Ami & Kaja on the Brooklyn Promenade
Katja and I celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary last week in New York City with Ami and Bruce, Katja’s sister and brother-in-law. It’s sort of a complicated question about how to celebrate such a momentous occasion, and we decided to make it a family thing. Ami was her older sister’s maid of honor, and we’ve spent more family vacation time over the years with Ami and Bruce than anywhere else. Ami made up an elegant itinerary for our visit. Katja, in fact, encouraged her to consider a new second career as a professional trip planner. To give a picture of our anniversary trip, I’ve reproduced Ami’s itinerary below in italics, along with some descriptive pics and comments.
Wed., August 25th
Lunch at Home
Whitney Museum: Charles Burchfield Exhibit
Dinner at Home
After Dinner: Free Time
Ami and Bruce’s living room
Charles Burchfield, An April Mood (1946-1955) [Google image]
Ami and Bruce have a beautiful high-rise penthouse overlooking the Hudson River on the Upper West Side. It was a little drizzly when we arrived, so we spent our first afternoon indoor at the Whitney Museum. The feature exhibition was Charles Burchfield’s watercolor paintings from the 1920’s to the 1960’s. Burchfield grew up in Salem, OH, than moved to a rural area near Buffalo, NY. He’s known as a mystical expressionist painter who specialized in nature and small town scenes. We loved his work.
Thurs., August 26th
Subway to High Line (14th St to 21st St.); stroll and hear bells.
Yancey Richardson Gallery (535 W. 22nd St.), other Chelsea galleries.
Theater Tickets: for “Fela!” at 8PM
The High Line Park
Katja at Fela!
Manhattan’s new High Line park was a highlight of our stay. It’s a 1.4 mile greenway that’s built on a former elevated freight railroad track along Manhattan’s West Side between Gansevoort St. in the meatpacking district and 20th St. The gardens incorporate plants and weeds that had grown on the unused train tracks, and the elevated location offers many photogenic street views of the city. We then did Chelsea galleries and wound up the evening at the Broadway musical, Fela! It’s the music and story of Nigerian composer, musician, and political activist, Fela Anikulapo Kuti who became the target of 1,000 government soldiers aiming to end his public performances at the Shrine, the legendary Lagos nightclub. Kuti’s Afrobeat music was contagious, and Kevin Mambo’s performance as Fela (acting, singing, dancing, playing the saxophone) was flawless.
Friday, August 27th
Lunch (at Tripoli)
Ground Zero, Park 51 Mosque, World Financial Center
River Walk to Battery Park, #5 Bus Ride Home
Brooklyn Heights townhouses
We haven’t been to Brooklyn for a while, and the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood with its renovated antique brownstones was very attractive. We enjoyed a Lebanese lunch at Tripoli and the skyline view of Lower Manhattan from the Brooklyn Promenade, then took the subway back to the Wall Street area. We had’t visited Ground Zero previously, and it was a sobering experience, though Ami was enthusiastic about all the construction that’s going on. We also saw the site of the controversial proposed mosque; with the city’s enormous diversity fresh on our minds, the ongoing right-wing controversy struck us as shameful.
Saturday, August 28th
Neue Museum (Otto Dix)
Lunch at 79th St. Boat Basin
Shopping (Tip Top Shoe Store)
Jean Georges for 7:45 PM dinner
Otto Dix, Self-portrait with nude model (1923) [Google image]
Happy celebrants at Jean Georges
Otto Dix (1891-1969) was a German expressionist, influenced by Dada and known for his harsh depictions of the depravity of Berlin society in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Much of his work dealt with prostitution, violence, war, old age, and death. Needless to say, I loved it, and, like the Burchfield exhibit earlier in the week, Dix’s paintings aroused a few artistic urges. Celebrating our anniversary date, we wound up the day at the elegant Jean Georges restaurant at 1 Central Park West, enjoying the superb dinner and being out on the town with Ami and Bruce.
Sunday, August 29th
Free Time (Fifth Ave.)
Theater Tickets: “Next To Normal” at 3 PM.
Dinner at Home w/Jean
Ami and Katja at “Next to Normal”
“Happy Anniversary” dessert
“Next to Normal” was an unusual Broadway rock musical, focusing on a mother’s bipolar disorder and its complicated effects on her family. The music was gripping, and the story line offered a fascinating exploration of family dynamics. Jean, Ami’s best friend and our long-time friend too, came later for dinner, and we had many laughs.
Monday, August 30th
MoMA: Matisse, Picasso, Photography
Lunch at MoMA
Dinner at Home
Free Time (Times Square)
Times Square at Night
Whenever we go to New York, we’re sure to visit the Museum of Modern Art. This time: a major Mattisse exhibition, plus Picasso prints. After dinner, as the only member of our group who is addicted to Times Square, I went down to take some photos. I was happy that my new camera seems to work at night (probably because the bright lights make it like daytime).
Tuesday, August 31st
Metropolitan Museum (Roof: Doug & Mike Starn);
Photography exhibits, Hapsburg Silver, King Tut
The Big Bambú
The Met is our other requisite New York stop. The most dramatic exhibit was up on the roof: the Big Bambú, an art installation by twin brothers Doug and Mike Starn which consists of thousands of bamboo poles lashed together to form a complex structure through which visitors walk and climb. Afterward Ami and Katja enjoyed their traditional oyster lunch at the Grand Central Oyster Bar. Then it was off to the airport for our 5:30 flight to Cincinnati. Days later, I’m still experiencing withdrawal symptoms from an intense, exciting holiday. Now we’ve begun working on our next fifty years.
-Phyllis SS (9-11): Dave, Neat photos. Phyllis
-Donna D (9-6): david, this is so wonderful!! too bad there aren't any pictures of the four of you...i can't remember what bruce looks like. anyway, what a great way to spend your 50th. and i love your very last sentence!! donna