New York City Blog: May 19 -May 25

On Monday, my ballet crazy pal and I continued our dance marathon by going to ABT”s “Don Quixote” and watched, transfixed, as Ivan Vasiliev flew around the Met stage. Later that week we returned to the Met to see “La Bayadere”. The second act is everything. The corps de ballet was perfect, twenty-four dancers who glided in unison.

Like citing the first robin of spring, I realized the annual Fleet Street celebration was in town when I saw several sailors in sparkling white uniforms gathered around a fire truck. In its 26th year, it celebrates the maritime services. Remember “On the Town”? Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Jules Munshin cavorted around 1944 Manhattan in those camp sailor boy outfits.
Sailors examining a fire truck in lower Manhattan

Sailors examining a fire truck in lower Manhattan

New York City Blog May 11 – May 18

Off to Carnegie Hall for the last Met Orchestra concert, conducted by Maestro James Levine. He was greeted, as usual, with thunderous applause as he maneuvered his motorized wheelchair to the center of the stage, waved, put his hand over his heart, turned his back on the audience and was lifted, wheelchair and all, a few feet so he would be visible above a structure resembling two doors placed on their long sides that surrounds the podium. We were off to the races. Conductor Levine led the orchestra in Antonin Dvorak’s Carnival Overture. The cellist, Lynn Harrell, played the Cello Concerto in B Minor. It was a perfect Sunday afternoon, two and a half hours of acoustic bliss.

I have always admired nurses but can’t think of any kindly, intelligent nurses in films. Can you? When I saw some friends at the showing of Carolyn Jones’s THE AMERICAN NURSE I leaned over one of them and said that Nurse Ratched was reporting for duty. I shut my mouth realizing it wasn’t the brightest remark in a group who were celebrating nurses. Across the aisle, a woman laughed. She turned out to be a nurse and, of course, couldn’t have cared less about my wise crack. She and her retired policeman husband (Quote: Nurses and cops go well together.) Invited me to sit with them and share their popcorn. THE AMERICAN NURSE follows the daily schedules of five nurses. Their disciplines are varied. They range from a nurse in Appalachia who works with the poor, a nun who wondered how long small community centered nursing homes could survive without being gobbled up by large companies, a nurse who works with veterans, one who works within the penal community, and a labor and delivery nurse. All five, three women and two men, were examples of kind, intelligent professionals.

View the documentary’s trailer at www.americannursemovie.com.

Jessie Kulchek, Detective Steve’s daughter, breezed into town from Rhode Island School of Design. Her father took her to Basta Pasta. She had the dessert she always has, Tiramisu.

 Jessie Kulchek's favorite dessert, Tiramisu

Jessie Kulchek’s favorite dessert, Tiramisu

New York City Blog: May 5 – May 10

On Monday, May 6, I saw the late Anthony Minghella’s production of Madame Butterfly. What a glorious opera, driving home the theme of forbidden love and death, ending in Cho Cho San’s horrible and bloody suicide. Reminds me of retired Detective Con Haggerty, Steve’s uncle, talking about a case at the Metropolitan Opera when he was a young rookie. After the first intermission, a young clarinetist didn’t return to her seat in the orchestra, but her clarinet was on her chair. Opera house personnel searched for her, but she had disappeared mysteriously. The management turned to the NYPD for help. Con and his partner found the body of the young clarinetist down an air shaft. She had been assaulted and killed by a young stage hand.

On Thursday, May 8, I was back at Jack Kleinsinger’s Highlights in Jazz. Twins fascinate me. And twin sax and clarinet players even more so. Peter Anderson plays tenor sax and clarinet and Will Anderson, his brother, plays alto sax and clarinet. Along with Wycliffe Gordon, they performed Dorsey Brothers music. The only thing missing was Harry James on the trumpet playing “Flight of the Bumblebee”.
Saturday night dinner at one of Detective Steve’s favorite haunts: Minetta Tavern. great food – marrow, anyone? – great drinks and great atmosphere.
A puzzle, a mystery, and an enigma: why would anyone have a snake as a pet? This South American Boa was slithering around its owner in Washington Square Park.

 

A South American Boa

A South American Boa

New York City Blog: R. I. P. Karl Garlid (1944-2014)

Karl's Chair

Karl’s Chair

Karl Garlid died on May 1 at Lenox Hill Hospital. Mary Meyer, his wife, was with him. Shortly after they married thirty five years ago, I met them at Judson Memorial Church. I learned over the years that Karl was a person of fierce loyalty. He loved his wife,  Cambridge Place, the cats, his community, his college, Williams, and Italy. The evening of May 1st Mary and I sat on their deck, drinking wine and laughing and crying as we recalled the big guy. We then went to a nearby restaurant. Neighbors stopped Mary to hug her and offer condolences. At the restaurant the manager, upon learning the news, wouldn’t let us pay.  Cambridge Place was a beacon of hospitality to Judson folk, neighbors, the Long Island gang, college pals, members of the Hill publication, a local newsletter, and many a needy cat.