“I love meeting people. I love costumes. And I love acting,” said Stephanie Windland, an actress who works as a guide for the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Sites Tour. With her current concert, she can “talk about two things that I love: the series and this city”.
Set in 1950s New York, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” an Amazon television series, is about a woman who finds her passion as a stand-up comedian. The two-hour tour highlights more than two dozen well-known spots in the show.
Ms Windland, 29, who lives in Astoria, Queens, with two housemates, said she was hired after talking to someone at a party. “A car and a suit were involved. I knew I had to have this job.
SLOW START I wake up at 7:30 a.m. with birdsong. It’s part of the sleep app on the iPhone. For the next 30-60 minutes there is a significant amount of napping. I try not to do that. Then I make Chemex coffee for everyone. It’s slower but tastes better. I am a mug collector. I have 11 or 12. Right now I’m doing some work for Hasbro as a toy demonstrator, so I’m using one of them. Then I do three pages in my diary. It’s a stream of consciousness. I try to get myself to write every morning. I also do a daily Wordle. I haven’t lost yet.
GREETINGS I meet my roommate Abigail in the hallway or the kitchen and we have a conversation. We call it open house time. I could watch TV in my bedroom. The new obsessions are “The Great” and “Ted Lasso”.
PARTY TIME For the past three years, I’ve run adult karaoke on the spectrum. Since Covid we do them on Zoom. Each session starts with me saying, “What is it?” And they say, “It’s party time. Someone always asks for “Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog”, “Halo” from Beyoncé and a Beatles song. A little after noon I get dressed for work. My costume is similar to Mrs. Maisel’s, a brown dress, black heels, a black hat with a bow, and a coat that I bought for $5 at the senior center in Queens Village.
PREPARATION FOR THE VISIT I stop at Parisi Bakery to buy black and white cookies to hand out to tour guests and take the tube to Herald Square. At 1:15 I am in front of the virtual reality store on Fifth Avenue and 34th Street, which is our meeting place. Before Covid we had a van or a bus with 20-40 people. Now it’s just me, the driver and two or three people in an old vintage car. I escort them to the car and pretend they’re celebrities.
OLD NEW YORK The first location is right there: the B. Altman department store. This is where Midge, the main character, works and is now the CUNY Graduate Center. We will reach 25 places; some I point out as we drive, a few we get out and visit inside, like the Old Town Bar, which is Sally’s in the show, McSorley’s Old Ale House, and Caffe Reggio. I talk about the show and answer questions. I ask them where they’re from, which is mainly New Jersey, Connecticut and Long Island, what they do, what they like about the show and what team they’re on. Most say Midge. If it’s Team Benjamin, we’ve done it.
PICTURES, COOKIES At Albanese Meats and Poultry, we go out for a photo shoot. That’s when Midge yells, “We’ve got the rabbi!” If it’s a shy group, I re-enact the scene and then take pictures for them. It is very important to have a relationship with the store owners. I never want their business to look like a tourist attraction. Then I hand out the black and white cookies, which Midge hands out to her doorman and the elevator guy. I’m still shocked at how many people have never had one.
IT’S A WRAP We also hit Music Inn, then La Bonbonnière, which is a diner on the show. At 3:30 p.m. the tour ends. We say goodbye, which is difficult because I feel like we’re friends. Then I take the subway home. Although I look like a singer, people compliment my outfit. I get a lot of “We love your dress.”
DINNER IN THE HOOD If Abigail is home, we talk about the little annoyances of our day. In Astoria, you can go to Aliada or Sweet Afton, I like their Buffalo wings and their spicy cocktails. If I stay at home, we order from Orale!! Tacos !!
GET DRESSED I have a bin of wigs that I keep under my bed. I never got past the dressing stage. We will play music, Kim Petras, Anaïs Mitchell, who wrote “Hadestown”, or Frank Sinatra, which suits me well. Abigail makes white Negronis and we dance in the wigs. Or we watch a movie. We are huge Marvel fans. We just saw “Avengers: Endgame” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”.
SETTLING I plug in the Christmas lights I’ve been on all year and try to read a little; I’m in the middle of six pounds. Over the past two years, I have read 300 pages of the “Book of Dust”. I go to bed and go on Instagram. Then I do a recap of my day in a book my mom gave me called “A Line a Day.” I started doing this in January. Now, if someone asks me five years from now what I did today or how I felt today, I will know.
Sunday Routine readers can follow Stephanie Windland on Instagram @swindland.