A couple of weekends ago Nick and I went to New York City! Nick had a performance with Society for New Music/Vision of Sound, and I tagged along for fun. It was my first trip to NYC and it was amazing! Honestly, I didn’t end up taking many pictures; just too in-the-moment for this trip. Still, it was a memorable weekend.
We arrived on Friday morning. After checking into the hotel, we started exploring on foot. Nick has been to NYC before, so he had some ideas of where he wanted to take me already. We walked from the hotel to Rockefeller Center, past Radio City Music Hall, and finally over to the Lincoln Square area to see the New York Philharmonic perform that night. Before the concert, we wanted to get some real New York pizza, and Nick took me to Serafina Always, a charming Northern Italian restaurant he enjoyed on his last visit to the city. We had a delicious marinated tuna and salmon tartare appetizer and uh-maz-ing pizza that had creamy burrata cheese, tomatoes, and basil. Tiramisu and a lemon/vodka sorbet for dessert. YUM. Then we stopped across the street from Avery Fisher Hall at Bar Boulud for a glass of wine before heading in to the hall for the NY Philharmonic concert.
Conducted by David Robertson, the NY Phil opened the concert with Messiaen’s Les Offrandes oubliées, which was probably my favorite piece of the evening. Next they invited pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard on stage to perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 and the U.S. premiere of Tristan Murail’s Le Désenchantement du monde. I really liked the first half of the Murail but the second half lost steam for me. It was really thrilling to hear a pianist like Aimard perform a U.S. premiere though, regardless! The Mozart of course was performed impeccably, and the closing work was Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2, met with wild applause and a standing ovation at the end which surprised me. In Kansas City we are used to seeing standing ovations for pretty much everything. I guess as a Midwesterner I was sort of expecting the NYC classical audience to be more discriminating, tougher to impress or please, or something. Oh well, still awesome to experience a live NY Phil concert with my husband!
On Saturday Nick and I spent much of the day with the Vision of Sound people before the performance at Jan Hus Presbyterian Church on E. 74th St. In the morning on our walk up to the venue, we stopped at Tal Bagels on First Avenue for breakfast (garlic bagels with lox spread) and ended up arriving at the church early, so we walked around the neighborhood there a bit. I liked the shops around the Upper East Side/Third Avenue area, so we decided to come back on Sunday when we had more time. Nick’s concert went very well—standing room only! Vision of Sound performed a selection from his funeral symphony for string quartet and his guitar solo danza di fuoco, both with choreography (visit Nick’s website for more about his music). I don’t have an opportunity to hear his music live very much, so that was a treat for me. It was wonderful to meet some people from Nick’s past, too; former professors and their spouses who worked with Nick when he was an undergraduate performed or had music on the concert as well. After the show, we went to Bella Blu on Lexington to celebrate. I had veal ragu pasta dish that had a lemon-rosemary scent which I loved and wish I could recreate at home.
Sunday was a totally free day, and we were able to fit in a lot of fun stuff. We went to the Museum of Modern Art, Central Park, and later downtown to Chinatown and the Italian districts. At MoMA we saw The Scream by Munch, Starry Night by Van Gogh, The Sleeping Gypsy by Rousseau, and so, so much more. Those were just a few of the famous ones. I learned that “the Finnish know [the @ symbol] as the miukumauku, the ‘sign of the meow,’ because it resembles a curled up sleeping cat” which struck me as awesome and hilarious. I liked the Painting and Sculpture II gallery a lot, and the work of Wolfgang Tillmans… there was so much to take in! We went to every floor and gallery.
After the museum we strolled through Central Park and back up to the Upper East Side/Third Avenue neighborhood to shop for a new purse for me but struck out, however we did have some good sushi at a restaurant there, Haru Sushi. Naturally, we started thinking about dinner next, and decided to hop the subway downtown to have the famous pastrami at Katz’s Deli. We wandered all around Chinatown and the Italian district, where we sampled mini cannolis and DID find an Italian leather purse for me in a shop on Mulberry Street, called “bag.” Nick found a leather briefcase in a shop called “shoe,” just down the block from bag. Huh! Anyway, it was my only souvenir and I’m really happy with my purchase! [photo hopefully coming soon…]
Katz’s Deli was for sure an essential experience for a first NYC trip. The pastrami was melt-in-your-mouth good, without being too heavy (I’m used to spicy slow-cooked BBQ ribs, and you don’t do ANYTHING the rest of the day after one of those meals!). After dinner we headed back up to the hotel and had wine and dessert at Deux Amis, a little French café near our hotel, to end the night.
Looking forward to visiting NYC again in the future!