March 18th, 2008


A splendid trip to NYC - part1

On Thursday we took Amtrak to NYC staying as we often do in the Chelsea Pines Inn (14th St and 8th avenue). This gave us lots of exercise since our room was on the 5th floor. After nice dinner at the Market Café (38th and 9th) we went to see an off-broadway play: Beebo Brinker Chronicles. It was a play about lesbian life in the 50's taken from some novels by Ann Bannon. It was clever and quite well done with 6 actors playing about 10 people on a simple set.

On Friday we went to the South Street Seaport and saw Bodies, the Exhibition. There were a number of specially preserved skeletons or sections of them with varying emphasis on muscles, tendons, nerves, and various organs. It was quite educational, (now I'm ready to practice medicine). There was a large student group from Cardinal Spellman High School there at the time. I followed one small group for a bit listening to their really excellent science teacher working with them. He engaged them all in discussions at each exhibit, related some of the things to lab experiments they had done in school and injected a good sense of reality.

After lunch we went to view a few Chelsea galleries. They are always entertaining. I don't understand the economic model of these galleries at all. I guess people can buy stuff there, but I'd imagine that is rare and some of the stuff is really only suitable for a gallery or museum (or I suppose a mansion). One place that we thought was a gallery was actually a store, Comme des Garçons, which I suppose if I knew anything abut fashion I might have heard of. It's entertaining, especially when you look at the price tags.

In the evening we went to the NYC contra dance at the Gay and Lesbian Center. That was lots of fun, we saw lots of people we know from camp. There were a large number of new dancers there; I think the caller could have done a better job dealing with that and they should try some brief basic instruction sessions at the beginning and at the break like we frequently do in JP. The band was the Reel Spiel or maybe the Brooklyn Swing Ensemble. They were very enjoyable and Danny Elias, the clarinet player was fantastic. Bass, piano, fiddle, and clarinet is one of my favorite combinations. After the dance we went with GS to the most evilly delicious Rocco's Pastry Shop.

A splendid trip to NYC - part2

Continuing... On Saturday we saw Britten's Peter Grimes at the Met. It is dark emotionally and on the stage with some very fine music. It was a good performance - it has been getting superb reviews, and we lucked out with some nice 3rd row near the center Grand Tier seats. Later we had dinner with theoctothorpe and danbearnyc at Havana Central which among other things serves quite potent Mojitos. After that we went to a japanese ice cream place and met up with some others including thornyc and boymeat - then we reconnoitered to the very nice St. Marks Bookshop in Union Square which turned out to be quite profitable for the store.

Sunday was brunch with cobrawoman, cobraman, and porcinea. After that we went to the Museum of Natural History. We went to the Africa exhibit to help prepare for our African trip in a couple of months. I can still remember seeing some of those dioramas when I was about 6 years old; they are really just amazing. We sat around in the Rotunda for a while - there are some fine Theodore Roosevelt quotes on the wall. Then we went to see the Big Bang and took a 13 billion year long walk.

For dinner we went to I Tre Merli, a very fine bistro in the village. I recommend it and we'll certainly go again. We had flash fried mushrooms and grilled octopus for appetizers; I had the most tender mustard encrusted lamb chops, rsc had horseradish encrusted salmon with a lemon carrot sauce. I notice that there are 4 instances of this restaurant. If there were 8 of them then they could serve blackbird pie.

On Monday we went to the Steinway Factory Tour and then Amtraked back home. Our train reservation was for the non-Acela, but when we saw that it was close to 2 hours late we upgraded and got home in reasonable time.