Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Manhattan Party

It has been a while since I have been to a party in a highrise in New York where the view is that classic New York view of loads of cut out highrises with lights sprinkled throughout.  Like they use for backdrops in Broadway plays about New York or in Woody Allen movies.  There was a bartender serving cocktails and loads of New York type people all waiting to talk to me I am sure.

I didn't really know anyone as I was invited as a friend of friends.  They were very nice getting me out and circulating and reintegrating.  Tough, but I must.  I talked to a few people including a guy who quite forwardly, well, I won't say. 

At one point in the evening this woman in fishnets and a rose comes in with an accordion and starts belting out Edith Piaf.  She was so fantastic that stopping a discussion about police watch in troubled neighborhoods was not a problem.   (These are the conversations I swear our parents used to have and now I am at that age and I am having them. Wow.)  Everyone just stopped and listened to this very talented woman.  She sang flawlessly in French, English, German and Russian.  While playing the accordion.

I was so taken with her as was everyone else. She really made the evening. Her name is Mira Stroika and if she gets a gig out of this post I would be very happy.  Check her out here.  She is quite amazing.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mr. Beller's Neighborhood. It's a small one.

Today I accepted a Facebook invite from a friend to Mr. Beller's Neighborhood.  This is a website that supports writers who write on New York City.  A monthly reading is held and this time it was at The Happy Ending Lounge in Chinatown.  I swear this place looked like a front for something, not a cool cafe New York stories reading venue.  I entered cautiously as I have white slavery issues and inside I saw my friend Steve and a friendly crowd of writerly types.

Steve Turtell is a writer who has a book of poetry published that is available on Amazon.  I had never heard his stuff before it was quite fine. I loved his story and his poems.  Way to go Steve! You can read his stuff on the Mr. Beller's site linked above.

Before I even went a friend wrote to me on Facebook that he saw that I was going to this and a guy from his work, Andrew, was going too and I should say hello which I did. Once again social networking makes the world smaller.  A little creepy, but I liked it.

The first reader was a woman whom I recognized immediately.  Leslie Nipkow.  OMG. We used to both be in Weight Watchers together. I hope she doesn't mind me writing that.  She is an Emmy Award winning writer and essayist. (Who needs Weight Watchers when you have an Emmy! Screw everyone else, I say!)   She is also the one who told me about taking dance classes at Alvin Ailey.  I had no idea mere mortals could do that and I did thanks to here.  What an odd, small world way to reunite. It was really fun to see her and catch up.  We are now Facebook friends.  I loved her stuff too.

Mr. Beller's Neighborhood may become mine once I write some essays on my life here in the Big Apple. But meanwhile it remains less and less big!  I keep running into people and meeting people in the darnedest places! 

On my way out The Happy Ending Lounge had velvet ropes and a bouncer outside and was turning into a nightclub for the evening.  I went home and turned in. Period.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I Choose to Be In Love.

I remember when I lived and worked in LA and people would be out from New York on business I would think, "How glamourous. They actually LIVE in New York.  What must that be like?"  Well, now I know.  I have lived here for 3 years.  And it is like living anywhere else in some respects and like nowhere else in others: there is laundry, grocery shopping, and the gym.  Except here everything is much harder and more expensive! But, no matter, I love it. And then I forget and I just exist in it.

Whenever I feel like I am taking living here for granted I put my ipod on RANDOM, make life into a musical and go.  This morning I was heading to the subway for work listening to Sinead O'Connor and I passed by St. Vincent's Hospital.  This hospital is now sadly closed due to bankruptcy and will be more luxury housing. It almost seems ironic, if it weren't so shameful. Anyway, I don't want to kill my buzz here.  But as I was passing and the snow was gently falling I recalled how this very place took in Titanic survivors, 911 survivors and was one of the first major AIDS hospitals in the world. It was humbling and moving.

Down I went into the subway. A system like no other and I was happy to be in it among the masses.  My music made it so much more palatable. 

I alighted at 50th Street and just as Madonna's Vogue started I walked across the street to behold bright and shiny Times Square.  Lately I have had nothing but disdain for this gaudy, tourist-infested tourist trap, but this morning thanks to Madonna I was empowered and inspired by it. 

It all boils down to perspective. New York is either a crowded, expensive, filthy, crime-ridden dump or it is a bright, exciting, never to be outdone metropolis of possibility. Or both.  I choose today to be in love.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mom, I'm a real blogger now!

Today, I just got publsihed on as a guest blogger writing about New York City. If you came from that link, welcome to my personal blog.   I used this for 3 years as a test kitchen to learn about blogging. Still lack some focus for this destination, but that plays perfectly into my personality and NYC itself. I like to write stories about my gratitude for life in New York and I try to maintain some remaining puppy dog enthusiasm for the place. 

Please check out my post on and rate or comment there if you can. I would love it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sing to me and bathe me in your beauty.

More churches.  Tonight I went to hear my friend Ron sing in a concert at The Basilica of St. Patrick's Cathedral on Mulberry St. in Little Italy.  St. Patrick was supposedly Roman so I guess it makes sense. But this was the Cathedral of New York City before they built that swanky new place on Fifth Avenue in 1878. I did not know that.

Ron sings with a group called Cerddorian.  They are a chamber vocal ensemble.  I went alone. I sat alone and I listened to the beautiful voices fill up this lovely space with everyone else.  It was freezing inside, but quite peaceful. I needed some peace and calm.  It had been a tough few weeks.  Ron urged me to come out with his friends afterwards. I didn't want to but the voice inside said "Go!"  They were mostly doctors like Ron and his best biking buddy whom I recognized from Facebook.  I even got to meet his parents.  The night out at the tapas place afterwards was just the ticket for the blues. Even though the choir did not sing blues, they sang choral pieces both new and old, but for me they were the blues.

I had such a laugh. We just laughed and gabbed and ate lovely tapas. It was worth the big grease stain down the front of my nice midnight blue dress shirt.  I had a good time.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A $4 Million Dollar Organ?! Why Thank You, Doctor

So much goes on in one's neighborhood and one doesn't even know it.  That is why we have friends, neighbors, Time Out New York and doormen. 

For example,  I had no idea the most expensive organ in the United States was being built right under my nose.  By the French! Like the Statue of Liberty before, the French were gifting us once again.  Well, actually it is the Manon Foundation. And the church did $2 mill in renovations so your total costs are more like $6+ mill.  For really good organ music.  If this doesn't get 'em going back to God, I don't know what will.  God knew (first hand) that the guitar Mass was never going to do it.

But back to this organ.  A friend told me that though the premiere is going to be in May (The organ's d├ębuts officiels) there was a preview concert today and we should go.  And we did.

Do you know an Episcopal service is just like a Catholic one?  I mean they have the same playwright! The dialogue was almost word for word.  And they sing more, well with a new organ and all, so it was even longer!! But the music was beautiful and the place is stunning.  It is a jewel.

Anyway, lovely, lovely church with this most amazing mural by John LaFarge.  There is a great New York Times article on the church.   But organ, smorgan, Mark Twain was here?!