NewYork Mysteries May 28 – June 3

At the IFC, Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary is playing. What a documentary. Coltrane’s ability as a composer, musician and good husband and father are celebrated by family and friends. He absorbed Christianity and practiced charity. His music reflected this. “Alabama” was his piece written to honor four black girls killed by racists. He travelled to Japan to play for the Japanese. What a guy. He’s been declared a saint by a  San Francisco Church. I find the concept creepy but who cares?

On Memorial Day a friend and I walked around the beautiful, deserted, rainy Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. We were in the Japanese Gardens and Shakespeare’s Garden.

 

 

The Japanese Garden, Brooklyn Botanical Garden

The Japanese Garden,  Brooklyn Botanical Garden

The Met’s exhibit of Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties (221 B. C. – A. D. 22) wasn’t crowded but it was dark. The lack of light added to the mysterious, foreign atmosphere. How did the farm animal ceramics survive? Military figures and their chariots abound. Since it’s on the second floor I walked down the stairs to the Great Hall. For the first time I noticed the benefactors plaques that hang on the stairway walls. Each plaque is dated in Roman numerals The first: MDCCCLXX-MCMXX (1870-1920) has a list of the rich and powerful men of that era: Joseph Pulitzer, Benjamin Altman, among others. Other luminaries on other plaques include Junius S. Morgan, J. Pierpont Morgan, John Jacob Astor and Ira Gershwin.

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

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? She tells Millie.

Something’s eating at NYPD Det. Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

New York City Blog May 16 — May 24

The blog week began with a Saturday afternoon of Bournonville at New York City Ballet: Bournonville Divertissements, followed by La Sylphide. Dreamy and wonderful.

After that, Basta Pasta.  Who Knew? A Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant that works and because the food is delicious, the service good and the ambience full of NYC-Toyko buzz, it’s jam packed.

The Faux Simplicity of Basta Pasta

The Faux Simplicity of Basta Pasta

 

The week ended with friends and me driving to Granville, N. Y. to spend the Memorial Day weekend. We stayed in an 1880 townhouse that’s been in their family for decades. Bragging rights: We dined with utensils engraved with the word, Showboat, because Jerome Kern sold his yacht – the Showboat named after Showboat, get it? – to my friend’s great grandpa.

 

Squint to read Showboat.

Squint to read Showboat

Roy Egg is in nearby and almost impossible to find West Pawlet, Vermont. It’s owned by Roy Egg who lives down the street on Egg Street in New York State. Roy’s devotion to the chicken is displayed in his checkered art gallery. In 1993, Roy entered a decorated egg contest sponsored by the White House. He won for Vermont and was invited to the White House and received a plaque commemorating the event from Laura Bush. Who knew Republicans were camp? I think Jeb Bush should get behind this.

Roy's Winning Egg

Roy’s Winning Egg

Ho Jo, anyone? Because of a savvy publicist who has connections at The New York Times, there was an article about Howard Johnson’s being revived and opening in Lake George. From Granville we drove to Lake George to have supper at Ho Jo’s. Three of our group were against it but two of us prevailed. With tears in my eyes – long ago memories of fried clams and strawberry ice cream – I imagined the menu like the holy writ of fine fifties dining; fried everything except the great sundaes.We tore up Route 22, struggled through the traffic and crowds in the Gatlnburg of the North, i.e. Lake George Village and found the orange roof with the adorable weather vane depicting Simple Simon met a pieman going to the fair. Since I was the most enthusiastic cheerleader – Go happy, go HoJo! I raced out of the van. A smiling guy approached me and said, “Sorry, we’re closing.” “ What?” I said aghast, hearing snickers from the car. The smiling guy continued, Because they did not have enough help (This is Memorial Day Sunday) they were closing early. Did three of our group pay the guy to say this? I went into the restaurant. It was almost empty. Worse it was mall like. No cute waitresses in great uniforms. Nothing funny and sunny and slightly lame brained. It was all mall and superimposed on a community, Lake George Village, that has far too much manufactured food/clothing/gift/ you name it shops. We found, thank you to the internet and a member of our group who had wanted to go to Ho Jo’s, a waterside restaurant that seemed to belong in Lake George, the Docksider. Lovely vodka tonics and a great deal of laughing over the HoJo excursion.