2013 New York City Letter 4

conquering Norma who conquered New York

Wednesday, 23 October 2013 10:02 am

The saga continues….

Well, I ran out of puff before I could get to Norma, it’s an opera, by Bellini, so it’s very dramatic and like all opera’s ends in tears. Its all about a Roman Consul to Gaul (France) who was in love the high priestess, I don’t think they ever got married but they did hatch a couple of kids, well he falls out of love with her and in love with one of her trainee priestess, silly move. Trainee priestess loves him but does not want him, because she does not want to upset her boss, but boss finds out and gets a bit cross. She (boss lady), decides to kill the kids, but then changes her mind, tries to palm them off to the boy friend’s new squeeze, but it just gets too bloody complicated for words so in the end High Priestess decides the only way out is to jump on to a huge pyre and be done with her self. The ex boy friend suddenly feels bad about what he’s done and jumps on with her, end of relationship, kids live on as orphans, end of opera! Anyway forget the bloody story, it does do your head in, BUT, a very big but at that, the music is to die for. It’s an opera I’ve longed to see, we have several recordings and it takes a girl (or two) with seriously big lungs to pull it off well, Sutherland could do it, ditto Callas and on Saturday night Sondra Radvanovsky did it very, very, well. We made a serious night of it and dined at the opera house at The Grand Tier Restaurant (well we were sitting in the Grand Tier), it’s up there for a ‘feel good’ moment and the food was quiet nice! We looked the part too (I must be the only mug who carts a dinner suit half way round the globe for three opera’s, but as I don’t do ties, I dressed it down with a menopause blue slinky collarless shirt. He did the bow tie look. Very dapper!

Saturday arrived slowly, I did not get to bed until after 1.30am which is not my style, and so I did forgo my early morning walk. We did eventually get moving and took off for Brooklyn. Because I’m obedient type and my mate Marie instructed us to walk the Brooklyn Bridge to Brooklyn, we did just that, along with about 6000 boobies in pink. We arrived slap bang in the middle of 3000+ women and a few brave men doing a breast cancer awareness walk, across the bridge. It was very pink, very frilly, very funny but also very poignant with some of the signs on their backs in memory of boobies that did not make it, but also a lot of fun and when we made it too the other side there was a huge picnic set up for them with quite a few bikies on hand to assist. We left them to their picnic (and next 14 miles of walking) and took of to the Brooklyn Museum. Some very interesting displays of period rooms with several artists works ‘re-interpreting’ the rooms, Another area with a good collection of European works, and the odd Rembrandt or three lent from a local New Yorkers collection in their family room. We bypassed the Egyptian collections, it’s getting a bit ‘been there, done that’ and then moved on to the Brooklyn Botanic gardens for the next few hours. We were a bit early for the full autumn look, but it was looking pretty spiffy anyway. We then made it back to Manhattan and just happened on a shoe store that I had seen a few days before, I got a cheep pair of deep mushroom suede shoes, he came away with very smart pair of black dress shoes. Whist it does sound that we are on the gourmet tour of NYC, we in fact have only eaten out four or five times, because we have been being a bit theatrical nearly every night, it’s been a case of ‘eat on the run’, a thrown together salad or pasta dish at the flat, so we thought it was time to eat locally. We found an excellent Thai place (Rin Thai) a couple of streets away and shared a couple of very nice appetisers (duck spring rolls with avocado, ginger and coriander dipping sauce and super steamed dumplings) then more duck for mains, along with a very light steamed fish number with great vegetables, ginger and off course the obligatory teamed rice, he was happy, I was happy, so all was good with the world.

a lot of pink on Brooklyn Bridge

a lot of pink on Brooklyn Bridge

walking across Brooklyn Bridge

walking across Brooklyn Bridge

Sunday was another late start (all due to 11 Madison Park news update), and as it was yet another stunning sunny day, we decided to try and do more ‘outside’ things, so we had breakfast at a local patisserie called La Bergamote, a recent travel/wine writer guest at Thorn Park told us about it, she’s up state New York and files for the Bloomberg press, so who was I to argue. It was good, cakes and pastries to die for and of. We restrained our selves and I had a croque monsieur made with brioche and he had eggs with mushrooms with a side dish of fresh berries and we both had more bad coffee. We them proceeded to walk the high line, his second walk, my 20th, revisit the Chelsea market (good coffee) and then headed for ‘lower eastside’ and the Tenement museum and China town. The Tenement museum is a must see, must do, on your next trip. Two very wise women came up with the idea, found an old tenement building that the top four floors where just locked up and not used since the 1930’s. It’s an eye opener, only small gouts can go through it with a guide and they tell the stories of families who lived there. Again the word poignant springs to mind (we had a poignant weekend) but also it celebrates the guts and determination of people who risk moving away from their homes to start a new life. We had lunch at a bar called Dudley’s (including our first hand burger) and walked and walked. We then walked back to Chelsea, via little Italy, Greenwich and West villages, with a stop off for a little retail, we found ‘American Apparel’ and himself finally has new sweat pants for Pilates, he’s been wearing his fathers old ones far too long, (Gordon did die in 1998!), they where of some fabric that must be pre-acrylic they are so old, he was in dire need of something smarter. We also have a lot of new tee shirts; it’s that type of store. We then walked a bit more and a bit more; I suspect we clocked up 18-20 k’s so the legs are looking good. We dined ‘in’, I made a pretty speccy salad if I say so myself, so it could be called a healthy day, if one over looks breakfast and the two bottles of wine with dinner.

The weather forecast threatens cooler and damper days, but they have yet to arrive, Monday was no exception, but we had been a bit slack for a few days on serious art, so took off for the ‘must’ see Frick Collection, two subways latter, we arrived bright and happy, it was a private show day, embers only, no public. Hmmmmmmm! Ok of to the next stop, it was only 21 streets further north, so we walked along Madison Ave, got a bit distracted by Dean and Deluca (food shop from heaven), Ralph Lauren (he has two shops) and a hundred and one other shops we did not need to linger in and finally arrived at the next museum, the Cooper-Hewitt National museum of design, my heart sank as I saw lots of screens around it, and you just have to love it, they stated in huge letters, everything was open except for the museum (it’s being renovated) but the signs all sent you rushing to their web site so you could see all the things that you could see with out going to the museum, off course all tourists run around with their laptops for just such occasions, so then moved on to the Guggenheim  (I had been warned that some parts, including the spectacular stairway were closed for a few weeks) but when we got there they offered reduced entry because over half was shut! Good news is it’s all going to be reopened next week, so we’ll go then. With that we cut our looses, got back to ‘our’ end of town and wait for it, hired bikes and rode all the way down to the very bottom of Manhattan, well almost, the cycling track was barricaded near the end, and as my friend was not too keen on road cycling we ‘walked’ our bikes for a short part and then remounted and continued on a little further until we found a parking bay and returned said bikes. It’s a great system you join up and hire by the hour or half hour.

This might get interesting......

This might get interesting……

We then walked all around Battery Point, talked to the squirrels, took far too many photographs and generally enjoyed the sunshine, the water, and stunning gardens. Himself the decided to visit the Jewish Holocaust Museum, I could not do it as I did not want anything to put a downer on such a wonderful day, so I kept walking all around the financial district and he did the museum. We met up an hour later; he was happy and took great delight in letting me know it was not all about the Holocaust. Decided that another subway trip home would be better than hiring bikes again. Threw down a very quick bowl of pasta (this one prosciutto cheese from Eatily again) and took off up town to The Park Avenue Armory for a Mozart concert. The Armory is very boys own band stuff, the Seventh Regiment has been around for nearly 200 years, made of boys from ‘The Families’, pretty posh and they took up and entire city block from Park Avenue to Lexingham Avenue and between 66th & 67th streets. It’s got a bloody great big drill hall that’s an acre and a quarter in size and the façade on Park Avenue sores up over four stories with all sorts of special meeting rooms and officers rooms. Some by Tiffany, Herter Brothers and other great designers of the late 1800’s and it’s under going a $200 million dollar reno and facelift. We were seated in the just finished Board of Officers room; many millions have been spent on it. Piano and Violin, very good, all sonata’s, and during interval we were allowed to nose around and check out some other the other rooms, its very over the top. There seemed to be a lot of regimental silver on show.

Well, today was Frick & Grand Central Station day but it will have to wait, we are dining out to night, so need to go freshen up and it takes a while these days.

Until the next instalment,

Cheers from him and me xo

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