Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Big Apple in April 2024 ...

It is an awkward time to be writing about happy travels when there is so much unhappiness, trauma and pain in the world.  And our country is not immune with serious war protests and unrelated but almost unbelievable public carnage as reported in Bondi and Western Sydney.  However, with apologies and sympathies to all who are affected I write for the record.  

We are here in New York City for the month, well settled into our digs in Hell’s Kitchen, 54th and 9th near the USS Intrepid on the Hudson, not far from Times Square and 42nd Street.  This year we have a 2 bed, 2 bath flat and unwisely mentioned same to family whose third member (and second sister of mine) will arrive this Friday to stay.  Great fun being in the city again with friends and family. 

We took the first sister Mindy to Turandot with Christine Goerke, Roberto Alagna and Angel Blue in the wonderful old Met Zeffirelli production.  Then Allan and I attended Terrence Blanchard's 'Fire Shut up in my Bones', to be followed by La Rondine HD broadcast on the Saturday matinee, Madama Butterfly, Carmen and El Nino, all at the Met in the last week of April. 

We have also been lucky to get to 2 concerts at Carnegie Hall, Schubert four hands program with Jonathan Biss and Mitsuko Uchida.  Then Carnegie Zenkel Hall Orpheus Chamber Group doing Mendelssohn’s little known and early (aged 13!) D minor violin concerto, along with Bach’s famous concerto masterwork for two violins.  Oh, and NY Philharmonic at Geffen Hall with Rachmaninoff's second piano concerto plus Tchaikovsky’s 5th symphony (no Winfield jokes please).  

Sondheim's Sweeney Todd on Broadway was a magnificent professional show with rush tix a further incentive as we are staying nearby. 

Still to look forward to: Merrily We Roll Along (also Sondheim) and La Clemenza di Tito at Julliard on our final day. 

With keen sister Mindy in tow we have been to UWS Zabars, Fairways, Baptist Sunday service, Christie’s antiquities preview (magnificent Greek and Egyptian pieces), Williams Sonoma, Mandarin Oriental Hotel gander, luncheon at La Bonne Soupe in Midtown, Strawberry Fields John Lennon memorial, Dakota Building on Central Park, Ansonia Building on Broadway, Columbus Avenue Sunday markets, Citarella (to get produce for chef sister to make dinner!).  

The main event so far was probably the New Jersey earthquake (4.6 on Richter scale but not felt by us) and trip to Buffalo to see Niagara falls and the amazing solar eclipse.  We walked over to Canada on the Rainbow Bridge for a spectacular view of the three Niagara Falls ('American', 'Bridal Veil' and 'Horseshoe') thundering over to the ‘whirlpool’ below where some take the risk of a water journey, not for us, thanks!  

Seeing the world go cold and dark in the middle of the afternoon was an extraordinary event to behold.  And to do so at Niagara was a bonus indeed.  Despite being rather run-down and dilapidated, the locals pulled out the stops with festivities, cameras rolling and fireworks in the evening.  While Niagara town has seen better days the Canadian side seemed prosperous and well organized.  We walked across the Rainbow Bridge (and were happily let back into the good ole USA afterwards!). 

Best wishes to all ... [see ON THE TOWN performs ON LOCATION in New York, New York! ( ]

With sister Mindy at Zabars

Dakota Building from Central Park near Strawberry Fields. 

             With Marguerite and Cameron on their 25th wedding anniversary dinner(s). 

At Cafe des Artistes

Post script: Full points to All Nippon Airways who rightly deserve their high rankings of late.  Scrupulously clean, on-time, excellent service, comfortable seats/suites.  And less than half the price of Qantas on a business package Sydney to New York (JFK).