acting, but now they were there to bring her home.
Sarah goes down to the bar to tell Romy her parents are here. Romy got the
role she auditioned for, she did it within the year! Sarah tells Maguire
that Archer Fitzwith is not her father, and she's going to go home. A guy
recognizes Maguire from when Maguire played guitar for Beck.
Outside the bar, Sarah is ready to call it a night. Joss comes out of the
bar bringing Maguire his jacket. Maguire and Joss take Sarah out.
Outside by the river, Sarah names off all the bridges and tunnels out of
Manhattan. She asks, "What if I don't want to get out of Manhattan?"
She takes a sip from her bottle of beer. Joss wanders off. Sarah asks
Maguire about being a famous musician. He tells her he's nobody, and
she says she's nobody too. They shake hands, and he kisses her hand. Maguire
tells her than she can be whoever she wants and can invent herself from now on.
Joss's subway card is out of funds and no one has tokens including the closed
booth. Joss jumps, Maguire lifts Sarah over the turnstiles, and Maguire hops
over, falling on his face. Two subway cops stop them. A drunk Sarah shows
them they have money just no tokens. The cops hope she isn't bribing them.
The cops want to arrest them for public drunkeness. Sarah protests, and
as she tries to tell them she isn't drunk, she throws up at their feet.
Sarah and Maguire are handcuffed, and sitting on a bench. Sarah still wants to
find her father. Why? She hasn't found anything yet. She wants to feel
different about her life.
Archer Fitzwith and his lawyer arrive, Maguire called them. Sarah apologizes
to Mr. Fitzwith, he tells her to call him "Archer". The lawyer presents
the three offenders to the judge. The judge takes one look at Sarah
"a sorority girl from the suburbs" in a "prom dress" with no previous offenses
and lets them go.
Sarah is furious at what the judge said and how everybody sees her. She
doesn't want to be "the Marcia Brady of the new millenium"! She realizes that
if she goes home now, everything in her life will be exactly the same.
She wants to be in New York City to figure out her life. She thinks maybe
this drive comes from her mother. She came to New York to find her father,
but she really found her mother, in herself.
Sarah wants to stay longer. Romy says she can have the lease because she's
packing to go home to Portland. Romy shows Sarah the script that contains
nudity. Romy refused the role. Romy wants a sign that she should stay,
like the revelation Sarah got on the subway.
Romy and Sarah go to the store to ask for some empty boxes. The gorgeous
guy from across the alley introduces himself to Romy, his name is J.B.
He admits that he watches Romy through their windows. He asks Romy out for
a drink. It's Romy's sign to stay!
Sarah's sitting on the counter listing her job skills to Maguire. He tests
her by asking where to find a particular song. Then she asks him for a song
that he's played on, so she can get to know him better. They both listen to
the song on headphones. Joss comes in for change for the bar next door,
complaining how busy it is since one of the waitresses quit. Sarah jumps at
this job opening.
Joss shows Sarah around. Sarah sees Romy and J.B. at a table.
Joss runs up to the stage for the new employee initiation. Joss introduces
Sarah to sing a song. Sarah protests, but goes up anyway. She timidly asks
if they have any Sarah McLachlan songs. It's too late, the music starts and
words appear on the screen to R.E.M.'s "It's the End Of The World". Sarah
stumbles through the first verse, but she gets into the first chorus, and by
the second verse she's nailing it.
Outside Apartment Building
Intercut with Sarah's performance, there are shots of a van pulling up to
her apartment. An unseen person opens up the back and selects the luggage
with "Merrin" on the tag. They heave the bag onto the front stoop, letting
it bump and come to its own landing spot. Sarah is heard singing, "It's the
end of the world as we know it... and I feel fine."
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