Sir Paul McCartney performs at Yankee Stadium. (July 16, 2011)

Sir Paul McCartney performs at Yankee Stadium. (July 16, 2011) Credit: Getty Images


As most New Yorkers know (or should know), Sir Paul McCartney is a great friend of New York and has been for 40 years, and we've long reciprocated the love. Just a couple of weeks ago, he filled Yankee Stadium for a pair of spectacular concerts — the Saturday one attended by Billy Joel, who played with him — and now he's on board for a major TV special based on the concert from Madison Square Garden, mounted just six weeks after the attacks. It will form the basis for an Albert Maysles black-and-white Showtime special on 9/11. "The Love We Make: Paul McCartney and the Concert for New York City" is to air Sept. 10, a Saturday.

McCartney just addressed TV critics here via satellite — a first and the crowd here was appropriately enthralled. McCartney was funny and jaunty and generous, full of stories about the Beatles' early days, even joking about a collarless jacket he was wearing (everyone's wearing them "in Cincinnati," he mugged).

He also recalled 9/11, when he was actually in NYC, about to leave the airport; out of his plane window, he could see smoke rising form the Twin Towers, initially thinking he was looking at some odd optical illusion. "Finally the steward came over to me and said, ‘Look, something serious has happened in New York and we’ve got to get you out of here.'”

The plane of course was grounded. "I ended up not being able to go into New York. I ended up in Long Island, in a hotel, watching it on TV, like the rest of the world," he said. That's when he got the idea for this concert, he says.

As noted,  McCartney was especially generous and charming (What else! It's Paul!). Asked about his taste in TV, he said, "ESPN and home shopping channels — where do you think I got this jacket?" He also got a question about hacking — now word that he, too, had been hacked. Said when he gets back to London, he'll talk to the cops about it.

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