• Upcoming trips

    13-23 January, 2018 Cruise out of New York around the Caribbean on the Norwegian Gem. Note : this trip has been cancelled altogether because of the damage caused by the hurricanes to the Caribbean islands.

    October 31st - 11 November. Caribbean cruise to break up the winter. Note: The itinerary has not yet been determined owing to the havoc wreaked by the hurricanes.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    October 8 Went to BAM, for the first time since Ethel died, to hear a wonderful modern opera composed and written by Matthew Aucoin called “Crossing”. It is based on Walt Whitman’s experience and the libretto is largely taken from his poetry.

    The story is multi-themed, as modern plays tend to be; the first is a harrowing anti war depiction of the suffering wounded seen through Whitman’s eyes when he volunteered as a nurse during the American civil war; the second is Slavery and its effect upon a run-away slave who fights on the Union side; the third is treachery portrayed by a guilt-laden deserter who spies for the South. And forth, inevitably these days, is the (entirely fictional) homosexual one.

    The powerful music fits the story perfectly and the voices of the lead singers and the chorus is magnificent; Rod Gilfry, bass-baritone, sings the part of Walt Whitman, Alexander Lewis plays John Wormley, the deserter, and Davone Tines, whose baritone reminded me, distinctly, of the sound of the legendary Paul Robeson.  Both Christine and I were extremely moved by the work. We newly discovered Walt Whitman’s poetry, too.

    October 20. Thanks to the invitation of our friend Francia, who is a member, we went to the Diller-Quaile School of Music to listen to a chamber concert given by the Diller-Quaile String Quartet. The program was comprised of Haydn and Debussy quartets; played magnificently by very experienced and talented musicians in an intimate. and perfectly designed, music space. Chatting with the musicians after the concert added to a first class evening.

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Sandhogs resurface and the 96st Subway entrance begins

The tunnelers have been digging away underground for two years or more. The west tube is completed and the east tube is already drilled south to 72 street or thereabouts. On, Saturday, the Sandhogs came to the surface to bond with the Second Aveunue  above-ground dwellers. In spite of the terrible disruption to our lives, most of us are fascinated by their work and appreciate that it will eventually pay off for us all. On their day off, the Sandhogs took the trouble to set up a table with bottled water and doughnuts to offer to melting Second Avenuers braving the sweltering heat. Their gesture was universally welcomed and appreciated. Here we are with our sandhog friends:

Free doughnuts!

New friends

The first major signs of the state-of the-art entrance to the 96th street subway station are under way. Parallel walls about three feet apart have been built around the  rectanglar perimeter of the entrance. These are the guide walls for the massive grab which has aready sunk slots in the earth to the depth of 65 feet at each end of the rectangle. Now comes the tricky part. The slots have to have pre-fabricated re-bar stuctures lowered into them, and the unstable nature of the structures and the precision placement necessary  cause tensions to rise all round. Streets are closed off as a precaution and every one holds their breath untiil the re-bar is lowered into its slot. Two such structures are placed side by side and the concrete mixers unload, two at time until the slot is filled. I believe it takes more tha 25 loads to fill each slot! The following sequence will give you an idea of the major engineering feat. Remember that this proceedure will have to be repeated (perhaps a hundred times) before the 2nd Avenue Subway is up and running. The 96th street entrance will be completed in early 2013:


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