Posted by: Mickey Goodman | May 5, 2013

New York, New York!

I’ve headed to NYC for the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) conference for the last five or so years, but every time I visit, I still feel like a kid sucking in my breath to blow out all the candles on my birthday cake so my wish to become a princess will come true.

Morgan Library   In NY, you can be and do anything you want, whether princess or a pauper. A nature lover? Head to Central Park, a green haven for athletes or families who want to spread out a blanket and enjoy the beauty all around them. A museum-goer? The list ranges from he massive Metropolitan Museum of Art to more intimate museums like The Frick Collection or The Morgan Library. A barfly? No end of places to go. In fact, there’s something to do 24/7. And that includes eating.

Since my main purpose is to attend the board meeting and conference, there’s little time for frivolity. But each year I pick an activity or two outside the doors of the Roosevelt Hotel and the ASJA offices on Times Square across the street from the squiggly ABC news marquee and giant screen (also a treat to see).

 This year at the urging of a friend, I walked the short distance to 235 Madison to The Morgan Library – a truly unforgettable experience. Thousands of first editions of leather-bound books with gold lettering reach from floor to ceiling, a true writers and readers paradise. The opulent marble walls, mosaic panels and leaded glass windows are almost too much to take in at one time. Add the decorations on the ceiling inspired by Raphael’s Stanza della Segnatura in the Vatican, and the experience is to die for.

In addition to the masterpiece painting throughout, there is an original Gutenberg Bible, Pucchini’s first opera with notes on the staff lettered by him, a letter to a friend from John Steinbeck complaining about his “God damned book” that turned out to be Grapes of Wrath, a traveling exhibit by Proust with a cut and pasted manuscript full of hand-written scribbles. I could have stayed all day — and pretty much did.

Puccini operaSteinbeck letter

Another highlight of the trip was seeing Holland Taylor (who also plays the sex-crazed mother of former star, Charlie Sheen, in the TV sitcom, “Two And A Half Men. In “Ann,” her one-woman show about former Texas Governor Anne Richards, Governor Richards was truly in the house. There was nary a sign of Taylor who played her role superbly. Add in the venue, the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, and the experience couldn’t have been better.

Last year my extra curricular activities included the Frick Collection, a spectacular house museum once owned by industrialist Henry Clay Frick, one of few remaining Gilded age mansions in the city.  Masterpieces by artists such as Bellini, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Gainsborough, Goya, and Whistler comprise the permanent collection, and we were treated to a temporary collection of Rembrandt sketches. Today, the Frick Art Reference Library is one of the leading institutions for research in the fields of art history and collecting. Awesome!

I also took a long, expensive taxi to Ground Zero only to realize that reservations are timed and I should have made them online or else hang around for more hours than I had. None-the-less, it was goose-bump eerie to see the new structure rising into the skyline and walk into the small museum near the ticket desk.

As for eating. Take your pick from every ethnic specialty. From my mile-high pastrami sandwich to the elegant Pampano and Café Centro, the food is divine. And expensive. In fact, the cheapest things in NY are Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s new fleet of yellow cabs that are spotlessly cleaned and have set rates for destinations like the airport. Be very aware of black “gypsy” cabs. An example: a trip to Lincoln Center in a gypsy cab: $20; in a yellow cab for the return trip: $8.50!

One day, I promise myself, I’m going to the Big Apple just to play; to re-visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island; take a long walk in Central Park, see a Broadway play every night, eat different ethnic food every night and go broke happy! 

 

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. Sounds like a great visit. You must have had a terrific tour guide:-)


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