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October, 2006 | Scuff Productions

NYC 1 day at a time Oct 20, FRI

Bloged in TRAVEL by mark Saturday October 28, 2006

In case you need help in a way to make your peanut butter sandwich “different”, this place has the answer. In the village.

This is the cleanup apartment and reunion day for Rodger & high school pal Michael Leveque who’s been living in NYC for years as an actor. We got the work done soon enough to subway over to Lydia Bastianich’s (from the PBS cooking show Lydia’s Table) restaurant Becco on 46th. Service was the most attentive and personal of anywhere we’ve eaten. The pastas were fabulous (Mark had the Lunch item that featured Caesar Salad, 3-pastas, and appetizer. Rodger had the Osso Bucco. We couldn’t resist the gelato dessert sampler. We split one order with a selection today of Mint Ice Cream (real mint) with chocolate chips, expresso, and Vanilla Bean. Yum

We then motored down to the West Side Highway to visit Michael who’s on the 33rd floor of a new building. Here were some spectacular views and a nice long visit. Michael caught Rodger up on his life in New York, and his new adventures of being a Life Coach while partnering to start up a New Theater Company in NY. It seems they have everything in the works, great names joining up, so we’ll wish them the best and see what blooms out of this.

We left there just in time to get to the Off-Broadway Production of Paul Rudnick’s new play “Regrets Only” in its second night of previews. Rudnick has been writing some clever stuff for years and this starred Christine Baranski in the lead. Unfortunately, she was partnered up against George Grizzard in a horrible case of being miscast in a role. He couldn’t pace his lines, making difficult for the other players to keep a rhythm going. Still, some clever lines came though such as Christine walking out of the house holding onto her fur stole saying, “Oh yes, you see this fur I’m wearing. It was awful for this poor animal being tortured, murdered and skinned to get here. It deserves a night out on the town, let’s go!”

The play did take more than the usual jabs at some political world. For instance the whole play was what would happen if all the homosexual folk disappeared for a day. The question was asked later, “What would happen if all the heterosexual men disappeared for a day?” The Answer? “World Peace.” That brought on a resounding applause.

We went home immediately and tried to get a couple hours sleep before that dreaded early wake up call for an airport shuttle that meant we had to leave town.

and last………

one of the beautiful lobbies at one of the Tudor City Buildings.

NYC 1 day at a time Oct 19, THU

Bloged in TRAVEL by mark Saturday October 28, 2006

Nice ceiling, eh?
It’s getting a bit hard to sleep, knowing the “end is coming” for this trip. That’s a good thing in that this has become quite costly due to not holding back much on theater or food.

Today NY got even with us as we tried to head out to an ancient jewish Cemetery in the lower east side and after being on a wrong bus that kicked us out at the last stop, we had to walk out of the neighborhood. We had to ask a couple of times to get back in the right direction and still passed through the edge of Chinatown once again. Our leg fatigue by now in this trip, is showing with blisters for Rodger.

I noted for about a third time, that some districts are pointed to specific business purposes. In our own neighborhood there are blocks of RUG businesses. Not wall to wall stuff, but Persian, woven, imported area rugs. Hundreds of them. In the neighborhood today, blocks and blocks of Restaurant Equipment Supply houses without ANY other kind of business there period. I LOVED this idea…… at home you may have cross the valley three times to research your product purchase. Not here. You park and find it all in one place.

We walked tiredly on, finally caught the subway and escaped to familiar territory where we intended to have that favorite Luna Bella NY Pizza once again. On the way though, we passed the “Comfort Diner” on 45th just off 2nd, and once again, this was a diner Mark had researched from home. It was packed, so we decided to try it. The menu’s a mile long, so we had Roast Turkey Plate and it was flavorless. While eating that though, we saw that without exception all the locals packed in here were ordering beautiful looking sandwiches so we NOW know what they do well here. Oh well………….

So, to try to make up for the long morning, we subbed to “Serendipity” the one made famous for its desserts. Once seated in this cramped packed spot, we ordered the signature dish, “Frozen Hot Chocolate” which is like a cold cup of cocoa plus one piece of pecan pie smothered in a huge scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream. Lovely way to end our diets in ONE fell swoop today,eh? It was delicious.

The Serendipity thing was made a little more fun when two delightfully tasteful and happy widow ladies from Chester, England drew us into their web of conversation. I think they were curious about some things here, as well as a bit lonely for some conversation since they’d been stateside for 3 weeks. I had them taste the Pecan Pie, and before you know it, we were discussing Bush/Blair, politics, then England countrysides, Theaters, and their favorite part of the trip: Seeing Quebec in the changing of the leaves. They came back stateside through Buffalo who just had that freak snowstorm while they were there, so they thought they’d seen it all. A lovely pair…..just fun enough at about 70 to jump ship from the Tour Group they were with and stay on in New York for a few days.

After THAT meal and dessert, we headed straight home to begin to organize our return trip. Well, that was the intention. We got home and let the sugar sink into our system, grab hold of all the nerve endings, and lay down in a crash. We survived however, and are now preparing to leave to see George Bernard Shaw’s dark comedy “Heartbreak House” with Swoozie Kurtz and company at the Roundabout Theater .

It’s so well written I must include this comment from the new York times Theater section:
“Heartbreak House” provides a keen comic rebuke to cynicism, self-indulgence and detachment, those all too easy responses to the bitterness of the world, which is still too cruel after all, and surely as damnable as ever.”

Yes, it was excellently done. Shaw moves a little slower than musicals, etc., but it was a searing indictment directed at rotten power and greed. I’m quite sure G W Bush wouldn’t have a clue what this play was about. The gentry, covered in moss and decay, titter about as always planning on more money while bombs fall all around them and their world is falling apart.
Perhaps this rooftop would keep the ghosts away:

rumor has it that some of the film Ghostbusters was filmed around this building.

NYC 1 day at a time Oct 18, WED

Bloged in TRAVEL by mark Saturday October 28, 2006

The facia in front of the NY Public Library is quite extraordinary:

With two plays in one day, we’ve completely taken it easy.

We went to Martin Short’s “Fame Becomes Me” . His cast was good and the play fun, but if you’re only going to one thing in NY, make sure you’ve seen everything on your MUST SEE list.

Short is Jewish and today’s matinee audience seemed bussed in for the purpose. Almost entirely an audience of aging Jewish ladies (& a few husbands) who, to me, this seemed almost specifically for. Our opinion hasn’t changed of Short in that he’s REALLY best when he does something unscripted. Today’s show only had a small part of that.

He’s known in this prodeuction to have a celebrity guest show up and call them out of the audience “surprised” then interview them in his Jiminy Glick character. Today’s guest was Stephen Colbert from Comedy Central. This was howling funny and he got Colbert to admit funnily that Cheney scared him.

On to serious theater: This evening we saw Grey Gardens. Christine Ebersole’s performance is fabulous and astounding. She’ll no doubt be nominated for a Tony in this role. The entire production is fabulous, a tragic story about one part of the Bouvier family, Jackie Kennedy’s aunt and cousin whose privileged lives wilt into last years of desperately lonely states of mental decline in the neglected family mansion. They pretty must closed themselves off from reality wrapped as tragic characters in roles they had no ability to escape. A tearful ending. You can see the actual documentary of these two filmed some years ago, and it’s hypnotizing. That’s something we recommend anyway……

We experienced a tiny “other” NY moment. Celebrity sighting minor was ours in having Doris Roberts and friend scoot by us in our row to sit next to us (but not visit…she had friends there with her)

We came home straight to bed. Yes, this trip’s coming to an end and we have a few things we must do if we expect to be at an airport Saturday at 0500. No more zipping around all hours of the day and night as if we lived here!

NYC 1 day at a time Oct 17, TUE

Bloged in TRAVEL by mark Friday October 27, 2006

We slept in, and were up about 1000 hours. I suppose that meant we truly are having some traveling fatigue. It’s now lightly raining with forecasters calling for “heavy” showers by late PM and evening. Oh no, not again? Another evening of showers like last week, and I’ll disappear like the Elphaba did in Wicked. So we await our fate of being soaked to the bone getting into Avenue Q, right?

I’m beginning to think we’ve heard languages from every part of the planet, or at least, the general root language of every ethnic group. We have found in talking with LOTS of foreigners how we are almost ALL feeling powerless while the evil rulers here are bringing ruin to the entire planet through lust for empire, riches, and power. Specifically we have talked about this with Dutch, English, American Black, Latino, Caucasian, Australian, Ohioans, Michigans, Kentuckians, Kansans, Idahoans, Utahns, Arizonans, Canadians, ……so far. At a Church right by Rita’s place, The Marble Collegiate Church, this peace loving congregation has collected ribbons for every American life lost in Iraq. It’s an impressive sight:

And of course another tiny piece of stonework simply set but it stand out:

We decided on a brave venture into the bowels of US Financial Power, i.e., Wall Street (via Chinatown, of course) for a second chance of excellent Chinese Food. After all, we only have ONE place in Portland we’ve ever found that is rated this high – by us – Wongs King Seafood on SE Division, 22 miles away.

Yep, bravely under light rain, we’re jumped on the #N Subway and got off at Canal Street, just a few blocks from the NY Stock Exchange. Without guard or other escort, we alone trooped into the heart of Chinatown with the ridiculous idea that two Oregonians can find 5 star Chinese food in this huge neighborhood without the ability to speak one or read Chinese in any form.

We asked at the visitor center if THEY could recommend something. The young girl giggled a little and said, “Well there is a lot of restaurants on Mott St.” So we headed down Mott Street and began to study the menus, customers on hand, and whatever, and whatever else we could think of like the famous rule, “Do NOT EVER Eat at a Chinese retaurant where they show their menu items in big plastic coated photographs”, or this one, “Do NOT eat at any Chinese restaurant that features “chop suey”. We finally noticed a place at 66 Bayard St, the Green Bo Restaurant whose walls were coated with writeups from every publication around NYC (one was “Best Cheap Eats”. We noticed that only Chinese People were eating inside, and yes, they featured our favorite item, “Walnut Prawns”. Some little old ladies were making the homemade dumplings in the back table. So here’s where we ate and as luck would have it, had a great meal (and now have leftovers at home). Items were presented as they became ready in the kitchen so nothing sat at all. The Steamed dumplings were light and full of flavor because of their making sure you had the food immediately. So we got to experience yet another GREAT NY Restaurant. They took the last of our cash though since no credit cards were allowed.

Off we go for Wall Street. I have to mention though the tiny Café simply called “Fried Dumpling” where we watched the little ladies making fresh dough, rolling them out, cutting, shaping, and then adding ingredients and cooking

. The line of diners showed this was a favorite. Or was it the price? At $1.00 you get five dumplings of your choice. You can take them home at 30 for $5! What a bargain. Yes, we saw lots of fascinating stuff in Chinatown.

Seeing the NY and American Stock Exchanges made more of an impression than I expected. They are certainly powerful, cleanly designed buildings. Just across from so many of these financial centers there was Trinity Church with a cemetery surrounding it dating back to the early 1800s.

Astounding that here in the heart of money and finance, huge buildings, was this sight. The rest rooms in Trinity have Stained glass Windows! This was also moving. We then walked on down to the water and strolled seeing some nice home addresses plus a lovely yacht harbor just about when we realized we were at ground zero.

Ground Zero moved me more than I expected here 5 years later. The picture display area at the top of the new Subway Entrance there was very moving as was Paul’s Church across the street with yet another cemetery and 9/11 visitor’s center. Alexander Hamilton’s buried here for God’s sake.

A very inneresting sidebit about this Church that was immediately across the street from the World Trade Center. The Church was NOT damaged although various buildings around the Towers DID collapse. All of the headstones in the cemetery were blown over and just this year, restoration on that completed. Inside the church now, is a moving memorial of mementos and ribbons that were placed at Ground Zero in 2001.

Home again, and a quick nap then prepping for Avenue Q. We’re off. Stopped in for a quick bite of Hummous at a little Lebanese place and got to the theater a bit early so went in to Garvey’s Pub to hide from the rain. THEN, we finally line up for Avenue Q and get in our 4th row seats in the very little Golden Theater. On one side of us sat a happy red-headed girl from St Joseph, MO who’se thrilled o be here.

Avenue Q is NOT to be missed. It’s Muppets for Adults and yes, there is graphic sex hinted at here so it’s NOT Jim Henson. Yes, these little muppets & monsters cover sex, love, youth, immaturity, disillusionment, selfishness, loneliness, poverty, and all life’s questions with candor tears and laughs. Does Kate Monster find love? Is Rod able to face his demons and come out of the closet? Is Trekkie Monster addicted to Porn? Is that really Gary Coleman? I thought there could NOT be funnier theater than Spamalot, and now I can’t decide which I liked better. This was fabulous.

We wisely made it home to bed at a moderate 2300 hours, had a cocktail, relaxed, thought we had a solid night’s rest in store but jack hammers at 0700 had other ideas in mind.

The itinerary has just gotten more complex. We snagged tickets to martin Short’s “Fame Becomes Me” for what is now Wednesday, today’s matinee. After continuing to read praise for his theater piece everywhere, we decided to go at the last minute. We now have 3 days left and 4 plays to see. So sightseeing is going to have to take a back seat, and that’s okay.

NYC 1 day at a time Oct 16, MON

Bloged in TRAVEL by mark Friday October 27, 2006

Today begins our last few days, but the weather continues to be nice but the air is hazy. We get across town and in line for the Circle Line tour, yep the 3 hour round-the-island see it all. Too bad it is hazy for part of this, but still a good way to see the city.

Ellis Island is known to all, right? Now a museum, but we just didn’t get to visit:

Wall Street is shiny (is it all the money?):

We passed by Roosevelt Island one more time and got a better pic of the notorious hospital ruin:

We passed the building scarred by the plane crash. How is it a poorly trained pilot finds himself meandering between these skyscrapers?

This is one amazing way to get a feel for the whole island. Even the North End has lots happening: Yankee Stadium, the Subway Garages, Tryon Park, the Bronx.

We followed the boat ride by riding straight up the street to Rockefeller Center and went on up to the Top-o-the Rock. We got to see all the points we had just cruised by from a new perspective. Some great camera shots:

The view of Central park is spectacular.

Once at the bottom, we found the Ice Skating has begun for the season:

We were close enough, we got to try the “Shake Shack” in Madison Park. We’d first seen the lines of customers waiting to order the burgers and frozen custard there since Rita showed us the place a week ago. Well, the burger WAS delicious. The sides (fries and shake) were not. So, on to new things. It was still a gorgeous place to have some good fast food

Monday night? Whew! New York gets even with us.

At about 2130 hours, we headed out to the Chelsea district where Shawn Ryan was to appear in his cabaret show and we would be joining Shanee, Therese Genneco and group. We arrived a bit early (aren’t WE getting good on the subway connections!) so cruised the street a bit.

We saw a bar called “Rawhide”. HECK! In the west, this would most certainly be a cowboy (well, I mean a “wanna be a cowboy” bar) so it appeared a place to relax comfortably for one drink. We were stopped at the door by a brutish looking muscled and bearded man who went into a rage when Rodger simply tried to make a joke about us being requested for ID.

Well, we went in anyway. No, it wasn’t a “wanna be a cowboy” bar. It was a muscleman leather (ok, a “I wanna be a muscleman leather boy” bar with attitude. Nonetheless, by the time we left, a proper Englishman was giving Rodger instructions how to let go of how we’d been greeted at the door, the shirtless muscled bartender DID explain that in THIS place, the doorman IS brutish because strange weird characters show up here all the time. (Hmmmm…. Leather and muscle attracts who?) We both tired of this place before they were done talking and moved on.

On to Helens Cabaret where we walked into a piano bar front room with 5 people in it and a horrible singer moaning by the piano player. We asked the maitre de’ about seating for the show and were told he wouldn’t be appearing until Wednesday night. So we left. Hm. The night is lost?

Since we were only a mile from the Chelsea Piers where Rodger believed “The Eagle” (every city has one including Portland) a leather kind-o-place where manly and “I wanna be manly” men go to explore the parts of their psyche that’s usually locked up tight while they are working in the office. So we took a cab ride to 12th Avenue and 28th street that was the wildest ride Mark has ever taken in a cab. We missed other cars by inches and went from lane to lane with gas pedal pressed to the floor! I couldn’t WAIT to get outta that car.

That was the second time that day we had a wild ride. Earlier we were on a bus with the driver jumping from lane to lane, going as fast as a bus can go. Whew! NYC CAN be exciting even if you’re just sitting. Who needs to go to Disneyland if you live here?

Anyways. We get out of that cab in a dark industrial district with nothing but dark warehouses, maintenance garages, a “few” loft apartments, and dark alleys around. Well….I was a bit nervous when we rounded a corner to see blocks of cars, taxis, limousines all turning up 28th and stopping mid-block. Piles of people were gathering here, all kinds of folk, mostly black, dressed to the nines hoping to get into a record release party for P-Diddy. Lines of people everywhere. We walked around a while, Mark asked a very gay looking skinny lad if HE knew where the Eagle was (nope), and then Rodger finally asked the only kinda kewl looking liimo driver who was Caucasian if HE knew about the bar.

With a wink and a smile he pointed only about 200 feet away and said it was there but probably unmarked. We strolled that direction and saw the door. The only sign on this door was made from those cheap glued on letters (some were missing) in font about size 8. It said: “ea_le”. The entry was a walkup three floors. There were 4 people there but it WAS an interesting layout with a roof garden close to one of the rooftop water tanks, so it had its charm. Porno was being played inside, there was a back winding stairwell, so one could see that on a crowded dark lonely night, one could probably easily explore your daddy/boy fetish. Yea, that’s it: You were sitting home and just finished watching Taxi Driver with DeNiro (or something like that, right?) and needed to explore your disciplinary emotions.

We DID ask the bartender about the lack of customers and he, in NYC fashion, said “Well, come back about 2:00 in the morning and we’ll be busy.” For about the thousandth time, Mark was reminded of Liza Minelli singing, “New York New York—- the City that never sleeps.” So we left there, snaked back through the record release crowd (where the cars were STILL lined up trying to get into this party)

By the way, next morning we read of a rapper named “Fabolous” being shot the night before. Are WE bringing back luck to NYC? We walk by this party, and someone gets shot before the nights over. Earlier on our trip, we explore the upper East Side and the next day, a plane flew into a building there. Whew! We’re powerful, eh?

So. Here we were, our last night without theater commitments, it was 11:15, and we were wide awake. We debated going into the Village but feared the Monday night crowds would be slim (well, at least until 2:00 in the morning) so we settled on going back to the theater district and once again going into “Don’t Tell mama”. How COULD we be so foolish?

So, we get to “Don’t Tell Mama” and not so many people there either, but of course, before the night’s over, we’ve had TOO much fun and pile into bed at Rita’s cozy lovely apartment about 2:15. Sleep, oh sleep.

The next morning, there was an agreement reached easily: We are NOT going back to that piano bar. We have every evening committed to theater from here on out, and won’t allow Mama’s to get in the way. This was an agreement that held!

NYC 1 day at a time Oct 15, SUN

Bloged in TRAVEL by mark Friday October 27, 2006

Spamalot is our theater piece tonight, and we’re excited about that. We didn’t get started early, however, because of the celebrating with the Cubanos last night. However, off we go headed to the Upper West Side with walking back through Central Park. We just “may” require a nap this PM before theater tonight. Whew. One week into this and the tiniest bit of fatigue is showing.

We made our way out to famous Zabars Deli. On the way ate at one of the Deli’s I’d researched on the internet. Guess what? Not so good eating. Eisenberg’s Deli can be skipped if you ever get to NY. Zabars is not big enough for the crowd there and it’s fun to see probably once. After that experience I believe we’ll be shopping online if we have to have something from Zabar.

*Fun note: In front of this gourmet paradise, we saw the grimiest homeless guy showing a big moon bent over the Zabar garbage with all the rich people watching….I guess he’s eating pretty good here. That was one photo op missed because the camera was off. I believe Rodger could have “sold” that pic to several high bidders, really.

We began the long WALK back through, around Central Park by lakes, zoos, sea lions gardens, and other things. Whew! It IS beautiful though:

and from a distance:

Beautiful stonework in just stairways:

We went to the Manhattan MAC Store on 5th Avenue. Amazing since all you see on the surface iis a glass entryway:

Near that was FAO Schwartz where one toy (a big entertainment ride modeled after Disney’s motion simulators) is selling for $300,000. I’m sure it will be a big ticket item this Christmas for …… oh that’s right, a handful of very wealthy spoiled children. Giving a small kid something like this at 8 years old makes me wonder what expectations he will have when he’s 14?

Yes, we walked ourselves out and actually had a small nap at home! I needed that. But the evening surprises weren’t over. Many restaurants have Pre-Theater Menu choices that are quite reasonable. I didn’t want to go to Sardi’s. I viewed it as just another over-priced tourist trap with bad food probably. Rodger thought it would be fun. Once again, he was correct, it was a great experience and very good food not to mention great service.

So there you have it! Dinner at SARDI’s! Can you believe it? The pre-fixe dinners were three courses. The caesar salad was made tableside by the waiter and was absolutely perfect. The steak was delicious and the Tiramisu melted in your mouth. The REAL reason to go to Sardi’s, of course, are the Hirschfeld sketches on the walls. After enjoying his work for a long time, it IS fun to sit there and BELIEVE you would recognize more of them than you do. This was PERFECT pre-theater atmosphere.

So, finally, we arrive at the Schubert Theater

Here we will see the King Arthur Legend skewered once again by Monty Python. It was fantastic it was and is NOT to be missed it’s not. I can’t imagine this production being up to this quality anywhere else I can’t. If YOUR tiny town decides it wants to stage the production, I’d still go out of hope that your production CAN do what the NY Production did. It is hilarious for the entire show. Is Sir Lancelot gay or not? NO, we won’t tell you.

We made it home this time after being mixed up on our Subway ride, and that wasn’t the first mixup we’ve had. However, we ARE getting pretty good at navigating the system. Our leg strength is improving beginning this our second week here from climbing into and out of those subway terminals. Oh, yes, We DO have to always remember to take our metrocards
By the way, Karen Thomas………we thought about you tonight as we passed the Times Square Hershey Store. You shoulda been with us:

Good night, and on to Camelot!

NYC 1 day at a time Oct 14, SAT

Bloged in TRAVEL by mark Friday October 27, 2006

Amazing what a little restful sleep can do. We begin with a little earlier start and we have SO much to do today. Right off the bat, we forgot to eat, really! Got on the Subway to head up to Washington Heights, really out to the north point of the island where Tryon Creek Park is at:

You can see the gorgeous castle museum in the background.

The park itself feels so far removed from the city, you would forget it’s close except for this one view of the mammoth Geo Washington Bridge from the park:

The museum was originally funded (along with the park) by the Rockefellers. We walk awhile and finally arrive at “the Cloisters“. We are at what would appear to be an old “castle” and the mammoth door is completely carved in ornate figures:

One walks into an astounding collection of medieval religious pieces of all kinds. Sculpted wood pieces that are almost life size:

or this one:

Even tiny stained glass pieces are displayed beautifully:

Or the sad truth that people were disfigured if they were afraid they’d see something evil:

And stone:

There were stone coffins, and every imaginable medium that would have been used then displayed here. Displayed very seriously as that period was. Actually it isn’t ALL the last 800 years, but really focused in on years between 1000 – 1400 mostly, so you can imagine she sense you get here of how much control and power the Catholic Religion had at the time. They were draining every area of wealth and resources supporting a fabulously opulent lifestyle for those with careers in or on the edge of religion. There were beautiful courtyards growing herbs and plants that would have been alive 1000 years ago. This was an astounding tour.

Done too soon, we boarded a bus for a drive back to Cathedral Parkway to see both Riverside Church

AND……the Cathedral of St John the Divine. **note: If you click the link, you’ll see a grand picture from the air of this cathedral in progress. Sadly, enough Riverside was closed completely so after walking through the Columbia University Campus, we arrived at my favorite, the Episcopal Cathedral still being built 100 years after it began:

The Cathedral of St John the Divine has been under construction for 100 years and they expect it to be completed in another 100 years or so. When finished, it will be largest Gothic Cathedral in the world. It is gargantuan and gorgeously beautiful. It is undergoing major renovation since a 2001 fire in the gift shop. That meant 80% of the main chapel is completely closed. Fortunately, the front 300 feet is all open and they were having a gathering of immigrant supporters, services, etc., with dances, etc. But before you even enter, you can gaze for a long while at the hundreds and hundreds of pieces carved into the the buildings exterior front entryway:

And what’s with the men standing behind men in this picture (I’m sure it’s okay because it’s religious…..):

There is modern work here as you see this bus crashing from the highway:

Even the Twin Towers are there but seeming to show the strain of our hurried civilization:

We toured all around the nave into probably 8-10 separate donated smaller chapels funded by donation of wealthy families. ALL of these are built with internationally renowned artists work. The last sulpture work of Keith Haring

is in one of these chapel outside of which sits a huge homage to the international tragedy of aids.

The stonework is astounding. Isn’t this one beautiful staircase (and yet it’s a minor one in the back):

The building is massive. This picture of the flying buttress on one side doesn’t give you a feel for how large it is. It must be 10-12 feet across:

Even the grounds surrounding this massive edifice are astounding. I wish I could enclose pictures of the entire thing. I hope I live long enough to see the restoration complete in a trip back here.

After we left here, by now, we KNEW we hadn’t eaten and soaked up a slice of pizza before we got to the Metropolitan Museum of Art asap. Once again, I was unable to get my mind to absorb how massive this building is.

There is one huge and impressive Egyptian Exhibit in one entire end of the building. There are thousands, and I mean thousands of paintings, sculptures. So many that some are sorted into rooms of artists by countries, period, theme, etc. There are so many paintings, they can’t hang them all in individual spots. The surplus at any given time, are In a very middle huge room in collections that you can walk by.

I DID love these two pieces of sculpture however. Perhaps you can explain to me the FULL meaning of this one:

And this poor tortured man with a seeming hint that part of us may be not be acting in our true best interest:

One entire exhibit area is for musical instruments of the world. The harpsichord / piano collection is quite astounding. I learned that one very early elegant gold-leafed instrument built by a Frenchman was given to King Louie XI. Soon, many of his ovoer-the-top masterpieces were being placed in homes of the gentry, who had to have what LOUIS had. Well, here comes the revolution….and ALL of those fabulous instruments were burned. The builder began again in England, and this instrument is one of the rare survivors.

This was so exhausting, we were finally foot sore, leg tired and needed time off.
**Note: Nancy G was right, THIS Museum should be given a few days to absorb the beauty here.

We headed home and now await departure time to the cabaret to here the little lesbian show her stuff in a show she has called “A Tribute to Frances Faye”, or, “Drunk Love.”

Well we recovered and walked over to the cabaret. We arrived at the Metropolitan Room at 2200 hours and immediately meet an older gay couple who was a little too happy to be bragging that he worked on “Funny Girl” with Barbra Streisand years ago…

He worked on this-n-that, etc etc. So we were happy to get separated when we were seated at our table. Of course you KNOW who got seated next to us. Yes, the same guy. But we got acquainted with his partner during the show and come to find out he was diagnosed with Parkinsons five years ago. He has finally come to terms with it and is in the process of raising $5 million dollars for research on the illness. So now it became a great thing we were seated here. We hope Karen at home can get on his mailing list.

The show was pretty fabulous, a big production. She came with a band, piano, the works and used it all very well. We may actually try to link her up with some connection in Portland since she says she’d love to come up and do a gig there.

We left wide awake, so of course, walk clear to the Village and go to our first gay bar: Ty’s on Christopher Street. Somehow I said hi to a sort of scruffy guy who ended being very interesting actually. He is the third person from Kentucky we’ve met today, by the way. No, not visiting on vacation, THIS character, “Joe” is here on business. Says most of his business IS in New York area and not around Lexington. What would that be? He is a specialist on equine Dental Work. Yep, he works on horse’s teeth for the gentry. Has a very interesting life. So that was fun. We left Ty’s and went up to the Duplex (piano bar) and get involved taking pictures of the four next to us, an older couple with here visiting their Lesbian daughter and her partner. The Cubanos:

That was a bit of fun as well. We finally FORCE ourselves to head home, because, once again, it is now 0200 hours and we have things to DO Sunday.

We do our usual stop by the deli so fancily named, “Cafe Au Bon Gout” visible from Rita’s window at the corner of 5th Avenue every time we come home late it seems, and by now know the poor guy stuck on the night shift fairly well. Santos works six nights a week. He’s an immigrant from Guadalajara and has lived with four of his cousins in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn for six years. His English is great, his personality is terrific, and here once again, I have so much respect for the new Americans here who do HARD tiresome work and truly deserve every tiny thing they get here. Santos is still sending money home, of course, to help out his folks.

NYC 1 day at a time Oct 13, FRI

Bloged in TRAVEL by mark Friday October 27, 2006

Friday, yes, Friday the 13th of October. Hence, we should stay locked inside all day under the covers rubbing beads together and chanting a mantra. Will that protect us?

Due to late night revelry, a late start occurred so our first stop was to EAT. We had reviewed lots of NY Diners and cafes prior to coming, and most of that went out the window as soon as we arrived. With over 10,000 restaurants here, and talking to so many people, we had recommendations aplenty. A guide book we brought however, spoke highly of a little café that no one told us about AND it was close to “home”. We walked into “Penelope” at lunchtime and waited briefly for a table.

IF you ever come to NYC, this is a must, a classic true foodie place. Penelope is not the owner, but is the owner’s pet Turtle. Besides that the owner had just had a baby the night before we got there. Even without her, the small staff did a fantastic job of preparing the food from scratch, every item, right down to the 3-4 types of bread. Every meat item had a vegetarian option. Mark had a delicious salad with chicken meatballs on the side while Rodger had a luscious Chicken Pot Pie with asparagus and butternut squash. We started with a Guacamole that was not made until we ordered it. The Guac wasn’t the tex-mex version we make at home, but still delicious. RITA – – – -make sure you go to this place!

After this luscious break, we subbed north to stop first at the Guggenheim until they closed at 5:30. ZAHA HADID architectural masterpieces were the main exhibit items on several floors and quite fascinating. **NOTE: IF you enter the link for Ms Hadid and then go to the bottom of that page, you can see several of her buildings. They have revolutionized current architectural trends. What a genius.
Pictures are forbidden past the first floor of the Guggenheim, and twice Rodger was warned, but we managed a couple.

Looking up from the Lobby:

And looking down TO the lobby:

And this lovely hidden stairwell:

We loved some of the Kandinski, Picasso, Gauguin, and Cezanne pieces as well, not to mention several other lesser masterpieces.

At 5:30 we walked through Central Park for a while noting the crisp fall wind now blowing through this city as temps cooled for the weekend:

it was late so light gave nice colors:

The reservoir is huge here shown looking at up the Upper West Side of Manhattan:

Next stop was the Museum of Natural History to stay for one hour till it closed and I was astounded by the volume, range, and complexity of all the animal history there. Never in my life has this been presented to beautifully and completely. As Baird says Liz used to call it (as a small child), the zoo for dead animals. Yes, a huge collection of animals, thousands of them are here. There are other wonders here too like this extraordinary copper candleholder:

We loved the entrance to the museum. Proud Teddy Roosevelt as a pioneer in protecting our natural history deserved his place here:

Teddy also looked interesting from the other direction just outside the museum’s front door:

We passed yet another regular old building, but these older buildings had all the gorgeous extras in design and craftmanship. This is extraordinary architecture I thought:

Next we began a wander back to Midtown as traffic was very busy on Friday evening. We made it to the subway and barely shoved, packed, rolled our bodies into the car with what seemed like millions of others. While this made ME somewhat nervous, New Yorkers weren’t batting an eye. You are uncomfortably, rubbingly, close to strangers and everyone seems to have this unspoken agreement: be patient.

We came home to breathe a bit but were off again soon for the 2230 musical extravaganza “Naked Boys Singing” where we had front row seats thanks to Rita’s good planning. It was just ninety minutes long, but cute. An almost completely gay themed round of singing and laughing to an audience 90% gay.

Yes, finally, we have exhausted ourselves so straight home we went, watched the NYC public access channel and fell asleep.

NYC 1 day at a time a few pics

Bloged in TRAVEL by mark Friday October 27, 2006

A few photos here showing NYC, on its own, is worth visiting just for the sights.

The ruins on Roosevelt Island of the Mental Hospital:

Can you see the city reflected in the UN Building when you visit there mid-afternoon?

We loved the design of this apartment building:

Some of the rooftops at the Tudor City Buildings show what detail went into the architecture early in the 1900s:

And finally. What DID this artist have in mind when he made this?

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