New York City:
Sunday: Arrived via train late afternoon. Wendy and Hugh put us in a car and off we went to 353 20th street, between 8th & 9th Aves. Very nice accommodations – private patio/garden, small but well equipped kitchen, super nice bath and nice sized bedroom. Nice, modern and modish furnishings. Located on a tree lined street of brownstones. Keith and Andrew came over and we ordered very good pastrami & corn beef sandwiches from a local good deli and had dinner outside
Monday: Keith took us on a tour of his favorites in the Metropolitan Museum – fast through the Chinese, Japanese sections onto the new early American wing. Lots of excellent, mostly 19th century artists with whom we were not familiar. We were particularly impressed with the Illusionists, a later 1900’s group who emphasized the brilliance of light. Lunch at the garden room of the Met and then to some of our favorites: Valazquez, Goya, El Greco and the French impressionists. On the way out we found a small jewel, a featured exhibit by Julia Carter, one of the first famous women photographers who started her career when she was in her late 40’s in the mid1800s on the Isle of Wight with a camera given to her by her daughter and son-in-law as a way of entertaining herself. She developed a soft, sensuous style. Lord Tennyson lived nearby and she was able to photograph several literary artists. Fascinating. Dinner with Wendy, Hugh, Keith & Andrew at a very good East Indian restaurant. Ending the evening at one of the best shows we’ve seen anywhere – I SING FOR FREEDOM – a group of 7 mostly older (70’s&80’s) black women (2 from So. Africa, who call their group THOKOZA, at the Baruch Performing Arts Center – performed only on Monday nights and extremely affordable – It knocked us off our seats.
Tuesday: We wandered around our nice Chelsea neighborhood. Many small apt. buildings, some churches, and lots of restaurants and small stores on 9th and 8th Ave. We walked over to El Quijote Restaurant, in the old Chelsea Hotel, and had a long, enjoyable lunch of paella with our old friends, Warren & Suzanne Gran. More strolling, then resting, then off to dinner with cousin Peter Wolf at his upper west side apt. We enjoyed reminiscing stimulated by his newly published book, My New Orleans, Gone Away. Other old friends of Peter’s, Tony and Jackie, from Atlanta, joined us for dinner.
Wednesday: Peter and I walked the Highline. Most of you probably know that it is an old elevated railway track that runs along 10th Ave. in Chelsea that has been privately redeveloped into a walking park. Very interesting to view NY from a different perspective. Huge amount of new construction going on all along the park. We then met Keith and Andrew for a late lunch at Bottino’s resturant, next door to their apartment, for a delicious pasta luncheon. Keith went off to teach and Peter and I walked down the Chelsea Pier development, inquired about architectural tours offered from the bay – by boats. Proceeded down the piers to the golf entity where we enjoyed exploring the various offerings and then home for a quiet evening.
Thursday: Andrew had given Peter a week’s pass to health club at Chelsea Pier. Peter walked over, in the morning, and had a wonderful time taking a swim in the six lane olympic sized pool. This is a most posh, huge club overlooking the Hudson River, with the Statue of Liberty visible in the distance. We went up to cousin Mildred Dunn’s lovely apt., on Park Ave. and 69th St., and then to lunch at Cognac. a neighborhood French bistro. Lois had onion soup and a crab and avocado salad. Absolutely delicious. We then waddled around two neighborhood galleries, one with an outstanding collection of old James Rosenquist paintings. We proceeded on to Madison Ave. and enjoyed window shopping at the posh stores. We skipped dinner and went to see Kinky Boots, with Keith. What a knockout performance!! Another full and fun day.
Friday: Keith arranged for us to attend the mammoth NYC Comic Con(vention) at the Javits Center. There must have been at least 5000 people inside and another few thousand waiting to enter. A wonderful people watching place, as many were in costumes, reflecting their favorite comic characters; however, the noise level and the press of many people was fatiguing. Lunch was at a (thank heaven a quiet place) nearby sandwich place. Following lunch, Keith guided us through several of the most prestigious art galleries in NY. Some of the shows were exciting, some were too minialmist, Richard Pettibon was a throw back to the past.. The show we most enjoyed was that of a former student of Keith’s whose bright colors and images were charming to our eyes. After a few hours, both Peter and I were “galleryed out”, so home for a few hours. Tonight we’re going to one of Keith’s and andrew’s favorite Italian restaurants.