• Upcoming Trips

    Feb-March None booked as yet
  • theatre and Concerts

    February 26. Saw concert versions of two my favourite Puccini operas at the MSM: La Rondine (Act I) and Gianni Schicchi. Both made the very most of the small stage and were cleverly directed by Kenneth Merrill from the side of the auditorium. The young cast had an hilarious time putting on the show – and so did  we!

    March 2. Saw “Twelve Angry Women”, a play on the well-travelled jury deliberations theme, at the Producers Club. It is fast moving, ding-dong exchange of ideas with “whodunnit” detective analyses interspersed. Sadly, only one of the twelves actresses really could project; the others could not, for the most part, be heard clearly enough for our old ears to pick up the nuances of the dialogue, even in the  Club’ s intimate auditorium.

    March 3.  Carnegie Hall hosted Edith Monaco in a solo piano recital on Sunday evening. She played a nice, but not too exciting,  programme  ending with Moussorgsky’s “Pictures at an exhibition”. She seemed  totally concentrated on the accuracy of her playing and did not glance at, or turn the page of, the music in front of her.

    March 20. The MSM celebrated Pincus Zukerman’s 70th birthday and the 25th anniversary of his ‘Performance Program’. It was an extraordinary musical event: an awesome display of the incredible young talent that the Master and the MSM have nurtured.

    Of the solo violinists performing, the most exciting, for me, was  Jesus Reina who chose pieces by Paganini and played them in a manner reminiscent of Sarasate. But the highlight was Bach’s ‘Concerto for Two violins’; for the first movement, Mr. Zukerman led in his 12 year-old protégé, Nathan Gendler who played opposite the Master with the absolute confidence of an old hand who had begun his concerting at the age of six!

    For the second movement, Pincus Zukerman led in SoHyun Ko, a young lady of sixteen. She played her part with equal talent and confidence.

    The two youngsters played the third movement  by themselves (The Master staying off-stage while they wowed the sold-out audience!).

    The programme ended with Mr. Zukerman conducting the MSM Symphony Orchestra in Dvorak’s ‘Slavonic Dances’ and everybody (Orchestra and audience alike) singing him “Happy Birthday”!






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The Ghost of July Garland

Last Saturday, St. Patrick’s Day, Christine and I went to The Producers Club on West 44th to experience the incomparable Peter Mac as Judy Garland! He introduces himself as Liza Minelli’s mother and he sings, and dresses, in the style of Judy in her vulnerable years. His monologue is sprinkled with funny (if somewhat Rabelaisian) one-liners, but the pathos is ever-present below the surface. It is most touching when he sings “Somewhere over The rainbow”.

Peter Mac as Judy Garland. (Picture taken by Christine on her mobile phone)

I was anxious to tell Peter how much we appreciated his talent and, to let him know that Judy Garland, at the age of sixteen and dressed in young girls’ frilly clothes, was the heart-throb of the whole British Army, (including me), some seventy-five years earlier! And, that his performance brought back powerfully nostalgic memories of a wonderful child actress. He keeps, on stage, a pair of the red shoes used by Judy to skip down ‘The Yellow  Brick Road’. I was surprised to hear from him that Judy Garland died fifty years ago!


Peter invited us to  have a picture taken with him. Dr. John (His spouse of ten years) kindly took this one with Christine’s phone. A must-see performance!






Happy, Crowded, Holidays

A few days before Christmas, Susan sent me a picture of a surprise she had in the oven:

Its an enormous hand-crafted mince pie!

She made it especially for the, now-traditional, Champagne breakfast we had together with Craig on Christmas Day. She also obtained from the internet, a box of Christmas crackers and packets of English/Irish bacon. For those inadequately nourished on American bacon, this is what real bacon looks like:

English bacon ready for the pan

Christmas morning: Menu: Eggs and English bacon, grilled tomatoes, cranberry bread, seedless grapes, strawberries and Champagne followed by mince pie and custard with Grand Marnier.

Christmas Afternoon: Off to the Big Apple Circus in Lincoln Center. I get a great kick out of the fact that I can still take my daughter to the circus for Christmas and we both still enjoy it immensely!

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New young clown in the making!


One of the circus costumes . . . .

Boxing Day: Susan and Craig’s brunch for their children and grandchildren – See “Home Page” for picture.

December 30th: Nereida’s party:

I borrowed Nereida’s phone to take this  joyful group


Nereida’s daughter preparing the next round of drinks . . . .


Nereida’s shot of the Christmas moon over the Triborough Bridge as seen from her apartment.

New Year’s Eve: “H.M.S. Pinafore”  at the Kaye theatre – See side-bar on “Home Page”

 New Year’s Day: Paid NYC real estate tax!

 January 2: “Merry Widow” at the Met Opera – See side-bar on “Home Page”


Halloween is Nigh!

Many homes, shops and restaurants in the city have already been festooned in preparation for Halloween. Wedding attire seems to be de rigueur for the ghouls this year. Walking back home from a concert last week, we came upon this display outside a walk-up on 95th Street:

This  wedding couple were fashionably dressed . . . .


. . . . in the latest clobber  . . . . .


. . . . . but they seem to have got off to a poor start . . . .


                         . . . . .  even the bridesmaid was undernourished . . .


. . . and their dog hadn’t eaten for years!

Fortunately, Christine and I will be on the high seas heading for the sun when the mayhem starts.





“The Pool” at Central Park and Friends

It was a lovely day – clear blue sky and a mild breeze. Christine and I shouldered our chairs and took the crosstown bus at 96th street to the west side of the park. A ten minute walk (for me now) took us to what has become our favourite spot these days –“The Pool”, where rustic benches overlook the brilliant green duckweed covering much of the pond at this time of the year. On this particular day, however, the breeze had shifted the weed to one side and left large patches of clear water to mirror the late summer trees and shoreline.

There is now a good deli on 103rd street and Central Park West. It was no bother for Christine to get freshly brewed coffee, a sandwich made up to our liking and return with them to our reserved seats, right next to water’s edge. There we sat the day away, enjoying the food, reading our magazines and quietly watching the wild life gain the courage to approach us. Here are a few pictures – enlarge them for detail:

Who would imagine this scene in the middle of a bustling city?


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The first of our new-found friends. . . . .


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We did not break the rules and feed the wildlife–this little one foraged on his/her own!


. . so did Ratty here . . . .


Opposite shoreline . . .



41B – The ‘After’ pictures

You may remember pictures of the wreckage of my apartment of a few weeks ago? The new blinds and carpets are installed finally, and I am pleased to show off the results of Harry’s men’s handiwork.  (Enlarge for detail):

Bedroom fit to sleep in once more . . . . . . .


. . . with decorative touches . . . .


Bathroom bright and airy .. . . . . .


Living room de-cluttered and wood-flooring restored . . . .


Den with new clock and dining table decoration . . . .


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Kitchen repaired


Foyer restored . . .


Final touch



Job had it easy – The Pirtle’s Misfortune

Life has many ugly tricks up its sleeve, but none so calamitous as it has inflicted on my dear friends, John and Anne Pirtle! I remember with great affection the time in 2009 when they took such great care of Ethel and me in their home in Houston, Texas.

Since that time, they have suffered two severe floodings of their home but have risen up each time and, over many painstaking months, renovated it. Only a  month or two ago, I was talking to them and they told me that their house would be able to receive visitors again! And now comes Harvey to dump four and half feet of dirty flood water on all their hard won recovery!

Their resolve is, naturally, exhausted. They are abandoning the house and will seek an alternative living style:

John in conversational mode . . .


Anne, ever good humored in spite of failing eyesight . . . .


John cooking lamb chops for Ethel’s breakfast!


The Pirtle’s living room – Now under 4 1/2 feet of water!!

John and Anne have suffered much more than their quota of hardship; I sincerely hope they find tranquility and even happiness from now on – Wish them well!


Chihuly at the Botanical Gardens

We made  a somewhat disappointing visit to the New York Botanical Gardens the other day. The disappointment was caused largely by the hype to get us to apply for the NY Identity Cards which, among other goodies, promised free membership of NY institutions like the NYBG and Central Park Zoo. It turned out that the free membership was a grounds pass only–every exhibit required a fee in addition or full membership. We were left with the options of taking up a dual membership, $60, or, admission to the Chihuly exhibits, $50 for two seniors. Much as we wanted to see the Chihuly art works, we decided just to enjoy our sandwich lunch in gardens. I had seen Chihuly’s masterworks in his Seattle studio some years ago with Ethel and Bonnie and would like to have compared them with the pieces on view in the NYBG exhibit, however, here are a few pictures of works displayed in the open gardens: (enlarge them for detail):

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