New York City Blog Feb. 21 – Feb. 27

Nicholas Alstaedt, the cellist, made his NY recital debut in the Frick Music Room on February 21. He and Alexander Lonquich, the pianist, have impeccable credentials. Their choice of music was perfect. I had never appreciated Nadia Boulanger until I heard her Three Pieces for Cello and Piano. The recital included works by Debussy, Britten, Beethoven and Webern.

Wonderful Saturday afternoon with an outstanding Symphony in C, music by Bizet and choreography by Balanchine. The dancers are like race horses, aren’t they? Powerful, agile animals with very strong legs. Dancing in close proximity, they could maim each other. The conductor, Clotilde Otranto, gave us a wonderful afternoon. She came on stage and was dwarfed by the tall dancers.

Blue polka dots are at the eastern end of the NYCB's vestibule

Blue polka dots are at the eastern end of the NYCB’s vestibule

 

 

A very Happy Year of the Monkey. Old friends celebrate the New Year annually, thanks to the hard work of one of our members. We’ve met at the Evergreen for years.

Begin the week with the Frick. End the week with the New York City Ballet. Only in NYC, folks.

Steve Kulchek and one of the members of his team, King, ate in ‘wichcraft. Both had one of the breakfast all day items on the menu.

New York City Blog February 13 – February 20

“Waverly Inn – worst food in the city” – Donald Trump. This surprising statement is printed at the top of The Waverly Inn’s unique menu. I asked a waiter if the statement were true. Indeed it was, he answered, but Mr. Trump said it without bothering to come to the restaurant. If and when the Donald deigns to dine at The Waverly Inn, I recommend he start with oysters, followed by Dover sole with Hollandaise and then finish up with a scrumptious chocolate confection. After that I dare him to repeat his derogatory remark.

A Mural at The Waverly Inn

A Mural at The Waverly Inn

 

 

 

 

On Sunday, a friend and I went to the Emmanuel Baptist Church Jazz Vespers:. It’s a lovely way to spend an afternoon. The friendly congregation dresses up. Many of the women parishioners were in red for Valentine’s Day. Eric Wyatt, the saxophonist, led a quartet of bass, drum and piano. Monty Love Crowe was spectacular on piano.

List some of your favorite foods that begin with D: duck, dumplings…Get thee to The Red Farm on Hudson. Go early. They don’t take reservations. There’s communal seating but if you’re lucky you can be seated at one of the three tables for two people. You’ve guessed I’m not a fan of communal tables. The dumplings and lovely duck skin – yum.

 

Friends and I went to 466 Grand Street on an icy Saturday afternoon to see Visible Histories: American Abstract Artists.The fifty-nine members of the eighty year old institution combined new techniques with old. For example, Clover Vail made a bold abstract design with ball point on a wood block.

Clover Vail's wood block with ballpoint

Clover Vail’s wood block with ballpoint

New York City Blog February 7 – February 13

What could be better than an afternoon of Balanchine at NYCB with music by Verdi, Hindemith and Tschaikovsky, dancing by Tiler Peck, et al. Have you seen the recent additions to the promenade, the rectangular area which overlooks the Lincoln Center fountain? I’ve never appreciated the fat white sculpted figures, two at each end of the promenade. Now, they’re festooned in polka dots. Behind them are gigantic videos that reflect polka dots. Is this a plea to youth? Who knows. In the middle of the promenade are puppet like figures revolving on a circle. These swayed gently and bobbed up and down. Somehow, they’re charming.

 

Polka dotted figures in the NYCB Promenade

Polka dotted figures in the NYCB Promenade

Sandu Darie's concrete painting at the Zwirner Gallery

Sandu Darie’s concrete painting at the Zwirner Gallery

On an icy cold day a friend and I went to Zwirner Galeries wonderful hot exhibit, Concrete Cuba. The works are by a short lived group that existed from 1959 to 1961. Sandu Darie, one of the artists in the exhibit, had said, “This is concrete painting because each painting is a new reality.” This statement reinforces what I’ve always thought: artists should express themselves through their work.

New York City Blog January 31 – February 5

I spent a few days at Weill Cornell Hospital, feeling like the hero of Mark Twain’s  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. It’s like being at a court. There are so many rules, regulations and conventions that the natives understand and that are a mystery to the visitor. The hospital is vast. I assume it employs thousands of doctors, interns, residents, nurses, aides, dietitians, social workers. There are also the clergy who drop in. I looked up from Ripley Underground, a story about a gentile mass murderer, to look into soft brown eyes gazing at me from the bottom of my bed. I guess he was a monk because he was dressed in a Frier Tuck outfit. After a few pious words, he left. After a procedure, a doctor marched in with an entourage. There were at least ten young men and women, reminding me of knights surrounding King Arthur. Were they interns? Anyway, they watched the doctor examine me as the doctor made pleasant chatter. A dietician spoke to me about a healthful diet and gave me written menu suggestions that included diet coke and margarine.

 

The East River viewed from my eleventh floor hospital room

The East River viewed from my eleventh floor hospital room

A few nights later a friend and I attended Jack Kleinsinger’s Highlights in Jazz. As Kleinsinger never tires of reminding the audience, it’s the longest running jazz concert series in NYC. It’s in its 44th year. In the first set a quintet played and sang jazz standards. With the mystery guest, Nicki Parrott on bass, Warren Ache on trumpet and Ted Rosenthal on piano the evening was a treat.