Directions to Washington Square Park

[Rory gets off the bus and looks around. She walks out of the station and onto the crowded sidewalk.]

RORY: Could you . . . um, excuse me, sir, do you know . . . do you know where Washington . . . excuse me, ma’am . . . Washington Square Park?

PASSERBY: End of Fifth.

RORY: Thank you! [to someone else] Excuse me, where’s Fifth?

Rory gets off the bus at the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 625 Eighth Avenue, in the heart of Times Square. She asks strangers for directions – because the super organised Rory has of course headed off to New York without a map, or even looking at a map! Impulsive Rory has taken over, and she doesn’t check anything!

Someone eventually tells her that Washington Square is at the end of Fifth Avenue, upon which Rory starts asking people where Fifth Avenue is. Basically, Rory has been directed to walk along West 41st Street and across (or past) Bryant Park until she reaches Fifth Avenue – it’s three blocks and perhaps 10 minutes walk from the bus terminal. Once on Fifth Avenue, she can walk straight there – but it is a distance of almost two more miles, almost forty blocks, and more than half an hour on foot, carrying a heavy backpack!

Google Maps tell me it would be slightly quicker (by about five minutes) for Rory to walk straight down Eighth Avenue and then approach Washington Square Park on an angle via Greenwich Avenue, but I think the directions she received were less likely to get her lost or confused – just straight across, then straight down. The numbered grid pattern of Manhattan streets makes it relatively easy to navigate the city.

It’s more than two hours from Hartford to New York City by bus, so, presuming Rory was able to get a bus fairly quickly after leaving Chilton, it might be around 11.30-11.45 am when she arrives at the bus terminal. She still has quite a bit more of her journey ahead of her.

“Ask a New Yorker” informs us that New Yorkers are actually very ready, even eager, to give directions to tourists and strangers in town, but you should always ask at least a couple of people, because sometimes their directions aren’t that great. (They know their own small part of the city very well, the rest of it, not so much).

New Yorkers walk an average of five miles a day getting around the city, and they walk fast, so Rory is getting straight into New York mode by hitting the pavement and wearing out shoe leather. Hopefully all that walking around Stars Hollow has kept her fit – although at the start of the episode, she moaned about getting sore feet just walking to Sookie’s house …

Jess Phones Rory

Jess phones Rory out of the blue – conveniently it’s at a time that Lorelai is celebrating the end of her exams and too drunk to notice or care, so they are able to talk privately in Rory’s bedroom. And Lorelai is playing loud music in the living room, so there’s no chance of Lorelai overhearing their conversation. Jess has been extraordinarily lucky in the time he chose to phone up!

It’s now two weeks since Jess left Stars Hollow, and he makes contact with Rory, but neither of them know what to say to each other – and Jess soon says he needs to go when he learns that Lorelai is in the house with Rory. (He’s on a payphone on a pavement, so can’t really talk properly anyway). This intriguing yet unsatisfying phone conversation is what propels Rory into one of her rare, yet surprisingly regular, moments of madness.

Notice that when the phone rings, Lorelai jokes that if it’s Mick Jagger to blow a whistle and hang up. She’s earlier said she wanted to keep her children away from Mick Jagger, and suggests using a whistle to deter him – in other words, activating an anti-rape device designed to raise an alarm and gain people’s attention to your plight. Jess is definitely someone Lorelai wants kept away from her kid, and the suggestion of rape seems like a foreshadowing of later events.

“Grab yourself a donut”

LUKE: Where’s your mom tonight?

RORY: At a party for my Grandpa.

LUKE: Oh, sounds nice. Grab yourself a donut.

Rory returns home from Stars Hollow alone, and is outside the diner when Luke returns from his fishing trip. He offers her a coffee and a doughnut, but he’s been away for a week and only just got home – those surprisingly fresh-looking doughnuts must have been sitting on the counter for a week! There’s so much eating of old and expired food on this show.

“Twice a week”

LANE: Twice a week, on Wednesday and Friday nights at six o’clock, I could come and practice here …

SOPHIE: Please, go home.

LANE: I can’t. I can’t go home until you say yes. I have to rock, I have to! Please, I’m so begging you – let me rock!

Lane begs and pleads and cajoles and bargains, and finally gets Sophie to agree to let her practice twice a week at the music store in the evening. It’s an incredible gift Sophie has given Lane, apparently touched by her overwhelming need to live a musical life and with no one to help her.

Rory gets opportunities handed to her on a platter, while Lane has to beg a virtual stranger to let her practice drums. She’s not getting free lessons, she will have to teach herself, but at least she is going to be allowed to touch some actual drums on a regular basis.

According to Lane, her mother goes to Bible group alone on Wednesday and Friday evenings at 6 pm. In “It Should’ve Been Lorelai”, Lane has to accompany her mother to Bible class every Saturday morning, but Bible class and Bible group seem to be two different things. Perhaps Bible class is for instruction, while Bible group is for discussion. Throw in Thursday evening hymns, and most of the week seems to be taken up with religious activities.

Notice how Lane pleads with Sophie as if in the throes of passionate prayer. I can imagine Lane has prayed constantly for any chance to play music, and after many years, her prayers have been answered.

“It’s still early”

RORY: My wrist hurts and I’m grumpy and I just made a total idiot of myself in there so I just wanna go home.

LORELAI: All right, well, I’ll tell Mom, I’ll drive you.

RORY: No, it’s okay. It’s still early. I can catch my regular bus and . . . you go back in.

How can it be early enough that Rory is still able to catch her regular bus home to Stars Hollow? The scene at KC’s Annex showed Rory and Lorelai in Stars Hollow, and dressed for the party. Rory has already taken her regular bus home from school – that’s how she got home in the first place! She can catch a later bus home, maybe one that leaves around 6 or 6.30 pm instead of between 4 and 4.30 pm, but she cannot possibly catch the same bus home.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

The hymn they are singing at the Kim house when Lane arrives.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus is a Christian hymn written by Irish-Canadian poet Joseph M. Scriven, a preacher in the Plymouth Brethren movement. He wrote it in 1855 to comfort his mother back in Ireland after hearing she was terribly ill, and only received credit for it in the 1880s. The tune was composed by American attorney Charles Crozat Converse.

Although sometimes criticised for its sentimentality, the hymn remains popular. It has been recorded many times, including by Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Glen Campbell, and Amy Grant. The song features in the film, Driving Miss Daisy, previously discussed.

Lane looks absolutely flushed with happiness as she joins in with the hymn-singing, thrilled with finding her calling in life. It’s a reminder too that Lane has always grown up around music – just not rock music. It feels as if Mrs Kim has unknowingly been bolstering Lane’s passion all this time!

In “Kiss and Tell”, Lane mentioned that it was Sing Your Favourite Hymn Night at the Kim house on the day that Dean first kissed Rory, again linking hymn night with first love. That seemed to be a Thursday evening, suggesting it is Thursday now, and a week after the car accident that Jess and Rory had. (Of course, the Kims could have changed their hymn night in the interim). It’s clearly not night time, but “hymn night” actually seems to be held in the late afternoon (or early evening in the winter months, as it gets dark earlier then).

Snow Dogs

LORELAI: Suspense – ice skater falls in love with hired help. Well, at least now I know how Snow Dogs got made.

Snow Dogs, a 2002 adventure comedy film directed by Brian Levant, and inspired by the non-fiction book Winterdance by by Gary Paulsen. It stars Cuba Gooding Jr as an adopted dentist from Miami who travels through the Alaskan wilderness with a pack of sled dogs in search of his inheritance and the truth about his family origins. He finds love with a bar owner, played by Joanna Bacalso.

The film was panned by critics as mediocre, cliched, tiresome, and stale, but was a commercial success. Disney released the film in January that year, so Lorelai and Rory must have seen it within the last few months.

“This whole week”

RICHARD: This whole week, this whole experience with Rory and the locker first aid kit – that is a damn good idea, by the way, no matter what those yarnheads at that school of yours say. Anyway, this whole week made me realize something – I don’t want to be retired.

When they were first discussing the Business Fair, Rory said they had three weeks to prepare for it. Yet Richard, who helped them develop and market a product right from the beginning, says that he worked with them for a week.

Richard retired in December and finished at work in January, being restless and miserable ever since. Now in April, he decides that he’s had enough of retirement and wants to return to working life in some capacity. After a winter of discontent, Richard is ready to emerge in the spring to begin life anew.

“We’re getting married May fifteenth”

SOOKIE: Okay, new plan for the invites. We’re getting married May fifteenth, four o’clock, front lawn – pass it on.

There are very few exact dates given in the show, but there’s one for for Sookie and Jackson’s wedding – they’re getting married on May 15. That means that somehow the next four episodes are going to be squeezed into two and a half weeks! I don’t possess whatever time machine/portal to another dimension/magic powers that Lorelai and Rory have, so unfortunately the blog entries will not all be done for this season by May 15.

In real life, May 15 2002 was a Wednesday, but in the show, Sookie and Jackson’s wedding was on Sunday. Even when you get a firm date, it doesn’t make any sense and isn’t consistent with the timeline given.