Corona Virus Updates

There is much state and local leadership with this virus. Recently, Governor Andrew Cuomo started email updates at:

https://now.ny.gov/page/s/coronavirus-updates

The information goes beyond what is happening in New York State.

We MUST get our millenials on board with this pandemic. They are a social bunch, however, need to find a different way to socialize.

54% of New York States coronavirus are aged 18 to 49.

I recently sent a stern email to my 37 year old daughter requesting her to spread the word to her friends. Moms, dads, and everyone reading this I implore you to do the same.

The Amen Corner

Had always been told what an amazing writer James Baldwin was and finally had the opportunity to experience this. Critics are spot-on. The production of his play The Amen Corner at the Norfolk Theatre Festival was amazing with the performances raw and insightful.

In the play a woman leaves her husband for the Lord becoming a minister. Ten years have past, a church with congregation has been developed and the trombone playing husband returns to see his wife and son. When this occurs the congregation turns on her. Rival factions take over the church as she grapples with the eventual demise of the returning husband and departure of her adult son.

Rival Factions Pow-Wow.

While somber there was much levity sprinkled throughout the play. Baldwin is adept at this mix of wit and cynicism. The audience also proved instrumental with their amens, comments, and laughter added to the production.

Preacher and Her Sister Sharing A Moment.

All actors were in top form with Candaunn Jennette as Margaret having an amazing reach in the lead role, and the congregation villans humorous, rotten to the core, and accurately depicted.

Drunk Scene

Jalen Loft, David, gave a classic performance as a drunk, and Derek Savage, as Luke the returning husband, made you feel his pain.. And an additional hats off to Artistic Director Anthony Stockard, who richly deserves his many accolades as listed in the program.

Preacher and Husband Final Embrace

The next production for the Norfolk Festival will be Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights from April 16-19. Unsure if seats are still available but check as it certainly will be another amazing performance.

Budapest Festival Orchestra at Lincoln Center David Geffen Hall

What an amazing night at Lincoln Center with this orchestra. Starting the evening with the pre-concert lecture helped to make sense of the symphony components. In the lecture given by Christopher H. Gibbs of Bard College, he explained the symphony movements and how they related to Mahler’s life. Included in Professor Gibbs handout was the Mahler worksheet for the symphony.

Pretty facinating isn’t it?

Gustav Mahler was a leading conductor of his generation. He was director of the Vienna Opera House and later worked for the New York Metropolitan Opera and New York Philharmonic.

While primarily a full time conductor he composed during his summer breaks. His symphony this evening portrays the death of a family member which he lamented. After this piece was completed Mahler experienced the death of one of his children.

Budapest Festival Orchestra with conductor Ivan Fischer

Besides concerts, operas, ballets, and plays, Lincoln Center offers tours of their facilities. The New York Philharmonic also has tickets for Open Rehearsals.

This concludes my New York City visit and pardon the pun, but what a note to end on.

FDR: Four Freedoms State Park

Being a fan of FDR this memorial was a must see for me. To get to Roosevelt Island where the memorial is located one must take a tram over the East River to Southpoint Park. It’s a 4 minute ride.

  • Cost: a metrocard ride $2.75.
  • Location: 59th Street and 2nd Avenue

And here’s the tram:

The Views:

Arrival:

Once on Roosevelt Island there is a free bus which can be taken to Southpoint Park the location of the memorial. OR take a 15 minute walk along the river for picturesque views of Manhattan.

As you enter the Park there is a historic Smallpox Hospital which is currently in ruin. Opened in 1856 and designed by American James Renwick, Jr. of architectural fame, this was the first hospital dedicated to the treatment of smallpox, a deadly, highly contagious viral disease.

The structure is on the National Register of Historic Places and a designated New York City Landmark.

Constructed with granite from Roosevelt Island by prison labor this hospital was multi-faceted in use and a school of nursing until 1950.

The Four Freedoms

Franklin Delano Roosevelt lived from 1882-1945. He was our only 4 term president serving from 1933-1945 when he died while in office. Following are other offices he held:

  • New York State Senator 1911-1913
  • Assistant Secretary of the Navy 1913-1920
  • Governor of New York 1929-1932

Roosevelt was a member of a prominent political family. His was a distant cousin was President Theodore Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, is considered by many historians as our greatest First Lady.

At President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s eighth State of the Union address he described his vision for the world in his Four Freedoms speech. This is considered his greatest speech. The Park is dedicated to this speech.

In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression – everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way – everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want…everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear..anywhere in the world.” FDR, January 6, 1941.

Brilliant words from a great President.

We need more Franklin Delano Roosevelts in this Office.

Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Gardens

And what a show it was! It continues through April 19th and if in the area make the visit as it is a kaleidoscope of flora colors. Two fun facts:

#1. There are 30,000 orchid species and over 100,000 hybrids.

#2. Orchids are even known to grow on trees.

Jeff Leatham is a Paris based designer who works internationally and, “loves orchids because each one has its own personality.” Take a peek and think you’ll feel the same.

Hanging Orchids
Wall of Orchids – all these are part of the Orchid family.

After the orchid show I visited the many other sites at the Botanical Gardens. There are walking trails, rock gardens, an extensive children’s area, picnic grounds, and in April their hill of 1,000,000 daffodils will be in full bloom. Come and enjoy!

Children’s Garden..

Tomorrow: Did you know New York City had a skyride? Stay tuned.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick was a missionary and bishop who is credited for bringing Christianity to Ireland. He is the Patron Saint of Ireland. The holiday has become a world-wide event with the United States celebrations far greater than Ireland. They mainly consider it a bank holiday. It is thought St. Patrick lived around 386 A.D. and while March 17th is honored as his date of death the official date is unknown.


In the US there are parades and much beer consumption.

Savannah has a 3 day festival and Chicago dyes the Chicago River to celebrate.

Americans consume corn beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread on this day while the Irish may do a Shepard’s Pie or lamb stew.

Meal to come..

Irish Catholics traditionally wear green on this day as it is thought to keep them invisible to leprechauns who might pinch them. While Protestants wear orange to designate their faith.

But the real question is… How much beer is actually consumed on this day? Despite valiant attempts couldn’t locate the answer..

Da Bronx

Began the day on the 2, (subway line), visiting my former home, Da Bronx. Lived here for 2 years until Me too’d by an MD, but what woman hasn’t?. Lost a career but eventually made my way back to a former career. The television/movie industry seems to have been affected, but the medical and restaurant industry await. Only the tip of the iceberg has been exposed. Enough said…

Allerton Avenue – my former stop has been upgraded. Fancy schamansy, get a load of the stained glass.

And a few of my favorite neighborhood haunts have changed their names but the same great pizza and gyros remain.

My Former Home at the Corner of Wallace and Allerton.

Next, the real Little Italy ..

With a market you don’t want to miss.

Then on to Arthur Avenue where Italian food reigns.

And stop to say a prayer at Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

This church began at the end of the 19th century as a haven for Italian immigrants. At its height in the 1940’s and 1950’s more than 40,000 Italians called this church their home. Since inception 17 priests and numerous sisters have come from the congregation. Over 100 years old it continues to serve the Italian community, however now serves the Latin community also.

And my former employer, St. Barnabas Hospital.

Next, a stop around the corner from Little Italy, the New York Botanical Garden. See you tomorrow..

Six, The Musical

This fast paced musical is based on the 6 wives of Henry the VIII. In the play all wives present their story through song and funny stories. Each compete for the favorite wife slot as the play goes on. There is no intermission.

While the play was glitzy, very different and fun, I missed most of what was said as the actors spoke and sang at an extremely fast pace. What I did hear was definitely a hoot so if you are young and in the mood for a funny romp through history this play is for you.

The Phantom of the Opera and Agrippina

Today was a combination of theater and opera with Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and Agrippina at the Met.

Phantom is based on a novel by Gaston Leroux, from the early 1900’s. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart converted the story into a play and it has famously been running ever since. The music and story line are strong and beautifully sung by Broadway royalty in this production and the ticket prices through Headout.com are reasonable.

Evening entertainment was Agrippina, a newly updated opera of Handel from the 19th century. It portrays governmental intrigue of ancient Rome. The voices were astonishing and astounding, however I found the 4 hour performance difficult to follow. Sung in Italian the English translation on the seat captions were difficult to view. In the past they Met posted these above stage making the opera easier to follow.

I need to write to the Met about this. Ha! Ha!

The main temptress in the story.

Those in the audience oohed and ahhed in glee over the performance with the Met filled to capacity. March 7th the performance closed but for opera buffs there is always another year.

Stay tuned: Tomorrow, Four Freedoms State Park and Six, The Musical.

Tina Turner Musical: It keeps on rolling

In the evening of my first night in town took in Tina, the Musical. What an exciting play this was! It is only a short run so get your ticket and go. Ms. Adrienne Warren who plays Tina is amazing and be assured you will hear that name again and again in the future.

The play follows Ms. Turner’s life and what a roll it was with parents who didn’t want her, a grandmother who adored her, a man who used, abused and beat her, and finally finding love, peace, and solace in a German man many years her junior. They remain together marrying recently and living in Switzerland.

Final number, pictures allowed.

Hopefully, this play will do a road trip. It is a must see.