Memories of NYC (Part 2)

This second blog covers the rest of our journey to NYC this Spring/Summer. A lovely experience was the Swedish Midsummer Festival at Wagner Park on the Battery.

It was busy, musical, great fun and full of Swedes letting their hair down. That is what is so lovely about New York – It is such a populated place that every nationality is represented in large numbers and has its own festival!

Also present in large numbers in New York are well-known faces – people I met and chatted to included Glenda Jackson, who had dinner in our apartment building with Debbie’s neighbour. I just happened to be taking Alfie out for his last pee. She was happy to chat as we all walked up to Broadway for Glenda to get a taxi.
Her partner was happy to take a picture of us with Alfie. Glenda was appearing in a play on Broadway for which she won a Tony award “Three tall women”. She talked to me about her background and the fact that she was given her work ethic by her parents and working class background. I have always been a fan and talking to her confirmed that she is a phenomenal woman. The following day I saw her being interviewed on television and very obviously not taking fools gladly!
Then I went to a discussion about My Fair Lady at the Lincoln Center and met Kevin Kline and, as you do, stupidly told him my favourite performance of his was in ‘A Fish Called Wanda’. Doh! He jokingly said it probably was the height of his career! Another nice person and kind of him to humour someone saying something pretty dumb (Although I do think he is brilliant in the film)!
Dana, who ran the group for people who have been in abusive relationships (at which I gave 2 talks and attended both her first and last groups over the year) has decided to up sticks from NYC and move to Corvallis, Oregon – it sounds like a beautiful place!  She had her leaving do in Midtown with delicious vegetarian Chinese food. It is a huge upheaval and she is taking it really well. 
Natalie is someone I was so lucky to meet at Dana’s last group – serendipity is a great thing! I have enjoyed teaching her group at her home in Upstate New York and staff at her office. We have become good friends. From her office windows I took some lovely pictures of the surrounding rooftops. New York has so many wonderful hidden nooks and crannies that can really only be seen from high up. 
The office building also has some fascinating sculptures.
On the way to her office I came across the “Downtown Abbey” exhibition so took some photographs of the windows. Americans are crazy about Downton Abbey.
I also took an interesting photo outside a diner through marble numbers  – 888 – of the next door building.
At a few rare times of the year a phenomenon called “Manhattanhenge” occurs where the cross streets line up and the sun sets and rises between them. I trundled over to Midtown and duly waited with a hoard of other people to see the sunset.
Sadly, in a summer full of sun, the cloud hid the sun and I took a picture with a squiggle of the sun – the rest was hidden by cloud! Maybe next year… For a picture that shows what it should look like, click
Debbie and I were lucky enough to get tickets for the “Green Room” of the Brian Lehrer show. Brian’s radio show goes out from 10 to 12 every morning on WNYC public radio. We listen to it most mornings. I managed to ask Jeff Weaver, Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager, a question about Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders and their appeal to younger voters. Also on the show was Ben Smith, the Editor in Chief of Buzzfeed, Katie Couric – the anchor of ‘American Inside Out’. Richard Hake read the news.
‘Sing for Hope’ curated an exhibition of 50 painted pianos downtown. Some of them were really beautiful and I chatted to a few of the artists. They were free to play and then installed in various locations over the 5 boroughs.
I heard that Keanu Reeves was in town filming the third film in the John Wick series. So of course I went looking for the filming. I have a big crush on Keanu – not only for his looks but also his kind heart. All I found was a cherry picker and a van. I heard he autographed a homeless man’s sign.
I had better luck with Law and Order SVU that were filming at 66th and Central Park West (where Alfie and I normally enter the park). There is so much filming going on in NYC every week that they manage to cope with people hanging around watching.
Ever day in Central Park people go to have their wedding photos taken. I particularly liked this one where the groom was a Sikh.
Walking through Madison Square Park I came across the Falong Gong doing their practice.
Each Fire Station in NYC has its own motif. I liked this one at the local station. The one at the fire station in TriBeCa has the ‘Ghostbusters’ sign.
Every time I see the ‘Weehawken’ sign it makes me smile, given my surname. I also like the 6 1/2 street sign.
Walking to the Ronin gallery to look at their Buddhist art, I came across some lovely Mexican Art in one of the private galleries I passed, so popped in to have a chat with the owner and take some photos.
I then passed an expensive shop on 5th Avenue and took a picture of a dress I liked – the fabric was beautiful.
Of course, NYC is full of interesting buildings, some more notorious than others. On 5th Avenue there is the building built by the person occupying the White House. There are barriers and security personnel all around it, and people selling insulting memorabilia opposite.
My favourite building in New York happens to be the Flatiron building – 6 feet one side expanding as it fills the space. I just love the lines.
New York is of course full of traffic and the buses often carry some interesting advertising. I can remember the first time I saw a bus coming towards me up Broadway sporting “Museum of Sex” on the front. I thought it was a joke, but it can be found on 5th Avenue.
Walking back to the subway on 66th Alfie and I were literally accosted by 2 very sweet young women who gave me a card with “Book of Mormon Art Exhibit” and offered to take me to see it. As it was opposite the subway station I agreed to accompany them. It was a quaint exhibition of work by Walter Rane and I pointed out the irony of the card with “Book of Mormon” on it, given that it is the title of a successful Broadway show. The young women were, of course, Mormons.
My friend Tom played a set at a Youth Hostel on Long Island City so I braved the journey with several subway changes and was rewarded by a lovely view of Manhattan. Tom is, like Debbie, blind. His day job is Psychotherapist. It is great to ‘see’ the city in a different way, thanks to my blind friends.
I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this little bulldog who loves to carry 2 balls in his mouth and sometimes manages 3.
Alfie regularly sees him in Riverside Park. Every morning we rush to Riverside Park so that he can have ‘off-leash’ exercise before the 9 a.m. curfew. Poor Alfie, so used to being off the lead all of the time in the UK, having to be on the lead in New York. I don’t fancy the $100 fine if I am found letting him off between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. The dog parks are full of dogs letting off pent up energy and Alfie doesn’t enjoy the atmosphere.
Following our morning walk, we walk to Broadway to collect 2 free newspapers from their respective boxes on the sidewalk: A.M. New York and the Metro. We then go back to have breakfast in Debbie’s kitchen, from where I took this photo.
Alfie and I left on 26 June from Newark. Unfortunately, we were delayed by 3 hours as the first airplane was full of smoke! The staff seem hampered in their ability to communicate with us but luckily we just managed to get on the replacement plane just before the night curfew that started around midnight. While waiting, people were complimenting me on Alfie’s behaviour, and a fractious young baby managed to enjoy himself playing with him.