How great is this…my first blog entry.
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Mine was the best. Last summer I was thinking about doing something special for the holiday this year and my partner and I came up with the idea to take our mothers to New York City. My mother-in-law travels from her home in Oklahoma to New York every couple of years so she knows Manhattan well and loves it there. On the other hand, my mom hasn’t been back east since she was a teenager. She lived in Westchester County and Long Island for the two years prior to the Korean War, as her father was a navy man stationed in the area but hasn’t been back since 1949.
We had a great time. Thanksgiving Day was so beautiful and warm. We tried seeing the Macy’s Parade from 34th Street but couldn’t even get out of the subway stations as the streets and staircases were packed. So we met up with Tim’s cousin Kimberly and headed up to the Ansonia Apartments on West 72nd and all five of us watched the parade on TV. I was more impressed with the building we were in than the parade. The Ansonia is one of the many architectural marvels of Manhattan. The Upper West Side was teeming with activity that afternoon. I passed the time going through stacks of books on the sidewalk that a collector was trying to unload. I found some hard covers of Steinbeck but I already have copies of my own.
We wound up in the East Village Thanksgiving afternoon at a place called Chocolate By The Bald Man. It’s located on 2nd Avenue at 9th Street. They have a second location in the heart of Off-Broadway in Union Square. You can toast marshmallows at your table and make your own smores. The smell alone was sublime.
Thanksgiving dinner was the best I’ve EVER had. Our mothers are not vegetarians but love our vegetarian cooking so much that it was their idea to find a place that felt like home. I did the research and found the Blossom Cafe in Chelsea. It’s a small, cozy, old world place on a tree lined street with a hip young staff. They put on a 5 course vegan meal that I actually slowed down to savor. We started with a mushroom, root vegetable mixture in a puff pastry. There was a pumpkin soup spiked with ginger and red pepper. I had a citrus salad with red and yellow beets and fresh pecans. For the main course I had a mushroom risotto with a cranberry relish. For dessert, plum, persimmon and apple crisp with French press coffee. WOW. It was an incredible meal. After dinner we all went to Ground Zero for a moment of reflection. We sat in the lobby of one of the World Trade Center Buildings as the wind picked up and sat quietly in our gratitude and grief. It was the perfect holiday.
We stayed a few more days. One of the highlights was taking a moment to stop by the Dakota Apartments on 72nd and Central Park West and look up at John and Yoko’s corner apartment and think of John. The anniversary of his death is coming up. I walked across the street to Strawberry Fields in Central Park. The “Imagine” circle was covered in flowers and candles and there were people staring off into space with tears in their eyes. John still has that effect on me too.
The Dakota Apartment House was built in the 1880s when the Upper West Side was a countryside dotted here and there with tents, small dwellings and saloons. It got its name because of its remote location…which might have well been the Dakotas. And there is a classical music connection to the grand building. When Tchaikovsky was in New York in 1891 to conduct the opening night concert at Carnegie Hall his host lived at the Dakota. When Tchaikovsky saw the building, he was bewildered…thinking that the entire building was his host’s grand home, and Central Park his private garden. He is quoted to have said, “No wonder we composers are so poor.”
We took in the Off Broadway show “The Piano Teacher” starring Elizabeth Franz. What a show. Captivating, provocative. We all stayed up late talking about it. I highly recommend the show. Despite the strike on Broadway, this Off-Broadway show is being held over at the Vineyard Theater on 15th and 4th Avenue. And the theater is just half a block away from the second location of Chocolate By The Bald Man.
I am happy to be home. But as always when I travel to New York I am reminded how wonderful the people of that City are. New Yorkers are so civilized and full of life. There is a synergy there….a choreographed chaos that makes my heart race.