Category: NYPD Blue


Hello Again Mr. Smits

January 9th, 2010 — 9:35pm
2009 was a good year for celebrity sightings, and it looks like this year will be no different. Today, I had the pleasure of meeting Jimmy Smits after his performance in the Broadway hit, “God of Carnage.”

Hello Again: Jimmy Smits and me after the show

It was my second encounter with the tall and charming actor — the first being almost fifteen years ago on the set of “NYPD Blue.”

On Location: Jimmy, me and co-star Kim Delaney during a shoot for “NYPD Blue,” August 1995

At the time, we chatted about Jimmy’s lingering affection for his hometown of Brooklyn and I was impressed by how soft spoken and down to earth he was. He smiled today when I mentioned meeting him then, instantly recalling that particular shoot at the borough’s legendary River Café.

“You haven’t aged a bit,” I told him.

“I don’t know about that,” he said graciously. “Nice to see you again, thanks for coming out.”

Sigh. A decade and a half later, Mr. Smits is still a charmer.

Up next… a review of “God Of Carnage.”

| Brooklyn, celeb sightings, God of Carnage, Jimmy Smits, Kim Delaney, NYPD Blue, River Cafe

Hello Again Mr. Smits

January 9th, 2010 — 4:35pm
2009 was a good year for celebrity sightings, and it looks like this year will be no different. Today, I had the pleasure of meeting Jimmy Smits after his performance in the Broadway hit, “God of Carnage.”

Hello Again: Jimmy Smits and me after the show

It was my second encounter with the tall and charming actor — the first being almost fifteen years ago on the set of “NYPD Blue.”

On Location: Jimmy, me and co-star Kim Delaney during a shoot for “NYPD Blue,” August 1995

At the time, we chatted about Jimmy’s lingering affection for his hometown of Brooklyn and I was impressed by how soft spoken and down to earth he was. He smiled today when I mentioned meeting him then, instantly recalling that particular shoot at the borough’s legendary River Café.

“You haven’t aged a bit,” I told him.

“I don’t know about that,” he said graciously. “Nice to see you again, thanks for coming out.”

Sigh. A decade and a half later, Mr. Smits is still a charmer.

Up next… a review of “God Of Carnage.”

| Brooklyn, celeb sightings, God of Carnage, Jimmy Smits, Kim Delaney, NYPD Blue, River Cafe

The Fickle Finger Of Fate

August 27th, 2009 — 1:23am


The other day, my trainer Raj told me about a few recent dating mishaps with his new love interest.

Date one ended in his parents interrupting their goodnight kiss, while date #2 found him in a brawl defending her from the advances of some brutish men. Raj’s date suggested that all of the drama was fate’s way of saying they’re not meant for each other.

As he shared this, I couldn’t help thinking about the fickle finger of fate – and the role it’s played in my own love life.

I’m a believer in signs, especially when it comes to make or break decisions about romance. Recently, I was on the fence about continuing to date hunky cop Rich, largely because of opposite schedules and (very) different emotional styles. After an intense two-hour phone conversation, he told me to sleep on it. Upon later discovering that Rich had logged into Match.com within an hour of our heart to heart, I knew for sure it was time to call it quits.

At the other end of the spectrum, I’ve experienced how the hand of fate can make romance happen against all odds. For me, there’s been no greater example of this than my ill-fated love affair with California-based Mark (a.k.a. Sparky).

A confluence of events led to our unlikely meeting back in ‘94. Knowing we were fans of “NYPD Blue,” a family friend invited us to watch the show filming in the East Village — an invite that arrived while I was home from college on spring break. I happened to visit the set just a few days before Sparky headed back to L.A., and the rest, as they say, is history.

Though neither Rich nor Sparky turned out to be Mr. Right, they both reinforced my belief that every significant other crosses your path for a reason. If you’re lucky, each partner teaches you something — whether it’s about yourself, or about what you want (and don’t want) in a partner.

That’s the thing about fate — it‘s usually a lot smarter than we give it credit for.

| breaking up with a boyfriend, East Village, fate, fate and romance, Match.com, Mr. Right For Now, NYPD Blue, online dating, spring break

Opening The Vault: Part Twenty One

January 2nd, 2009 — 4:20pm

There’s nothing quite like falling in love for the first time. Every cheesy song suddenly has great personal resonance and yet, you feel paradoxically like no one has ever felt the same way.

For me, that intensity was heightened considerably by the fact that my first love was 3,000 miles away. California native Mark (a.k.a Sparky) swept into my life during a chance encounter at an “NYPD Blue” shoot and continued to sweep me off my feet when I finally made my first trip out West.

Behind The Scenes: My first visit to see Sparky included a stop at Universal Studios, where he worked as a sound editor for “Law & Order,” August 1994

Sparky once said he was in a magical funk thinking of us. During our first night together in California, I felt exactly the same way. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the summer of ‘94…

Granada Hills, CA
August 26th, 1994

Dear Diary,

You’d think that all of the unbridled passion and ecstasy of being in Sparky’s arms again would have been enough to stave any estrogen-induced moodiness. No such luck last night.

PMS kicked in and I began to worry that I’d made a mistake in deciding to stay with Sparky. I was afraid that seeing me day and night would make him tired of me. Some of my anxiety stemmed from residual guilt, of course, about going against Mom’s advice.

I admitted my concern. Pulling me close to him, Sparky took my hand and looked right at me as he said–

“You’re just not used to someone wanting you as much as I want you.”

He was right. Not only did he understand perfectly the daunting newness of our intensifying closeness, but he managed to sweep me off my feet in the same breath.

I called my friend Li-Shean and the sound of her voice calmed me considerably. She made me laugh about overreacting to Sparky’s furnishings when she guessed right off the bat that he has black leather couches! My insecurities faded and I concentrated on savoring my first night with the man I adore.

Not surprisingly, we got little sleep.

“I want to make you my wife,” Sparky murmured in my ear before kissing my cheek.

Later, after we managed to briefly doze off, I woke up to feel his arms holding me tightly, and to the sound of Sparky whispering —

“I love you.”

“I love you too,” I said, feeling like the words couldn’t come out quickly enough.

We kissed yet again, but this time it felt different. This time, we were affirming both those three little words and our mutual desire. And I knew it was only the beginning.

* * *

Passion wasn’t the only thing on the itinerary during my first trip to Sparky’s neck of the woods. We ended up taking in some of California’s top sights — and along the way, I discovered how hard it was to hold back, despite the very real obstacles facing us.

Coming up…a look at two of Broadway’s hottest departing shows and the Australia countdown continues.

| Australia, first love, long-distance relationships, NYPD Blue, Universal Studios

Romance In Unexpected Places

October 10th, 2008 — 12:11am

When you’re single and searching, you often hear that love happens when you’re not looking for it. I was reminded of how true that is today, upon hearing how my lovely colleague Shana met her current beau.

Panda Express: Who knew it could be romantic?

Shana was about to exit Chinese fast food chain Panda Express when she noticed a man blocking the front door. Looking right at her, he asked–

“Can I have your number?”

Unnerved by his brazen directness — not even a hello?! she thought — Shana resisted. Though she ultimately did give the bold stranger her number, she never imagined he would actually use it. Well, he did. Two months later, they’re still together and discovering the many things they have in common. Including a fondness for Slurpee’s and for their neighborhood (they happen to live five blocks apart).

Shana’s tale got me to thinking about the unexpected places I’ve encountered romance. Like the temp job that acquainted me with intellectual giant and super chivalrous Brooklynite Larry. Or, during my stint in Illinois, the dinner at a neighbor’s house that led to a passionate romance with her step grandson Steve. Or, most unexpectedly of all, the park in NYC’s East Village where, during a location shoot for “NYPD Blue” I ended up meeting my first big love, California native Mark.

Yes, the element of surprise has been a key element of my romantic experiences. Shana’s story of unexpected love gave me a much-needed reminder to keep my eyes open. After all, you never what– or who –is right around the corner.

| NYC's East Village, NYPD Blue, Panda Express, unexpected romance

Romance In Unexpected Places

October 9th, 2008 — 7:11pm

When you’re single and searching, you often hear that love happens when you’re not looking for it. I was reminded of how true that is today, upon hearing how my lovely colleague Shana met her current beau.

Panda Express: Who knew it could be romantic?

Shana was about to exit Chinese fast food chain Panda Express when she noticed a man blocking the front door. Looking right at her, he asked–

“Can I have your number?”

Unnerved by his brazen directness — not even a hello?! she thought — Shana resisted. Though she ultimately did give the bold stranger her number, she never imagined he would actually use it. Well, he did. Two months later, they’re still together and discovering the many things they have in common. Including a fondness for Slurpee’s and for their neighborhood (they happen to live five blocks apart).

Shana’s tale got me to thinking about the unexpected places I’ve encountered romance. Like the temp job that acquainted me with intellectual giant and super chivalrous Brooklynite Larry. Or, during my stint in Illinois, the dinner at a neighbor’s house that led to a passionate romance with her step grandson Steve. Or, most unexpectedly of all, the park in NYC’s East Village where, during a location shoot for “NYPD Blue” I ended up meeting my first big love, California native Mark.

Yes, the element of surprise has been a key element of my romantic experiences. Shana’s story of unexpected love gave me a much-needed reminder to keep my eyes open. After all, you never what– or who –is right around the corner.

| NYC's East Village, NYPD Blue, Panda Express, unexpected romance

Opening The Vault: Part Eight

September 25th, 2008 — 12:14am
It’s not very often that real-life romance kicks off in fairy tale fashion. I’ve been fortunate to experience this unusual twist a few times, most dramatically with my first love, California native Mark (a.k.a Sparky).

After meeting in the middle of an “NYPD Blue” shoot, Sparky and I were quickly in the throes of infatuation. Our initial days together were a whirlwind of intimate dinners, carriage rides in Central Park and talk of the future.

That first weekend ended with a diamond band from Sparky and a promise – that he would spend his upcoming vacation time with me.

Over the course of the next five weeks, we burned up the phone lines and Sparky made good on his word, booking a trip to London, where I was spending my junior year. During one of our conversations, I let him know my stance on sex – specifically, that I planned to wait until marriage to have it. Though he was taken aback by my revelation, Sparky didn’t waver when I asked him if he was still coming.

“Absolutely,” he said without missing a beat.

And so it was that, after a 12-hour journey from L.A., Sparky made his way to London to woo me like no other man had before. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the spring of 1994…
London, England
April 27, 1994
Dear Diary,
After our long cab ride from Heathrow, we finally arrived at the Regent’s Park Hilton. Up in Sparky’s room, I began unpacking his suitcase while he freshened up in the bathroom. When he poked his head out and saw what I was doing, he said —

“I should just propose to you right now.”

“Haven’t you already?” I replied with a smile, and he laughed, remembering that he had.

* * *

I treated Sparky and me to a show — the haunting, dazzling “Phantom of The Opera.” Toward the end, I heard a sniffling sound coming from him and sure enough, he was crying.

After the lights came up, Sparky apologized for being so sentimental. I assured him he had nothing to be sorry about. Overcome with emotion, he looked at me and said with great urgency —

“There’s so much I want to share with you.”
* * *

Hand in hand, we walked to Trafalgar Square. There, with the majestic fountains behind us, right in one of London’s most sublime spots, we kissed — over and over again. As Sparky remained standing, I sat on the edge of the fountain and rested my hands on his shoulders. Forget soap operas and novels, this was the real thing!!

London’s Trafalgar Square: The perfect spot for romance

Next, we strolled into Covent Garden for dinner at one of my favorite Italian bistros, La Quercia D’Oro. The conversation flowed effortlessly, a surprise given that Sparky and I were still very much in the getting-to-know-each-other stage.

Back in my room at Commonwealth Hall, I lit some candles. As soon as Sparky touched me, I could feel my entire body respond. All we did was kiss, but it was a thousand times more passionate than anything I had experienced before.

After we said goodnight, I knocked on my floor mate Carine’s door to get her advice about whether I should spend any nights with Sparky at his hotel.

“If you want him to respect the decision you’ve made [to not have sex], then you have to respect it too,” she said.


* * *

Though I resolved to follow Carine’s counsel, resisting temptation proved to be easier said than done….

London was only the beginning for me and Sparky. Not too long ago, he reminisced about our time together in England’s capital.

“The week we spent in London was the best time I ever shared with someone.”

Fourteen years later, I feel the same way. Even when there’s 3,000 miles of geography in the way, some loves never leave you.

| Central Park, Commonwealth Hall, Covent Garden, London, long-distance relationships, NYPD Blue, Phantom of The Opera, Trafalgar Square, waiting until marriage

Opening The Vault: Part Seven

September 10th, 2008 — 12:47am

Every September, I’m always somewhat wistful when that first chill hits the air, signifying the start of fall. The change of season always finds me thinking of new beginnings–like the one that accompanied the arrival of spring years ago when I met my first love.

As I recently mentioned (http://melissa-singlegalinthecity.blogspot.com/2008/08/opening-vault-part-six.html), my first date with California native and “NYPD Blue” sound editor Mark (a.k.a. Sparky) delivered the unanticipated bombshell that he was divorced with a child. Since I was only 20 at the time, I responded to the news by deciding to have fun with him while he was in town and nothing more. Fate, however, had other plans for us.

I now Open The Vault and take you back to 1994…

March 23, 1994
New York City

Dear Diary,

While I was very intrigued with Sparky, his divorced dad status made me more than a little wary. I quickly shrugged it off, though, because the chemistry between us felt so effortless…Upon exiting the restaurant, Sparky turned to me and asked–

“Can I put my arm around you?”

“Sure,” I said, charmed by his tentativeness, and so we strolled with his arm around my waist. During a cab ride uptown, he sat thisclose to me. I could feel the attraction between us intensifying.

It turned out the nightclub I’d chosen was closed. We then ended up at a very different destination–the Plaza Hotel.

As always, there were several horse-drawn carriages nearby. We climbed into one and went for a heavenly ride through Central Park.

Sparky was holding me as we reflected upon what a wonderful time we were both having. Suddenly, the words stopped. I turned my face away from the night sky and toward Sparky, and we kissed. It was a kiss like none I’d ever experienced before, one that ignited every part of me.

* * *

After the carriage ride, Sparky and I sat on the steps of the fountain in front of the Plaza. We couldn’t stop talking. It was like we were trying to tell each other as much about ourselves as possible.

Sparky spoke about how much he wants to share his life with someone, a sentiment that both excited and intimidated me given the 16-year age difference between us.

It was getting late so, hand in hand, we walked back to my building. Sparky asked me what I was doing the following night. Upon informing him that I had plans with my cousin, he declared–

“I don’t care – I’ll take her out too. I just want to spend every minute with you that I can.”

How could I say no to that?

* * *

Sparky and I packed quite a bit into those first couple of days together — from strawberries and whipped cream at NYC’s posh Regency Hotel to a second moonlit carriage ride through Central Park. And before the weekend was over, much to my great surprise, there was a ring on my finger…

Coming up…Sparky’s transatlantic grand gesture and standing up to cancer at a Dave Matthews concert.

| carriage rides, Central Park, Dave Matthews band, first love, NYPD Blue, The Plaza hotel

Opening The Vault: Part Seven

September 9th, 2008 — 7:47pm

Every September, I’m always somewhat wistful when that first chill hits the air, signifying the start of fall. The change of season always finds me thinking of new beginnings–like the one that accompanied the arrival of spring years ago when I met my first love.

As I recently mentioned (http://melissa-singlegalinthecity.blogspot.com/2008/08/opening-vault-part-six.html), my first date with California native and “NYPD Blue” sound editor Mark (a.k.a. Sparky) delivered the unanticipated bombshell that he was divorced with a child. Since I was only 20 at the time, I responded to the news by deciding to have fun with him while he was in town and nothing more. Fate, however, had other plans for us.

I now Open The Vault and take you back to 1994…

March 23, 1994
New York City

Dear Diary,

While I was very intrigued with Sparky, his divorced dad status made me more than a little wary. I quickly shrugged it off, though, because the chemistry between us felt so effortless…
Upon exiting the restaurant, Sparky turned to me and asked–

“Can I put my arm around you?”

“Sure,” I said, charmed by his tentativeness, and so we strolled with his arm around my waist. During a cab ride uptown, he sat thisclose to me. I could feel the attraction between us intensifying.

It turned out the nightclub I’d chosen was closed. We then ended up at a very different destination–the Plaza Hotel.

As always, there were several horse-drawn carriages nearby. We climbed into one and went for a heavenly ride through Central Park.

Sparky was holding me as we reflected upon what a wonderful time we were both having. Suddenly, the words stopped. I turned my face away from the night sky and toward Sparky, and we kissed. It was a kiss like none I’d ever experienced before, one that ignited every part of me.

* * *
After the carriage ride, Sparky and I sat on the steps of the fountain in front of the Plaza. We couldn’t stop talking. It was like we were trying to tell each other as much about ourselves as possible.

Sparky spoke about how much he wants to share his life with someone, a sentiment that both excited and intimidated me given the 16-year age difference between us.

It was getting late so, hand in hand, we walked back to my building. Sparky asked me what I was doing the following night. Upon informing him that I had plans with my cousin, he declared–

“I don’t care – I’ll take her out too. I just want to spend every minute with you that I can.”

How could I say no to that?
* * *

Sparky and I packed quite a bit into those first couple of days together — from strawberries and whipped cream at NYC’s posh Regency Hotel to a second moonlit carriage ride through Central Park. And before the weekend was over, much to my great surprise, there was a ring on my finger…

Coming up…Sparky’s transatlantic grand gesture and standing up to cancer at a Dave Matthews concert.

| carriage rides, Central Park, Dave Matthews band, first love, NYPD Blue, The Plaza hotel

Timing Is Everything

September 2nd, 2008 — 10:35pm

My colleague Li recently shared with me the tale of how he met his fiancée. The two dated briefly in college, remained in touch intermittently and now, 15 years later, are finally tying the knot. His story got me to thinking about timing and the idea that everything happens for a reason.

Four years ago, my first experience of speed dating resulted in a brief romance with British-born R. Being with R taught me the important lessons of paying attention to irreconcilable differences early on, and of not lingering in a relationship simply because you’re afraid to hurt someone. The five months I spent with him also led to something of a much longer duration – my career in public relations. A publicist himself, R acquainted me with the PR world. Four years later, I’m still smitten with it.

About a decade before meeting R, I connected with California native Mark during a location shoot for “NYPD Blue.” Over the course of many years and many encounters, I learned a lot about relationships from him but the biggest takeaway of all was a simple one—when you’re really in love, you feel it without hesitation and beyond measure. Mark also served the important purpose of introducing me to a gastronomic delight whose longevity in my life has surpassed that of any man—sushi. For that alone, I am forever in his debt.

Perhaps the greatest example I’ve experienced of fate’s purposeful agenda was the New Year’s Eve that wasn’t back in 2002. My high school sweetheart Hogan was supposed to come in from Toronto. Confusion about bus and train options from T.O. to New York ended up derailing his plans. Hogan ended up going to a party that night where he met the lovely woman who later became his wife.

Yes, at the risk of sounding like Sex and The City’s Charlotte, it bears repeating–everything really does happen for a reason.

| NYPD Blue, Sex and The City, speed dating, timing in relationships

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