Here it is the end of May, and I haven't blogged since my smash hit success in the off-Broadway musical comedy. Obviously, I've been busy.
We enjoyed our time in New York City, doing the things we normally do in this magnificent city. We met up with a few family members, and I went to a dinner theatre production with my cousin, not too far from where I grew up in Westchester County. It's always fun to see family members, especially when it happens only every several years. Richard and I also met up with my nephews, who have reached the beginning of middle age. This is when you know that we've hit OLD! Okay, okay, we're not getting older, we're getting better. Silver sneakers, golden seniors, all that stuff. No matter how nicely one says it, we're the older generation and it feels weird.
So when I met up with friends in Bryant Park, between 40th and 42nd on 6th in Manhattan, we rode the carousel. Oh, sorry, in Bryant Park it's spelled "carrousel." I think because it's Le Carrousel, so I think that must be the French spelling. (It also makes me want to use words like "methinks.")
I've ridden the bunny, but this year we three women of a wonderful age rode the horses. Two of us have shin bruises from our frisky horses, but we all had a wonderful time! One waved to her husband, who took some photos; I waved to random people, who got into the swing of things and waved back. It was great. And this is a lovely old carousel, with a kitten as well as a bunny, and of course all the gallant steeds who bound up and down and gallop away.
We also visited the New York Public Library, which is on 5th Avenue, and seems to be part of Bryant Park. This is a gorgeous huge structure opened in 1911, with an entrance protected by two massive stone lions. The lions actually are named Patience and Fortitude, I learned from one of my friends. And yes, this Patience is a male lion, as is Fortitude, despite the fact that Patience was a name for females in the Puritan era. But these regal beasts guard the library without complaint, and are one of my favorite spots to visit when we get to the city.
The Library hosts a number of exhibits each year featuring part of their collection of books and manuscripts, based on a variety of themes. We visited "Love in Venice," which looked at a variety of illustrations, books, letters, and other documents centered around romance and love (and lust) in Venice, Italy. My two favorite items: a letter from one of Lord Byron's mistresses who was complaining that he had found another mistress, that he insulted her and ignored her, and could he please come visit her soon; and a vaguely risqué pop-up book or two with illustrations of courtesans, where their dresses could be lifted to show their knickers underneath. (Renaissance salacious literature!)
Richard and I also met friends at Central Park, New York's back yard, the most visited urban park in the US. This park has nearly 850 acres, and contains some 20,000 trees which supposedly represent every species and type of tree in the US (or maybe it's in North America). There are several ponds, the best known being the boat pond. People rent remote-controlled sailboats and sail them around the pond, while others watch, or sit and chat, or just enjoy being outside in the fresh air.
I usually try to ride the carousel in Central Park, but we somehow missed that this year - it closes at 6 PM, and we got there just a few minutes late. The sun is still bright and shining at 6, so it didn't feel as late as it turned out to be. Ah well, I enjoyed the fence and the irises by the carousel. (Very van Gogh, those beds of irises spreading on forever.)
But my absolute favorite sight this year had to be the mosaic murals in the various subway stops. I have no idea how I didn't notice these random acts of art the last time we were in New York, murals are definitely something I notice! The Times Square walls feature a huge scene of New Year's Eve revellers, complete with hats, masks, and noisemakers. Then isolated vignettes of others celebrating the New Year continue along the tunnels leading to other lines, exits, entrances, and mysterious locations - just a series of celebrants bundled in their warm clothes but ready to party!
At the 42nd street subway station, also the Port Authority bus terminal, there were several related murals as well. The largest was "Losing My Marbles" by Lisa Dinhofer, and this was probably my absolute favorite! Imagine a black and white tiled floor, in a checkerboard pattern, with rolling glass marbles spinning around, all blown up maybe 100 times life size, surrounding you underground. That's what it feels like to encounter this beautiful mural. I'm not sure of the size, but it must be about six feet tall and a good 20-25 feet long. (That's about two meters by 6.5 to 8 meters long, or so.) It really was wonderful.
So tomorrow we catch our flight westward ho, to visit more family and friends, and I get a new knee in two weeks. A little scary, but it should be a vast improvement to be a partially bionic woman.
Especially since I haven't had any calls to audition for an ON-Broadway production.