10 April 2007

Postcard from springtime New York

Dog with goggles on bike: mid-town Manhattan!

Dear Colleagues and friends,
Why do we visit New York each year?
Well, it may come down to the faces in the street. The diversity must be greater here then almost anywhere else in the world. Young, old, male, female (and in-between), elegant, motley, self-conscious, devoted, staunch, outrageous and conservative are just some appropriate adjectives. Sadly, while they live cheek by jowl, the difference in condition between privileged and poor is also very great.
The other major reason is that we have been lucky enough to work out a way of doing the trip economically, mixing business and pleasure, staying in a shared apartment and avoiding costly restaurants and hotels in the process.
The wide choice of fresh produce and its conspicuous consumption are also attractions � especially at the price, often surprisingly modest. Within a day of our arrival we were being educated about a delectable Scottish gin called �Hendricks�, dried giant nectarines, albino raspberries, frijoles negros (black beans), �aged� Basmati rice and pinot grigio Dolomiti. Our favourite eatery is a Bangladeshi restaurant called Bengal Express.
Dog with goggles on bike: mid-town Manhattan!
Dog with goggles on bike:
mid-town Manhattan!

We have also learned that New York spring weather is fickle indeed. We usually experience the first heat-wave of the season, while there is usually also a snow-storm. We have seen flurries on four separate occasions this visit. Over the years, I have now seen snow both inside and outside the theater for three operas in the city: Fanciulla del West, Boheme and Donna del Lago, the latter this visit.
Since the opera is indeed our devotion, this is a must at least twice per week. We have seen the Pirates of Penzance, Donna del Lago, Villazon & Netrebko Gala, La Traviata, Turandot and Andrea Chenier on the Saturday matinee broadcast. We have also seen a play on Broadway. �Some Men� is a very cleverly written and directed Terrance McNally play. Another McNally play with Angela Lansbury (�Deuce�) is �in preview� (yet another American oxymoron). Just too many things available.
Central Park has changed since we arrived with some buds on the cherry blossoms waiting for the first hint of warm weather (might be today). The daffodils, crocus, forsythia and magnolias are in full bloom. Willows are turning green but other trees are still bare with a continued wintry feel in the air.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has its usual wonderful permanent collection and finally, after over a decade of renovations, the Greek and Roman galleries have reopened this month. Special exhibitions also include �Barcelona and modernity: Gaudi to Dali�; Louis Comfort Tiffany and Laurelton Hall (glass, art and architecture); Burton�s photographs and movies of Tutankhamon�s tomb, taken for the Museum in 1922 to 1924.
There were so many photographs I could have sent. No cherry blossom photos this year. Above is the kind of �unlikely� thing that one sees so often here.