Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bite the Big Apple

Photo A. Vassallo

I made a flying visit to New York City last weekend  to see “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” on Broadway.  My cousin wrote the book, and starred in the original Off-Broadway production and the film, and the musical been revived on Broadway with Neil Patrick Harris as Hedwig. Eight Tony Award nominations!

This was also the first time I have been to NYC since a high school class trip, and I was really excited to be in the city.

By Myupperwest

Top on my to-do list was a visit to Central Park, and a tour of all of the famous spots I’ve read about in so many novels set in the city.  The weather was grand, and I walked all over  the park, seeing  everything I could fit in.   The park was busy with walkers,  joggers, bicyclists and dogs!!   There were so many well behaved dogs with city dog manners – it was really remarkable.  My own farm raised dogs are not nearly as civilized.

In preparation for the trip, I browsed through “Central Park, an American Masterpiece” by Sara Miller.  This highly illustrated book was published in 2003 to celebrate the parks 150th anniversary.
Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the park’s 843 acres have undergone a restoration and renovation in the past 20 years, led by the Central Park Conservatory.  I can attest to the success of the renovation –features such as the Sheep Meadow,  the Bethesda Terrace and the Belvedere Castle have been brought back beautifully.  The book leads the reader through the parks walkways, avenues and terraces, celebrating the space with over 200 color photographs – if you can’t visit in person, you’ll get a great sense of the special quality of one of the world’s great public parks.

An interesting approach to the special place of Central Park in New York City life can be found in  "Central Park – An Anthology" edited by Andrew Blauner.
This collection of essays by a wide variety of authors,  includes pieces written exclusively for the book, as well as a handful of classics.  Reminiscences, park myths, portraits of the park’s resident characters  and the hidden natural life of the park are some of the subjects, with the tone ranging from humorous to moving.

After roaming around Central Park for several hours, I headed over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which abuts the park on the Fifth Avenue side.  I had only a couple of hours, so made it through just a few galleries in a place that should be visited multiple times at a leisurely pace to truly enjoy it.

 The Met has been the subject of many books, of course, and some interesting titles include“Museum – Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art” by Danny Danziger; "Rogues' gallery : the secret history of the moguls and the money that made the Metropolitan Museum"   by Michael Gross; and "Making the mummies dance : inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art" by Thomas Hoving.

After my Met visit, I joined my daughter and son in law, and we strolled to Rockfeller Center, Momofuku Milkbar and the Carnegie Deli, for something of a foodies New York tour. Later that evening we went backstage at the  Belasco Theatre, attended the 10 o'clock performance of Hedwig, and the weekend was over!
Belasco Stage Door a.v.

If you are planning a trip to New York, the library offers many different travel guides and non-fiction titles on the city. With so much to see and do, I barely scraped the surface. 


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