Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 44 - June 25, 26 and 27

June 25 

By Al

The only part of the day worthy of note was a book reading I went to Monday night.  It was by Andrew Nagorski with his new book Hitlerland.  This book is about Americans in Germany during the 1920's and 30's and how they viewed Hitler.  The title comes from the fact that the Amercans in Germany at that time called it Hitlerland.  He talked about how some Americans did not view Hitler as a threat because they thought he would never succeed and some did not think he would do what he did.  He described the process of experiencing Hitlerland as having five stages.  First, Americans would come to Germany and see a clean country with flowers and order and be impressed.  Of course, they might have seen this at many times in Germany's history and it was not just the result of what the Nazi's did.  The second stage was to notice all of the soldiers and military, but not be very much bothered by it.  The next stage was to realize that there were more soldiers than necessary and to become concerned about the militarization of Germany.  The fourth stage was to become concerned about the war rhetoric, the militarization, and the abuses of human rights.  The final stage was to recognize that Hitler and the Nazi's were a real threat.  He said that some people, such as W. E. B. DeBois got to stage 5 very quickly, and some people, such as Charles Lindberg, Anne Morrow Lindeberg, and the Duke of Windsor, didn't get to stage 5 until war actually broke out.  It was an interesting presentation.

However, earlier in the day I walked through Central Park and have some more pictures.

Belvedere Castle

View from Belvedere Castle showing the Great Lawn in the distance.  The Turtle pond is on the right. The Delecorte Theater backstage area is on the left.  This is where they do Shakespeare in the Park.

An interesting building seen from the Park.

June 26

I went to the Queensbourough Rotary for lunch.  A very small group.  They were extremely welcoming and friendly.  I think I will go back.  They meet a 10 minute subway ride from Aldi, so I went and stocked up a bit more. 

Sally came home in the evening and that was very good.

June 27

While Sally went to her book reading, I went to a Yankees game.  They were playing Cleveland.  It was a close game, but the Yankees won in the end.  It was a senior day, so tickets were $5.  Cheap entertainment.

In the evening, I went to taiko practice.  I really enjoy taking classes from Kaoru.

It was a hot day in New York, but fun.

Sally's Day(June 27)

I returned home last night, unpacked, and slept before beginning a new day of adventures.

I went to Bryant Park for a author's event with Dave Hill, who contributes to This American Life on NPR, and Janeane Garofalo, a comedian actress.  Very funny.

Bryant Park is located behind the New York Public Library at 42nd and 5th Avenue.  The library  building is famous for the two large sitting lions at the bottom of the steps. The park brochure states that the park re-opened in 1992 after a "dramatic urban public space transformation" from a "dangerous, derelict, and underused park." (I interpret that to mean that many homeless men hung around the area.  I don't know where they went after they were dislocated by the "transformation.") The Park is an amazing place. Two restaurants.  The most elegant public restrooms I have seen (picture of outside below).  Inside is a huge urn of fresh flowers and classical music covers the sounds of people on the toilets doing their business. It is immaculate.  The park offers lots of free activities- yoga, fencing lessons,lots of musical performances, juggling lessons, birding tours, fly fishing lessons, and many games.  There is a book club- and they give you the book to read- no strings attached.  I received a copy of Madam Bovary, which I need to finish by July 10.  The fellow also wanted to give me several more books, but I thought it best to take only what I could commit myself to reading.  They also have knitting lessons on Tuesday "yarn and needles are provided"- so that will be one of my outings next Tuesday.  I don't know how the park is supported, but whomover funds it is very generous.

The bathroom.
I also took a picture of the clock on Grand Central Terminal where I got off the subway because I thought it was beautiful.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Days 41 and 42 June 24 and June 25

By Al

Saturday I went to meet my high school and college friend.  He is now working as a child therapist in New Haven but was in New York for a piano lesson.  He had us meet at a German restaurant in the east village.  I is called Zum Schneider.  So, I decided to walk.  On the way I passed a block party with kids activities and games.  I also passed another street festival with many booths selling food and other things.  I walked through a park with a very good rock band playing sixties style rock music.  This is why I like New York, there is always something new to see or experience.

I also stopped at Grand Central Station to use the facilities and found that Delta Airlines was sponsoring an event for baseball fans.  I was able to get some signed photos and get my picture taken with some former Yankee stars.

Dave Cone and me

John Franco, me, and Bucky Dent

It was good to meet my friend.  We had not seen each other for about 40 years.  It took about 5 minutes for us to be like no time had passed.  It was a fun experience.  I highly recommend the restaurant.  Excellent food.

Sunday, I went to a no kill animal shelter to volunteer.  They had me walk dogs while they cleaned their cages.  It was sad.  The shelter had dog cages stacked 3 high.  Perhaps a hundred dogs in a space 40 by 40 feet.  There were also cats kept in close proximity to dogs, which had to be very stressful.  But, the dogs that I walked were pretty nice.  Easily controlled and friendly.  I didn't have a chance to ask how long dogs stay at the shelter, but I hope not long.

After that, I went to the Pride celebration. The parade was over by the time I got there, but I was able to walk around the celebration area. I have to say that I far prefer the Twin Cities Pride event. This one was held on the city streets, with booths(tents) on each side of the street. It was maybe a little bigger than Twin Cities Pride, but had basically the same mix of business promoting their GLBT friendly policies and businesses selling things. There was only one small performance stage. The Twin Cities Pride celebration is in a park, has three performance areas, and just seems more fun. But, it was good to be there and, of course, there was a lot of free stuff being given out.

Performance stage

Booths and tents

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day 40, June 22, 2012

Only two things of any importance.  First, I made contact with a friend from high school and college who lives in New Haven.  We are meeting tomorrow while he is in New York.  Fun.

Second, Sally is having a good time in Northern Minnesota.

Day 36 to day 39 June 18 to June 21 By Al

June 18

Today Sally spent most of the day getting ready to go back to Minnesota to go on a Quilting Retreat.  I helped.  I also read. Nothing much else happened.  Not every day has things worth writing about.
June 19.

We got up at 5 AM to get Sally to the airport.  I came home and went back to bed.  I got up late morning.  Nothing much happened until the evening.  A Rotarian from the Chinatown club had invited Sally and I to come to her residence, meet her husband, go to dinner and then go to a jazz show.  They live near Union Square in a very lovely apartment.  Of course, Sally was in Minnesota by the time I went, but they were willing to have me without her.  We went to an informal but nice restaurant and then went to New York Baha'i Center for the jazz show. 

The story on why the Baha'i Center is that Dizzy Gillespie was a Baha'i.  So the performance space at the Center is named after him.  It is a very small theater that might hold 100 people.  Every Tuesday at 8 PM they have a jazz concert.  It only costs $15.  I highly recommend it to anybody visiting or in New York.  This concert was the Charli Persip's supersound.  Mr. Persip has played with several bands, including Dizzy Gillespie's big band and quintet.  He has also worked with almost all of the big stars of the New York jazz scene.  He has a 16 piece group that was performing this night. I was blown away.  There were only about 40 people there, so it was pretty intimate.  No cover, no drink minimum, for that matter, no drinks.  But, it was amazing jazz.  This has to be the best bargain in New York City.  The Rotarian and her husband were very nice and interesting people and I look forward to getting together with them again.  Rotary has led me to some great friendships and experiences.  As I say, if you travel, join Rotary.  You will have friends where ever you go.

June 20

I had an interview to be a volunteer at the Manhattan Animal Shelter at 1 PM today.  So, I hung out in the morning and then walked to the shelter.  It was about 2 miles away and there is a convenient bus, but I felt like walking.  The interview went well and now I have to watch about 5 and a half hours of on line webinars and pass some tests on the webinars.  Then I get to volunteer to be a Dog Companion Level 1.  I do understand that they don't want just anybody with their dogs.  So, I hope to get that done by the end of this weekend. 

After the interview and tour of the shelter, I decided to walk back home. It was a good walk. The temperature both ways was in the 90's, so maybe it was the best idea, but I took it easy. I got home and cooled down and then it was time to go to my Taiko lesson. I am taking lessons from Kaoru Watanabe. I mentioned him in a previous post. He is an excellent teacher and I really enjoy his classes. However, he also works you pretty hard so I was pretty wiped out be the time I got home. But all in all, it was a good day; except that I missed Sally.

The taiko class.  Kaoru is the tall guy.

June 21

I was pretty stiff and sore today, so I didn't do much.  I should have done my webinars, but didn't.  Do you want to make something of it?

At 7 PM there was supposed to be a jazz performance in the Carl Schultz park. This is the park next to Gracy Mansion, the official residence of the mayor. It is about 6 blocks from our apartment. Anyway, the band finally started about 7:40. I consisted of an electric bass and and electric lead guitar, drummer, vibraphone, and saxophone. The vibraphone and saxophone were not amplified. The lead guitar was very much over-amplified, so you could not hear the vibraphone and saxophone. You could barely hear the bass. The drummer played too loud, I think because he was by the speaker for the lead guitar. All in all, it was pretty bad, so I left after a couple of songs. I suppose one shouldn't complain about a free performance, but I felt bad for the band. They were all young guys and unfortunately their sound management might have masked some good talent.

Gracy Mansion

The jazz group

Looking at the East River from where I was watching the jazz group.  The bit of land on the left is the top of Roosevelt Island.  The rest of it is Queens
So, I came home and wrote my blog.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 31 (June 13) through Day 34 (June 16)

Day 31- Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Sally's Day
We are catching up today.  On Wednesday,  I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for my weekly Art Appreciation.  I went to a talk about two Northwest Coast Native blankets.  I have posted pictures of the two blankets and the museum description.  The button blanket depicts a pregnant bear.  She is in a humanized position, legs apart, about to give birth. 

I also went on a highlights tour with one of the docents  With the arrival of summer, the tour groups are much larger. Fortunately, the leader had a bright orange sweater.  I have posted pictures of some of the pieces we looked at. 

The Bernini sculpture from the 1600's is a tangle of babies, grapes, figs, and a faun. 

We also looked a Rambrandt painting- Woman with a Fan.  I have also included Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer.  I don't know if comes through in the photo, but in the actual painting, it is interesting to see how he leads your eye to several parts of the picture with light and shadow, and the direction of the lines.  It is fun to speculate on what Aristotle is thinking.

Al and I met at a movie theater to see the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi.  It is a documentary about  the most respected and famous sushi maker in Japan.  He has a small restaurant with 9 seats in a Tokyo train station.  His son and 4 apprentices work for him.  A meal consists of 20 pieces of sushi and costs about $290.  The movie shows his devotion to excellence and the hard work these six men do every day.  I enjoyed the apprentices, and Jiro's commitment to assuring that they also become excellent sushi chefs- especially in light of what I read about the reluctance of American employers to train employees.  Jiro's apprentices each work for him for at least 10 years before he feels they are fully trained.


Al's day

I went to see a book reading by Andy Cohen at the Bryant Park Reading Room. Willie Geist was with him. Andy is the Executive Vice President of Development and Talent at the Bravo cable television network. He also has the only live talk show on television. Willie has an early morning show on MSNBC and is a part of the Morning Joe show. The reading room is an open air area of Bryant Park. It has tables and chairs and used to have a lending library. The reading was funny. Andy talked coming out and interesting things on his talk show and other funny stories. Most of the audience questions were about the Real Housewives of New Jersey. A lot of people seemed to care about that show.

Andy and Willie

I then met Sally to see Jiro Dreams of Sushi.  It was impressive how interesting the movie was considering that it had minimal content. 

After the movie, I went to an orientation for people who were interested in volunteering at the animal shelter.  As the speaker said, I need my fur fix.  So, about 100 of us heard about the volunteer possibilities, responsibilities, and limitations.  That took about a hour and a half.  Next, I have to go to an individual interview this Wednesday.  If I pass that, I then have to watch 5 and half hours of orientation videos on the Internet.  Not an easy thing to do.

Thursday, Day 32, June 14

Sally's Day
Shortly after arriving in New York, I  discovered that I was 2 credits short in the Ethics requirement for CLE (for non-lawyers, we are required to report 45 credits regular CLE,  and several ethics and elimination of bias credits every 3 years to maintain our license to practice).  My report is due July 1.   Fortunately, we now have courses available by Webcast.  I spent the morning watching an Ethics class taught by Sean Carter.  He is immensely entertaining (Al delayed leaving for an outing to listen to the class).  If you ever get a chance to hear him,  do it!  What a relief- I now have enough credits to keep my license- so in case I get up one day and decide I want to do some legal work, I'll be able to do it.

I went for a long walk, and then spent 3 hours volunteering at the library.  So long as I continue to volunteer, I probably won't need to buy a book.  I always find something I want to read when I'm shelving books.  And a bonus- I can downstream Minnesota Public Radio while working.


Al's day

After Sally's CLE, I left to go to Aldi.  There is an Aldi grocery store in Queens.  For those of you who don't know Aldi, you should.  It is a very cheap grocery chain, with a limited product line.  However, what it has is cheap and good.  Anyway, there are several grocery stores in our neighborhood, but they definitely cater to a high class clientele.  The have several types of fancy cheese, and really good deli counters.  However, I went into one looking for some Kool Aid.  I couldn't find it so I asked one of the stockers if they had Kool Aid.  He looked puzzled for a minute and then said, "You mean the powdered stuff?"  I replied in the affirmative and he told me they didn't have any.  Sally had a similar experience when she asked if they had Velveeta.  Also, I like cream of mushroom soup.   Just plain cream of mushroom soup.  They only have fancy cream of mushroom soup that costs over $2 per can.  So, I decided to go to Aldi in Queens and get some basics.  It was about an hour bus ride, but I don't mind bus rides because I can see the scenery or read. 

When I got to the area, it was totally different from Manhattan.  No tall buildings.  Ordinary people.  No dog walkers.  No nannys.  I was home.  It was a very multi-cultural neighborhood, but much more middle to lower middle class. 

Aldi, of course, was the same.  That is their stock in trade.  You know what they have and can get it cheap.

By the time I got home, I was tired and Sally had just finished at the library, so we just stayed home

Day 33, June 15, 2012

Sally's Day
After all that culture, reading, walking, etc., it was time for a day of just plain fun. 

So we went to Coney Island.  It is not an island- but Coney Peninsula, doesn't sound as exotic.

A bit of background.  It was originally an island, and was named Conyne Eylandt by the Dutch.
In 1829, the first hotel was built on the island, followed by a carousel in 1876.  Nathan's hot dog stand was opened in 1916.  The island was joined to Brooklyn in the early 20th century.  Many amusement parks and the beach attracted New Yorkers wanting relief from the city heat.  After WWII, it fell into disrepair and became much less popular.  The area was revived early in this century.  The boardwalk was rebuilt, and the beach restored.

Our visit started with a long train ride- about 1 1/2 hours.  When we got there, we were HUNGRY.  So the first stop was Nathan's for a hot dog and cheese fries.  Both above average. 

There are 5-6 small amusement parks, separated by fences. Unlike Valleyfair, you pay for each ride. We ventured on to the Deno's wonder wheel (see pictures), and the Cyclone roller coaster. Wonder wheel was fun. I can tell you almost nothing about the Cyclone- following my standard roller coaster procedure of keeping my eyes open only until the first drop. Perhaps Al can tell you about the rest of the ride. It appears to be a wood roller coaster.

We also walked to the end of the pier- with a great view of the whole beach.

The boardwalk.

The beach

I recommend this outing, but wouldn't put it on a "must do" list. The board walk and beach were very well-maintained, the two rides and food were good, but I was surprised at how small the whole ride and amusement area were.

A quick stop at the Museum to buy a gift, and then on to Madagascar III. I think Al and I agree that we liked II better because the penguins had more screen time.

New York continues to amaze me. I needed some bubble wrap to protect the gift from the Museum- and there it was. A large bundle of bubble wrap on the sidewalk with the trash in front of a closed jewelry store. Although I needed only 1/10 of the roll- it was an all or nothing choice. So Al kindly walked down the street carrying a large roll of bubble wrap. And I will put out in with the trash tomorrow, the rest of the roll- perhaps someone else who needs bubble wrap will come walking down the street, he/she will take what he/she needs, and then put the rest out with the trash for the next person.

Al's day

This day, Sally and I were together all day. So, I won't repeat much. However, she does want me to try to describe the Wonder Wheel. We have pictures, so you can see it is like a Ferris wheel. However, the cars move between the inside and the outside of the wheel. To start, the car is hanging from the bottom of the wheel and you get in. As the wheel approaches the 90 degree point, the car stays at the outside circumference of the wheel. However, as it passes the 90 degree point, the car slides on tracks toward the center of the wheel. It stays there until it passes 270 degrees, when it slide back out to the outer circumference of the wheel. So, you go around in circles and rush to the edge of the wheel at the same time.

The Cyclone is a wooden roller coaster. It is a short and rough ride, but it is also exciting. It is amazing how many turns and dives they include is such a small space. You weave in and out of the structure as you go around, so there are no long solitary stretches like most roller coasters.

Day 34, June 16, 2012

Sally's Day

I started with a trip to the quilt shop.  I needed to buy some fabric and thread- and it's fun to just spend some time being around some new fabric and books (quilter readers may understand this sentiment).

Then we went to a matinee of Other Desert Cities.  It was the best Broadway play we have seen.  The plot involves a retired couple, living in Palm Springs.  The husband  (Stacey Keach) was a Reagan Republican senator and ambassador.  The wife (Stockard Channing) wrote several movies with her sister (Judith Light) prior to becoming a political wife. The sister is broke and alcoholic, and lives with the couple. Their 2 children are visiting for Christmas.  The daughter announces that her new book, which is about the suicide of her older brother, is being published.  The book blames her parents for the suicide.  She asks them to read the book, and give their approval.  The parents are, of course, outraged, that she has chosen to present to the world a very sad period of their lives.  The first act is full of witty dialogue.  The second act focuses on the parents' secret concerning the son and the consequences of our decisions to keep secrets  and try to control those we love. 

My sympathies shifted back and forth between the characters.  The acting was superb.

We went to a drum performance (actually we went to half of a performance because we left at intermission). I did not enjoy it. I hope Al will tell you about it.


Al's day

While Sally went to the quilt shop, I rode my bike up to the Target store.  We needed some basics like toilet paper and it is a nice ride along the river to get there.  So, I don't mind.  When I got back we went to Other Desert Cities.  I agree with Sally that it was an excellent play. 

We then had an early supper at a very good Thai restaurant.  We walked across Central Park and took a bus to the concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.  It was called the Drums of Illumination.  It sounded like it was going to be several different drumming styles.  Those of you who know me, know that this would interest me.  Anyway, it was mainly classical Italian folk singing and dancing.  It was interesting for a little bit, but got repetitive.  I think the belly dancer was the final straw.  We are not prudes by any stretch of the imagination, but it just didn't seem right in a chapel as part of a song honoring the Madonna.

Central Park scenes

Day 35, June 17

Al's day

Father's Day.  A good day.  I have a wonderful daughter who makes me proud and who I love very much.  A good day, like any other day, to be a father.

Sally and I went to the Abyssinian Baptist Church.  This congregation is almost 200 years old and is primarily African American.  Perhaps its most famous minister, at least for us of the 60's was Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.   It was a very moving and beautiful service.  Lots of good music.  The people there made us feel welcome.  One interesting thing was that the choir from Lincoln High School from Thief River Falls, Minnesota was visiting.  The minister asked them if they would sing a song.  There must have been 60 or 70 kids in the choir.  They rocked the church.  It was fun to see these farm kids from the prairie rocking the gospel in Harlem.

After church, we had a Father's day dinner at Sylvia's.  It is probably our favorite restaurant in New York.  I love their smothered chicken.  They have gospel music on Sunday's, which was very good.  We had to wait a half an hour, but it was worth it.  We then came home and tried to catch up with our blog.  Hope you all enjoy it.

Sally's Day-
At Abyssinian, the opening hymn was "Faith of Our Fathers."  The second verse begins with these words "Our fathers chained in prisons dark were still in heart and conscience free.."- took on new meaning singing there.
Marian Wright Edelman was present, and made a few comments- " A black child today faces a greater crisis than slavery." 
Rev. Butts' sermon was based on Luke 11:9-14- the ask, seek, knock sermon of Jesus.  He talked a lot about fathers, of course. "There's nothing like being treated good when know you've been bad.  That's what we call grace."
This church seems to be a tourist stop.  Their web site includes a section with instructions for arrangements for tourists to attend a service.  There were ushers outside the church directing the various groups into the building.  One large group was from Italy. 
The service had lots of music-it was almost two events- a church service and a concert of gospel and religious music.  There men's choir even sang a piece between the distribution of the bread and wine for communion. 
I recommend worshipping at Abyssinian. Be prepared for 2 1/2 hours, good preaching, and excellent music.  People were very welcoming.

Al talked a bit about Sylvia's. Sylvia's is a popular place for politicians to appear in Harlem. In the photo of Al, there is a picture on the wall behind him of Al Sharpton and Obama. We give this restaurant a bunch of stars. They don't take reservations. And save up your daily calorie allotment for a few days before you go. We have eaten there 3 times, and never been disappointed. It is across the street from a subway stop.

When we came home on the bus, we were stopped for several minutes by a march on 5th Avenue (warning if you come to NYC- may be a good idea to avoid 5th Avenue on Sunday.  This is the 3rd Sunday in a row when the street has been blocked off on Sunday for an event-which makes it difficult to get to Central Park or anywhere on the West Side.)  The march was to protest the Stop and Frisk policy of the City.  From what I have read, the police stop people for very minor offences.  Almost 90% of the people stopped are African American or Hispanic.  The majority of the offenses are dismissed when the people appear in court. The complaints about the policy appear to be quite legitimate, but I do need to read more.

I am leaving early Tuesday morning to go to MN for a quilt retreat up North.  So Al will need to recount his adventures for the next few days.  And I am staying home Monday to catch up on things, pack my projects, clean the bathroom, etc.  So I won't post any pictures for Monday because a picture of me folding laundry is probably not something you want to see on a blog.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 29- June 12, 2012; Day 30- June 13, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Sally's Day-  It rained all day on Tuesday- which resulted in a day similar to a snowy day in Minnesota. Someone told Al that when it rains here, you need to allow an extra 1/2 hour for travel to an event.  Very true!  The streets are clogged with people carrying umbrellas- which makes movement much slower- since everyone takes up about twice a much space as they would without an umbrella.  Plus it is difficult to see where you are going.  It is wet everywhere- on the steps going down into the subway, on the platform, in the buildings, on the bus, etc.  So much for complaining. And just like a snowy day in MN, it seems like a good day to stay home.

I needed a new pair of pants. My tan pair was threadbare, and we brought minimal clothing along.  Where to shop?  Too many places to choose from.  So I decided to go to Macy's, which advertises itself as the largest department store in the world.  I remembered watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade every year and the movie "Miracle on 34th Street"- making it rather enticing to see what the store is really like. Plus visitors get a 10% off coupon (fyi- there is a visitors' counter on the mezzanine where you get the coupon, which is good for three days). 

The store (which is located at 34th Street and 7th Avenue) appears to have the original escalators with the wooden sides and wooden slats on the steps.  They have a clackity sound.  It looked like they were part of the original store.  I can't describe how big the store is- there are 4 Starbucks and a McDonalds. There are nine floors which take up half a city block. I found my pants (plus 2 more pair, a top, and a dress).  The selection was far more than I needed. So I slogged home with my large bag.

We had planned to go to Museum Mile Festival, where the museums on 5th Avenue are open for the evening, and there are events along the street.  The rain ended that plan.

In the absence of much to write about, we are posting pictures of our apartment.  A few disclaimers- the place is furnished, which means that we have a collection of furniture that isn't what we would choose, but we are glad not to need to buy a couch, etc.  We received a high eating table with stools- impossible to use for sewing.  Al had the idea of moving the high table to the kitchen for additional counter space (a great idea since our counter space was about 2 feet square). Off we went to Bob's Discount Furniture to get a table and 2 chairs. The only place to sit in the living room was the couch.  We found a chair on the sidewalk which we added to the living room (since finding that chair, I have seen about 6 other chairs on the sidewalk, but decided to keep the first one).  We also purchased a set of lamps and curtains at Target.  Plus several storage boxes (you can see some in the pictures; others are under the bed and in the closet). You may notice there are no drawers in the kitchen- another storage challenge.

It now seems to be "our" home- at least for the next few months.  We have not really lacked for anything. So far, this has been a good experience in learning what we really need to live day to day.

Looking at the living room from  the kitchen

The rest of the living room from the windows.  This is the chair Sally found on the street.

Looking at the kitchen from the living room.  The first door on the left is our bedroom.  The next door is the bathroom.  You can see the hinges on the outside door.

Looking at the kitchen from our bedroom door.

Our bedroom.

Our bathroom.

Looking at the courtyard from our bedroom window.


I went to the Chinatown meeting at noon.  This was my second time.  The people there are very friendly and the food is great.  People just sit around a large table, eat, and talk.  They do do Rotary business, but very informally. 

Otherwise, I walked around Chinatown a bit.  Much of it varies from stores catering to Chinese and Chinese-Americans and then stores catering to tourists.  You can have a store selling live frogs (for eating) next to a store selling 5 t-shirts for $10.  It is a very interesting mix. 

The rest of the day, I just stayed home and read.  Nice.


Day 28 (4 weeks!)- June 11, 2012

Sally's Day-  My day started with sorting clothing donations for the free store for homeless folks at Jon Hus Church.  I learned that the church was founded by Czech immigrants, and named in honor of Jon Hus, a Czech reformer.  They still sing their closing hymn in Czech. 

Then it was off to join Al at the Shakespeare in the Park line.  It appeared that some people had slept there.  I could not see the end of the line.

Shakespeare in the Park has been a summer event for 50 years, and takes place at the Delacourte Theatre located in Central Park.  Tickets are free.  I wondered if the play would be worth waiting in line for 3-4 hours for tickets.

It was- absolutely. They performed As You Like It- the setting was a fort, and woods.  The woods looked very realistic because they have unlimited height for tall trees  (i.e. there is no roof), and the stage is about twice as big as the Guthrie thrust stage permitting the forest to be thick and wide.  There was lots of blue grass music- written by Steve Martin (in his program notes, he states "currently writing songs with his lyricist, William Shakespeare, who is always late).  The cast was great.  The only actor I recognized was Oliver Platt, who played Touchstone, a servant who accompanies Rosalind and Celia into the Arden Forest. I remember him most from playing the disbarred lawyer buddy of Matthew McConahey in A Time to Kill.

I noticed immediately that the actors spoke their lines as real dialogue.  So often Shakespeare actors seem to be somewhat uncomfortable talking in blank verse. 

They kept a lot more of the play then often happens with Shakespeare.  The play lasted about 3 hours and 10 minutes.

The director states that he chose the play because in these times, it seemed a "particularly good idea to do two shows (the other is Into the Woods) about people who, in time of trouble, retreat into the woods and discover reservoirs of strength and optimism within themselves they didn't know existed. We will all need that strength and optimism, as we face the continuing challenges of this election year." 

Since we can't take pictures of the play, our pictures today are of Central Park- the wooded ones are of an area called The Ramble- where you feel like you are far away from the city, and in the woods. Although it is a small area, the trails wind, intersect, and intersect in different directions. I don't choose that route through the park unless I have plenty of time for rambling.


I agree with Sally about the play.  This play made me realize that every other Shakespeare play or movie I have seen is a case of actors reading lines.  They may be good at playing the part, but never seem quite real.  In this play, every actor seemed to just be talking.  It felt as if the words they were speaking where their natural words, not some words written 400 years ago.  You expected that if you met them on the street, they would still talk like that.  It was quite amazing.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Day 24- June 7, 2012 through Day 27

June 7, 2012

In my ramblings on Wednesday I had found a Goodwill about 10 blocks from our apartment.  the clothing comes from the neighborhood, so it is definitely upscale.  So, on Thursday, Sally and I went up there to see what they had.  She got a purse that she can tell you about.  I also walked my bike up to the repair shop.  I need a new rear wheel.  It is too bent to fix. 

Then Sally and I went to a Japanese restaurant in the neighborhood that we have come to like.  Good food real close.  Sally went to the Whitney and I went home and took care of some Rotary and financial matters.  At four, we both went to our local library to volunteer.  the big task is organizing the shelves.  I think people just put books back at random.  Maybe in the general area where they got them.  It is time consuming.  I made me appreciate the need to be careful when you reshelve a book.

After that we came home and had a nice evening at home.  

Sally' s Day- I purchased a purse at Goodwill (picture below).  Since arriving in NYC,  I have had difficulty carrying everything I need (my purse presently includes an umbrella, subway schedule, billfold, keys, book, cellphone, bottle of water, jacket). At home, I would throw most of these things in back seat of the car, and off I would go.  Here, I need to carry everything I might need in the next 4-6 hours. 

I have noticed that women here carry very large bags- probably with the same things I have.  Goodwill proved to be a perfect place to find a bag.  $7.99 for a large leather  Latico bag.  I felt rather smug when I found the same bag on amazon for $93. 

Comparison of NYC Goodwill to Eagan Goodwill (the one I go to the most)-  clothing is nicer here, but primarily size 2-10 because it appears most women here are thin.  Almost no furniture. Similar in housewares.  Two stories. I prefer a place called City Works on 77th Street.  Smaller, but much better for house things.

The Whitney was interesting (no pictures; unlike the Metro Mus, they don't allow pictures of their permanent collection).  They had 12 works on display- each in its own room.  Which meant that I didn't see much, but had no distractions from what was there.  The most interesting was a circus constructed by Alexander Calder from bits of cloth, wire, cork, and other found things.  He made a complete circus- animals, center ring, acrobats, sword swallower, aerialists, etc.  There was a movie of him maneuvering the objects to perform. 

A second interesting work was 4 life-size headless statues of African American museum guards.  And standing next to it talking were two guards for the Whitney talking.  Life imitating art or art imitating life- one or the other.

No new books from the library.  I checked out a book called Sunset Park by a New York writer named Paul Auster last week. He lives in Brooklyn, and writes about New York.  I heard him read at Selected Shorts- a story about a young man who graduated from Columbia, had no job, and lived in Central Park for 4 months.  It made me want to read more. Sort of like reading Garrison Keiller in MN (aside- that has been a great joy- to be able to stream MPR-  I don't care for the public radio stations here).

June 8-Day 25

My day was uneventful, but at night we went to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert.  Mary Ellen, one of our friends from the Yankees game got the tickets for us.  I loved the show.  The costumes were amazing.  The songs were mainly from the 60's and 70's.  Oh, my youth.  The most amazing things was the bus.  I has and skin of LED lights on it so that they can change its color and show designs and pictures on it, just like on a television.  It provides and amazing backdrop for the adventure.  I loved it.


Sally's Day

I had a morning that I am sure will be my 5 best experiences in New York.  I went to hear Pinchus Zuckerman play with and direct the New York Philharmonic (I had gone on line to get tickets for both Al and I, and the dear man suggested that rather both of us going, that I get 1 really good ticket for myself. And I did- 4th row center. I could actually see him smile when he played).
Zuckerman played a Bach concerto, and a Mozart concerto.  He directed a short Stravinsky piece and Mozart's Symphony 39. I think it is very hard to describe music with words.  An interesting thing about Symph. 39- Mozart never heard it performed- which seems sad to me.

In the afternoon,  I saw a movie called "We Have a Pope."  The premise is that the pope has died, the cardinals must elect a new pope, and the guy they elect doesn't want the job. The elected pope escapes the Vatican, and spends several days wandering around Rome enjoying his anonymity, and thinking his life.  Entertaining, but not great.

And then in the evening- Priscilla.  So my day went from the sublime in the morning to the silly in the evening.  Wouldn't it be nice if every day had both sublime and silly parts?

June 9- Day 26

I started my day by volunteering for Achilles International  Several times a week they sponsor events in Central Park where sighted and abled people help people with vision problems or other disabilities run or walk around Central Park.  I helped a fellow who used a walker to get around.  He was a very interesting person and we had a good time.  I didn't really have to help him, but I guess I was there to keep him company and just in case something happened.  In an hour and a half we only went 4 blocks, but he really worked to so that. 

After that, I went on another walk.  I walked around the Jacki Onassis Kennedy reservoir to the West Side.  Had lunch and walked back home.  Probably about 5 miles total.  I am really enjoying walking.  But, I was exhausted when I got home. 

Tonight we went to a Shakespeare In the Park event, but no the one that you may have heard about.  There is another organization that does Shakespeare in Central Park called New York Classical Theatre.  They perform their plays in the open fields and spaces of the park.  For every scene change, you have to move with them to a new part of the park.  Also, because it is in open parts of the park, their stage can be quite expansive.  When they say that somebody is coming, you can see them half a block away.  Your really see what would normally be off stage activity.  The acting was first class.  If you come to New York and have a chance to see them, I recommend them.  You can check their website.

We are waiting for the play.

Moving between scenes

The cast taking a bow.


Sally's Day
(Warning- my writing will be about the Quilt Guild I attended.)
I went to the Empire Quilters Guild meeting today. Their meeting lasts most of the day. I arrived about 12:45- but others had been there for at least an hour before me, eating lunch and chatting. Some members had tables selling fabric from their stashes.  I bought a yard of fabric a woman had purchased in Kenya some years ago. I think it will make a good center for a Gwen Marsten liberated medallion quilt. And some small batik pieces to go with the free batiks I got at the Modern Quilters meeting the week before.
It is a huge guild- several hundred members. There appeared to be about 100 people there.

They seem to have a paid speaker each month (they meet Sept-June). The speaker talked about fabric selection- using patterns she had designed, and a tool she created to make circles.  Her name is Linda Warren and here is one of her quilts.

There was show and tell.  I showed a quilt I had brought from MN to bind (still unbound when I showed it).  I was surprised that there were maybe only about 12-15 people who showed quilts with such a large membership.

I also won a raffle prize- more fabric and a spool of thread.  Useful since I did not bring enough with me from MN.

I will go back in Sept- people were friendly and they have some good speakers lined up.

The Shakespeare performance was very good- tonight we will go to the famous Shakespeare in the Park- Al kindly waited in line 3 1/2 hours for tickets this morning. 

June 10, 2012- Day 27

Today we went to church at the Riverside Church.  This is a large and old church by Columbia University.  The service was about 2 and half hours long, representing the American Baptist side of the church.  It is also affiliated with the United Church of Christ.  It was and impressive church.

The General Grant National Monument is across the street, so we went to see that.  It is the largest Mausoleum in North American and the only national monument with a tomb in it.  Of course, the age old question is who is buried in Grants Tomb.  The answer is of course Grant and his wife.

We asked why it was the General Grant and not the President Grant National Monument.  The park ranger didn't know other than that was the name the Congress adopted in 1958 when they authorized the National Monument.  Anybody know the answer?

General Grant National Monument

General Grant on the left and his wife on the right.

After that we walked down Riverside Park a ways.  This is just one of the hundreds of green spaces that New York City has.  You are never very far from a park. 

We then walked home most of the way.  We stopped to see Moonrise Kingdom on the way home.  It is an entertaining movie and we recommend it.


Sally's comments-
When we were walking from the subway to the church, I overheard a woman walking with her daughter say that Riverside is "very famous and very liberal." The church has a history of great preachers- William Sloane Coffin being probably the best known. They are in the process of seeking a new preacher, and have a interim at this time.  Probably the most integrated church I have attended. It appeared that the congregation was about 50/50 white/African American. Two of the ministers were white, 2 African American.  Excellent choir.

Riverside Park extends from about 125th Street to Battery Park at the south end of Manhattan. 
June 11, 2012- Day 28 (four weeks!)

This morning I went over to Central Park to get in line for tickets for Shakespeare in the Park.  I got there at 8:45 AM and there were only about 120 people ahead of me.  They start giving out tickets at 1 PM, but you need to get in line early.  Some people get there as early as 6 AM when the park opens.  That wasn't necessary today.  Maybe on weekends.

Sally's comments-
I will comment on today after I have finished living the day.