New York, Day 1: April 8, 2016
Michael’s original schedule for today:
- 4:30PM Mom and Dad arrive
- 8:00PM See American in Paris on Broadway
- 11:00PM Dinner at Becco.
What really happened:
We left DC on schedule. I happened to get this picture out the train window at New Carrollton and had no idea what these hands were:
A bit of sleuthing when we got home came up with this article from the Washington Post:
Answer Man: The Big Hands of the Law
By John Kelly
Monday, June 20, 2005
My query is about the two enormous hands on black-and-white pillars outside the Internal Revenue Service building across from the New Carrollton Metro station. A friend at the IRS suggested they represent the idea that “the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.” Somehow I feel there is a more lofty story.
Gretchen Dunn, New Carrollton
The two pillars are just 66.6 percent of artist Larry Kirkland ‘s sculptural work in front of what is technically, if rather drably, known as the Federal Building.
The centerpiece is a black granite pyramid etched with the U.S. Constitution. Across a little plaza are the two columns. Each is composed of alternating bands of black granite and white marble. (For some reason they reminded Answer Man of the Hamburglar‘s outfit.)
The most striking elements are the huge, white marble hands atop each column. Each hand points skyward, one with the forefinger extended; the other is an open hand, the fingers ever so slightly cupped.
They are open to many uncharitable interpretations: One hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing. The pointing hand is the IRS telling you to pay your taxes; the other is where you put the money.
So what’s really going on?
The 1997 work is called “Vox Populi,” which is Latin for “the voice of the people.” The hand with the raised index finger represents deliberation, argument, the gesticulation of a speaker giving his or her opinion. The hand with an open palm represents the act of voting or taking an oath.
The columns are engraved with more hands, the profiles of people engaged in conversation and quotations from various well-known figures, including Ben Franklin, John Milton and Frederick Douglass. One catchy selection is from the late senator Margaret Chase Smith (R-Maine), whose basic forms of “Americanism” include “the right to criticize, the right to hold unpopular beliefs, the right to protest, the right of independent thought.”
Here’s a better picture, courtesy of Google.
We arrived at Penn Station right on time and Michael met us.
We took the subway to the Wall Street stop and walked over to our Airbnb which I chose because it was so close to Michael’s apartment.
We followed Sam’s directions (Airbnb owner). I felt a little like a secret agent!
There will be a lockbox set on the apartment door, and the code is ****. There will be two door keys inside of the box.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, when you enter the building, directly go front-left, there will be two sets of elevators, turn right on the second set, and go to the 23rd floor. Turn left when you get out of the elevator. The apartment number is PHS (there will be lockbox on the door, so it will be obvious).
The reason I don’t want you to ask doorman for access is that the doorman will call my room (I will not be home), and if you just walk in directly, the doorman will not stop you.
We finally got into our penthouse home for the weekend at 10 Hanover Square and no doorman was used.
Looked around, unpacked a little and decided to eat before the show. A quick walk past Hanover Square and we ate at Harry’s Cafe and Steak across from Hanover Square.
After a yummy meal, we walked up to Modells so Tom could buy new shoes. His old ones had holes in them so they weren’t so good in the rain. (He bought black Nikes.)
We took subway to the Palace Theater for An American in Paris.
It was a fantastic show, different than the movie, but somewhat similar. There was some Gershwin music added that came from different shows. The woman in front of me was humming along to most of the music, which was most annoying.
The backdrops were so clever but the dancing was out of this world.
From the Variety review:
After the show, we took subway to Michael’s stop and got a new knee brace and snacks at Duane Reade in the Trump Building, then back home.
We found this place has no tv so we watched Downton Abbey on my iPad.
My knee was very uncomfortable from all the walking and stairs (lots of stairs in the subway!) so I took 1/2 a Vicodin and put on the new brace.
At first I thought the bed was too hard but it was a firm foam. Very comfortable.
According to my phone, we walked 3.66 miles and climbed 13 flights of stairs!
Saturday, June 6, 2015, Part 2
During Michael’s workout, I wrote part 1 of today’s post. When he arrived at the hotel, we set out for Tribeca Park on our search for the Sing For Hope pianos.
We found it!
Then, we Ubered (is that a word?) to Michael’s apartment for us to practice a bit. We dropped by Duane Reade, a relative of Walgreens, for some munchies and actually practiced – finally!
From there, we got another Uber and headed to the Lincoln Center complex. Our plan was to eat at the same restaurant we’d found before we saw The Marriage of Figaro at The Met.
When we got there, there was some sort of upscale street fair on the grounds. It turned out to be the American Crafts Festival.
We walked through that to find the next S4H piano, which we located in the Charles B Benson Grove. Yamaha grand. There was a woman playing ragtime and a long line of folks who wanted to play. Turned out the woman played clubs around the city and was using this event to advertise.
Off we went to the restaurant to find it closed for 2 months renovation. The next place reservations only so we went back to the Lincoln Center and had sandwiches in their coffee shop. Not bad!
We went to our pre-program Mozart lecture given by Joelle Wallach. Very interesting!
Then, into Avery Fisher Hall to hear an all-Mozart program including:
Piano Concerto No. 21
Symphony No. 38, Prague
Piano Concerto No. 20
Here’s a review of the exact same performance that we attended! The same program had been performed on Wednesday.
Review from the New York Times: New York Philharmonic Gives Mozart His Due
As the festival continues to evolve in directions that have less and less to do with its namesake, the Philharmonic, perhaps sensing an opportunity, offers a Mozart program of its own this week: the “Prague” Symphony and the Piano Concertos No. 20, in D minor, and No. 21, in C, with Jeffrey Kahane as guest conductor and soloist.
The “Prague” must be every opera lover’s favorite Mozart symphony. Composed in Vienna in 1786 and evidently given its premiere in Prague early the next year, it is a virtual caldron of tunes more or less shared with “Le Nozze di Figaro” (1786) and “Don Giovanni” (1787).
More than that, the symphony, played before intermission, evokes the moods and characters of those operas, especially “Don Giovanni.” Mr. Kahane treated all of that a bit matter-of-factly at Wednesday evening’s performance, with little lingering to search out lascivious byplay in dark recesses or to limn a bumbling Leporello.
So it came as a delightful surprise, after intermission, when Mr. Kahane injected the condemnatory sequence of rising and falling scales from “Don Giovanni” into his own cadenza for the first movement of the D minor Concerto. His playing was deft and virtuosic in both concertos, though his fast tempos in the outer movements of the C major resulted in some blurred scalar passages and a slightly hectic feel at times.
You might have feared a certain weightiness from the Philharmonic in Mozart, but Mr. Kahane generally drew stylish playing from a reduced band of 40 or so. The strings had a pliant quality, and the woodwinds were especially fine.
The program was fantastic but we wondered why it was Concerto-Symphony-Intermission-Concerto. With that type of programming, it started with the piano on stage, then moved out, then moved back during the intermission for the final concerto.
A quick stop at Duane Reade for night time snacks than an Uber home. We went right by the cruise terminal on our way to the hotel.
Tomorrow’s a busy day with Steinway Hall then boarding the cruise ship. I may not finish writing these until we get home, depending on WiFi and other activities – but I’ll take good notes 🙂