Thursday, December 16, 2010
"It's that time of year when the world falls in love...."
With Frank's voice and the old song waltzing in my ears, we plowed through the throngs of folks clogging the arterial sidewalks of New York like so much bad cholesterol, walking from Chinatown to Central Park last weekend in an effort to do a little Christmas shopping and see what's what in the windows of luxe Fifth Avenue vendors. I have to say I have never in my life seen such mobs of people, scary at times, as one attempted to cross the street and progress up Broadway or Fifth where clots of pedestrians fifty to a hundred deep stood immobilized and waving their cellphones at the sights. There were lines outside major stores, not to view the windows (which were frankly not what they used to be) but to simply get a chance to enter the store and shop. Can you imagine a bigger waste of time? Even Canal Street was impossible, and we got there early in the morning.
Dean and de Luca, though mobbed, was relaxing by comparison.
Sidestreets downtown (south of houston) were pleasant enough, especially Chinatown/Mott area, where I love to stop and marvel at the silk kiddie pjs and the wealth of gorgeous street veg at ridiculously cheap prices, strictly for local consumption. Dem Chinese take care a dey own. And shopping from street vendors on lower Broadway, always a treat.
So we shopped all day Saturday after a late night drive down Riverside to West 84th to the flat T found on craigslist, $120 a night for two nights. It was ok, run by a group of Asians (I am told I can't say "orientals" anymore – does this mean "occidental" is taboo as well?) who appeared to be affiliated with Columbia U. The place was a little messy, but the bed was comfy and the sheets and towels clean. Nice neighborhood as well. We must have walked a hundred miles Saturday, much to T's distress as the boots she wore turned out to be not exactly "made for walkin" as my Frye's are. We'd hop a cab, which were plentiful, thank God, whenever it got to be too much. Of course T had to make one last heroic effort to return, with my new ring, to the Mother Ship on 57th and 5th, where we tried on diamond earrings and generally swanned around trying to look like we belonged there.
The Met was stunning. The last time I was there was 1989 I think, and I don't recall them having installed the cool digital libretto readers for each seat then. Low light, so no distraction to others. Nice to follow along without having to lower your eyes from the stage much. The first act of La Boheme was an ambush of such amazing beauty I found myself grabbing a tissue (thanks, Christy) and dabbing at the water fountains that sprang from nowhere on the outside corners of my eyes. I wasn't the least bit upset, just completely overwhelmed at the beauty of the tenor's voice and the music. You could have knocked me over with a feather, I was so astonished at my own vulnerability. It was the intensely present beauty of the thing, a joy, tears of pure joy and gratitude that there is such human effort at beauty in the world. As T said, these are the words, and the feelings, everyone wishes someone would say to them. She nailed it, as simple as it sounds. So I took the tissue, just went with the uncontrolled tear ducks, and mopped resignedly at my cheeks. Why I bothered with makeup I'll never know. It was glorious.
Drove home Sunday in torrential rain; still, breezed up Riverside and even took the Cross Bronx, world's worst road, without incident. Not much traffic thankfully. Lunch in CT at Rein's. We had a ball in New York. It's funny, you don't go there for a couple years, then when you do it's like old home week. A great city, but, frankly, it paled next to Paris and Rome. And the crowds were like lunkheads, standing around as though they were the only people on the planet.
Tip: Ladies, you need a good, comfy city walking shoe that won't make you look like Whistler's Mother? Get yourself a pair of Frye boots on Zappos.com. I have worn these things to death for the last three months and they really, how you say ... rock.
Will post again before Christmas, then take a breather for a week or so. We have a ten foot tree this year! It is stunning. Now have to decide what to put on it!
Here's a memorable quote from Krugman's column commenting on Congress' (particularly Republican) failure to bring the banks to heel: "what happens when an ideology backed by vast wealth and immense power confronts inconvenient facts. And the answer is, the facts lose." I think that pretty much applies to most congressional "efforts" these days.
Yup -- Yesterday was a bad day for democracy in DC.
Is anyone else out there feeling a little zaftig around the middle? After three months of mouthwatering Eurofood, I'm feeling a little insulin resistant and so are my jeans. So here's a little good advice from the Times on the efficacy of exercising before breakfast, research that refutes the notion you have to 'carb up' to exercise effectively. I did a workout this morning with nothing but tea and water in my system and am sure I felt my pancreas thank me. (Nothin like a few months of worshipping at the patisserie to get your pancreas workin overtime.)
ciao for now..