There is so much to see and do in New York, and if you have the time to look around for good deals you can do it cheaply. For the past few months I’ve really been able to see some interesting shows and performances in New York, and visit a number of great museums as well. I used to go see Broadway shows often and kept up with some of the cultural events happening in New York, but got too busy (or lazy, I should say).
Then this summer, my fabulous friend Christiane inspired me to tap into the cultural resources of the city and take advantage of what it has to offer. Christiane is always reading and researching wonderful events and places in and around New York, and truly embraces the New York life. She introduced me to a lunch time performance at Bryant Park (we saw a medley of short Broadway musical performances one afternoon) and to an organization that offers complimentary tickets to off Broadway shows (check out the will-call section of student rush). Motivated to enrich my own life here in the city, I started to look for things I could do.
On my way home from yoga one day, I stopped by at Lincoln Center and found out about the Lincoln Center HD program (outdoor summer series, free viewing of famous opera performances in HD), the New York City Ballet‘s opening night (all tickets were $50 or $25, with Q&A sessions before the performance and champagne during intermission), and about various performances at Juilliard (they are free and range from chamber music to great plays). To top if all off, I was introduced to the Museum of Arts and Design in Columbus Circle by my dear friend Janice, and my friend Paula used her corporate connections to get us into MoMA (don’t forget that it’s free Friday nights) and the American Museum of Natural History. I regret not doing more of that when I worked for BMG since my work ID allowed me admissions to almost every museum in the city with guest privileges. But, better late than never… especially now that I’m leaving New York.
I think during the past three months I’ve seen more shows, performances, and visited more museums than I have in the last few years. A quick list of what I saw and did this summer-
Lincoln Center HD: Sunday night performance of Tosca. We arrived early, so we thought, but there was already a large crowd. Since we didn’t have seats, we didn’t stay for the whole program but I got to hear one of my favorites, recondita armonia, so I was quite content.
New York City Ballet: Opening night performance for their fall season. I know of a lot of yogis who came to yoga through their dance and interest in movement. I came to love movement and dance through yoga. I loved the graceful performance, the opening night energy of the theater, the costumes in the second half (Vivaldi’s Four Seasons), and the glass of champagne I had during intermission.
39 Steps: I really enjoyed this play. 4 actors played every role/character, it was witty and quick paced, with a wink to other Alfred Hitchcock movies. I also liked the sangria we ordered before the show that was brought to us during intermission for us to enjoy.
Museum of Art and Design: I had never heard of this museum until Janice told me about it. The current exhibit had its focus on insects and nature as the inspiration. There were sculptures made entirely of pigeon feathers, mounds of crushed mouse skeletons, etc. hmmm. not really what I expected. The top floor of the museum is a restaurant called Robert which boasts a gorgeous view of the Columbus Circle area and Central Park.
In Transit: An a cappella musical about the lives of New Yorkers, doing their best to make it here. 6 singers (3 men and 3 women) plus a human beat box. It reminded me of all the fun times I had singing with my college a cappella group, especially when one of them would discreetly start a song by blowing into a pitch pipe. There were some cringe worthy notes and a few songs I didn’t love, but overall it was a fun experience.
Power Balladz: The funniest and the most rowdy show of the bunch I saw this summer. As the title suggests, the entire show was a dedication to 80s power ballads. Anna, Paula, and I got a bucket of beer, and listened and sang along (at least I did) to everything from Bon Jovi to Axl Rose.
Museum of Modern Art: Surprisingly packed on a Wednesday afternoon when Paula and I visited. It’s amazing to me that so many famous paintings are all there for us to enjoy. There was a wishing tree that Yoko Ono started at the museum so both Paula and I wrote our wishes and tied them to the tree. Of course I love that right next door at the Modern Bar Room you can get a nice cocktail or a glass of wine after visiting the museum.
American Museum of Natural History: I regretted the time I spent in the Asian and African wings. When I go back, I will head straight for the Hayden planetarium and the earth section of the museum and then head upstairs for the dinosaurs. I simply loved learning about the scale of how tiny our planet is and therefore how tiny I am. Trying to understand the size of an atom or the Virgo cluster of galaxies was just mind blowing.
Mahler Symphony number 5 at Carnegie Hall: Mariinsky orchestra from St. Petersburg with Valery Gergiev conducting. The trumpet solo that opened the symphony was beautiful and overall, this symphony was so dramatic that it wasn’t for the faint-hearted. It’s been noted that Mahler re-wrote and made changes to the percussion parts and he continued to make changes to the overall orchestration after several performances. I found myself watching and listening particularly for the percussion section… I felt so lucky and blessed to be able to enjoy this on a cool Friday morning.
In the next two weeks I will go to Juilliard for a chamber music performance by Ensemble ACJW (the academy- a program of Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School, and the Weill Institute of Music) and the Juilliard’s fourth year actors’ play of Proof.
Whew! I sure have been packing it all in!