Although Billy Joel has been performing at Madison Square Garden, I wasn’t able to see him because he’s off during the time I’m here. Nevertheless, the weather, cultural riches, and access to all forms of public transportation have sucked me in to see it, do it, and think it just like a local New Yorker.
On a recommendation from New Yawka Peter (who lives in HK), I was inspired to head back down to Nolita’s neighbor, Chinatown. The new Museum of Chinese in America was recently coined by Maya Lin, the young architect who designed the Vietnam Vets Memorial in Washington, DC. Tracing Chinese American history and seeing the Chinese diaspora felt like going home to an old but familiar story. Just like popular Italian operas, you recognize the tunes, the stories, the characters. Only the comedic element was missing.
Nevertheless, the timeline was well presented. The history of the railroads, promises of gold, through days of war, Nationalism, and Communism in the home country were captured efficiently. I learned about the achievements of many Chinese Americans whose names were not familiar to me. They included an astronaut, a prominent AIDS researcher, and a female pilot. Maya Lin and the museum curators did a decent job highlighting the right amount of information for visitors.
Photos, from top, left to right:
1. Display area
2. Restored storefront of Chinese shop
3. Sign that bears a chilling similarity to the anti-Islamic protests currently in Germany
This museum is worth a visit, for content and the Maya Lin oeuvre. You can see and hear her talk about it at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=976o62w45zg.
On a lighter note, the rest of my afternoon was devoted to seeing another theater production, “It’s Only a Play”, with Martin Short, Stockard Channing, and Matthew Broderick. Sorry to say, (to friend David, who was anxious to hear), that despite the big names, the script failed to keep the audience engaged. The actors were skilled at their craft, particularly my favorite Stockard Channing (from Grease and Six Degrees of Separation), but the story of the failure a Broadway play felt weak and contrived. It’s sad to think that the talents of so many were put to the task of delivering an uninspiring story, that ironically was the topic of the play.
The highlight of the evening was having a delightful dinner at Blue Hill on Washington Square with fellow architect Rik. We shared stories of being in the “order”, keeping up with the new techies, and fast-forward Chinese students. The food and service were impeccable, so definitely worth the cost of being entertained. Highly recommended.
Photos, from top, clockwise:
1. Thousand Year-old Egg and Pork Congee, Chinatown lunch
2. Mustard Relish for Bread, radishes from Stone Barn, and kohlrabi with cheese at Blue Hill;
3. Blue Hill dessert, sponge cake , apple crisp and ice cream
Coming up: Natural History Museum, Manon, and maybe the Neue Galerie on the final day in The Big Bad Apple.
2 thoughts on “I’m in a NY State of Mind…”
Darn, sorry that Martin Short disappointed. In recent years, this has happened to us more & more often…great actors, lousy scripts. Clearly the world is crying out for new playwrights..!! Now there’s a thought…
Don’t get me wrong, as a performer Martin Short was entertaining and amazing as ever, his material just wasn’t hilarious. He and Matthew Broderick shared, along with Stockard Channing, a mind-numbing and impressive amount of dialog. How do they remember all those lines?
He was still delightful and I remain a fan. The story did convey how vulnerable actors are to reviews and questions the sustainability of acting as a profession. Theater critics, similar to those in the food business, can crush or mush careers.