New York City Blog — February 19 – February 25

What a busy week.
It began with John Houston’s Beat the Devil. Made in the 50’s, it’s still a hoot. Humphrey Bogart, Robert Morley, Gina Lollabrigida, Peter Lorre, Jennifer Jones – what a mix.They are very evil and very funny crooks heading for African uranium mines on a leaky Italian boat with a drunk captain.
Sunday was a Frick concert by Cuarteto Casals, a Spanish quartet that romped through Mozart, Bartok, Brahms. It was a rousing two hours.
Studio 5 presents programs that explore different aspects of the dance. On Monday, Tyler Angle moderated a program about how each dancer reacts differently to the same music. Angle, Sara Means, Unity Phelan, Indiana Woodward and Daniel Applebaum demonstrated their interpretations of different Balanchine, Peck and Ratmansky’s pieces. Yummy.
We finally, finally, made it to the Barnes in Philadelphia. Not the original site, alas, but the new building. It’s a handsome structure in the northwest part of Philadelphia. The museum has been recreated almost exactly like the original building. Lots of hardware, lots of Renoirs, 180 to be exact. The Barnes has the largest Renoir collection in the world. We took a tour which was a great idea because the docent explained the Barnsian way. Each wall is an ensemble based on light, color, line and space.
We had lunch in the Reading Terminal Market, a bustling world with 800 hundred vendors, many more customers and, best of all, Bassett’s butterscotch ice cream. Dinner was at the Oyster House. The Barnes might have a lock on Renoirs but the Oyster House has, according to the Guiness World Record, the largest collection of oyster dishes in the world. It also has wonderful food. Shad is in season – and a friendly, efficient atmosphere.

Reading Terminal Market

It’s Philadelphia not Florence, folks.
Reading Terminal Market

A Barnes ensemble

Oyster House

Photos

New York City Blog — February 12 – February 18

 

I saw I Am Not Your Negro, the civil rights documentary. The director, Raoul Peck, uses James Baldwin’s writings to illustrate what it’s like to be Black. It’s uncomfortable and enlightening. Baldwin takes on a Professor Weiss on the Dick Cavett show. The Professor says that Baldwin talks too much about being a Negro. How eloquently Baldwin runs through all the reasons he is made aware of his color. It made me reflect on how ignorant I am of the daily pain most Blacks experience. In my apartment building the black father of a big, black teenager would always precede his son into the elevator. The father greeted the people in the elevator and pasted a pleasant expression on his face. I think he was protecting his son from the looks of horror, fear flashing from Whites’ eyes.

I Am Not Your Negro poster

A black, gay friend of mine said that when you are born Black, you have a permanent cloud over you. Thanks to this documentary and to the patience of Blacks I’m beginning to be dimly aware of how lucky I am and how stressful black lives can be. I’m sorry.

COMING SOON:

Graphic Lessons: Recent widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine year old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: something’s eating at him: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case?

Graphic Lessons: Nine year old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore?

New York City Blog — February 4 – February 11

Monday, we celebrated Chinese New Year at Evergreen Restaurant. It’s an annual event for eating delicious food, wondering if I should buy a lazy susan and greeting dear friends.

Jazz at Tribeca was cancelled because of the snow storm. I leaned out the window and gazed at the Empire State Building in bridal white, much my favorite color for the stately building. This is my cousin’s photo.

Michal Heron’s photo of the Empire State Building

 

Alex Guarnaschelli’s Butter Restaurant is in the basement of a midtown hotel. You go down the stairs into a dark, enormous space. Uh-oh, the first thing you see is a Sports Bar TV. Not to worry. Our reservation, during Restaurant Week, was for 5:15. A late lunch, you say? Once in our comfortable, spacious booth every dish was excellent and the service couldn’t have been better. Florida shrimp, oysters, stuffed cherry tomatoes, bread baked on the premises, tomahawk steak, grits. I could go on but am too embarrassed. Holy Basil is a gin cocktail packed with basil and delicious. I think you get the message.

 

COMING SOON:

Graphic Lessons: Recent widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine year old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: something’s eating at him: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case?

Graphic Lessons: Nine year old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore?

New York City Blog — January 29 – February 3

 

A few friends and I gather early Sunday mornings for gossip and coffee. Our favorite place is Caffe Reggio. It’s dark and crowded with heavy furniture. It opened in 1927 when Italy was still a monarchy. There’s an air of having stumbled into the attic of a dilapidated Italian palazzo. Cappuccino was brought to the U. S. by the owner and it’s still delicious.

Scarpetta is an NYC restaurant with the NYC buzz. Very Wall Street: Young buccaneers having a wonderful and noisy time in a crowded restaurant. We were slammed against a wall that separated us, barely, from the waiters going to and fro. It was like dining on the L. I. E. The signature spaghetti (oops sorry, pasta) dish looked appetizing but needed salt and the panna cotta dessert was predictable. The food is Italianate and the atmosphere is definitely Manhattan.

 

 

MTA Mural at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street

I attend The Garden & Forest Book Club held in Central Park’s Arsenal. Why, you ask. Because I know very little about gardens and forests and am now surrounded by people who work in those areas. They are devoted to all aspects of their world. Our required reading has included treatises, histories, memoirs. The latest book is Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees. We had a lively, mostly positive, discussion about this anthropomorphic approach to explaining the similar nature of trees and people. Peter Wohlleben is on YouTube.

M. T. A. Mural at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street

MTA Mural at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street

COMING SOON:

Graphic Lessons: Recent widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine year old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: something’s eating at him: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case?

Graphic Lessons: Nine year old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore?