New York in the Spring

February 27, 2017 at 7:58 pm (Uncategorized)

When I was walking the dog  yesterday morning, it was snowing. Not hard, but hard enough. It was hard to believe that a week earlier, I’d been strolling down 5th avenue in New York wearing sunglasses, and without a coat. What a difference a week makes. My wife and I went to New York for the Family Day weekend, and in honour of that holiday, we didn’t take the rest of the family with us. First vacation we’ve had without the kids since we were without kids.

Arrived at Newark Friday afternoon, and after what seemed like the slowest moving line for customs in history, (it wasn’t) we got through without incident (we weren’t asked a single question – are we that boring?). A quick bust ride into the city, a long walk down Broadway, and we got to our hotel in Soho. Usually when I stay in Manhattan, it’s in midtown, but this time we booked a place in Soho. The hotel featured a European style court-yard in the middle of the building. I know, if I wanted European features, I probably ought to go to Europe, but it was a calming oasis (I know, I know) against the assault of New York. (Great breakfast too)

We’d made dinner reservations at a restaurant at a restaurant on the lower east side called Dirt Candy for seven so we had a little time to unwind before heading out. Dirt Candy is a vegetarian restaurant (geddit?) run by Amanda Cohen. Not cheap, but the food was really excellent. My wife bought a tote bag.

Saturday morning. we walked over to the east side to see the Joe Strummer mural. nice enough, but it felt vaguely disappointing,. Smaller than I expected I guess. On the way, we passed a mural in tribute to the late MCA of the Beastie Boys. From there we walked down to the Bowery to see the New Museum a four-story art gallery nestled up against the Bowery Mission. We wanted to see the exhibition by Raymond Pettibon. Pettibon is the brother of Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn, and used to make a lot of their gig fliers for them. The show was a shot through America’s underground, of the sixties through today; a dark side of America’s disturbing underbelly. I was filled with memories of early sonic Youth, American hardcore, and strangely enough Forced Exposure magazine. While the show was an incredible collection of material, it was overwhelming. Three floors of material, and given Pettibon often has text accompanying the picture, art fatigue sets in quickly. I wished we had two days to absorb it. Still, it’s well worth seeing. The show runs through April 9, 2017.

Saturday night we went to see a contemporary adaptation of Chekhov’s play The Present. The play was one of Chekhov’s earliest, but wasn’t performed until after his death. The current production, which starred the simply amazing Cate Blanchet, moved the setting to Glasnost-era Russia, but otherwise seemed to be faithful to the original story. And to Chekhov’s alleged dictum: If you have a gun in the first act… At three hours, there were moments where the play dragged, and the second half was not as engaging as the first, but the performances, especially that of Blanchet, were amazing.

Sunday the weather was supposed to be optimum for walking, so we did. Through the village to west street, then up to the Whitney and the High Line. I’ve walked the High line before, but never the entire way. I was hoping to pick up a New York Times t-shirt at their building, since I’ve read from a very reputable source that the paper is failing (Sad!), so I thought I’d better get one now, but even though we found the building, there appeared to be nothing for sale (maybe another place). Another long walk down Broadway, and dinner at a little Mexican place.

Monday morning, and our flight was at 1:10. We’d already decided we’d try to get to the airport early and see if we could catch an earlier flight, but we ended up leaving even before. There’s nothing really to do on a travel day. As luck would have it we were booked onto a 10:00 flight meaning we would likely be home before our actually scheduled flight left. As it turned out, that was a bit of an understatement. A friend of a colleague of my wife’s was on that 1:10 flight. It was cancelled due to fog, and she didn’t leave until the next morning.

I’ve been to New York at least twenty times over the past three decades, and I still feel as if I’m only scratching the surface. To be continued. To be sure.

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