Judson Memorial Church was packed on Easter Sunday. The clergy conducted the service, the choir sang with gusto and the cooks arranged the parishioners’ gifts of food – ham anyone?- A few brave women revived the Easter bonnet tradition.We were asked to write on a strip of ribbon what we treasured most and then hang the ribbon on the line pictured in the photo. Buddhism + United Church of Christ?
Eugène Green”s Sapienza was showing at Film Forum. The photography is wonderful.It’s a thoughtful, formal whirlwind tour of Borromini’s architecture. How do you determine your love of a place? One of my ways is its architecture.
A delicious dinner at Molyvos preceded a Carnegie Hall evening with Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. Do these musicians walk on water? The multiage audience thought so. We were seated in the central balcony which is five stairways north. We were surrounded by fans who were utterly silent during the music and gloriously rowdy when applauding. Did you see The Red Shoes? There’s a scene in the Covent Garden peanut gallery showing the passion of the poor, young, talented students. I thought of that at Carnegie Hall. As much as I admire Hancock’s and Corea’s work, the real stars were the audience.
On Friday, I spent a civilized two hours in the Frick’s Music Room. Clinton Luckett, ABC’s ballet master, stood ramrod straight and explained in a too soft voice the convoluted origins of the Don Quixote ballet. Excerpts from the ballet were performed by ABC artists. It was so precious we could have been encased in a Fabergé egg.
I went to the monthly book club at the Central Park Arsenal, built between 1847 – 1851. It had stored New York State Militia arms and the building predates the park. We met in a renovated room on the third floor complete with a new table and matching chairs. It smelled like a new car. I miss the too large wooden table, the chairs that were deceptive rockers. If caught off guard you’d go into a swinging motion like an amusement park ride. Most of all I miss Frederick Law Olmsted’s and Calvert Vaux’s 1857 design plan that hung on one wall. The men had submitted it to the Central Park design competition. Now, it’s in some safe, prestigious spot.
We talked about the most recently read book, Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. I wonder if Bryson has ever received a more thoughtful discussion of one of his works. The book club is made up of professional gardeners, landscape artists and environmentalists. All are serious readers. Some liked Bryson’s larky, take it or leave it attitude to nature, but some dismissed the book as too frivolous. Since I write mysteries I appreciate the difficulty of writing a well crafted story, but as an astute reader pointed out, A Walk in the Woods seemed like a movie script. Ouch. Once I heard that I thought of the set dialogue, Sancho Panza sidekick and predictably happy ending.
A few blocks north and a few days later, I went to the Frick Collection to see Charles Coypel’s Don Quixote’s Tapestries. Coypel’s eighteenth century drawings of the novel, Don Quixote, were woven into tapestries by Gobelins. At the Frick they’re hung in the Oval Room and East Gallery. They gleam. it’s hard not to touch them.
Steve Kulchek told me that his Uncle Con, a retired NYPD detective, started out as a patrolman. His beat, as they said in those days, included 5th Avenue and 70th Street. Con was ordered to pick up a man who lived in a nearby building for questioning. When Con went to the apartment, the guy’s wife told him that her husband was at the Frick. Con thought the Frick was a movie house.At that time, there were several in the area. So Con combed them. Finally, someone enlightened him. Con went to the Frick Collection and collected the guy in front of a Memling.
On Monday, my ballet crazy pal and I continued our dance marathon by going to ABT”s “Don Quixote” and watched, transfixed, as Ivan Vasiliev flew around the Met stage. Later that week we returned to the Met to see “La Bayadere”. The second act is everything. The corps de ballet was perfect, twenty-four dancers who glided in unison.
Like citing the first robin of spring, I realized the annual Fleet Street celebration was in town when I saw several sailors in sparkling white uniforms gathered around a fire truck. In its 26th year, it celebrates the maritime services. Remember “On the Town”? Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Jules Munshin cavorted around 1944 Manhattan in those camp sailor boy outfits.