Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2016

A Curious Day at the Opera

(Updated) The Metropolitan Opera had not staged a production of Gioachino Rossini's "Guillaume Tell" in eight decades. Not in my lifetime. The composer's final opera, though considered one of his great ones (nearly up there with "The Barber of Seville"), is a lengthy and complicated endeavor. While few people have seen the opera in a live production, most everyone knows the famous overture. Members of the post-war generation and Baby boomers associate the William Tell Overture with the Lone Ranger and his trusty sidekick, Tonto. Outside the Metropolitan Opera House before the performance. Saturday, October 29, 2016. 11:34 a.m. The Met's production is estimated to run about four hours and thirty-six minutes. The first intermission is scheduled for 30 minutes and a second intermission for 40 minutes. The final act wraps up quickly at 26 minutes, but that's when a lot of beautiful music takes place. Except it didn't quite work out that way

A Walk in Central Park from Cedar Hill to W. 69th Street and Central Park West

A perennial post first published in 2016... The Central Park walk featured here is accompanied by pictures of seasonal scenes from late October, but as with most walks in New York's famous park, the stroll can be undertaken at any time of year. Highlights include Cedar Hill, Conservatory Water, the Hans Christian Andersen statue, The Lake, and Bow Bridge. The walk ends in a pretty landscaped area on the west side of Central Park at W. 69th Street. On Cedar Hill in Central Park An autumn day with ample sunshine and mild temperatures does bring out the crowds and adventurous boaters, whether rowing in the Lake or steering a model boat in Conservatory Water, so solitary sorts may want to wait for a grayer and colder day.

The Wonderful World of the United Palace Theatre

The Loew's 175th Street Theatre, now the United Palace Theatre , opened on February 22, 1930. Imagined by architect Thomas Lamb, the fifth of five Loew's Wonder Theatres in the New York area (and all still standing, another wonder) boasted architectural elements from the whole wide world. Details include lions, Buddhas, ornate Islamic patterns, and impossible knights in armor guarding the stage. Gold and red, the colors of opulence envelop the vast palace from floor to ceiling, from first-row orchestra to the nose-bleed seats, and up and down the theatrical staircase. The United Palace Theatre, 175th and Broadway, was one of five Loew's Wonder Theatres. The uptown theater had 3,000 seats when it opened that first night, and it has about 358 more now. Like the fashion of the time, the show included live vaudeville acts along with a motion picture. On opening night in 1930, the featured movie was THEIR OWN DESIRE starring Norma Shearer. One of the big attractions was t

A Walk Around the Central Park Reservoir

Walking around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir , the official name for the reservoir in Central Park that stretches from around 86th to 96th Streets, is not ideal for your typical city walker who prefers a stroll on the boulevards. Few architectural structures of note grace the path, and the main entertainment consists of trying not to become injured by fast runners. However bucolic, the reservoir is not a good place to walk the turtle. This walk around the Reservoir begins on the east side near Museum Mile. At the same time, walking around a large body of water in New York City's greatest park is not without charms. Views of the skyline from all direction, plenty of flora and fauna, access to charming cast-iron bridges, and overheard conversations may be counted among the attributes of a walk around the reservoir. Walking north on the east side of the Reservoir. On a recent impromptu walk following a visit to the Guggenheim, I found myself amused by an overh

The New York Public Library's Rose Main Reading Room Reopens

The New York Public Library's Rose Main Reading Room and the adjacent Bill Blass Public Catalog Room, located on the third floor of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan, reopened this month after being closed for more than two years for needed repairs and restoration.  Rose Main Reading Room, New York Public Library The rooms had been shut down to the public in May 2014 after an ornamental plaster rosette fell from the ceiling overnight. As the floor-to-ceiling space in the Reading Room measures 52 feet, it seemed prudent to take extra measures to protect the safety of researchers engaged in quiet study. While taking the initiative to learn new things, slumped over a book or hammering away at a laptop, they shouldn't have to worry about the sky falling. The ceiling of the two rooms includes 900 rosettes, now reinforced with steel cables, including the one that needed to be recreated and replaced. The ceiling mura

The Grid in the Spiral: Agnes Martin at the Guggenheim

Agnes Martin, a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum. The Guggenheim Museum is hosting a major retrospective of the work of American painter Agnes Martin (1912–2004), the first since her death. Canadian by birth and a New York resident for a seminal period in American art, Martin felt most at home in the shadow of the Taos Mountain in northern New Mexico. Other creative types have traded the city for the mystical light of New Mexico - Andrew Dasburg, Georgia O'Keeffe, Henriette Wyeth, and a large contingent of women artists of the feminist movement, among them, but with Martin, we see a journey that goes inward as well as out west.          While labeled a minimalist, Martin often self-identified as an Abstract Expressionist. As an expressionist, she expressed emotions, mostly positive ones associated with meditative states. No chaotic lines and exaggerated gestures are here, any contortions or anger, but mostly the cool, calm transcendent power of straight lines pencil

A Walk to the Marvelous High Bridge and its Tower

In 19th century New York, sightseers marveled at the grand sight of the High Bridge over the Harlem River. In the years following the Civil War, they traveled up the river by steamer from Harlem or by train from Grand Central Depot just to see it and walk across its mighty arched span. Some came by carriage from Central Park. They all came to see the grand 1,450-foot-long bridge that was built in 1848 as part of the Croton Aqueduct , the system that delivered fresh water to the city and was itself a huge and complex marvel of engineering. View of the High Bridge and tower. The bridge connects Upper Manhattan and the Bronx. The water moved to New York City via gravity, beginning upstream above the Old Croton Damn in Yorktown and then flowing south near the eastern bank of the Hudson all the way down into southern Westchester County, later this part of the Bronx, crossing the High Bridge (or the Aqueduct Bridge, in its day) through the large pipes just under the walkway