February 21, 2007
Back from spending a long weekend in NYC. Mainly I was there to see The Coast of Utopia, which was wonderful. There were dazzling performances and dizzying dialogue. Highlights for me were the various turns by Jennifer Ehle, especially as Natalie Herzen, Billy Crudup as Vissarion Belinsky, Martha Plimpton, and Ethan Hawke as the loud, obnoxious, unruly, undisciplined Michael Bakunin.
In the bit of spare time we had, there was a trip to MoMA, dinner at Otto (including olive oil gelato for dessert), brunch with Zeebah and Lauren, and drinks and nibbles with Paul F., who was game enough to meet up with us on a last minute's notice. There was also some wandering along Avenue A for shopping in little boutiques. In one of them I overheard the shopgirls talking about spotting members of The Strokes, including what appeared to be one of them with Kirsten Dunst on a double date. This is about as close as I'll get to spotting anybody famous, so it was a minor shallow vicarious thrill.
I was in the subway when I spotted someone reading the Daily News, whose front page headline was "Britney Shears." And every time we waited on the platform for the L at Sixth Avenue, there was a cute little blonde with a boombox, singing 80s Madonna songs. She had the right voice, but it drove me a little crazy that she was messing up the lyrics. But I was happy enough to give her some change, since she's much braver than I am, singing and dancing on a subway platform.
Minor travel delays. No one confiscated my toiletries and there were no unreasonable sojourns on the tarmac, so it all worked out and we made it back home Sunday night.
Had the day off on Monday, so it was good day to recuperate and do some laundry.
February 07, 2007
Next weekend I will be immersed in nine hours of theater when I attend performances of The Coast of Utopia. The trilogy explores a group of friends who come of age under the Tsarist autocracy of Nicholas I. Playwright Tom Stoppard says it's not necessary to do any pre-theater study, but I'd like to have a fighting chance of taking in as much as I can when I actually attend the plays. Of course, I've had the tickets for some time but only now am I doing any reading.
Stoppard appears in tonight's Charlie Rose. Check your local PBS station for listings - the episode airs here at 12:30 a.m.
At some point I'd picked up a book on Russian history, but I've misplaced it during the move. It will suffice as post-theater reading.
November 08, 2005
U.S. Premiere of Pride & Prejudice
From today's Liz Smith:
That Literacy Partners gang of mine never stops trying to raise money to teach people how to read and write. This Thursday we'll offer the U.S. premiere of "Pride and Prejudice" with Keira Knightley, Judi Dench and Donald Sutherland. Call (212) 573-6933 about the movie and supper after at the Central Park Boathouse with the stars.I saw the trailer on tv last night. I think the guy playing Darcy will be ok, although I'm not liking his hair. Keira Knightley, I guess I'm resigned to her as Elizabeth Bennet, sexiest tomboy beanpole on the planet. But what is up with Judi Dench's bride of Frankenstein hair? On top of that, there's a modern-day pop song playing throughout the trailer. I know they're going for a wide audience, but oh does it make me cringe.
I'll go see this, but I'm not going in with much expectation or hope.
November 03, 2005
I think I'm going to have to make some, based on Schnäck's recipe:
[T]he beer milk shake is made with Chocolate or Vanilla Ice Cream mixed with Dark Stout (Chicory Stout) at a ratio of 1 oz of stout per ice cream scoop.
October 10, 2005
Starting the hearing loss young, I see
I still read the Metropolitan Diary in the NY Times, for those "only in New York" moments. One of today's submissions surely must phase even the most jaded:
While jogging in Central Park on a recent morning, I found myself following closely behind a man, also out for a run, pushing one of those fancy, three-wheeled sports strollers and listening to his iPod.
We were going at the same speed and, as I kept pace behind him, I began to realize that the runners passing us in the opposite direction were doing a double-take as they looked into the stroller and then at the man pushing it.
What curiosity was there to see? I wondered. A particularly cute baby? A small dog receiving the royal treatment? No, I decided, as I sped up to solve the mystery, my guess was that there was a distraught baby inside, crying incessantly, but to no avail because its father's ears were plugged with headphones.
All my speculations were proved wrong as I overtook the man and looked inside the stroller to see a girl no older than 2, listening contentedly to an iPod of her own - mini, of course.
Julia L. Gatto
June 05, 2005
New Yorker digital archive
80 Years of The New Yorker to Be Offered in Disc Form [NYT] For those who hoard their back issues in the event they'll "get around" to reading them, this DVD-ROM set could be a godsend.
March 10, 2005
Crumpet & the City, Pt. 1
Last Thursday (3/3):
Ride into City. Drop off bag with my friend who's meeting me later for the Finn show, then walk into Central Park, to see The Gates, at least the ones that haven't been taken down yet.
Head downtown. Espy four Japanese girls with cameras trained on the WTC site. Consider the potential for a good meta-picture, then walk on, not wanting to linger.
Meet Zeebah for lunch, touring her library. We eat in her cafeteria with a gorgeous, light-filled view of the harbor. I took in a lot of that view, as we talked about things great and small. That's Z - one of my dearest.
Killed some time, found a funky belt at Century 21, more out of necessity than the need to shop. Then off to Tea & Sympathy for a lovely sit-down with Stuart. I totally missed a potential Lucy Liu sighting, but that's par for the course with me. Good thing Stuart was more attuned and at least got to wonder "wasn't that...?" I went for the cream tea - scones, clotted cream and jam, washed down with a pot of typhoo, while my more health-conscious companion went for a pot of Yorkshire Gold and a creamy celery soup. Although it was our first meeting in real life, it didn't feel like that at all, which pleased me.
Afterwards, scored a pink tweedy scarf on clearance at Mxyplyzyk. Why is it that when I'm shopping for someone else, I always find things for me?
Because it was so bleepin' cold, I ended up in another coffee shop to thaw for a bit. Then worked my way down to the Canal Room to wait in line for the Finn Brothers show. It was about 6 p.m.; the doors would open at 7. In warmer weather the line might have been longer sooner, so I was relieved not to have been so fanatic as to get in line earlier....
February 26, 2005
Friday: One automobile, two planes, one bus, and one subway ride later I was in Central Park, walking through The Gates. I loved all of it - the saffron, the play of light and texture, the ruffles and ripples as the wind caught the fabric. The reflections on the water. The changes in topography and how the gates widened or narrowed depending on the path. Sometimes I saw the larger scale - gates gates and more gates. Sometimes it was just one gate, and I would look at the cloth rippling and rustling against the blue of the sky and the dark outlines of branches.
Walking through the park in this context, the experience was more like a journey, maybe even pilgrimage. I found myself really living in the moment, taking time to slow down, to look up, to pause, to think. Some moments were breathtaking, others were more prosaic. Sometimes I watched as people experienced the Gates, talking and taking pictures. One interesting comment I overheard: Wouldn't it be great if they could somehow gift-wrap the entire park?
Other moments were harder. I wasn't supposed to be here, after all. Waves of saffron seemed to blur and swim together, mixing with everything else around me as my thoughts turned inward. Then I'd remember to breathe, and the world began to look normal again.
Eventually I headed down to the Overlook, for my relatively last-minute decision to hang out with New York bloggers/friends. Mike probably would have disliked being the focus of attention. It's ironic that the bar of choice wouldn't have been accessible to him, there being a step up into the bar, and a step up in the back by the pool table, where we ended up congregating.
At first we seemed to be scattered. Thank goodness for cell phones, so I could tell Steph and Jonathan where to find me. Daniella and John showed up, and by then we'd run into Christine and Keith, Steve Silver and his girlfriend, as well as Matthew, who also flew in to be amongst those of us who knew his brother. Daniella supplied name tags, so when I next went up to the bar for a refill, the bartender read my tag and presented my drink with a flourish to "milady" - and a very nice man wouldn't let me pay for it, especially once he learned why we bloggers had gotten together.
I made the effort to mingle. So I chatted with Kambri and Brian the 646 Guy, and met Laren, who writes food entries over at Gothamist and has her own site as well. She's a big fan of Elvis Costello; Mike would have liked meeting her. Eventually caught up with Paul Frankenstein, met the wonderful Linus, and wended my way back to Stephanie and Jonathan and John and Daniella (who has a more coherent writeup and pictures as well). Somehow I don't look as puffy-eyed and red-nosed and snotty as I thought I would. But mostly I managed to maintain good spirits, better than they have been. It definitely helped to be among mutual friends.
As much as it's great to connect with people through email, through the blog, through the phone - none of these can substitute for being with people, in person, so you can see them and talk to them and hug each other and make each other laugh even though you were feeling awful just a minute before.
Afterwards a few of us cabbed it to downtown for some a late dinner, and then later, having had some lovely dessert wine, I was asleep in the guest room at John and Daniella's, surrounded by sweet, pudgy cats.
Today: More planes, then straight to a casual dinner party with Scott upon arrival. Again, I had to work on being in the moment, on making the effort to talk to people when I felt boring and shy. But the evening turned out okay. The sight of so many toddlers brought by other guests probably exhausted me more than the whirlwind pace of my trip.
Pretty worn out. Eventually the hectic pace will end and I will have to get back to the routine, to the everyday business of living. It's something I look forward to, but I'm also afraid of it. But there's nothing to be done, except to keep going.
December 07, 2004
Yeah, yeah, it's been well over a year since I moved back to Atlanta from New York. I still get the NYT on the weekends. I still don't follow much in the way of local news, which would be infinitely more useful for me. One of the features I love best about the New York Times is their Monday feature, Metropolitan Diary. Yeah, I still read it. Here's one that made me laugh:
With my 10-month-old son, Emmett, in a back carrier, I stood on tiptoe at Central Park West and West 66th Street and watched the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Although not able to see much of the bands and clowns, we enjoyed the balloons and bigger floats.
When the building-size SpongeBob SquarePants balloon appeared, the crowd went wild. Everyone was cheering and clapping except for the man standing next to me. He was silent. Looking perplexed, he turned to me and asked, with a strong French accent, "Who is this famous and large cheese?"
So now I'm running around saying "Who is this large and famous cheese?" for no good reason except that it tickles my insides.
November 14, 2004
Congrats and best wishes to This Fish for publishing her article, Traveling the Too-Much-Information Highway, in today's New York Times. Talk about coming out from anonymity in style and with great splash! [Use Bugmenot if you need a login]
The twinge of envy I feel is fortunately overcome by the comfort in knowing that probably even in death I wouldn't make it into the NYT. Unless I'm willing to accomplish something noteworthy, commit a heinous crime or be embroiled in scandal, I prefer being thrilled for someone whose writing I admire, for someone who deserves to make her mark.
August 10, 2004
This, my friends, is a menu. For heaven's sake, one of the choices for Grilled Cheese is gorgonzola!
Sadly, 1500 miles one way is a bit far for going out to lunch for some of us. Guess I'll have to make my own!
July 12, 2004
Late to the roundup game, as I had little time to sit at a computer over the weekend and got back to ATL late last night, but here I go anyway.
Siberia is aptly named - a bar perilously close to the tourist masses in Times Square. I guess technically I count as one of them, only visiting for the weekend as it was. But I attempted to be a fabulous creature rather than a wallflower and had the great pleasure of meeting or becoming reacquainted with: the triumvirate of cohosts - Mike, Daniella, and Ken; many lovely, funny, sparkling, bubbly, witty gals - some of whom I've read or heard good word of but had never yet met: Kambri Crews, A Girl Named Bob, Dahl, This Fish, Krissa, Smitten, A Picture of Me, and Stephanie Klein. I seem to have met more of the women than the men, but shout-outs as well to Jesse and Tales From the City (who jammed the jukebox with lots of Donna Summer).
Other highlights - getting conked on the head by Daniella's gorgeous silver and jade bracelet as she was swung about dancing (vodka tonics always go better for me with a mild concussion, I should think); Krissa's hysterical story about the "brother-fuckers"; discussing the merits of bikini waxing and the problems of brown-ink tattoos with This Fish and Miss Krissa (was that informative enough for you, Mr. Wolf?); Kambri's tale of being put on the spot by her boyfriend while doing a sketch for the first time in several years. There followed an unofficial after-party of dinner with the co-hosts, of which I became the unofficial hostess (being the most sober), and which I promptly flubbed - our first choice for Thai being a non-wheelchair-accessible restaurant. But another place was found, spring rolls and entrees were consumed, washed down with glasses of Singha. The happily tipsy Daniella and I split some mango and sticky rice for dessert, and then we all wended our way to our various trains - some rides more pleasant than others (more on that later).
July 09, 2004
Update: The correct lyrics.
You grew up ridin’ the subways, running with people
Up in Harlem, down on Broadway
You're no tramp, but you're no lady, talkin' that street talk
You're the heart and soul of New York City
And love, love is just a passing word
It’s the thought you had in a taxi cab that got left on the curb
When he dropped you off at East 83rd
Oh, oh, oh (Oh, oh, oh)
You’re a native New Yorker
You should know the score by now (You should know by now)
You’re a native New Yorker
("Native New Yorker" - Odyssey)
I'm in town for a few days, hosted by the swell Mike Wolf. On my list of to-dos:
1. Attend the latest BABB.
2. Visit with some of the ladies of Pemberley.
3. Shop! (Hello, I am a girl.)
4. Visit one of my favorite bookstores in the world. (That would be The Strand.)
5. Oh yeah, the reason for my last minute decision to come up here: Tom Stoppard's Jumpers. Again, thanks to the illustrious Mr. Wolf for snagging tickets to one of the last performances before it closes.
6. Because I can't stop with just 5 things. Another spur of the moment decision - a visit to Bliss.
I'm sure there's more, but some things have to be left to chance.
April 27, 2004
Home, Sweet Library
"Yes, Some Students Live in the Library (But Not Like This)" [Karen W. Arenson, NYT, 4/27/04] An NYU student, paying his own way through scholarship and jobs, didn't get the funding he needed for housing. So he spent 8 months sleeping in the 24-hour accessible basement of NYU's Bobst Library (heretofore known as a popular place for flinging oneself off one of the atrium floors). At some point, he began to write about it. On the web. Says the student: "I knew it would be interesting to the N.Y.U. community.... I just didn't know anyone else would care."
Well now that it's been covered in the NYT, he's ruined the gig for everyone else who wanted to have a go at living on the cheap at the library.
March 22, 2004
Will Michelle Say Yes?
Stephen has proposed to his girlfriend - possibly the first via blog. I'm surprised it hasn't been done before. So far we don't know whether she has accepted or not. Let us hope that the young gentleman is reasonably sure of her response.
On another front, I read with great interest a doozy of a correction in NYT's wedding pages:
A report on Feb. 15 about the wedding of Riva Golan Ritvo and Alan Bruce Slifka included an erroneous account of the bride's education, which she supplied.
Ms. Ritvo, a child therapist, did not graduate from the University of Pennsylvania or receive a master's degree in occupational therapy or a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Southern California. Though she attended Penn for a time, her bachelor's degree, in occupational therapy, is from U.S.C.
The Times should have corroborated the credentials before publishing the report.
November 19, 2003
There are corrections
And then there are corrections. I don't check the NYT corrections page enough, but one of today's items is a doozy, meriting its own "Editor's Note" caption:
An obituary last Wednesday about Marvin Smith, a leading photographer of Harlem who worked with his identical twin, Morgan, described the closeness of the two men — it was said that they never used the pronoun "I" — and recounted an anecdote about Marvin Smith's response to the illness that caused his brother's death, in 1993.
The article said that Morgan Smith died of testicular cancer and that his brother, in response, had his own testicles removed. That account was given to The Times by a friend of both men. It should not have been published unless it could be verified and attributed.
After the obituary appeared, Monica Smith, the daughter of Morgan Smith, told The Times that her father had had prostate cancer and that her uncle did not have his testicles removed.
[via - who else? - Gawker]
October 23, 2003
UN Head Librarian Gets Nod from NY Post
Cindy Adams mentions the UN Head Librarian in the context of a gossip item:
TODAY's United Nations Day. The UN's head librarian, Sindiwe Magona, who fled a Cape Town ghetto, writes best sellers like "Mother to Mother."
This fictionalized version of the death of young Fulbright scholar Amy Biel, who'd gone to South Africa in 1993 to help in their first open elections after the end of apartheid, has been optioned by Reese Witherspoon, who has her own production company, Type A Films.
Says Magona about her adopted city: "I love New York City's subways. I ride them every day from the UN to my home in The Bronx. I love New York."
October 22, 2003
MTA Service Advisories via RSS
No longer useful for me, but perhaps my big city friends can take advantage.
October 17, 2003
The Strand Makes Page Six
STRAND SHOWS ITS STAR QUALITY
THE Strand near Union Square is famed for its "8 Miles of Books" - but did you know that many of those very volumes are featured in movies and TV shows? Beguiling blonde owner Nancy Bass supplies tomes for Dr. Melfi's office on "The Sopranos," "Law and Order" episodes and "Saturday Night Live" skits. She's just compiled a library for Mikhail Baryshnikov's Russian painter's pad on "Sex and the City," which Bass says is heavy on antique, leather-bound volumes on modern painting, art history and works by Chaucer and Shakespeare. The Strand provided 125 feet of books for the apartment of Denzel Washington's unhinged army sergeant in the remake of "The Manchurian Candidate." Bass, who started lending out libraries after being approached by cinematic propmasters, says she often gets compared to Meg Ryan's struggling shop owner in "You've Got Mail," for which she also supplied the books. "They see a pretty blonde who owns a bookstore and say, 'You're just like Meg Ryan.' And I say, 'No, our store is successful.' "
September 07, 2003
This illustration by Rodica Prato accompanied several writers' pieces about their bit of New York in the 9/6 NYT. I know I like it - it makes my heart ache with happiness and longing. It seems both beautiful and perilous at the same time, in a Chagall sort of way, though with a lighter, less intense palette.
August 18, 2003
I couldn't disappoint you by actually being ready on the day of loading the truck, could I? There's a little bit more to do, nothing too troublesome. But alas, it's time to dismantle the computer. (This gal needs a laptop, don't ya think?) Fortunately we merely load today. I'll get some sleep tonight. After cleaning, of course. I have left out my desert island Jane Austen omnibus (which inexplicably only contains 4 of the 7 extant works, oh well). And dearest, loveliest Jen has actually taken the day off to help us. Hurrah!
Gotham notes - because this city is so amazing, power was restored to the subways and the railroads in time for my social plans. I toured the city and escaped the heat in various coffee shops (ok, ok they were Starbucks) with Mike. Thanks for hanging out with this sentimental chick, my dear friend. Also did dinner at Gotham (the restaurant) with the Pemberley set - Golda, Karen and Jen. We were fab, the food was exquisite, the tab was (gasp!) suitably posh. Finished a lovely day by walking into the breezy night back to Penn Station. My toes aren't happy, but my eyes had their fill of the city lights.
This girl's a native New Yorker - wherever I go, a little bit of my heart will always be here. Talk to you soon.
August 17, 2003
While I suffered through the blackout by fending off other shoe shoppers, some people actually did the Samaritan thing. So just what kind of person takes it upon themselves to venture into the middle of an intersection in New York City to help another such goodly soul to direct traffic? People like Paul Frankenstein. Even though he too was without power, he blogged via proxy - do go and read his account.
Good for you, Paul!
August 15, 2003
The Night the Lights Went Out in [Insert Your Town Here]
My experience with "Blackout of 2003" was merely inconvenient at worst. Had I still been employed, it would have been pretty bad getting home, if I could manage getting out of the city at all. Major heebie-jeebies at the thought of being stuck in an elevator, the sweltering subway, or on the railroad.
Spent the early part of the morning packing up things, getting stuff into the car for Goodwill. Was absolutely delighted that they took all of our offerings - clothes, books, and Scott's 15-year-old stereo. The freestanding box speakers were enormous; except for the Record button no longer functioning, everything was still in perfect working order, including the turntable. Scott waxed wistful, but it was more than time to let the behemoth go.
Met up later with some of the gals in Scott's department for a girly excursion to the Hamptons for some serious shoe shopping. Part of the venture was just getting out from the chaos of the apartment and driving through picturesque towns on a beautiful summer afternoon, Kylie blasting from the radio. Girlie talk ensued: Colin Firth and his wife have a new son, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is pretty damn cool, the benefits of waxing, and having boots in different lengths makes complete sense.
An hour and a half later, we got to the American Legion in Amagansett, where the sale was held. My blackout moment was thus: the lights flickered on and off, then completely off. The room was still fairly well lit because the doors leading outside were open. Hardly anyone noticed - we women were far too busy hunting down shoes. Hearing the news, the scale of the blackout sounded overblown to me at first.
Earlier, one of the store employees announced that a woman had bought 34 pairs that day - holy kitten heel! At one point I carried four pairs around the room while I tried to make up my mind; after comparing notes I eventually set down some Kate Spades and Bruno Maglis back on the table. So now I have completely impractical but adorable round-toe open-backed Italian high heels and some sleek suede-like Pumas for around 75 bucks. My companions acquired three pairs each, so we all did well.
Driving back home was mostly a traffic issue, given the one-lane roads, but these well-heeled towns already had their local police manning the intersections. Scott was home when I got back, our neighbors were all sitting outside in patio chairs. We took a walk to a nearby ice cream stand that was still open. Well-packed cups of pistachio and vanilla served as a suitable dinner.
Had not yet packed candles and I was still trying to figure out where to pack the batteries, so after digging for matches we had decent illumination. Phone service was still available. Power came back on around 11 p.m. We even had cable. So such was our hardship, which was really not much at all.
August 12, 2003
"Quick, the Angelika!"
"The House Filmgoers Love to Hate" - NYT article on the the Angelika's lack of appeal.
NYC has tons of movie houses. Certain movies should be seen in certain venues - for instance, Le Divorce is currently showing at the Paris Theater - I've seen Topsy Turvy and Amelie there and enjoyed the experience as much as the movies. Mike Leigh was so thrilled to see lines outside the theater for Topsy Turvy that he just had to take pictures.
You go to certain theaters because of limited engagements or because it's where you happen to be or where you're meeting a friend for a film. So I've had my share of films at the Angelika, on Houston and Mercer. But I tend to go there only if I have to - the screens are small, the theaters are long, and if you get there too early, you have to wait until they tell you to get in line for the movie. Get there too late, and good luck finding a seat together for you and your friends. You're either way in front, craning your neck, or stuck in back, squinting and trying to hear over the talkers, the candy wrappers, and the self-important chuckles of filmgoers who want you to know they've gotten a joke that you've somehow failed to miss. (Sorry, Best in Show wasn't that funny.)
Ah well, it wouldn't be a New York fixture if I didn't have something to complain about.
August 06, 2003
Hawk attacks Chihuahua in Bryant Park
One of the hawks that patrols Bryant Park attacked someone's dog yesterday. Can you really blame the bird for thinking the dog was a rat? Now there's talk of scrapping the program, which means people will only start complaining about the pigeons again. Sheesh.
July 31, 2003
Sighted on W. Houston St.
A woman walking her spaniel, talking hands free on the cellphone, holding the microphone on the cord close to her mouth. It was hard to say who was more tethered to her leash.
July 14, 2003
Friday night, Mike and I caught Elvis Costello at Central Park's Summerstage. A good show, although opening act Chris Robinson was a snoozer. Not a great venue - bleachers in the back and astroturf in the area in front of the stage, which got all soggy when we got drenched in a short but torrential downpour. We spotted Willie Garson, the guy who plays Stanford on Sex & the City - finally, I have a sighting of somebody kinda cool!
I'd never seen Costello play before. A good show, even though I'm not familiar with most of his catalogue. (Clearly, there were superfans, though, and they were all hollering in my ear.) The man had like five encores - c'mon, man, don't jerk your audience around. But after the rain let up, it was a gorgeous, balmy night, perfect for some great music in the outdoors.
Sunday, a girly day. Bummed around uptown. Went into Town Shop, one of those specialty stores where they can just look at you and tell you what size brassiere you should be wearing. (The grande dame of the shop, Selma Koch, passed away recently.) I was way, way off base with what I thought was my size. Ladies, it's really important to make sure you're wearing the right size - if you do nothing else for your wardrobe, good foundations will make your clothes look and fit much better, and you'll feel more comfortable and at ease. They're not cheap, but you're making a worthy investment. Just go to your department store, or a specialty shop - the idea is kind of embarrassing at first, but really, it's not a big deal. The ladies at Town Shop were very professional and clearly knew their wares; it was totally crowded when I ventured in.
Downtown - Jen and I did brunch at Balthazar - cocktails, goat cheese & onion tart, brioche french toast & hickory bacon, poached eggs over polenta, really good fresh bread & butter, good coffee, and a bowl of dark chocolate, pistachio, and hazelnut ice cream. We were definitely full for the rest of the day.
Cabbed it to midtown later for a viewing of I Capture the Castle. A good adaptation, though not perfect (are they ever?); Jen and I could easily play six degrees of Jane Austen with this one - there was David Bamber (Mr. Collins), the guy who played Uncle Geoffrey (Bridget Jones), and we think the woman who played Charlotte in The Real Thing (which we saw on Broadway, with Stephen Dillane and Jennifer Ehle as the leads). Really, though, I'm just going to have to read the book again, a really lovely piece of work.
July 05, 2003
We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident
Last night I sat high above the city, in a dark conference room with Jen and her colleagues, wondering when the fireworks were supposed to start. Someone called 311 to find out. At one point we heard him say to the operator, "Yes, that would be the 4th of July fireworks." Not long after, they did burst forth, and they were spectacular. It's the first year that the city also has set up fireworks at the tip of Manhattan, to drum up activity downtown, so we got to view both sets at once.
There are primal bits of happiness in life, and seeing big pretty colored lights crackle and pop in the sky is one of them. Last year I wasn't up to it, but I won't skip them again if I can help it.
It was a date-with-the-city kind of day. Jen and I checked out Cafe Topsy on Hudson Street for brunch, a comfortable, quietly stylish Brit restaurant, where our waiter was most lovely. A cheeseburger with caramelized onions and chips for me, a salad garnished with dried figs for Jen. We shared a chilled cucumber-yogurt-mint soup, and because it was so darn hot, an iced cappuccino for me as well; Jen had wine to please her palate.
Back on the subway, down to Battery Park, where we arrived in medias res for the free Ryan Adams concert. While I'd vaguely heard of this guy, I didn't know his music. Jen assured me that I would at least know his song "New York, New York" because it was all over the place after 9/11. And yet, I must be the last person on the planet to have heard it, because I swear, I've never ever heard it before. I even went out of my way to download a copy in order to find out if I just knew it without knowing whose song it was. Nope. How utterly bizarre. It wasn't like I kept my eyes and ears away from the media at the time.
Anyway, we sat on the grass, the subway rumbling beneath, and listened to the concert, which was pretty good. (Ryan even played "New York, New York" which I at least recognize now.) People were everywhere, sitting on blankets, on bits of cardboard or plastic bags or newspapers, standing or swaying, holding up their (damn) cellphones so friends could hear. Little kids were running around, and everybody yielded yo-yos given out by one of the concert sponsors.
We proceeded to stroll from Battery Park up along the west side, welcoming the breeze coming off the Hudson. The summer heat was no longer quite so overbearing, and it was great to be exploring, walking in the balmy air, the sound of the river in our ears. Little pockets of lawn abounded, people lounging or running around with their dogs or kids. Bicyclists and roller bladers shared the way with us pedestrians and runners. Boats passed by and we waved back to the passengers.
We encountered the World Financial Center and ducked in for some ice cream, walking amongst the young palm trees and up the marble steps, the Site there before us, a construction pit where twin monoliths used to be.
Back on the street we came across the Irish Hunger Memorial, further up we stopped to watch people taking lessons at the Trapeze School. We clapped for the woman who managed to swing off of her bar and catch the hands of the instructor hanging off another. I wished at that moment it could have been me, flying through the air.
At 14th Street, we opted for other transit, hopping on the subway to Jen's office to watch the fireworks. Afterwards, dinner at Rue 57 - blue cheeseburger and frites for Jen, a salad and mountain fig turnover for me. The turnover was presented on a bed of prosciutto, garnished around the edge with bits of gorgonzola, chives, and crushed pistachio. I figured out how to make little packets with my knife and fork so as to savor all the different flavors at once. The flaky, crispy phyllodough wrapping encased the intense, rich flavor of the fig - no mere Newton, this dish.
Back home on the train, with the families and the drunks, the imprint of flashing blooms of color and light still dancing behind my eyelids.
July 02, 2003
No Fisherman's Tale
Yes, there really is a seal in the Gowanus Canal. Ok, so he's not there now, he's been recuperating for the past two months out in a facility in Riverhead. But it's amazing he's there at all, living for sometime in a dirty canal bordered by the very urban streets of Brooklyn. ("A Brooklyn Seal's Trick: Surviving the Gowanus" - Patrick Healy, NYT, Metro, 7/2/03)
Please people, don't name it Gowanda. That's just wrong.
June 20, 2003
Harry Potter and the Gift to New York
At 11 a.m. today, a signed copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be presented to the New York Public Library. According to the press release, the book's inscription reads “To the People of New York With Love and Admiration from J.K. Rowling.”
So who gets to read this before the rest of the world does? (Notwithstanding the recently stolen copies) While I'd love to be part of the mania when bookstores start selling the book at midnight, I have to deal with writing essays for a final exam. After next Thursday I will be DONE.
June 05, 2003
The East Coast Regionals for the 2003 US Air Guitar Championships take place this Friday at the Pussycat Lounge downtown. Grand prize is a trip to Oulu, Finland this August to compete in the World Championships. That would be the 8th annual Air Guitar World Championships.
I'm soooooooo not there. Especially if it's eight bucks just to get in!
Which reminds me - at the Suzanne Vega concert there was actually a guy at the show doing air drums. *cringe* But this was at least a more tolerable sight than the woman who went spastic over "Calypso."
August 15, 2002
Neal Travis, one of the few really good gossip columnists out there (he wrote for the NY Post), died from cancer yesterday. I'd wondered why I hadn't seen his column online in the past few weeks - I assumed he was on vacation. What I liked about his work was the quality of his dish interspersed with calling people on their outrageous, offensive or immoral behavior - that being rich, famous, and powerful didn't excuse one from being a decent human being. R.I.P.
August 07, 2002
Make the early train, putting
Make the early train, putting me into the city around 8:30. It's such a gorgeous day and I have the time, so I walk to work instead of taking the subway. So I'm in brisk urban mode, when Old Navy looms into sight. I know there's a zip cardigan on sale that I've been eyeing, so I dash in and by 9 am I've come out with that and two shirts that were also on sale. While this is a plus for my wardrobe, it's time to reign in the impulse shopping, although as any girl knows, if you find something great, you have to get it in several different colors.
The walk to work was refreshing - if I continue this, I might actually be getting the exercise I need! Of course this would involve leaping out of bed at 6 o'clock in order to get the day off to a proper start. But fabulous weather in this fabulous city is certainly an inspiration.
August 06, 2002
The heat wave has finally
The heat wave has finally broken. My mood instantly lifted as soon as I stepped out of the office during lunch. The day felt clean - light, bright and sparkling, while a cool breeze brushed my face. The city seems to have magically transformed from a grimy, aging, surly town back to the clean, modern, bustling Metropolis.
The mayor has announced the city's plans for 9/11. It's a Wednesday, which likely means a work or school day for most of us, probably both for me. I would rather spend it with Scott, visiting friends and family. Or strolling through Central Park, napping in the sun on the Great Lawn. I don't want to be glued to the television and relive the horror - especially since the networks and cable channels will broadcast it all over again. I guess just by getting on with the business of life we're doing our little bit to moving forward, to keeping democracy going, to stimulating the economy, blah blah blah. We should not forget our fellow people's pain, especially those who've lost someone. It's going to be a long, hard day.
July 27, 2002
Dead tired. I need to
Dead tired. I need to write down my recollections from the Neil mini-tour before the fine points vanish. But we're gonna be chic and urban and go into the city for a screening of Naked Lunch and possibly some Kurosawa/Mifune collaboration - gee, what a shock, another retrospective. I love this town.
Got another announcement from our friends Lori and Dave. The last one revealed their elopement to Hawaii. Now they have their first house. I'm sure I'll be hearing soon about the conception of their first towhead. At least I think I've figured out at last what to get them for a wedding/housewarming gift.
Don't get me wrong - I love to to be on one's announcement list, and I'm absolutely thrilled for my friends. Send me a pretty token of your good news; I save them for the day when I'll actually start my scrapbooks. I'm not so keen on, say, getting pregnancy announcements via e-mail. (Which has happened.)
I feel a twinge of jealousy? regret? frustration? that I'm not there yet and that I now have friends my age who are on-track and living the grown-up life. I've got student loans, scary credit bills, and before I even contemplate being a homeowner or future parent (gah!) I should try, just try, to quit living like a wacked-out college student with stuff everywhere. I have incentive to pare down on our stuff - we could be moving cross-country within the next year. I do not want to be toting boxes of crap that I should've thrown out in the first place!
My domestic porn is Martha Stewart Living. All this stuff I will likely never do, but you get a window into a world with approximate instructions about how to live the Martha life. (Although I must admit I have no interest in insider trading.) At least I know how things could be done - a girl needs inspiration and ideas, some of us more than others.
I want a brownie, the fairy-tale kind of creature who swoops through one's house at night and everything is immaculate in the morning. I guess in the modern world they call them maids, or mothers even. And putting out milk and cookies as appreciation won't cut it. I need to be my own brownie, since a) hired help is not in the budget, b) that would be utterly pathetic for people like us, and c) I'd be way too embarrassed to let them see the state we're in.
The surprise of running into John Nash has worn off for Scott. He keeps running into the man around campus and in the department. The man has been spotted wandering around the floor before going off to his ultimate destination. Can't say it would've been the most exciting experience - Poli Sci is a really bland floor. Maybe because no one accosts him, even though they recognize him, he likes being up there. Or maybe he just prefers the 7th floor men's bathroom to the ones on the other floors.
July 14, 2002
Healthy Dose of Fun
Went downtown to play this weekend - browsing for books at The Strand, more David Cronenberg viewing, bumming around the East Village. Met up with Liz and Lauren for southern comfort food at Mama's - garlicky, bacon-y, crispy green beans and fried chicken, with minty iced tea. Ah, bliss. Headed for a viewing of Notorious C.H.O., the new Margaret Cho concert flick. Laughed until it hurt, then cackled and snickered and guffawed some more. The plus of the Margaret experience - the line for the ladies' lounge was really short!