Wecome to Venice! We arrived on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at Marco Polo Airport and took the Alilaguna (wings of the lagoon) into the city to the sestiere(one of the six Venetian sections) of Dorsoduro. We dragged our luggage over the inevitable, and at any other time charming, bridges to our hotel. Since then we’ve walked from the Zattere on the far side of the Dorsoduro across the Accademia bridge to the Fondamente Nove, stopping in at churches and shops along the way. San Giovanni and Paolo has a wonderful, vast interior filled with crypts, chapels, equestrian statues, reliques and a chair reserved for the doge. On its exterior walls are reliefs of dignified lions, the symbol of Venice. The weather has been sunny and cool but there’s evidence of aqua alta. The platforms that are placed on top of the watery walkways are stacked around the city. The food has been delicious – fresh and homemade. Desserts were never given the same care as the rest of the meal and I think it’s still true. Last night I had a concoction that tasted and was the same color as toothpaste.At my friend’s suggestion, we went to a wine shop that makes its own wine. We bought bottles of red still wine and one of sparkly prosecco, watched him fill the bottles and trotted them back to the hotel, to be returned when empty. More later.
It’s been a busy week. On Monday, I attended a concert reading of Walden, The Musical. It’s about Thoreau and the Underground RR. The treatment of the theme is reverential. A few days later I headed into outer space with Imax glasses, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.I guess they couldn’t hire a robot so they settled on Bullock.Buffed but girly, cited as a genius but unable to read the space ship’s dials or how to land it, she could have been a member of the 9/11 gang. I want to dislike Clooney but he does his regular guy routine to perfection. $22!
I was supposed to go to the National Museum of the American Indian. It’s downtown near Battery Park and housed in the Alexander Hamilton Customs House, but it was not to be.My witty friend, J. D., explains it all: Syllogism of the day: The Museum of the American Indian is part of the Smithsonian Museum.The Smithsonian is run by the Federal Government. The Federal Government is shut down.Therefore, the Museum of the American Indian is ….
The Book of Mormon was a hoot. I’m still laughing over its inspired naughtiness. It’s at that dusty old fossil, the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. The theatre rocked with laughter. A young Chicagoan told me she was shocked, delighted, but shocked. Are we New Yorkers more blunt about political correctness and the taboo subjects of politics and race? Hope so.
If you squint, you can see the stag with the cross between his antlers perched at the top of the church’s pediment.
Word of the week: Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, 26 letters that spell a word that means examination of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. It was learned while I was undergoing a procedure that is far more pleasant than the prep. I’ve spared you photographs.
Studio 5 at City Center: Damian Woetzel hosts a series that examines various aspects of dance. The series is held in a space that reminds me of a high school auditorium. It holds about 200 people. On Sept. 24 he introduced Analia Centurion and Gabriel Misse. Both are extraordinary tango dancers. They demonstrated how the tango has changed over the years. According to Mr. Misse, the 1950s were the golden age of the tango. You can’t see Ms. Centurion’s very high heels.
The fireworks were nothing compared with the beautiful wedding I attended in Bucks County. Near the banks of the Delaware is a beautiful farm house with an oxblood red barn. Only a few minutes late thanks to the Pulaski Skyway, we sauntered across the lawn, greeting different family members not seen in years. We were gently herded passed a shimmering pool and the jazz band. Then, the ceremony began. The bride floated across an open field toward the groom and us. It was in Spanish and English, adding an inclusiveness to the occasion. The rain had the good manners to hold off until late in the evening. By then we were fortified by great company, delicious food, a heavenly setting and an open bar.
Here’s Elijah Tucker, the Rock and Soul musician, giving an impromptu West Village performance on The Backpacker.
Uptown has the semi-annual fashion week. Downtown has the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit.The former was started in 1943 during WWII. Since the fashion world couldn’t get to Paris, New York fashion invented the Press Week. The art exhibit is 83 years old. It too is held twice yearly, two weeks around Labor Day and two weeks around Memorial Day. Centered around University Place. with tourists, NYU students and the
Union Square crowds from the north bustling past, it’s a busy area.
Remember the song, “Autumn in New York”? It might have been written before Lincoln Center was merely a twinkle in some developer’s eye and when Broadway was the glitzy, glamorous place to be seen, but the song’s lyrics still ring true even if cultural events are now shared by the two locations. One of the most prestigious of the Lincoln Center organizations is Juilliard. You know it’s fall, when you receive your on-line Juilliard catalog.
NYC Blog Aug. 26 – Sept. 1
This past Thursday a friend and I invested most of our 401Ks in a meal at Locanda Verde. It was worth it. The restaurant is south of Canal. Who goes there? Apparently, buffed, toned and successful people. On Sunday I took this photo in a Brooklyn butcher shop. Isn’t meat glorious? Aren’t those #10 cans cute? To prove I do have a conscience (I’m thinking of all the cows, pigs, and chickens I’ve eaten) I’m posting a cottage in Portland, OR. that was built with recycled materials including #10 cans.
I flew back to NYC from Portland,OR. in under six hours, took a taxi and headed from Newark to Manhattan. After being away, isn’t it a thrill to see the jagged skyline? The old beauties were there: the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building; the newer, less lovely Citigroup Center and MetLife Building and the newest, Bloomberg Tower and New York Times Building. What a hodgepodge! Gotham City, Big Apple, Megalopolis: home.
The latitudes of Rome and of NYC are about 40 degrees north. Having lived in both cities, I concur with the Italian saying, autumn begins in August. NYC harkens back to pre-WWII images of women in dresses, hats and gloves and men in suits and fedoras, all because of the slanting light I associate with 30’s movies and NYC in August. And jazz.
On Tuesday, a friend and I attended the Baha’i Center at 53 East 11th Street, dedicated to Dizzy Gillespie who became a Baha’i in 1968 soon after Martin Luther King’s death. It is a small auditorium that sponsors, on a shoestring, wonderful Jazz Tuesdays. Mike Longo, the jazz pianist and composer who played with Gillespie, and the tireless Dorothy Longo, run it. For more about Jazz Tuesdays visit the website: www.jazzbeat.com.
That evening we heard The Makanda Project, a Boston jazz group. 14 – Fourteen members -14 on that tiny stage. The place burst with the compositions of the late Makanda Ken McIntyre. Some members of the audience, knowing the players, cheered them on.
What a way to come back to NYC : supper in a nearby Italian restaurant, a jazz session and then a stroll home in the balmy evening.