Sunday, May 31, 2009

Up the Hudson

Henry Hudson may have sailed down this river, but we walked up it. From the West Village to the West 79th Street Boat Basin and through the community gardens of Riverside Park. Along the way we encountered helicopters landing with immigrants from posh Hamptons weekends, the aircraft carrier Intrepid and wild geese with their goslings.

Treacherous all.

USS Intrepid.

What a superbly beautiful day it was along this waterway. So many bikers and bathers and outdoor enthusiasts enjoying their lives in the crazy city that seems to provide solace in patches which still amazes me.

Law and Order is filmed in this studio at the immense Chelsea Piers.

There is this cool restaurant/bar along the river at Pier 66 called The Frying Pan which includes a lightship that was salvaged at the bottom of Chesapeake Bay. We walked on it to check it out. It was thriving and lively. Loved it. It reminded me of my beloved The Ramp in San Francisco.

A family outing.

Photographers usually try to avoid having the Empire State Building sticking out of a subject's head, but I guess I find it amusing.

Brian trying to blend into the community garden in Riverside Park


Sean skillfully and thoughtfully organized a big brunch for eight of us at Morandi in the West Village. We had a wonderful and efficient Italian waitress (above) and great bread. (I wish I asked where they got their bread. I am sure someone knows since this is a Keith McNally place and those in the know know these things.)

Sean ran into his friend from his high fashion days at GQ and hers at Chanel. I thought I saw Soon Yi Previn. I did not.

(l-r) Frank, Teddy, Pat, John, Brian, Pat (head obscured by) Sean, Paul.

Frank's Shoes. I love Frank's shoes almost as much as the bread at Morandi.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

V and T Pizzeria

Instead of dining at Blue Hill with Barack and Michelle, Brian and I had dinner at V and T Pizzeria up by Columbia University and the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. It was not divine, but it was pretty good. I especially loved the salad with feta and olives.

It was here that friends of 20 years discovered that Brian hates my favorite pizza (Sausage and Mushrooms) and he likes his crust well-fired and I like mine more doughy. How did we possibly go through all these years and travels not knowing this? What else lurks?

POTUS and Wife - Date Night in New York

If you look down the left of the above picture you will see "BELASCO" which is the name of the theatre Michelle and Barack Obama were in tonight to see August Wilson's "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" which was directed by Bart Sher who went to my high school a few years ahead of me.
Before the show they ate at Blue Hill in Greewich Village which of course I and everyone else now wants to go.

Massive trucks full of sand blocked the street. Standard procedure for when the President goes to see a play.


Today was Brooklyn. Not Posh Spice and David Beckham's son, but the New York City borough. Brian and I went to explore. It was a fun other world adventure with nice people and trees. I missed some great photo ops of father with baby in Williamsburg who gave us excellent "what to see" directions while selling lemonade on the street to raise money for a local kid to get eyeglasses. We both gave a buck. Or the cool and hunky guy in Park Slope who told us to go to 5th Avenue which was great. Alas. But here is what I got:

Prospect Park

Subway Station entrance with fiberglass cow.

Craftily making Brian's last name happen on the subway sign.

Back to Manhattan or further in?

Brian and I practicing out runway model turns on the Brooklyn Bridge. I think he wins. Or I am a better photographer...

Friday, May 29, 2009

God of Carnage

(Pat, Cheline, Hilary, Brian. Photo shot Norwegian-style*)

For those of you readers at home who really don't give a sh*t, bear with. You see my friend Hilary lives in New York as do I and we have a mutual BFF Cheline who lives in Austin, TX who was coming here on business at the same time another BFF of mine Brian was going to be here visiting from Seattle who knows Cheline from San Francisco. It was all too something not to do something together in the Big Apple. And tonight while the four of us were having a FAB Thai meal at Pongsri (which was suggested by Hilary, but really a while ago by her sister Sarah who can find you an Afghan plumber with a lisp in New York if cornered to do so) I remarked that Cheline and Hilary are the BFF girl version of Brian and me though there are probably loads of holes in this analogy, but it was cute and would have had the restaurant patrons collectively saying "Ahhhhhh" had I still been drinking and gotten up on the table to announce this.

But let's back up. Why were we even at Thai on W. 48th you ask, feigning interest? Well, about a month ago Cheline bemoaned never getting to the theatre when she is in New York. Bemoaning, as we all know, is a great influencer over others since no one wants to be the bearer or brunter of someone's bemoanage. Theatre tickets had to be gotten.

She and I went through the list and knew that "God of Carnage" was the play to see for us. And according to the two of us, the play for Hilary and Brian to see. And it is the play to see for everyone else as well since it is probably the hottest ticket on Broadway at the moment and sells out every performance. But Cheline was involved, as well as Amex Platinum, so she got 4 orchestra tickets 4th row aisle to a sold out play in the time it would take me to brush my teeth or floss, but not both.

Wow. Whatta an evening. This play by Yasmina Reza who wrote "Art" stars Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden. It is about two couples who meet to discuss what to do when one couple's eleven year old son hit the others' eleven year old son with a stick and knocks out two of his teeth.

I will not ruin the rest, but afterwards I was already exhausted for the cast knowing they would have to give that performance TWICE tomorrow. It is really funny and creepy and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf"-y.

What a thrill it was to see these four actors just sink their teeth in.

To each other.

This is not the kind of ensemble piece like "Sex and the City" where the four of us wanted to figure out which character we were most like. And I think that may be part of the point of it.

But great evening in New York City on Broadway with wonderful folk from my wonderful life.

"Woof-woof!" (Inside GOC joke!)

*The guy who took our picture under the sign is the guy in the middle here. He and his buddy are both from Norway where Brian's people are from so I had to do the group Norwegian photo. Always bringing people together, me.

East Village

Brian and I picked the East Village of Manhattan as our touring destination for the day. What a fantastic place. At night it can be overrun with young clubbing hipsters. I have seen it. It is like Night of the Living Sort of Living. They travel in swarms. But during the day it still possesses this old world charm mixed with emerging coolness.

Our first turn was into Surma this amazing Ukrainian shop that has been around since 1918. I had good chat with the grandson about why Ukrainians are so into honey ("It is like tomato sauce is to Italians, " he said. And then I had a sickening feeling of going to the Ukraine and having honey slopped on everything I ate.). Meanwhile Brian bought egg dyes. They are heavy into the Egg as symbol of life, etc. I hope they, the Ukrainians, don't think they have cornered the market on that notion. Just loved the place. If I ever need a Ukrainian peasant outfit I need look no further.

Next door was McSorley's Old Ale House. Been in that spot since 1854. I imagine they called it simply McSorley's Ale House back then. Abe Lincoln had a drink here, but not his wife, since women were not allowed until the 1970's. I went there in the 1980s and it is pretty much the same: wood, sawdust on the floor, the smell of hops and barley. Very cool to see something that just keeps going.

Check Spelling
Across the street we saw a Ukrainian church blocked by a beer van. I felt it symbolized something. Not sure what exactly.

We had a bite at a newer establishment down East 7th called Porchetta. Get ready for the F word: Fabulous pork sandwiches on excellent fresh bread. We split one and loved, loved it.

I am a bad food photographer, but at least I could have taken this before I took a bite!

Well, I guess I should have called this blog entry "East 7th" and not "East Village" since all I talked about and photographed was on this one street.

But we did manage to Tompkins Square Park and down 6th past the shuttered OG Restaurant where my friends Ron and Jay used to hold court and work. We also walked around the Public Theatre just below Astor Place on Lafayette. Loved the space. Must go there.

Great place, the East Village. Will go back. Before 11pm.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Neue Gallerie

Another fantasy realized: Two Dear Pals Meet and We Go See Art and Eat.

Brian and I met Ellie on the Upper East Side and went to the Neue Gallerie on 5th and 86th. Housed in a former Vanderbilt mansion, the building becomes part of the experience as a divinely elegant and intimate space for viewing top rate German and Austrian art. The famous Klimt painting Adele Bloch-Bauer I is here and it is breathtaking both for the technique and the story of its personal journey from the Bloch-Bauer family to the Nazis back to the family and then to America. Read this good Slate article on the purchase.

We also got to see this wonderful exhibition: BRÜCKE: THE BIRTH OF EXPRESSIONISM
IN DRESDEN AND BERLIN, 1905-1913 about a group of Artists known as the "
BRÜCKE" or "Bridge." Very interesting. I especially loved Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's work.

This is one of my faves of his:

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) Berlin Street Scene, 1913-14

Afterwards we had coffee and Sachertorte at the swank and over-looking-5th-Avenue-and-Central-Park cafe, Cafe Sabarsky. Why live in a Starbucks world where for a few Deutschmarks more you can have lovely silver trays and sit in an old-time Viennese surrounding in a 5th Avenue mansion. The Kaiser Mélange (Fresh-ground coffee with whipped cream)
für fünf Dollar ist wundervoll!

Every day is a jolly holiday with Ellie and Brian and the Neue Gallerie.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Jennifer Makes the Blog

My life is like a movie, Part 387.

I am continuously slayed by what a small town New York City is to me --and combined with how I feel I like I live in it like it is an old backlot MGM musical... There are costumes and sets and people and story lines falling off trees here. There is hustle-bustle and the sound of brass and strings tuning up.

I feel almost daily inspiration and excitement.

Blah, blah, blah, I know, but IT'S TRUE!

So Brian and I are walking through Shubert Alley on our way to 9th Avenue to grab dinner when to my left I here "Patrick!!" coming out of the doors of the world-famous theatre-district restaurant Sardis. It is my friend Jennifer's voice. She is with Dennis and Gary. We all had New Year's Eve in '07 chez our pal Jerry Blake. They have just had dinner or drinks or opium or whatever and are rushing to catch "Mary Stuart" at the Broadhurst across the way. This is bloody Times Square folks, you ain't supposed to run into neighbors!

They came at us like a tracking shot and if they weren't rushing for curtain there would have been a musical number for sure. It felt like right out of "Follies" and the New York of old where everyone is dining and rushing to get to the theatre. I loved it. It was a Nanette Fabray, Gene Kelly, Betty Garrett, Donald O'Connor kind of vibe.

We did manage to grab a man off the street who realized the importance of time to take this quick shot.

Dennis, Gary, Jennifer, Pat, Brian

Times Square. Beach Chair.

One of my very besties, Brian, journeyed from the Pacific Northwest across the plains and prairies to his homestead in Wisconsin and finally to visit me in the Big City today. So happy to have him here. We are so in touch all the time that it was hard to believe that we had not laid three-dimensional eyes on each other since Thanksgiving Aught Seven.

This evening we had a screening to go at MTV in Times Square and came across the test-drive of Times Square as Pedestrian Mall. Very Euro, but with lawn chairs! What a great feeling it was to lounge at the crossroad of the world and have a coffee!

Daily, amidst all the craziness and struggles I have, I realize I have a charmed life.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I'm Sorry, I'm Pissed

My Facebook status post today: "So let me get this, er, straight: Marriage in California is ONLY between a man and a woman and 36,000 gays who got grandfathered in? WTF? Explain THAT to your children in your schools."

Me, Carmine and Dolores

Today the California Supreme Court said that some people are not as equal as others under the eyes of the law in California. As a native Californian and as a US citizen I find it so sad and so maddening. I had errands to do today and a friend coming to town tomorrow to get ready for and the gym and some work stuff, but I dropped it all to march and say "NO."

Today I was proud to be a New Yorker.

We gathered at Sheridan Square and marched to Union Square straight down the main corridor of 14th Street and it felt good. I had to march. I had to march off my anger. I had to march to protest this terrible decision and stand up against inequality. Where does it stop? Will it happen in New York too?

My feeling is that we all have to be equal under the eyes of the law or it just doesn't work.

If some care about the so-called "sanctity" of an institution with a 50% failure rate so much because "marriage is between a man and a woman to raise children because children need to be raised by both a man and a woman" then here goes folks:

• No divorce. Ever. Under no circumstances. Work it out for the kids.

• If a man and a woman get married and do not have kids for whatever reason then the marriage must be dissolved.

• All interracial marriages must be voted on by the people to allow for maximum comfort for all.

• If one of the spouses dies and the child is thus being raised in a household without the loving influence of one of the genders then the surviving spouse must marry an opposite-gender partner within 3 months or give up custody of the children to a dual-opposite gender marriage.

How do you like them apples? Pretty effin' ridiculous, right? Well the government (and the people) need to stay out the bedroom of all. Including Mel Gibson and his pregnant girlfriend who must wait to marry him because he is not even flippin' divorced. How can devout Catholic Mel get married again anyway? Oops, I am off topic...

It is simple. Equal rights FOR ALL CITIZENS. Period. And on a Federal level as well where it really counts.

And where is the President on all this? Not now because there are bigger fish to fry? Well you fry those fish with YOUR spouse from another country getting deported.

And what about DOMA and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"? People who have given service to this country are still being fired! This is insane. Yet the President does nothing.

We ALL have to march. I don't care if you "don't approve" of gays. If Lithuanian-Americans in Idaho were being denied the right to get library cards I would march.

It effects us all.

I met with Megan Cunningham, Founder/CEO of Magnet Media and today. We had met once before and she is just terrific. Zoom-In covers arts, entertainment, technology and is really terrific. Check it out. I have learned a lot about digital media watching some of their programming. Very well done.

I wanted to talk to Megan about digital ME-dia, meaning digital media and me! She was so helpful and encouraging. My hope is to create and produce content for on-line and mobile.

We met at her office and if I was a blogger worth my bloody salt, I would have taken a photo of her (beautiful/dynamic) in her office (beautiful/dynamic) at her desk with this amazing window that that has a killer view of the world-famous EMPIRE STATE BUILDING (beautiful/dynamic). All I can do at this point is paint a picture with a cheesy mock-up representation:




Kinda get it?

Well, we went out for a bite in the Flatiron District of Manhattan and there were these guys working on a roof when we heard a CRASH. Bricks had fallen from the top of this building right by us and landed in the street. A car got hit, but PEOPLE COULDA DIED! Including us.

So to push this story to its limits, we met at the swank international offices of Zoom-In, went to get lunch and discuss the ENTIRE future of media over a salad and ALMOST DIED.

Had I been a blogger worth my salt I would have had my Flip Video camera with me and caught the falling bricks on camera. But I suck, so here is the best I could do: