Monday, March 4, 2013


... without George.  We miss the little guy!  But we did have a fine walk across Central Park.  First, though, a long morning at our rented apartment trying to resolve a problem that had left me trying, vainly, to get some sleep on the couch because of a persistent radiator noise a few inches from my head in the bedroom.  As regular as Chinese water torture, something in the pipes was popping every few seconds with a loud, offensive sound that went on all night.  The young man who rents to us insists that it will go away if the radiator is switched off at night.  He thinks we're naive Californians, unused to what New Yorkers put up with as a matter of course.  (We tried his solution: no luck.  Now he says BOTH radiators in the apartment need to be switched off.  We'll see.)

Out then, at the end of the morning, for a walk across the park, enjoying the Sunday crowds.  We discovered the delightful "Alice in Wonderland" bronze monument for the first time...

... and thought forward to the time when little Luka might have fun climbing on it.  Such fun, to watch the children play!

Then on to the Frick Collection, where we had been looking forward to seeing the Piero della Franscesca exhibition.  Our hearts sank at the sight of long lines at the museum, huddled against a wind that could at best be described as chill.  Happily, the display of a press card (and a previous email exchange with the press office) worked its magic, and the guard waved us on in ahead of the less fortunate crowds.  We walked through the main galleries ("chalk full of masterplasters," to use a phrase of James Joyce, by the great figures of Western art) and ended up in a small, circular gallery surrounded by a handful of wonderful small paintings by Piero, that great pioneer of Renaissance art.  A reminder of the spirit of devotion, experimentation and inquiry that characterized that great moment in Western history.  I don't know about you, but my heart literally does a little celebratory dance when confronted by one of the landmark achievements of the human species.  It does, in fact, go pit-a-pat!

We were late leaving the museum to get to the matinee we had booked for The Book of Mormon.  We had not counted on the difficulty of find a cab on Fifth Avenue.  So we set forth on foot and hurried south, finally finding a cab at the corner of 57th Street and riding down to the theater on 49th.  Grabbing a quick sandwich, we downed it hastily and made it in good time for the show.  We had heard a great deal about it, of course--mostly rave responses--and were not disappointed.  A fine, lively show--a spoof not only of some of the crazier notions of the Latter Day Saints but also, I thought, of the "American Dream" and its naive assumption of the superiority of everything American.  Irreligious, bawdy, and at times absurd, it was a great romp through the excesses of our culture and its religious fundamentalism.

A brisk walk north after the theater, with a stop at the Warner Center on Columbus Circle to warm up, and an early dinner Fiorello's, a great Italian restaurant across from the Lincoln Center.  A couple of glasses of wine later, we were fortified for the twenty-block walk back to our apartment and a few minutes of TV time (we have been watching, for the first time, AlJazeera, and find it to be an excellent and relatively impartial source of global news).  At bed time, we turned off the radiator and did a bit of reading before turning out the lights...

It seemed relatively quiet in the bedroom to begin with, but we were both awakened at 4:30 by a sudden burst of very noisy pipe activity--which resumed, then, for the remainder of the night.

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