New York City Blog – May 21 – May 28

Catering at the Frick spring party

Catering at the Frick spring party

Champagne? Tom Collins? White wine? Lemonade? Since red wine stains, the Frick serves only transparent liquids. The Frick Collection had its annual spring garden party. Sitting in the garden court, we waited for the few sprinkles of rain to stop and spent the time gobbling the caterer’s passing parade of lovely, tiny, bite size hors d’oeuvres, We then perched on a low wall in the garden that overlooks Fifth Avenue and studied the crowd’s finery.

On Saturday I went to 59th Street and 10th Avenue to the Left Forum. Isn’t there a sweet irony that a left organization would host a two day conference at John Jay College of Criminal Justice? I was at the Gotham Greens table having volunteered to answer questions about our organization. Many times I had to turn to more knowledgeable colleagues for the answer. For instance, in how many states can Greens vote the Green ticket? Answer: twenty. What did Ralph Nader call the Democrats and Republicans? Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Good one, Ralph.

Judson Memorial Church sponsored a showing of Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll. It’s a documentary that explores Cambodia from its days as a French protectorate to modern times. Its history is shown through the evolving musical tastes of the Cambodians: from the 1950s the French influence of Charles Trenet and Edith Piaf, during the sixties the English invasion. Plus, American rock and roll. The Cambodians had a vivid music scene that came to a screeching halt when Pol Pot took over the government and decreed that all foreign influence was suspect. There were harrowing interviews with people who lied about being entertainers to save their lives and their families. The USA’s involvement in Vietnam and withdrawal from Cambodia was also shown. It’s a long, intense film. It took the director John Pirozzi and LinDa Saphan, the associate producer, ten years to make it.

 

LinDa Saphan, associate producer of CAMBODIA'S LOST ROCK AND ROLL

LinDa Saphan, associate producer of CAMBODIA’S LOST ROCK AND ROLL

An annual spring ritual is going to the New York City Ballet’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. Tuesday night’s performance was wonderful. Balanchine + Mendelssohn + Tiler Peck. Does it get any better? Ms. Peck seems a worthy successor to the great Wendy Whalen.

Feldenkrais and gesellschaft were the two words spelled correctly that resulted in a tie at the Scripps annual spelling bee. Feldenkrais has something to do with movement and gesellschaft has something to do with society.

New York City Blog – May 16 – May 20

Beautiful Lucy. We should all look as good at ninety or at eighty or at seventy – you get the picture. Her wonderful daughters threw a charming birthday party in an elegant apartment on East 73rd Street. Lucy and her family have inhabited it for a million years. It’s one of those places that’s suffused with big and little feasts to the eye: a Narwal tusk, colorful throws, etched champagne glasses, photos of the gorgeous family and of travels all over the globe, and books, books, books with Lucy’s favorite biography in prominent view: Lesley Blanch’s The Wilder Shores of Love.

Beautiful Lucy at 90

Beautiful Lucy at 90

It wasn’t prescribed but it sure was therapeutic. An hour after a short stay at Weill-Cornell, a friend and I directed the taxi to Rosemary’s on Greenwich. The perfect pain killer was the weird and delicious lemon zest pasta and a glass of dry white Vernaccia. Before or after lunch, climb the stairs to the orto and view Sixth Avenue and Greenwich Street from Rosemary’s rooftop garden.

Stairs to Rosemary's Orto

Stairs to Rosemary’s Orto

Rosemary's rooftop garden

Rosemary’s rooftop garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although its dark cozy interior is seductive on a rainy, windy night, The Waverly Inn is too aware of its own charm. It’s tired. On a recent visit, the food was fine but could be found in any upscale Manhattan restaurant. The white wine was mediocre. Remember how exciting the Union Square Cafe was until it went into the tourist doldrums? Watch out Waverly Inn. It could happen to you.

Down memory lane: a friend and I went to Pangea on Second Avenue to hear two jazz foot soldiers: Baby Jane Dexter and Ross Patterson. It was a big, brash, sentimental, sound, as intrinsically NYC as the bare brick walls.

Baby Jane Dexter Belting It Out

Baby Jane Dexter Belting It Out

Mr. Ross Patterson at the Ivories

Mr. Ross Patterson at the Ivories

New York City Blog – May 7 – May 14

Lebhaft, frisch, sehe ranch – in other words, lively, fresh, very quickly. I’m quoting from the Frick Collection’s program for Imogen Cooper’s Schumann and Schubert recent recital. Ms. Cooper was splendid. She played Robert Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänze. After a short intermission she launched into Franz Schubert’s Sonata in B-Flat Major, D. 960.Thanks to Ms. Cooper and the subtle elegance of Frick’s Music Room we were whisked back to the glory of nineteenth century German music.

A friend and I love the Minetta Tavern’s buzz, its reimagined decor, its funky menu, its unassuming entrance, its traditional Tom Collins. Years ago people could dine there without cashing in their 401Ks. No more. Since Keith McNally dolled up Minetta Tavern, it’s pricy and worth it. Minetta Tavern reminds me of those glamorous restaurants like the Stork Club we hear about in movies and from long departed relatives.

 

Tom Collins for EveryoneJack Kleinsinger never tires of telling his audience that Highlights in Jazz is the longest running jazz concert series in NYC. 44 years young !!! Thursday’s program was very satisfying: Wycliffe Gordon on the trombone, Nicki Parrott on bass and Bria Skonberg on trumpet. In addition to being stellar musicians, they’re all great vocalists.

Mit gutem Humor…

New York City Blog – May 2 – May 7

 

This week, on a chilly May Friday, I entered Central Park at 72nd Street and Central Park West and walked to the east side. Dressed for May as it’s presented on calendars in a light, sort of water proofed jacket and cotton slacks, I was freezing. I had refused to put on a winter coat because I’d had the winter things cleaned and had refused to dress for the weather: gloves and a woolen beret, so I got what I deserved. Central Park was practically deserted except for intrepid dog walkers. Playgrounds were empty. There were no joggers. The park itself was silent, misty and a lovely light green you see briefly in spring.

Central Park: very green and very deserted

Central Park: very green and very deserted

I was on my way to The Met Breuer. When it was the Whitney I didn’t appreciate the building and usually not the art. That’s changed. The New Whitney downtown in the old meatpacking district is much more interesting than when the collection was in the original site. The original site, as everyone knows, is now part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I concentrated on Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible. It’s a collection of works that are unfinished by design or by death. I thought it was wonderful. There are two floors devoted to major and minor works of art from the Renaissance to modern day. Most of the exhibit comes from the museum itself. From Titian to Pollack, the notion of what’s done, what’s finished and what being finished means is examined.

 

Unfinished Boulevard des Capucines

Monet’s Unfinished Boulevard des Capucines

Cody Noland's Cart Full of Action

Cody Noland’s Cart Full of Action, unfinished by design

 

One feature I appreciated when the building was the Whitney was the enormous elevator, build to contain massive structures. If only the dimensions were posted. No one could tell me at the Met Bauer.