This trip to New York was very special. In addition to many of my usual favorite things I spent much of the time with old friends whom I haven't seen for many years. Our first activity was a tour of the Tenement Museum. It was particularly interesting in light of our current immigration discussions. Amazing how each generation of Americans easily forgets parents or grandparents who made the extraordinary effort to get here, many of them undocumented, how they were harassed and maligned after they arrived, and how they contributed to the rich life we now embrace and would be better off with more of their values.
My friends are Israelis. We met them just as they came out of the Israeli army and came to Chicago to go to University of Illinois. They remained long enough to get a PhD, have two children and become highly contributing American citizens. Then they returned to Israel and I've seen them only a few times since, each being a special pleasure.
We went to the Met (and I went a second time), to the Japan Society, to the High Line, and to the most amazing play, War Horse. The play is done with puppets, although not what we usually think of as puppets. They are life size; each horse controlled by three people. When they come on stage you know they are puppets, no attempt is made at deception, but you believe deep inside they are real and you are (I was) overwhelmed by their presence. Everything in the play conveys the story. Nothing is extraneous. It is all immensely moving. I plan to see the movie when it comes out at the end of the month, but I'm sure it won't be the same.
I came back to Pittsburgh with a walnut bread from Eataly, tea from Kalustyan and a nasty cough. I never got to the book party on Sunday; decided not to spread the germs. I just finished the book and will have pictures next post.
We worked all day Tuesday, Wednesday morning and part of today with great results. Tomorrow we'll have show and tell with pictures. Here are some pictures from the week:
Jan hard at work
My workspace. I hate to admit it looks a lot like my workspace at home.
Looking back at the house.
Looking toward the lake.
Of course, all was not work. Here are Jan and Sandy exercising.
Monday I went shopping. When Renee was in Pittsburgh she kept telling me my clothes were too big for me. I decided I'd get something new before she came back next week. It's not easy for me to get anything. I've lost weight everywhere but my waistline, making pants very difficult to find. I took a long walk and managed to get a new smaller pair of pants (elastic waist), 2 shirts and a jacket. Jackets are my favorite thing. I have a closetful, mostly too big at this point that I'll try to alter. Still tired from Sunday, I spent the rest of the day at the apartment.
Tuesday I met my friend Phyllis at the Metropolitan Museum. We spent most of our time at a great show of treasures from Afghanistan, had lunch and looked at another couple of exhibits. I especially liked this one on the roof of the museum, a gigantic tree root by Roxy Paine.
In the evening I met Julia and we went to an off-Broadway play about addiction, Dance of the Seven-headed Monkey. It was interesting, but, as with many off-Broadway efforts, needed work. Here are some photos from Times Square.
The indoor ferris wheel at Toys R Us.
Wednesday, after I finished that last post, I met Sybille in Central Park for a walking tour of part of the park neither of us had ever seen. The tour was called Central Park Adirondack. It began near the Harlem Meer and went to 100th St. and Central Park West. Then Sybille and I spent the rest of the afternoon talking, something we do best.
Driving back to Pittsburgh after a
lovely week in New York. Renee gave Steve a birthday party, taking
all of us to see Guys and Dolls. It was a great treat. I enjoy being
with Charna at a performance; she always get so involved. She performed in the
play several years ago and remembered all of the lines. I find that I enjoy these revivals of old
musicals much more than the new ones. I loved South Pacific when we
saw it last year. Guys and Dolls is right up there. In a real way
these are our operas. I don't see why they don't bring back all of
those old musicals. We need a New York Musicalia along with the
Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera.
Pennsylvania is a very large state.
Sometimes it feels like we're driving forever. It's sunny today with
a very cold wind, bitter when we got out of the car in Allentown. Trees are just
beginning to get buds, but the grass is green. There were forsythia
and magnolia blossoms in NJ but I haven't seen any here.
We made the trip in record time–not much traffic today. I'm back home with laundry to do and mail to sort.
University of Pittsburgh Repertory Theatre, part of the Department of Theatre Arts, is putting on a production of Angels in America, the Tony Kushner play about AIDS and other facets of American life. All parts, with the exception of Roy Cohn and Ethel Rosenberg/Hannah, are played by students. It is a complex, ambitious undertaking and they do a great job. I never saw the play when it was first produced so I was pleased to have this opportunity. With my usual standard of how many times I look at my watch I have to report that I only looked once, at the beginning of the intermission, and was surprised at how much time had elapsed. That means I give it five stars.
The Pitt Osher group had a lecture/discussion about this first part of the play, and another will be held before the second part is produced. Much of this lecture focused on how the students approached their roles and what was done to prepare them, since most of them were born after the time period (Ronald Reagan eighties) the play addresses and long after Roy Cohn was most famous.