New York City Blog Feb. 16 – Feb. 22

Tuesday I went to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden.This is not your grandmother’s MSG. These days it resembles an airport .You go through security. Guards poke through your belongings, a mysterious wand is run over your body. I miss the gone forever freedom of going to an event without being searched, but it’s not a big deal. How would I feel though if I were black or an immigrant?

The buffet dinner in the Club Bar and Grill was perfect for the occasion: creeping through the happy hour crowd at the bar to immediate seating, a buffet line that moved, attentive service and good (not great) food. Rushing out to find our seats, we felt smug because we’d dined, not woofed down hot dogs at the various stands near the arena. I’m a doggie person and get extremely silly over beagles. However, if we had not been able to see the show on the tv monitors the dogs and their trainers would have seemed like ants. Did I pay good money to watch TV? No.

Eighty dollars a seat to watch the dog show on the monitors.
Eighty dollars a seat to watch the dog show on the monitors.


With the temperature dipping into the single digits, I met a friend downtown in Tribeca at the BMCC Performing Arts Center. We attended the venerable Highlights in Jazz, 42nd year and still going strong. Bria Skonberg was on the trumpet and the terrific pianist, Gordon Webster, played a selection of jazz favorites and original songs.

New York City Blog Feb. 8 – Feb. 15

Last Sunday at Carnegie Hall Anna Netrebko stepped in at the last minute and sang two divine songs by Dvorak and Strauss, She was conducted by superstar James Levine.Both artists were greeted with thunderous applause. Waiting in the Ladies’ Room line I noticed the different musical scores framed and mounted so you can entertain yourself in the time it takes to get you to your destination.


Rachmaninoff's Score
Rachmaninoff’s Score

I ask you is there any cooler address in Manhattan than Via Carota, 51 Grove St.? Maybe it ties with Avenue B. At Via Carota we had, among other dishes, the lard crostini and baccala fritti. Lots of fun to be in a new, jazzy, cozy restaurant on a wintery Sunday evening.

A friend and I went to Alwan for the Arts. The movie was cancelled but there was an exhibit of modern day Palestinian life.

What do these foreign dignitaries have in common with Netanyahu: French Ambassador Andre de Laboulaye and Cuban Ambassador Guillermo Bel? Three guesses.
Why are foreign dignitaries allowed to address Congress? All sorts of reasons: Republicans and Democrats duking it out, political gain for the invited speaker, commemorating the memory of an illustrious forebearer i.e. de Laboulaye spoke about Lafayette. After Truman fired General Douglas MacArthur, the General was invited to speak before Congress. He made his famous speech,”Old soldiers never die, they just fade away”.

New York City Blog Feb. 1 – Feb. 8

Wasn’t the Super Bowl fun? I like football because it’s so American and so politically incorrect. But what’s happened to the cheerleaders? In the old days they were pretty, bouncy, sexy girls. Now, they look as if they take gymnastics very seriously.

I chose a day when the temperature hovered around eleven degrees to go to the Barbara Mathes Gallery to see Rakuko Naito’s paper work.The gallery is a townhouse that has the secure features of a vault, It also has the hushed, immaculate, tony atmosphere that makes you lower your voice. Then on to the Lauder Cubism exhibit at the Met. Picasso, Braque, Gris. Léger are artists in the collection. Cubism grabbed me as a child when I’d wander through MOMA and stand in front of Picasso’s Three Musicians.

Fernand Léger"s The Typographer
Fernand Léger”s The Typographer

NYCB’s Glass Pieces with music by Philip Glass and choreography by Jerome Robbins was the best piece of an afternoon performance. My head was still filled with the images of cubism so I imagined I saw it in Glass Pieces. This is the first time I’ve appreciated Philip Glass. Choreography complements his music.

New York City Blog January 26 – Feb. 1

Was it only last week that Mayor DeBlasio and Governor Cuomo were duking it out as patres familias of New York State? Their squishy football was the blizzard of the century. I think DeBlasio won in the clothing category. He channelled his Italian DNA and slipped into various uniforms throughout the day. The most stylish one was the DSNY’s jacket. Cuomo inherited his late father’s inability to share responsibilities with underlings. He neglected to inform DeBlasio that he, the gov, was closing down the NYC subways. Loads of money were spent to keep us mere citizens locked in our caves. At least no one was killed except from laughing. An example: food delivery guys couldn’t be considered emergencies.

Blizzard equipment
Blizzard equipment

I paid a visit to the Frick’s Portico Gallery to gaze at Jean-Antoine Houdon’s Diana the Huntress. She stands stark nude, on one foot, surrounded by the snowy Fifth Avenue lawn.

A discrete if lousy photo of Diana the Huntress
A discrete if lousy photo of Diana the Huntress

Isn’t cold weather a perfect excuse to eat traditional French food? If you agree, take thee to 26 Seats on Avenue B. French snails are an excuse to gobble butter and garlic, non? The 26 Seats version is delicious if awkward. Most of the lovely flaky pastry lands on your front not in your mouth.

Garlicy snails under a roof of pastry
Garlicy snails under a roof of pastry

Friends and I attended the New York City Ballet’s production of Serenade, Agon and Symphony in C. The Balanchine afternoon was conducted by the world’s smallest conductor, Clotiilde Otranto. Afterwards, we joined several million others at Rosa Mexicana.

One of many divers on Rosa Mexicana's water wall
One of many divers on Rosa Mexicana’s water wall