Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The City

Just back from a great trip to New York City. It was only a few short days, but we managed to pack in a ton of things, so it feels like it was a week. Some highlights:
  • the Cloisters, an extension of the Metropolitan Museum showcasing medieval art and architecture, in a gorgeous setting on the north tip of Manhattan along the Hudson River. Large parts of European abbeys and cathedrals have been relocated here and neatly integrated into a Romanesque limestone home for gorgeous tapestries, carvings, and stained glass
  • the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, which vividly illustrates the 1890s Jewish immigrant experience in situ in an actual tenement building. (this was quite relevant to the experience of my own great-grandparents)
  • Mt. Zion Cemetery in Queens, where we discovered the gravestones for my great-grandparents and a great-aunt. It was really quite interesting to see the symbolism and Jewish traditions in the various headstones, for example, we realized that the headstones carved in the form of a tree trunk with chopped off limbs symbolized those (like my great-aunt Celia) who died young.
  • Avenue Q, the Tony-winning Broadway musical that someone aptly described as "Sesame Street on crack". Quite humorous.
  • Jesus Kid Brother, a workshop for a new musical play that should be winning Tony awards in the near future.
  • Greenwich Village, where we did a fascinating walking tour during the day that took in many interesting old streets, houses, and establishments entwined with historical characters such as Aaron Burr, Washington Irving, Edna St. Vincent Milay, Eugene O'Neill, and many more; and then hit a fun piano bar (Marie's Crisis) in the evening
  • stumbled onto a concert by the Wroclaw Philharmonic at St. Patrick's Cathedral, featuring a choral and symphonic work called "Missa Pro Pace" (Mass for Peace) by the Polish composer Wojciech Kilar, performed in memoriam John Paul II
  • nice walk thru Central Park, where the tulips, dogwoods, cherries and pears are blooming
  • window shopping down 5th Avenue, including FAO Schwarz and Bergdorf Goodman (just to make fun of the prices - I mean come on, $375 for a T-shirt? So it's made in Italy. By hand? By the Pope?)
  • some good restaurants, particularly including Bistro du Vent on 42nd west of Ninth where we had an excellent dinner, and Maison, a very convenient and unexpectedly good and reasonable bistro at 53rd and Seventh.
As New York City always does, it left us wanting more.

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