It has not been a very happy year so far and it shows no sign of getting better any time soon. I know I’ve been off the radar for two years now and I can’t seem to get back on the horse. I am putting a link that will tell the tale for me in the hopes of getting some help. Here it is http://www.gofundme.com/bm047c
I never thought it come to this but desperate times call for desperate measures. Thanks for reading, and to any who used my work for term papers and such. I hope you got good grades.
Category Archives: Theatre
It has not been a very happy year so far and it shows no sign of getting better any time soon. I know I’ve been off the radar for two years now and I can’t seem to get back on the horse. I am putting a link that will tell the tale for me in the hopes of getting some help. Here it is http://www.gofundme.com/bm047c
When I arrive at Washington Square Park I ask around and find out the fair doesn’t start until May so I wander a little and take some pictures of the goings on today, so I will let the pictures do the talking for me and after a while I decide to walk up to Union Square. I know there is vendors there almost every week and even in April of last year some of the braver souls came out when I took Mark and Sharon on a cold day during their first day in New York, I’m praying luck will be with me.
When I get their the market and the art show is in full swing, loads of people come here on Wednesday , Saturday and Sunday to buy produce & plants, meats and cheeses, and everything in between. I find myself walking amidst the artists sitting with their work, hoping for a sale. It makes me feel very wretched that I can no longer claim to be one of them. I know that it’s my fault I stopped painting, I always blamed it on other people and circumstances. But as someone once said “A real artist needs only his bread and his art.” Yes in modern times you need much more than that, but the bare bones of that saying ring very true for me anyway, so while I can only use writing as a lame partial excuse for not painting, the fact is that the nights I don’t write I could paint but I don’t. I haven’t painted a thing since 2007. Why? you ask. Because I let the canvas beat me into submission. I grew more and more unhappy with a painting that still sits on my easel mocking me. It became an all or nothing game of Russian roulette between me and the painting and in the end I died. There was no smoking gun, just an unfinished canvas and ten years of work lying dormant…unseen like some hibernating bear it sleeps, waking years later like Rumplestiltskin to find an art world changed.
The artist Mark Rothko said that eventually black would swallow red, swallow all color until nothing was left. He believed that artists should starve, that fame is what kills them. When they become a commodity, a pastiche of themselves, they seek a way out. For Jackson Pollack it was whisky and a Oldsmobile convertible. For me it was Malibu Rum and Coke and an online video game called “World of Warcraft.” In the game I could fight and die but I came back to life and fought again to win. Every time my characters gained another level, another skill, an achievement of any kind, it was like I was winning at life. Soon it became more fun to play with others online than to face the canvas alone, and see who would blink first. So now I know …I did.
This is all revealed to me as I walk through the artists stalls practically reeling with the weight of the realization I’ve just made about myself and my art. Eventually I walk into the regular vendors space and as I come around a bend I see the exact T-shirts I wanted and the girl selling them from last year is back! This is a kind of salvation for me now as I had no idea they sold here and am overjoyed to find the shirts I want, but there is just one small problem. I’ve got no cash and they don’t take debit cards. But luckily the girl tells me that a permanent newspaper vendor set up here actually has a debit machine and he is on the other side of the fair. So I take a long walk back to the artists area and wait my turn to get some dough, and I noticed that there’s many signs up protesting something, so I stop at an artists booth to get the lowdown. It seems that our illustrious Mayor wants to start limiting the number of artists to eighteen who can show and that there will be a fee for the day and that it’s on a first come first serve basis, anyone else will be turned away! I walk back to the girl and pick out the shirts I want marvelling at the stupidity of the people in our local government. The very thing that makes New York special is the very thing they want to attack and destroy or alter in some way and make it less attractive to tourists and the local population, and then when the Union Square market closes down because they took all the good out of it they will sit and blame others for the loss, never admitting it was they who ruined it in the first place. I hope it doesn’t come to that but it’s an old story, around here on Long Island, local politics have made the suburbs a boring place. Where kids get into trouble because all the venues for fun were closed down leaving the kids nothing to do but invent their own fun on the street. I go down into the Union Square subway station and take it back uptown to the theater district.
It doesn’t take long to get back to the theater and needing a sit down and a drink of some kind I go searching for a local bar where I can sit and relax till the show, but this is a tourist section and there’s only loud sports bars and tourists traps, not what I need right now. So I wind up in another French restaurant calles Pergola des Artistes near the theater, it is crowded and I sit at the bar wishing for a drink and an appetizer but finding nothing small and “tapas-like” which I really would have preferred. I order Fillet of Sole Menuiere and French Onion soup to start with a glass of Cotes du Rhone and watch the action in front of me. The woman behind the counter is Marie Ponsolle, she and her husband Jacques opened the place in 1962 and struggled with all sorts of problems including a plumbing and electrical problems, water damage from a flood in the basement and from a fire on the floors above causing flooding to their restaurant below to put it out, and even a holdup the first week they opened! Now their son Christian runs the place but Marie runs the bar where I sit and with a watchful eye and a loud voice she makes sure the bills are tallied correctly and that the waiters are working hard. I find her a little off-putting and when my soup arrives I tell her it is good but I’ve had better actually. It was murky and greasy and seemed to me to include the sediment on the bottom of the pot. When my fish arrives it is indeed a huge portion the size of a dinner plate with some basic vegetables on the side that were undercooked and un-inspired, the fish was tasty enough but I have no point of reference so I don’t know this dish. I eat about half and ask for the rest to be wrapped up, the play starts in about twenty minutes and I pay the tab and walk briskly for the theater wishing I had gotten a hot dog of a cart instead. I mean why should you pay 50 bucks for heartburn when you could get it for around $5. I walk past others on their way to food and shows and arrive at the theater and take my seat.
The stage is set up just like Rothko’s studio, bare wood floors dirty and paint splattered, canvasses on the walls, stacked up some painted others stark white and waiting. There are tables and ladders, spot lights and a big wooden Adirondack chair across from a huge red canvas hanging from a gargantuan moveable A-frame easel. The actor is already seated in that chair contemplating the canvas before the show starts. It is to say the least an unexpected and un-nerving start to the play…he is motionless. When the lights go down he gets up and lights a cigarette and looks at the canvas, he walks toward it and touches it almost with the reverence a man might touch his wifes nude body while she sleeps. Quietly a young man enters through the door stage right, wearing a brown suit and shoes, looking earnest and eager he has come to apply for the job of studio assistant. Rothko lays down the law of employment, he’s not here to be his friend, his father, or his mentor.
The dialogue between them throughout the play is often raw and un-pleasant, Rothko’s contempt for people in general is very evident and he laces into his assistant many times and mocks his opinions after asking for them. But still he tries to draw his assistant, who is also a painter into the real meaning of art. Rothko talks about Nietzsche, Byron, and Socrates. He tells the young man to become civilised. during the show they actually take canvasses down off the huge easel and put up new ones. They actually finish stapling one on the floor and setting the corners and after placing it up on the easel they both cover it in red primer, Rothko working above, the assistant below whose white t-shirt gets covered in splattered paint! (Later we find out the t-shirt will be signed by both men and offered to raise money for AIDS after the show)
In a pivotal scene the young assistant (who has spent two years with Rothko) finally tells his employer off, giving a long soliloquy about Rothko’s self-absorption and mis-trust, and finally telling him that he (Rothko) doesn’t believe anyone is good enough to own his art or even view his art. He thinks he is fired but Rothko says it’s the first time he really said what he thinks and respects him for it. In real life Rothko, after seeing in the Four Seasons restaurant in the Seagrams building is distraught. He will not have his work in a place where such pretentious people, will pay too much money for mediocre food and look at each other assessing their worth and comparing their status. Rothko gave back the $35,000 dollar commission and continued to paint his unique vision but in his later years fell in into ill-health, an aneurism made him unable to work high up and he was forced to paint smaller canvasses. Then also ignoring his physician’s advice to quit smoking and drinking he became more depressed. Rothko was growing increasingly unhappy with the art world, and feeling betrayed by the younger artists who he felt had learned so much from people like him, finally took his own life in Feb 1970, slicing his wrists to his elbows in his studio, which was now his home after he and his wife separated. He was found by his young assistant Oliver Steindecker on the floor near the slop sink.
The play ends as it started with dramatic music being played on the phonograph while Rothko who has just dis-missed his assistant telling him to get with his friends and start something new, get with them and “do the work” he says holding his face and looking into his eyes the only fatherly advice he gives him. He looks at the canvas alone as the light dims but the red of the canvas glows with an inner fire out of the black like the burning coals of a furnace. The crowd erupts into explosive applause with many hoots and shouts of “Bravo” and the actors appear and bow before us and then leave the stage. I make my way downstairs and go outside and wait a long time for the actors to come out, Eddie Redmayne comes out first and I tell him how good the show was, he is very pleased with the attention but after finishing with us rushes to embrace a young girl and guy who waited patiently for us to be done with him. They are obviously friends and possibly fellow actors enjoying a friends big break, indeed I find out later that Redmayne was interviewed on Charlie Rose, a late night serious talk show. Next Alfred Molina comes out and I tell him that I’m a painter trying to come out of a two-year block and that he has helped me quite a bit tonight. We all take turns taking pictures with him and when all are done he gets into his limo and off he goes, he’s got to be exhausted, two shows in one day. I am too but I stop to help an old woman who attended the show find the bus stop before turning back to go down 8th Ave and Penn Station once again. The wind has died down so I am warm enough in my denim and scarf as I walk the streets and find myself standing before the big board with 40 minutes to kill before my train. So, naturally I go to Tracks for a wash up and a cold glass of Harp on tap. It’s been a wonderful day followed by a profound evening, art changes you, it should change you. With gods help and a little luck I hope to be able to say I have been changed in this way many times before Rothko’s black finally comes. I settle into my bar stool and lean back sipping my cold brew…lost in thought.
I walk down to the Schoenfeld theater and try to go in but I’ve got over an hour to kill and they don’t open the doors yet, so the hipster guy at the ticket window tells me to go up to the 8th floor of the Marriot a half block away where I will find several lounges to have a drink and relax, so I thank him and take off, it’s been almost a hour since Starbucks while I walked around trying to memorize streets and landmarks. Soon I arrive at the beautiful hotel I go in through the doors and start the long ride up the escalators, many people are here since there is also several theaters here as well as shops and restaurants. The well to do and the tourists rub elbows here at the bar and in the seating areas, I pass a Sushi Bar, Starbucks, and a souvenir shop and at last settle down in the Broadway Lounge, for a few rum and cokes, I make a phone call or two while I wait. The piano player on the other side of the room is playing top ten hits, easy work if you can get it I guess, at least he doesn’t ham it up the way alot of these guys do-at least in movies and TV. I like it here, I could easily come here often and eat, drink, and maybe pick myself up a rich widow among the lounge lizards that probably reveal themselves after the theater crowd runs off to see the shows down the block. That reminds me…soon it’s time to go.
The Gerald Schoenfeld Theater is located at 236 West 45th St and was formerly called the PlymouthTheater in 1918 when the Schubert brothers completed the construction, and it was designated a New York City landmark in 1987. It’s a beautiful old theater typical of old New York, richly carpeted and at over a thousand seats it’s a little cramped when you sit down. I take a look at the stage set and write, occasionally getting up to let late comers pass by, the stage is simple. A grass mat covers the floor with a small tree stage right. The entire backdrop is made to look like the big old back of a barn or large house, a screen door in the center leading inside. There are fences and gates stage left and right used to separate the houses and occupants and give the feeling of a neighborhood. There is a porch in front of the back wall and great use will be made of this wall to show images associated with the memories of the characters. It gives the scenes a tremendous power that would not be there without it.
The play is powerful and acted with great courage and energy by the cast, of course John lithgow is stellar as Joe Keller and Diane Wiest is shattering as his long suffering wife. Patrick Wilson gives a commanding performance as Chris Keller, the youngest son of Joe & Kate, and Katie Holmes makes an auspicious debut as Ann, Chris’s dead brothers former fiancee. But I think Damian Young gives a solid performance and is very supportive as Dr. Jim Bayliss, the man who lives next door and knows much without saying. The piece is passionately acted, a family perpetually in crisis, trying to go on without letting go of the past. It is tense and at times uncomfortable. There is a feeling of shared sorrow which must be hidden by denial, it is the denial though that makes us desperate to pretend it’s not really there, and therein lies the tragedy. I wrote that at intermission so I won’t give the end of the play away, I think I have a good insight after attending a few plays in my day. I guess I didn’t love this play like others I’ve seen but it was a huge experience and I’m glad I spent the money and time to see it. I went to the loo afterwards so I missed getting a good spot at the stage door, but I got an arms length autograph from John Lithgow and got a photo of Katie Holmes and her new baby, very cute as she left quickly because of the cold. It was a powerful play…one I won’t soon forget . I make my way to Penn Station, a short walk on a cold night.
The ride home was loud, a bunch of young people are in the car, a girl across the aisle complains to her friends about how she is treated at home, I wish I could talk to her, give her some of my hard won knowledge. She’s fighting a losing battle but doesn’t know it yet, she needs to know that people aren’t going to change, you have to change without giving yourself away. I keep quiet and listen, sipping at a bottle of Stella Artois and relax, I’m a little worn out….I think about 2009 and what it might bring and remember the good times of this year and try to put it all into perspective as the train rhythmically moves bringing me closer to home.
I start out on the East Village and begin walking west to my destination, the streets are crowded with people despite the cold weather, I see many cute girls with red noses walk by (I always thought girls looked very cute with red noses) and it’s windy, a bone chilling cold. So of course everyone has the same look on their face and the silent glances with passersby say it all…what the heck is all this cold?
I finally arrive at my place dujuor. AOC is on Bleeker St just off Grove St the letters stand for “Appellation d’origine controle’e”, which is the French for “controlled term of origin” a certification for certain geographical indications for wine, cheese, dairy, etc. I go in and am seated quickly, this is a typical old village eatery, creaking old wood floors, wainscot walls, overly decorated with framed posters and small paintings of French country homes a such. I find myself soon refreshed by Jasmine tea, I order Mussel Saffron soup to start, a delicious puree of squash, mussels and spices, it is creamy good, the mussel tastes like the sea and warms my frozen body from the inside out!
While I enjoy my soup I scan the room, a table of six guys is wrapping up their meals, haggling over the check and who got what, so who owes more…ad nausea. Who cares!… each pay your share and leave happy. Well after a while I see that the fuss is because they were three couples on dates, that’s why the split on the check was important, this is the Village-you aren’t in Kansas anymore when you come here Toto.
But hey I don’t mind same sex couples, as I get older the only thing that I see that matters is finding and keeping love, and both of those things are very hard to do.
My main dish arrives… a Cassoulet Toulousain, a casserole of white beans, tomatoes, duck leg, garlic lamb sausage, summer sausage, and pork all topped with bread crumbs and baked. It is delicious but a little dry, I would have liked it less oven cooked but the lamb sausage is extraordinary as is the duck, which is rich without being gamy and the pork is slightly pink and juicy, I enjoy a glass of house red while I eat and listen to the table of people by the window.
They seem to be a group of British students, they sound like acting students except for one girl who seems to be a writer, she rips into a guy that just left the table from A to Z, he did this and he bailed out on so and so, on and on she went…I was amazed at how my story on WordPress”To Be A Wannabee – That Is The ?” where I mention how people always tear down the absent friend came to life right before my eyes, minutes earlier he was sitting talking and laughing with them and nobody treated him like they were mad, human behavior…bad as usual, but I guess that’s why they call it acting.
When my check comes (brought to me by the manager) I am dismayed to find out they only take Amex, which I don’t have, he walks away not wanting to deal with me so I spend a couple of anxious minutes wondering what to do. My waiter comes, tells me to go down the street to get cash and come back. So I do just that, pay my check and go off to my theater district destination feeling a little stupid and naive, I guess I should have read the whole page of their website on Menupages.com so that I would have seen (which I did later at home) that they only take Amex… I could have gone someplace else.
But I try to forget it and find a subway uptown to locate a Starbucks where I can charge my phone and grab a quick cup of coffee which I find after walking around 42nd St, the area is alive with folks going to shows and restaurants. I take a photo of Smith’s Bar and some shops lit up nicely for Xmas so eventually I find a Starbucks about a half block from the theater where I sit, charge my phone and write while a procession of cold people come and go, families and couples, harassed from shopping drag in with packages for some hot refreshment.
I’m sitting at a table with one of the workers for the Times Square Alliance, the people that try to keep the place clean for us to enjoy, he is a big black guy with the TSA logo on his orange polar suit he talks to various people on his cell phone. He’s cool, I like the way he talks to people on his cell, he probably could do voice over work on radio or TV or even be in movies…I wonder if he ever thought about it? He sips his Tazo mint tea and says “Riiight” drawing it out as he listens to the person on the other end of the phone tell a story. My mood is lifting a little now as I warm up and relax, I’m a little worn out from the oral surgery I had this week on two teeth and I didn’t take any time off afterwards-tomorrow I have to rest. When my table mate starts to leave, I stop him and tell him that I am writing about him and I read what you just read about him, he seems not to believe me at first but after I read it to him he is pleased, I hope he takes my advice and try to get some work in commercials.
Before I know it another man comes in and asks me if he can sit down, I agree, he’s walking with a cane and is not well dressed for the weather, he asks me where I’m from and starts telling me his life story. He is Spanish, Hungarian, French Canadian and was adopted, he grew up well to do upstate New York but soon had to go live with an aunt in Maspeth, he didn’t say why. The aunt was very religious, he went to college for human services and has worked as a prep chef, line cook, landscaper, ships machinist, etc. We talk about life and love and the economy, he tells me that all you need is a little faith and things will get better, we agree that maybe Obama might turn things around, then as we both prepare to leave…he asks me for a dollar. He’s either homeless (although he doesn’t smell bad at all) or he’s a veteran outpatient from the hospital nearby. It’s at times like this that I wonder, am I being tested by God or being played by a con/homeless guy. I give him the dollar- just in case, and he goes to the counter to get a snack and I leave and begin walking to the theater.
I’m standing inside the platform waiting room of the Long Island Railroad, as you might have guessed by now, it’s very cold and windy and the small room is pretty packed. There is a large contingent of Asian’s here, they seem to be disabled and are being overseen by a few folks, probably a church group. The group leaders are looking after everyone and one nervous young man in particular counts heads over and over again, maybe it’s his first big assignment. We board the train and I score myself a window seat and take out my pad to begin writing. The nervous church leader seats his people and counts heads again, he is really working hard. Then he passes out chopsticks and starts passing out long styrofoam boxes of food before sitting down next to me and opening one up for himself. He has way too many of these, I guess some people didn’t want any. But he opens his and starts to eat, it’s vegetable sushi and the large rolls are cut into about eight pieces. This is an express train so we stop only twice before getting into Penn Station, a cool thing because I’m a little hot now in my overcoat and there’s no room for me to get up without disturbing this guy’s meal.
I’m going to see the Arthur Miller play “All My Sons” at the Schoenfeld Theatre tonight but my first destination will be Prune, an East Village landmark for the downscale hipsters but also an upscale place for dinner where I saw Anthony Bourdain eat on his hit show “No Reservations” a year ago. Tony ate upstairs in the kitchen where only chefs are allowed to eat, probably because many of us wouldn’t want to eat what’s served out of fear or culinary knowledge. Thank God the brunch menu is not so scary as that!, I’m really looking forward to this meal. My seat companion is on his second boat of sushi, that’s sixteen pieces and counting folks. The day is bright and mostly clear, I’m warm now so I take off my scarf, hat and open my coat up a little to cool off. This guy next to me is up to twenty four pieces of sushi!, I mean he’s thin…how is he doin it?
There’s a young guy behind me talking on his cell phone in low, obviously educated hipster tones. He’s talking about snopes.com mentioning an accident of some sorts, he asks the person on the other end if their bone was broken or pulverized, (nice choice of words genius) I think as we roll on into Jamaica Station and then off again.
When I arrive in Penn Station I waste no time in going topside to seize the day in New York, enjoy the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. There are scores of people walking about as I try to get my bearings and figure out where I need to go. But it’s too cold to do a walkabout, right now at least, so I go down to the subway and take the seven train across to the six downtown, there are alot of people here in the tunnels waiting for a train. Families are just starting to shop for Xmas and the kids are fussing and crying over something already. So many people are shopping today, and it’s not even black friday yet! Makes you wonder where people are getting the money to spend in a bad economic environemnt as ours. Thanks all of you out there in Washington, you too in big business for messing things up, but don’t worry your pretty heads about it, the middle class will pick up the tab for you as usual, we always do… don’t we? Yes, of course we do, the only thing that matters is that you have all you need because God knows, rich people need their money!
But there I wait, in an ever rising body temperature coupled with a growing urgency to relieve myself. Nearby a one man band plays bongos and cymbal and uses pre-recorded tapes to provide the missing band members. The music is temporarily drowned out by the rush of trains coming in, but not mine yet. The train roars out and he begins a different piece, a few minutes later the six train comes in and I get on with the throngs of people. But the trains are stacked and mine has to go to fourteenth street. Because of a jam up on the lines, (too many trains I guess) so off we go passing station after station in this underground time travel device we call a subway, I get off at Spring Street and have to double back and over but that’s okay.
I find Prune easily, located on 54 E. 1St between 1st & 2nd Ave, it’s owner and head chef Gabrielle Hamilton presents with an eclectic menu of childhood memories mixed with favorites turned on their end with ingredients and flair. It is jammed, there’s a 1 1/2 hour wait to get in and by that time brunch will be over. I ask the attractive red headed hostess if I can use the rest room, and since the upstairs one is occupied I’m allowed downstairs. I descend a spiral staircase, small steps made for a time long ago when people must have been smaller overall, and find myself standing in an anteroom out side the bathroom door, to my left is a kitchen door about three feet away from a table of five waiting for their food! Down here in this small space is a table? But that’s how good it is here, every available square foot of table space is used for seating-it has to be! I use the loo and then go outside to wait for my spot with others hoping to get in. It’s sunny but cold, and growing colder and after about forty five minutes I decide to move on to my backup destination I begin walking toward Bleeker Street, to my backup eatery A O C.
I leave Mr. Biggs, and start for the theater, calling home to see if all are OK and get the latest news, a few drops of rain quickly turn into a downpour and I run to find shelter while still talking on my cell. My pant legs are soaked as the wind drives the rain at an angle, I find a parking garage at the intersection of 42nd St and Dyer Pl and stand under the entrance, around me is a group of people doing much the same. I listen to New Age piped in as we watch others scramble or just walk and accept their fate, many are not dressed for this weather. When it lets up I walk down the block to Theater Row and go in hoping my body heat will dry my overcoat a little as I shiver in the temperature change and walk up to my theatre.
Theatre Row is a collection of newly renovated historic theatres in Times Square, New York City including The Acorn; Beckett; Clurman; Kirk; Lion; and Studio Theatres. The theatre is small 9 rows of about 24 seats each so although I’m in the back, it’s a good seat. The back wall is backlit with wood wainscot and will change colors as the scenes change, a open pantry in the back with a small table and two chairs, a pair of framed French doos stage left, a fridge stage right inside a similar frame as on left, a frame with hanging pots gives the illusion of a stove somewhere as well. This will change into a restaurant, a living room and back to a kitchen, during the performance a curtain will run across the stage continuously until stage hands have made the necessary changes, a truly brilliant use of minimal props.
What doesn’t change is the inability of the characters to really communicate as they talk over each others feelings as if they didn’t exist. The piece is tightly acted by a good cast and the underlying grief is broken by flashes of humor to keep the audience from becoming melancholy. In a very real sense the play is about the self absorbed nature of people and the consequences of that absorption. The tragedy is that life reflects this art all too often, and the people we care about the most are the ones we seek to (however unintentionally) destroy or at best dis-regard, when all is said and done, we are, after all, each of us alone.
I stand outside but decide against waiting for the cast, this is not a playbill show so I walk down to 8th Ave and turn left heading for Penn Station. The rain has stopped again, I am still very damp from my earlier soaking. Despite the rain the streets are crowded with people, I guess it always is until the small hours when the predators come out and most places are closed. I’m glad to be going home early for once, and go down the escalator to the LIRR, I walk to the big board showing all trains while the masses swirl around me I see that I’ve got 13 minutes to get my train, I should be home by 11:30.
I sit on the train contemplating my life a little, with all that’s going wrong in the world right now, for me personally, and my family, I can’t help feeling like I’m the luckiest guy on earth. To somehow overcome my station in life and the hand I was dealt, the problems that were thrust upon me at a young age. I’ve managed to do pretty good for myself and have almost become what I am. The man I work for even though he’s rich, is poor in spirit and culturally bankrupt. I may never be part of the upper crust of this world, but like the steam that will rise from the apple pie we will enjoy later, so too do I rise above the crust and float free in this most rich life we have especially today on Thanksgiving, when so many are going hungry.
So today I am thankful for the person I have become and for the many good experiences that I have made for myself in life. I wish all of you my readers the same happiness in what makes you feel alive and free.
I can only pray in the next few years that all the hope we were told to have is somehow brought to fruition, and that I can continue to tell my stories as long as it makes me happy… as I can afford to spend the money that it takes to bring them to you.
A cloudy day… raining on and off but warm for November, 60 degrees! Right now it’s stopped raining as I walk through the parking lot of the railroad station. I worked half a day today, came home and got a few things done before I left to see this play tonight, Mouth to Mouth by Kevin Elyot. The train is coming into the station as I reach the terminal buildings, I dash to the ticket machine and wait while the computer processes my card and spits out my ticket and receipt. Then I run up the escalator and board the train with just seconds to spare! I sit breathing hard, and watch as an unlucky man tries to get the train to stop, clutching at the door seams…and then gives up… flipping the bird as the train pulls away.
So with five hours to spare before the show, I can relax and take my time, having already decided on Le Rivage as my restaurant dujuor for the evening, while looking at Menupages.com. It has many good reviews and one who calls himself Frenchophile says it’s the best French restaurant in Manhattan! So it’s good enough for me, and with a price fixe menu of $37.00 you can’t go wrong for an appetizer, dinner, and dessert and coffee. The only fly in the ointment is my teeth, facing oral surgery in three days, I have to be careful how I eat and what I choose.
But as I’m properly doped up on Motrin, with more in my pocket I relax and listen to the young man behind me, a newb, going into the city for the first time with no clue how to get around. He calls one friend after another asking what bus or subway to take, underestimating the travel time, he even thinks Penn Station is on 40th St! In this day of computers, what with Mapquest and such there is no excuse for not knowing how to get around. I’ve got my route in my head and also written down in case I forget…the best laid plans of mice and men often get screwed up so….
We arrive at Jamaica Station and I listen to the incomprehensible announcements over the load speaker, the din coming from the back of the car tells me that some sporting event is going down tonight. The loud incessant talk, the occasional beer bottle hitting the floor, and the outbreak of sudden raucous laughter tells me all I need to know. In the car up ahead of me a pair of attractive cougars talk about their husbands, relatives, complain about so and so at work, and ridicule mutual friends over many things, but the thing they talk about most is shoes! They go over the details of brand names, the relative stretchability factor, how different brands breathe, and grades of leather. How can you pick apart footwear like that? I don’t know …must be a chick thing. The kid behind me is an Oboe student still talking about his itinerary, I won’t help him, he’s got to learn on his own like I did. I once stayed in the subway one stop to many and wound up on Staten Island and had to take a cab back to Penn Station, but that turned into a great cab ride with an interesting driver…but that’s another story. Were going down now at a good clip, I may have a drink or a shoeshine in the station…I’ll flip a coin when I get there.
I decide to forego the drink and shoeshine and go straight to my dinner destination on foot to save money on the cab, it’s so nice out it would be a shame to miss this warm weather. Le Rivage is located on 46th St between 8th & 9th Ave, I pretend to study the menu as a group of sixty something seniors that look well heeled pass me by with a smile and nod. I hesitate to go in, I mean I’m in jeans, and even though I ate in Parisian Bistro’s, that was downscale stuff! I don’t know if I fit in here, this is New York and probably the best place I’ve been in so far, I swallow my discomfort…I’m going in.
The place is quaint and rustic with a touch of elegance to it, I’m immediately greeted with “Bonjuor” by the owner and his wife, who takes my coat, their daughter I think is the manager, and a grand daughter is the bartender. I select for my appetizer Duck Meat Terrine, a slice of meat cake (I call it anyway-Thanks George Carlin) not pate which is served on a bed of lettuce with cornichons; a slice of tomato with chopped onion on top; an olive; a slice of carrot; greens and a little dressing, artfully arranged on a plate. It is just too good, herb mustard on the side… it’s beautiful, the meat is not gamy but rather earthy and rich. Next my main dish of Monkfish Medallions in a Lobster sauce, three beautiful pieces of fish pan fried till just crispy on the edges (just the way I like it) served with carrot matchsticks in a sweet buttery sauce, and rice flavored with chopped red peppers which give the rice character. The fish is soft and sweet, reminding me of flounder in size and texture, definately something I would make at home. My dessert was a poached pear with ice cream and chocolate sauce, it was pre-made but good, very hard and cold so it lasted a long time. The owner offers me a second cup of coffee and smiling says “same price! same price!” and goes to make it happen. I like it here, and as I sip my wine and eat, I observe that others are dressed in jeans too so I relax and enjoy. The staff seem to take especially good care of me, maybe because I’m alone or maybe because they just want to make people happy. On the other side of the room the four seniors that came in before me seem to be enjoying their meal, as I leave one man at that table calls me over and asks me how I enjoyed my meal. He noticed my reluctance to come in, I tell them briefly about my experience and we exchange small words about our shows of choice for the night, it’s strange to think that they were curious about me. I will be back, I leave full but not stuffed with time to kill before the show. I wind up an hour later at Mr. Biggs, a typical sports bar where I stop for the chance to use the bathroom and to enjoy a Stella Artois on tap while I write and relax, the place has four big screen TV’s and thank God no one is screaming over some game right now. I kill time and listen to the sounds of the street on this open door warm night, with snow being predicted for Monday, it’ll be a long time before we get to enjoy these temperatures againPeace