My New York Week June 24-30

Have I said how much I love NYC? How, when I’m away from it for more than two weeks, I feel deprived of oxygen? Have I mentioned that my father was a socialist and my mother a social climber? Dear Reader, you have the results of that combination before you. Monday I was supposed to go to a dinner honoring Salman Rushdie but declined. Tuesday I was supposed to go the the High Line and join the Amateur Astronomers Association in peering through telescopes at the heavens. I declined (good tv night). So far, haven’t I behaved like the quintessential New Yorker? You feel the buzz, the excitement out there, no need to participate right now. Wednesday evening I joined a friend for a fabulous Mexican meal at 104 Street and Lex. El Paso’s chef is from Oaxaca, one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited. It has everything: Colonial architecture, Zapotec ruins, wonderful food and great people. Afterwards, we went to a boring talk about Central Park. You have to work hard to make C. P. boring, but these characters succeeded. The Grolier Club was the next day. Run, do not walk, to the exhibit Gardening by the Book: Celebrating 100 years of the Garden Club of America. It’s in a lovely, spacious room with muted lighting and absolute silence. Those old Republican dames know a thing or two about gardening and its history. On Friday, I attend a show by The Gay Agenda at Judson Memorial Church. Such fun! So many people streamed into the upstairs balcony. We all pretended the air conditioning was working. On Sunday, back to Judson Memorial Church which has long been in the vanguard about gay rights. The fiendishly talented Micah Bucey preached the sermon. In back of him were David Johnson’s portraits of the men and women who attended Bailey House which began in 1983 as an answer to the AIDS crisis and homelessness. Here is one of the portraits and a photo (you have to squint to see Micah) of The Gay

R. I. P. James Gandolfini

The greatest Soprano of them all, James Gandolfini, has died in Rome. He was an Italian American of humble origin who won big in the American dream sweepstakes. In an early episode, his therapist asks him if he was depressed. All I can say is I’m depressed because this wonderful actor has departed the scene much too soon.The illustration is by Jim Margulies and was featured in amNewYork.