This is the last full day of my parent’s visit – time for another trip into New York City.
Usually, on Sunday trips, we drive. Steffie asked if we could take the train and I said yes. I’m not entirely sure it was a good idea, though a street fair on 6th Avenue and the Yankees game probably slowed things down.
We left around 10:00 AM and headed to New Haven’s Union Station. Our train was local through Connecticut, but from Stamford it went non-stop to 125 Street in Harlem and then Grand Central Terminal.
We talked about people we knew, people from Connecticut, who claimed to never have been to New York City. That stuns me, though I know it’s true. There’s so much to do in the city that you can’t do anywhere else.
Actually, as a kid I always thought I’d grow up and move to New York. Even as an adult there were times when I thought my career would take me there. At this point it probably won’t happen.
Living in New York is convenient and cumbersome at the same time. Getting anything home – like grocery shopping, is an incredible hassle. Then there’s the noise and the crowds. On the other hand, if you live in the city, you can get anything delivered to you at any hour of the day or night.
New York is the only city in the world with twenty four hour room service!
And, you can walk to where you’re going. Walking is the major advantage city life has over anything else. It’s funny how we think of the suburbs or country as healthier living, but New Yorkers certainly walk more than my neighbors do. They surely walk more than I do.
And, of course, whatever you want to do – it’s there! Movies, museums, restaurants, culture, crap – it’s there.
We got off the train at Grand Central and headed to the Museum of Modern Art. I’ll have to hand it to Stef. She kept her word. I know she had no desire, but she went with the rest of us into the museum.
MOMA is unlike most museums in that there are no classics – everything is new, meaning 20th or 21st century.
We headed to the fourth floor and started scouting around. Some of the work is spectacular. Some of the work is ridiculous. Some of the work seems to be saying, “Can you tell I’m trying to fool you?”
The man on the left is staring at a painting that lists the world’s 1,000 longest rivers, in order. Is it art? Actually, I liked it!
Yes, there are single colored canvasses – just a solid blue canvas, for instance. Is that art? MOMA thinks so. I’m not so sure.
Then there are the works of Picasso, Gauguin, Klee, Lichtenstein and Jackson Pollock (he of the paint splatters seemingly sprayed at random on a canvas). Andy Warhol‘s soup cans are there too.
It’s all a little overwhelming. Standing next to some of these paintings is like standing next to Mick Jagger or Britney Spears because they’re cultural icons, etched into our common experience.
We couldn’t stay too long. Six months ago, before we knew my parents were coming, we had gotten tickets to see “Wicked” on Broadway. Steffie, Helaine and I had to head to the Gershwin Theater for the 3:00 PM performance.
“Wicked” is the prequel to “The Wizard of Oz.” It’s the story of how Glinda became the Good Witch and Elphaba, The Wicked Witch of the West. It’s a cute story with a great cast. As is so often the case on Broadway, the first act was better than the second, though the show ended very strongly.
For months Steffie has had “Popular,” a song from “Wicked,” on her Ipod. And for months, I had been playing it and singing along. Obsessed? Me? Sure.
If, for some reason, the conductor had suffered a wrist injury, I was ready to step in and lead the orchestra for this one song. I knew every word, every note, every bit of accompaniment in the arrangement.
It took everything I could muster to refrain from leading the orchestra from my seat.
The original cast is long gone. The current stars – unknowns to me – were very good and the staging was spectacular. We didn’t expect it, but in the cast were Ben Vereen (The Wizard of Oz) and Rue McClanahan (Madame Morrible).
It has become common for Broadway shows to have names you recognize from TV to help at the box. If these two were meant to sell tickets, they’re awfully well hidden. Of course “Wicked” doesn’t seem to need help selling tickets at the moment.
My parents met us at the theater at 6:10 and we proceeded to dinner. The five of us feasted at the Stage Delicatessen on 7th Avenue.
We were stuffed as we walked south, through Times Square, and back to Grand Central. I must have taken 10 shots of the Chrysler Building as it glistened in the golden light of the late day’s sun. It stood out so tastefully against the pure blue sky.
Our train left at 8:07 and took nearly two hours to reach New Haven, making this an awfully long day – but a great Father’s Day.