NEW YORK CITY, 2019. The great meeting happened in the mind of John Brawl when he got out of Penn Station. Near the exit he saw four men looking around. They were Joe Papp, Arthur Gelb, Brooks Atkinson and Bob Fosse. They were talking about art, culture, theatre, and how New York became another place for them.
Then, John Brawl approaches them, but keeps quiet, just listening to what they are saying.
JOE Papp: “I understand all this shit, but I don’t get to sense it."
BOB Fosse: “Man, our city has been lost in our minds.”
ARTHUR Gelb: “I’ll never cry for all that.”
BROOKS Atkinson: “The city hasn’t any guilt.”
JOE Papp: “It doesn’t matter if something has guilt or not. I think that the whole city has been trapped in a kind of arrived-won-and-left."
ARTHUR Gelb: “I wonder if somebody who loves this city could get ever away from here."
BOB Fosse: “You’re right! It makes sense. Who’s leaving the city after feeling the smell of success? Just an idiot would make that shit.”
BROOKS Atkinson: “You all are being very emotional!”
JOE Papp: “Of course, this is our work.”
BROOKS Atkinson: “I'm a journalist. My reason is more important than my emotion.”
JOE Papp: "No way! You write about art, life, New York, and it’s too emotional. Mostly the reason for art is to get the right feeling. It's a heart thing and not a mind thing.”
BROOKS Atkinson: “Now, I’ll explain my point to you .”
BOB Fosse: “No, no, no. Let’s do something else."
ARTHUR Gelb: “We should end this conversation.”
JOE Papp: “What we should do next?”
ARTHUR Gelb: “My proposal is Sardi’s.”
BOB Fosse: “There?”.
BROOKS Atkinson: “What's the problem?”
BOB Fosse: “I don’t know… Coming back to Sardi's brings back so many memories".
JOE Papp: “Bad or good?”
BOB Fosse: “Neither bad or good, just memories from a time… a time that has vanished.”
John Brawl can’t resist and joins the conversation.
JOHN Brawl: “Hey guys, sorry! Let me introduce myself. My name is John Brawl. I’m a plumber. I was passing by…”
BROOKS Atkinson: “What do you want?”
JOHN Brawl: “Well… I was just wondering if…"
BOB Fosse: “You said that you’re a plumber, why?”
JOHN Brawl: “Because I am!”
ARTHUR Gelb: “Where are you from?
JOHN Brawl: “The Bronx!”
JOE Papp: “Hey fellas, let him…”
JOHN Brawl: “John Brawl!”
JOE Papp: “Mr. Brawl says...”
JOHN Brawl: “Thank you!”
BROOKS Atkinson:“Now, say, what do you want, Mr. Brawl?"
John Brawl breathes deeply.
JOHN Brawl: “The game is over!”
BOB Fosse: “What the hell are you talking about?”
JOHN Brawl: “New York! We’re that way because of minds like yours.”
JOE Papp: "We gave this city an image, a sound, and a movement.”
JOHN Brawl: “And?”
ARTHUR Gelb: “This city is what we wanted it to be.”
JOHN Brawl: “Just that?"
BROOKS Atkinson:“Yeah! Has logic or hasn't logic. That’s the answer!”
JOHN Brawl: “All right, all right! I got it.”
John Brawl looks at all of them.
JOHN Brawl: “I gotta go. Sorry. I gotta go."
John Brawl crosses the side street. He looks back. He does not see them. He walks by himself. But before Mr. Brawl reaches W35th Street, he meets two men: Frank Lloyd Wright and Raymond Hood. He approaches them and asks without hesitation:
JOHN BRAWL: "Who made New York?"
They walk along to Broadway, chatting about the lovely city, while a man passes them, whistling "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin.