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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.