life in and around NYC is insane

Friday, March 31, 2017

An Affair To Remember

So I was recovering from my dental woes and hibernating at Drew's house, And I was flipping though channels, not knowing what I wanted to watch, when I came across an old movie that I'd never seen.

An Affair To Remember, starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr  (and an uncredited Marni Nixon as Kerr's singing voice).

I'd always wanted to see it.  So I found myself swept up in the shipboard romance of a playboy and a nightclub singer.  And how they agree to meet at the top of the Empire State Building,  How tragedy strikes but how love conquers all.

What a wonderful, passionate, beautiful movie.

Thursday, March 30, 2017


Drew is definitely going to Philadelphia to see the specialist.  He will need to stay for four days as he undergoes medical testing.   His doctor here on Long Island told him, "You'll probably have to wait a month or so to get an appointment."

Drew is a Social Studies teacher and a fan of American history.  A few weeks ago, he was solicited to become a founding member of a new museum, a museum devoted to the American Revolution, located in Philadelphia.

About a week ago, the museum sent out invitations to an open house, limited to the founding members of the museum.  Members were invited to view the museum exhibits on April 15, prior to the museum opening to the general public.

Drew asked me if I was interested in going.  The plan was to drive to Philadelphia early in the morning, view the museum, then return home to Long Island that same night.  A lot of driving, of course, but we could do it.

And then he added, "And we can check out Tempke University Hospital while we're there, so that when I get the appointment with the specialist, I'll know where we are going."

Sounds like a plan.

Plans change.

Drew's appointment has been scheduled.

He will be seeing the specialist on April 17.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Birthday, part 2

So, does your family have a special birthday tradition?

Mine does.

The birthday celebrant is not supposed to know we got a birthday cake.  It's supposed to be a surprise.  Of course, the celebrant knows there's cake, and plays along. We turn out the lights and bring in the cake, with candles already lit, and sing the ever-popular "Happy Birthday."  The celebrant blows out the candles, and we turn on the lights.

Then we take the candles off the cake and pass them around, one candle to each person in the room.  We re-light the candles, and turn out the lights.  We sing another birthday song:

Happy birthday, happy birthday
Just for you.
Happy birthday and may all your dreams come true,
As we blow out the candles, 
One light stands aglow.
It's the sunshine of your smile where'ere you go.

While we are singing, each person blows out his or her candle, leaving only the celebrant holding a lit candle.  the celebrant waits until the song is over to blow out his or her candle.

When we were kids, my sisters and I always assumed that the song was written by my dad and his sisters, that it was unique to our family.

What a surprise to learn that the tune was actually Franz Lehar's "Merry Widow Waltz".

But still, we thought the words were unique to our family.

Until Jen and Becca were in elementary school, and I took them to a birthday party.

And heard this:

The lyrics are slightly different, but yeah, that's Tom Chapin singing  "our" song.  I've heard two additional versions, one by Barney the Dinosaur, and one by and Sharon, Lois and Bram.

So I did a little more digging, and found out that Chapin had a copyright on the song.  Or rather, his arrangement of the song.  Dating from 1989, long after I learned the song.

And I found sheet music.

It says the lyrics are in the public domain.

And then I found this.

An old time radio show, Big John and Sparkie, that aired in the 1950's.  Our song, with our lyrics.

I couldn't find a preserved broadcast of the show.  the best I could do was this:

My sisters are still convinced that our relatives wrote the lyrics, and that the song -- like most folk songs -- circulated for several years before someone decided to record it.

I guess we will never know for sure.

But we will continue to enjoy our "unique" tradition,

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


So it was my sister H's  birthday, and we celebrated with a family brunch.

The birthday cake came from Reinwalds, of course.  Reinwalds is a German bakery in Huntington, and every birthday in my family is celebrated with a Reinwalds cake.  In this case, cappuccino mousse cake.

But my sister F asked me to get some cookies from Dortoni, an Italian bakery in Levittown.  "Get some rainbow cookies, some lace cookies, some black and whites, and some mini cannoli," she told me.  "And some decorated cookies, with a spring theme, like flowers."

So I got flowers. And butterflies. And smilie faces.  And bunnies.

And at the last minute, I saw a cookie decorated to look like a cupcake.

And I remembered a story about my sister H, one I hadn't thought about in years.

When H and I were very little, my parents liked to host family parties, with all the aunts and uncles and cousins.  They hosted a party for H's third birthday.  When it was time to sing 'Happy Birthday", my mother handed out a cupcake with a candle in it to everyone celebrating a March birthday -- except my sister H.

H started to cry.  It was her birthday and she didn't get a cupcake!

Then my parents brought in the birthday cake, the one that had her name on it ....

So yes, I bought the "cupcake cookie."

Well, F and I must have been on the same wavelength.  When it was time to sing "Happy Birthday", instead of bringing out the chocolate mousse cake, she brought H a cupcake with a candle in it ...

Monday, March 27, 2017


Sunday afternoon ...Matt Harvey on the mound ...the crowd chanting "Let's Go Mets!" All's  right with the world.

Yes, I am a baseball fan.  How did you ever guess?  ;-)

I'm not sure when we will make the annual pilgrimage to Citi Field.  We try to go at least once a year.  Tickets are so expensive, though, not to mention the parking fee...

Drew has purchased our Long Island Ducks tickets, though.  For the price of a movie you get to see an Atlantic League game.  We see 7 games every season -- there are 8 teams in the league, and we make sure to see the Ducks play each team.  We like to get the most out of our tickets, so we choose games that either include a fireworks show or a promotional giveaway.

Buddy Harrelson, one of the heroes of the 1969 Mets, is a part-owner of the Ducks, and also serves as their first base coach.  It's good to see him out there, on the field.

Sadly, Jen and Becca are Yankees fans ...we tried to raise them right, we really did.  But they succumbed to peer pressure...

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Dental work ... ugh again

So I have progressed from "liquid diet" to "mushy foods".
The best part has been the "guilt free" vanilla ice cream.  The cold is soothing, the vanilla has healing quality, and the dentist assures me there are no calories in ice cream when used for medicinal purposes.
I'm actually looking forward to my dental appointment Thursday, I hope he will tell me I am sufficiently healed to resume a near-normal diet.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Beauty and the Beast -- possible spoilers

Tale as old as time
True as it can be
Barely even friends
Then somebody bends

Jen was born in 1990, Becca in 1992.  That was right in the middle of the Disney renaissance, an age of fairy tales with music by genuine Broadway composers and lyricists,   Films like The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Aladdin...

And, of course, Beauty and the Beast.  Music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman, it was the first animated movie to be nominated for a "best picture" Oscar.  

My kids practically wore out the VHS tape.  

Well, I did raise Disney princesses, after all.

Later, Beauty and the Beast became the first Disney movie to be adapted for the Broadway stage. Since Ashman had died of AIDS, Menken partnered with Tim Rice to write additional songs for Broadway.

It was the first Broadway show my daughters saw.  Becca was 4 years old at the time, and the scene with the wolves was so intense that Becca dove under her chair...

So of course we had to see the new live action movie, with Emma Watson as Belle.  It's a beautiful retelling.  A few new characters, a few changes to the twists and turns of the plot.  All the Menken-Ashman songs are included, and Menken and Rice wrote three songs just for the new movie.

the original is still the best, of course.  but I did enjoy this new version.  

Here's a snippet:

Friday, March 24, 2017

More Jones Beach

Ah, digital photography.  Take as many photos as you can, examine them immediately, delete the ones you don't like.  You don't even need a camera, just use the one in your phone.

And thus, we have all become photojournalists, documenting all aspects of our lives.

I went back to Jones Beach for another walk.  And once again, I played with my iPad.

Surf was a bit wild this time.

But the birds seemed to enjoy it.

Did the entire 4 miles again.  More ships out on the ocean, more low-flying planes, and lots of birds.

Admiring the architecture -- the original park buildings date back to 1929.  This is the Water Tower:

And the West Bathhouse.

This shack is where they rent beach chairs and umbrellas.  The second one, in the distance, is for life guards.

Notice the nautical theme.  And here's a trash can....

The idea was to make the boardwalk feel like the deck of a ship.

More birds.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

dental work...ugh

So this time it involved a periodontist and a laser.

And a liquid diet for  four days, followed by a soft diet for another four days.

Not fun.

But you do what you have to do, right?

And I got "yelled at" by my charming daughter.

Seems Jen went to the dentist yesterday for a routine appointment, and the hygienist who cleaned her teeth told her that "gum disease is hereditary, so you have to be very careful about brushing and flossing."

Sound advice, of course.

But she's not happy about the genetics...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Another this and that

Becca and her boyfriend, a/k/a the Princess and the superhero, had a great time in Jamaica.  She posted lots of photos on Facebook.   They spent a lot of time sitting on the beach.

Did I mention that we refer to Jen's boyfriend as "Bar Boy"?  It's because of how and where they met.   He's got a full time job at a hospital, and he's going to school to become a nurse.  But every summer he takes a job in a bar on Fire Island, working weekends to earn a bit of extra cash.  Jen and a group of her girlfriends were in the bar one night...and the rest is history.

For those of you not from New York, Fire Island is a barrier beach along Long Island's south shore.  Robert Moses State Park occupies the west end of the island, Smith Point County Park is at the east end, and the middle is taken up by a number of summer communities -- Ocean Beach, Cherry Grove, Kismet, Fire Island Pines -- that are accessible only by ferry.

When I was in college, I spent two summers as a parks department employee, assigned to Robert Moses.  Lots of people used to park at Robert Moses Field 5 and walk down the beach to Kismet, ths avoiding the cost of the ferry ride.  I suppose they still do.

I was thinking about that time when I drove home from Jones Beach the other day.  When you leave Jones Beach and drive east on Ocean Parkway, eventually you connect with the Robert Moses Causeway, the road that give you access to Robert Moses State Park.    I spent a lot of time driving over that causeway....

That's how everything started, you know.  Drew spent many summers workng at Jones Beach, and his sister worked at Robert Moses.  A casual summer job led to the relationship that has defined my life.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

New hat

I don't uually do a lot of selfies, but I wanted to show off the new hat.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A bit about Long Island

An article that explains a lot about Long Island attitudes:

21 Things That...

My favorite quote:

Talking S*** About Billy Joel
Everyone on Long Island has “that one time I met Billy Joel story.” Billy Joel made a career out of writing music that makes direct references to places on Long Island and our unique lifestyle. Most stars who grow up on the Island end up leaving and moving to wherever famous people go when they skip their hometown (cough, Howard Stern, cough), but not our Billy.

Jones Beach health walk

Guess where I was?

Better shot:  

 photo 28906fa2-e920-47a2-883c-68e3b264a287.png

Yes, that's an aerial view of the famed Jones Beach,  I had my iPad with me, and my "Find My iPhone" app is set to "satellite view".  That blue dot at the  right side of the screen was my iPad, at Field 6, the easternmost parking lot in the park.  If you look towards the left side of the screen, you will see a parking lot just before the tip of the island.  That's Field 1, the westernmost lot in the park.  The boardwalk runs from Field 6 all the way to Field 1, a distance of two miles.

I know it's two miles, because The Powers That Be have marked out a health walk along the boardwalk.

You walk from Field 6, past the East Bathhouse, Central Mall, and the West Bathhouse, where you see the one mile marker:

You continue walking until you get to Field 1, where you find this sign:

Then you turn around and walk back to Field 6.

I was reluctant to go, I was concerned about the recent snowfall.  I need not have been concerned, there wasn't much snow around.  But if you're curious, this is what snow looks like on beach sand.

On a cold winter day, you're likely to see things that you might not notice during the summer -- birds (gulls, terns, geese, pigeons), ships off the coast (headed towards New York Harbor), airplanes (the beach is on the flight path to JFK).

Found a few scofflaws:

I guess gulls don't know how to read.  But they do keep watch.

The sea has penetrated into the dunes.

The view of the famed Jones Beach Water Tower from field 1, about a mile and ahalf away.

Great walk.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Political advocacy

so awhile back, I joined a political advocacy group.  We do many things -- write letters to newspapers, hold rallies, volunteer with other organizations, petition government officials.

We are lucky to live in a Congressional District represented by a Democrat, a guy who believes in political advocacy and works with our organization.

Yesterday I went to the Congressman's Town Hall.  He urged us to write those letters!

So I urge you all to do it, too.

Our voices must be heard.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Fake news

Fake news and celebrity  death hoaxes are not a child of the internet. There is one I blogged about several years ago, which I am reposting today.

I wish Ringo Starr a long and happy life

but does anyone else here get the irony if Paul winds up being the last surviving Beatle?

remember the "Paul is Dead" hoax?

I remember finding out about it when I was about 10, we went to visit my parents' friends, and their son -- who was a few years older than me -- showed me a newspaper article detailing all of the "clues" that supposedly proved Paul died in 1966.  The rumor  started in 1969, some 3 years after the "death", and quickly spread.

 The clues included how Paul was portrayed on the cover of the Abbey Road album, and that John allegedly said "I buried Paul" at the end of the song "Strawberry Fields" (he actually said "cranberry sauce").  there are references to an auto accident in "A Day in the Life" that supposedly describe Paul's death as well.

He looked really animated for a man whose been dead  over 40 years when I saw him at Citi Field last July.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Music for St. Patrick's Day

I love The Irish Rovers:

Thursday, March 16, 2017

an anniversary

Two years ago today, I made a commitment to myself to lose weight and keep it off.

I never had a weight problem as a child.  I gained weight in my teen years, and I've been overweight/obese my entire adult life.

I've tried several times to lose weight, with some success.  But I was never able to stick with a weight loss plan long enough to reach my goal weight, so of course I'd gain it all back, and then some.

But two years ago, I re-joined Weight Watchers, and I started to exercise again.

I downloaded apps to my phone, I bought a Fitbit.

Later I joined a gym.

There have been some ups and downs, of course.  I quit Weight Watchers when they changed their program, and I do miss the weekly meetings sometimes.

I have had weeks -- mostly during vacations and holidays -- where I stopped following program, stopped exercising.  Gained back a few pounds each time.  But I persevered, got back into the program, got myself back on track.

The weight isn't coming off as fast as I'd like.  I've lost a total of 67 pounds  --45 pounds from March 2015 until March 2016, and the rest since March 2016.

But I am feeling good, I am feeling energetic.

I want to lose at least another 40 pounds, maybe more.  If it takes two years to do that, well, so be it.

I can do this.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Beware the Ides of March

Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
Cry "Caesar!" Speak, Caesar is turn'd to hear.
Beware the ides of March.
What man is that?
A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2, 15–19

Caesar's hubris and overreaching ambition led to a revolt in the Senate, and his government was overthrown.

A lesson for modern times?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Kong:Skull Island

You may recall that when Drew and I visited Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure in November, we made sure to ride the new King Kong ride.  Yes, they were so confident that Kong: Skull Island would be a box office hit that they built and opened the ride long before the movie was released.

They were right.  The new King Kong movie opened this past weekend, and was #1 at the box office.

Drew and I saw the movie Saturday afternoon.

The movie is set in 1973. The premise, this time around, is that Skull Island is uncharted  territory because it is constantly surrounded by nearly impenetrable storms.  A semi-crazy scientist has seen satellite photos of the island, and wants to lead an expedition to the island.  He travels to Saigon to build his team -- soldiers who were about to be sent home because the war is over, a photojournalist and an experienced "tracker".    When they arrive on the island, the encounter Kong  -- a 100 foot tall ape with near-human intelligence.   the team must travel across the island to a rendezvous point in three days, or they will be stranded on the island forever.

It's formulaic, you pretty much know who will die and who will survive, but it's well-written.  The visual effects (we saw it in IMAX 3D) are incredible.  I loved the 1973 soundtrack -- very good use of CCR's "Run Through the Jungle".

And do make sure to stay in your seat until after the credits roll -- there's a bonus scene.

Yes, a fun movie, worth seeing.

Monday, March 13, 2017

more this and that

Yesterday was the Jewish holiday of Purim, a minor holiday commemorating the Biblical Queen Esther's victory over the evil Haman, thus saving the lives of the Jews of Persia.  It's sort of like a Jewish Halloween, or maybe it's closer to Mardi Gras/Carnival -- dressing up in costume, feasting, pageantry, etc.  Its a minor holiday, but it is a reminder to us to start preparing for a major holiday -- Passover -- and all that spring cleaning that needs to be done before the holiday.

Today is also the holiday of Holi,celebrated in India, which is a spring festival, or so I am told.  One of the women in my political action group has been posting about her family's plans for the holiday.  It sounds interesting.

A little bit of irony, the idea that spring is coming, given that we are under a blizzard watch tonight and tomorrow.   Seriously,one week before the vernal equinox and we are expecting more snow than we've seen all winter.  forecast around here calls for 12" to 18".  I'm planning to hunker down at Drew's house.

I am hoping that Becca will be OK.  The Princess and the Superhero are planning to fly to Jamaica the day after tomorrow, to spend five days sitting on a tropical beach...assuming JFK is up and running after the storm.

Last night I drove both of them back to their respective apartments in Manhattan.  Becca lives in Hell's Kitchen, on West 43rd.  The boyfriend lives in Murray Hill, Lexington and 34th Street, right near the Midtown Tunnel.  Very convenient.

Lots of construction around the Midtown Tunnel last night -- they're eliminating toll booths, going to a cashless toll system, so there are serious traffic tie-ups.  After I dropped Becca off, I decided to take  the 59th Street Bridge home.  It's been a long time since I've taken that bridge, I forgot how beautiful the skyline looks from that perspective.

Yeah, NYC. Lots to do there.  Four zoos, an aquarium, countless museums and historical sites, Broadway, baseball.... Not a bad place to spend time during our staycation.

If summer ever gets here, that is.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Another this and that

So my friend L, the one who has been dealing with serious complications of diabetes, had her surgery.  She's in a rehab facility now, and making great progress towards recovery.  More importantly, her mental state has improved.  Having survived the worst of it, she's now mentally able to look to a future.  I'll try to go see her soon.

Some sad news from Jen.  Or rather, from Jen's college roommate, S.  S lost her father, he died unexpectedly at the beginning of the month.  Jen drove up to Connecticut on Thursday to spend a few days with S.  I can imagine the pain S is feeling now, to lose a parent at 26 must be terribly hard.

Last night's episode of  Grimm made me cry.  It dealt with dementia in the elderly.  Having dealt with my late father's dementia, and now seeing it claim my mother ... it hit close to home.

Drew and I are probably not going to take a vacation this year.  Too many unexpected expenses.  My dental work is costing a fortune, dental insurance pays only a portion.  Drew may have to go to Philadelphia to see a specialist that his doctor recommended, and we don't know how much of that will be covered by his health insurance.  So a "staycation" is in our future this year, though I will probably go to Philly with him, and of course we'd do a little's been years since either of us went to Philly.

So the other night, just before midnight, Becca sent me a text message.  "I preordered the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack, and it just downloaded.  Guess who's not sleeping tonight?"  Yes, I raised a real Disney Princess, didn't I?

In fact, that's what she calls herself in her Twitter profile.

Even funnier, her boyfriend doesn't use his real name on Facebook -- in his profile, he uses a superhero's alter ego.

A Princess and a superhero.  Quite a pair those two are.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

From chipmunk to prize fighter

Apparently some bruising along the jawline can happen after dental work.

Concealer helped, a little.

But I still look like I took a punch in the face.

My sister suggested I tell everyone "You should see the other guy."


Roast Sandwich House

Roast Sandwich House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I'm always on the lookout for a place to grab lunch in Melville.  A coworker suggested this place.  and I am glad he did.

It's a small place, with an even smaller parking lot.  Inside there are a handful of tables, bt most people order their items "to go".

The menu -- a variety of soups, salads and sandwiches -- is somewhat limited, but everything is prepared fresh.  They roast their own meats -- hence the name of the shop.

Their barbecue chicken salad was simple the best I've had on the 110 corridor.  I won't hesitate to come back -- assuming I can find a place to park.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

heightened security

How do you balance accessibility with security?  When you want to create a warm, welcoming community, but need to ensure that your community remains safe from those who would harm it?

When my kids and I first joined the Y/JCC, years ago, each of us had to get a picture taken, which was affixed to a membership card.   The fitness center at the Y is "members only", you have to present your membership card at the fitness center to gain admission.  But the rest of the building?  I think I may have had to flash my membership card at the receptionist as I walked into the building, but only if she remembered to ask me for my card.

Now, when I go to the JCC, I must present my membership card to the uniformed security guard sitting next to the receptionist. Non members must show ID and sign in.

It only makes sense.   The JCC houses a nursery school/daycare, a Jewish day school, all sorts of senior citizen programming, after school programs...

Several years ago, when our synagogue was vandalized, we had extensive discussions of how to make our building feel safe without turning it into an armed camp.  We decided on burglar alarms, surveillance cameras, and a buzzer system -- on weekdays, when the building is primarily used for nursery school and Hebrew school,  you must ring the doorbell and  be buzzed into the building.  On weekends,when we have a lot of programs going on,  the doors are open, and people are free to come and go.

And when I was there on Sunday, I found out we've added another level of security.

There was a gentleman in a suit sitting in the lobby, unobtrusively watching everyone who came into the building.  I recognized him as one of the security guards we hire during the High Holy Days, when the building is full to overflowing.

I hate feeling so vulnerable.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Just call me chipmunk girl

As part of my "it sucks getting older" and "I need to take better care of myself" story...

I am in the middle of some serious dental work, involving an oral surgeon and a periodontist.  I had a procedure yesterday, and my whole face puffed up.  Seriously, I could audition for Chip, or Dale, or one of Alvin's friends.

Oxycodone and amoxicillin  are my new best friends.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Logan (spoilers)

So, enough with the serious movies.  We just saw Logan.

Usually with a movie based on Marvel comics, the audience needs to wait until the final credits roll to get an "Easter egg", a bonus scene.  Not so with Logan, you get the "Easter egg" right up front  -- it features a Deadpool character, and includes the ubiquitous Stan Lee cameo. Very funny, and very different from the tone of the movie.

Despite the comic book origins, some of the X-Men movies can have a dark, serious tone.  Set in the year 2029, Logan takes place in a world where most mutants have inexplicably died off.  An aging Wolverine, a/k/a Logan, works as a limo driver in El Paso, Texas.     He drives across the border to Mexico, to an abandoned water station, where he and another mutant are taking care of nonagenarian Charles Xavier.  When a mutant girl named Laura is unexpectedly dropped in their laps, they must take her to safe haven in Canada.

This is the first X-Men movie to be rated "R", primarily for language and violence, though there is one brief scene of nudity early in the movie.  (It's worth the price of admission just to hear Patrick Stewart lay down a few "f bombs".)  The focus of the movie is  the chase scenes and fight scenes, but the human element -- the relationships between Charles and Logan and Laura -- are real and moving.

The end of the movie is bittersweet:  the X-Men franchise is over.

Or is it?

Sunday, March 5, 2017

American Table

American Table Cafe and Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A cozy little spot in Lincoln Center, literally in the lobby of Alice Tully Hall.  It's a nice place to grab a drink, or a cup of tea, or a quick bite to eat.  Overpriced (understandable, given the location), but the food is decent.  We stopped here on our way to the ballet, it was very convenient.

I had the "warm ham biscuit".  Two flaky biscuits, ham and whole grain mustard, accompanied by greens in a vinaigrette.   I wasn't crazy about the salad, but the biscuits were tasty.

My friend ordered "roast beef and horseradish mayo", a substantial sandwich on a roll, with Swiss cheese and watercress, served with a side of potato chips.

This is certainly not a destination restaurant, but for a quick bite before a show...yes, I'd come back here.

Saturday, March 4, 2017


So, ballet tickets in hand, we walked into the lobby of the theater and found ....this:

Yes, that is a huge projection screen, runs from the first floor lobby all the way to the 4th ring.

The images even move.

I was totally fascinated.

Playbill identifies the artist as Santuu Mustonen.

From the article:

By combining abstract, handcrafted visual imagery with new technology, Mustonen makes visual art that literally moves. Taking advantage of the Koch Theater’s towering height and multiple vantage points, the centerpiece of his commission will feature a large-scale video installation created from a series of original, digitally altered paintings that the artist has produced especially for New York City Ballet.

The New York City Ballet

One of the joys of living on Long Island is its proximity to New York City, and the availability of so many cultural opportunities.

A friend of mine has a subscription to the NYC Ballet.She sees 8-10 performances every year, all from her seat in the second ring.  Occasionally I get to go with her.  I do not pretend to be an expert in the art of dance, but I really enjoy the performances.

Last week we saw an evening built around the music of Richard Rodgers.  Yes, that Richard Rodgers, who worked so famously with Oscar Hammerstein and also with Lorenz Hart.  As a "Broadway baby", I know so much of his music.

There were three dances presented that evening. I'd seen two of them before -- in 2002 the Ballet built its gala around Rodgers' music, and I was lucky enough to attend.  (That gala was an incredible evening, topped off by a surprise performance by Bernadette Peters!)  

The first dance was  Carousel (A Dance).  

From the website:

In 2002, New York City Ballet devoted its Opening Night performance to the music of Richard Rodgers, to honor the composer’s centennial. For his contribution to the program, Christopher Wheeldon used an arrangement of Rodgers’ “The Carousel Waltz” and “If I Loved You” from the 1945 musical Carousel; the ballet is a distillation of Carousel’s central romance, and it is evocative of the “dream ballets” found in many musicals of that era.

The costuming is kept simple, the men dressed in black, the women in basic dance dresses.

Photos are from the company's website -- you are not permitted to take photos inside the theater.

My favorite moment from the dance was when the male dancers became carousel ponies, lifting the female dancers to simulate riding a carousel.  

The second dance was Thou Swell.

From the website:

Four elegant couples dance the night away in an art deco ballroom in Peter Martins’ tribute to composer Richard Rodgers.  Created in honor of the 100th anniversary of Rodgers’ birth, Thou Swell was first performed as part of an All Rodgers gala performance that also included Christopher Wheeldon’s Carousel (A Dance), and Robert La Fosse’s Land of Nod.

So very different from the first dance.  There was a jazz trio (piano, drums, bass) on the stage, and two guest singers, as well as the dancers.

The final dance, the only one I had never seen, was Slaughter on Tenth Avenue.

From the website:

The original Slaughter on Tenth Avenue was created for the 1936 Rodgers and Hart musical On Your Toes, and featured Ray Bolger as "The Hoofer" and Tamara Geva as "The Stripper." The first full-scale ballet within a musical, and the first to advance the action of the show, it also introduced the word "choreography" to Broadway, at Balanchine's request. On Your Toes was also the first of four Rodgers and Hart musicals choreographed by Balanchine during the 1930s, the others being Babes in ArmsI Married an Angel, and The Boys from Syracuse.

A story-within-a-story, it tells the tale of a jealous premier danseur, who hires a thug to kill a rival during the premiere of a new ballet. The ballet — Slaughter on Tenth Avenue — concerns the seedy denizens who patronize a strip joint near the New York waterfront where brawls frequently occur. Within the context of this shabby setting, a Hoofer falls in love with a Stripper and is discovered with her after closing time by the club's owner, the Big Boss, who accidentally shoots her. The "corpse" of the Stripper manages to pass a note to the Hoofer warning him of the real murder plot, and once aware that the thug, who is sitting in one of the theater's boxes, is planning to shoot him when he stops dancing, the Hoofer keeps repeating his closing phrase until the police arrive.

I think this one was my favorite.  I guess it's because the dance has its roots on Broadway, and has that Broadway vibe.   A ballet that begins with performers delivering dialogue....

Yes, definitely an interesting evening of dance.  

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