Days 9-11: (Upper) West Side Story

Following our side trip to Washington DC, we are back in New York staying at The Beacon Hotel on the Upper West Side. It provides convenient and walking access to the next three days’ events at Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera: Aida, Der Rosenkavalier, and Eugene Onegin. You might find that worse than doses of cod liver oil, but for me, it’s like dying and going to heaven. You’ll hear more of the gory details later.


We started off the day with the Fairway Supermarket across the street from the hotel. We loaded up with fresh Mediterranean fare (see photo above)–fresh fruits with yoghurt and granola, cucumbers and tomatoes, and veggies with protein. We are taking a break from restaurant food everyday by booking a hotel with kitchens in the rooms to cook and eat healthier.

A quick walk within a half-mile radius of the Beacon Hotel yielded a wealth of new finds. Many shops are individually owned, mixed in with community gardens. Sandwiched in between Central Park on the east and Riverside Park, the Upper West Side is stocked with plenty of greenery and O2 to replenish the body and soul. A couple of retirees in Riverside were racing their model sports car through our feet as we gingerly tiptoed through the racetrack and the tulips.


What more can you say? Food is everything in New York. You can find just about any type of cuisine or ethnic cooking, including crossovers like my favorite example of Uzbeki-Korean food. Not to beat that over a dead horse, but that level of complexity ain’t in foodie-snobbie San Francisco.

After-Dinner Snacks

The evening performances at Lincoln Center are dazzled by sparkling chandeliers inside the operahouse that modestly excuse themselves from blocking anyone’s view as the concertmaster plays A on the violin, the lights dim, and they retire to the very top of the ceiling.

All seats are good. The ones I selected for the series of three this time were side-saddles with box seating at the dress circle level. The $25 tickets I purchased at the very top row of the balcony in the past aren’t a slouch either. You have the option of ditching the performance if you don’t like it or incentive to get creative with a wild one.

What follows is our raisin d’etre for coming to NYC this time. The string of operas with curtain calls, synopses and my subjective opinion of the performance (all in: singers, staging, music, etc) for those interested:



My Rating this performance: ***

Der Rosenkavalier (Renee Fleming’s swan song/final performance and curtain call as an opera diva, along with Elina Garanca)

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My Rating this performance: **

Eugene Onegin (with Anna Netrebko in Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece)


My Rating this performance: *****

Let me know if you have ever lived on the Upper West Side or on the Lower East! What was your experience? We had been pretty stuck on Midtown or Upper East Side in the past but found that trying out these new neighborhoods gives us a very different dimension to New York City. We’re encouraged to try a different neighborhood each time we come to this magnificent, multi-cultural city. I hope you will consider doing the same!

As a final tribute to our being in New York, we toasted our anniversary and a birthday with a dear friend whom we met in Hong Kong and who is a New York City native. At a rehearsal of the American Ballet Theater’s upcoming Don Quixote, we caught a glimpse of Misty Copeland! What more could you ask for in a sendoff from New York City??

We’re on to London, so be prepared for a British accent to the next post! (Fewer operas, Queen’s Gate, then on to Bath and Blenheim)….

10 thoughts on “Days 9-11: (Upper) West Side Story”

  1. Thanks for sharing all that detail about NYC! So many things to do and a huge foodie heaven. Older son will be going there with friends towards end of May so can pass along some info. to him. Yes, if so inclined, must sees are a Broadway show and an opera. Der Rosenkavalier ist eine Deustche Oper, nicht wahr?


    1. Ja, der Rosenkavalier ist auf Deutsch! Man kann die Wörter entweder auf Deutsch oder Englisch wenn man gleichseitig die Oper schaut an.
      Were we in the same German class in high School? I’m delighted that you speak German!
      As for entertainment in NYC, I agree that plays are a must. We filled up our dance card in NYC with opera and Billy Joel this time, and will do more in London. Before starting the trip, we also did a subscription series to Bdwy shows in SF so we could get Hamilton tix. That was worth it, but we did get a bit inundated with musicals. It’s worth picking and choosing Bdwy shows and opera carefully and reading reviews and synopses carefully before committing, but that doesn’t guarantee a hit as we’ve found!!


    1. Hi Jean, I reposted my reply I sent to your NY comment. The original post may not have shown up from my Iphone reply. Thanks for commenting! I hope you will enjoy upcoming posts during the entire month of May from Dusseldorf (next week!). My German buddies from prior German classes in Dresden (2014), Schwabisch Hall (2015), and Berlin (2016) will be following along, so join the fun and practice your German with us!!


  2. Took Spanish in high school and retain it the most since I see & hear it all the time + listen to Spanish music. German was in college aber I kann nur ein bisschen Deutsch sprechen, lesen, und verstehen. Don’t expect too much (correct) German from me. Admire your having retained so much of it + studying more in Germany. Et un petit francais aussi since took a basic course in continuing studies at Stanford.


    1. Hi Jean, it sounds like you had a pretty broad language training. I hope you are able to travel to put all that effort to use!! Spanish is out of my league, mais je peux la langue francaise comprendre pour l’opera. Die Wörter in der Oper auf deutsch sind am herausfordernden für mich aber auch am interessantesten, wie in dem Rosenkavalier, in der Zauberflöte oder Tristan und Isolde. Ich benutze dieses Methode für deutsch verbessern.
      你 会 不会 中文 吗? 我 什么 都 望 记 了!


  3. Oh how I love New York! When I first moved there, I lived on the Upper West Side, lived in the Bronx for a short period, then settled in Brooklyn. Each Borough has it’s own special flavor. Enjoy!


    1. I would like to try ditching Manhattan some time to stay in Brooklyn, as I heard it’s very similar to the East Bay vs. SF. Probably more liveable and less crazy. But short term trips do give me incentive after this time to try maybe Soho, Chelsea, Tribeca and East Village next. Where do you normally stay on visits to NYC?


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