Sunday, August 7, 1988

1988 NYC (8/5-7/1988)

Friday, August 5, 1988
Kent arrived home soon after 15:00, and we left a note for Gerald G who may use the house, and drove to T F Green Airport. Parked on the ground level of the parking garage and checked in for our 16:45 Delta Business Express flight to LaGuardia. This was going to be the weekend trip gifted to us by ISPO. We took off at 18:00 in a Fokker F-27 propeller plane for 44 passengers. Apparently it was bigger than what was scheduled, and it was open seating. It had big window portals. Kent started talking about the “Out of Towners” movie! We don’t need that kind of adventure!
I had to look at a map to see how we were approaching the airport, but I did recognize the Whitestone Bridge. Arrived and deplaned about 19:00 and walked out of the terminal to see the sign for the Carey bus that indicated it stopped at the New York Hilton. A bus pulled right up and we boarded for $6 each. Air-conditioned, unlike the taxis! The traffic was all tied up at the airport, but after stopping at all the other terminals, we moved quickly. The driver was a big bald black guy with an accent (fitty-t’ird for fifty-third). He seemed very nice and helped a man who didn’t seem to have the money (traveler’s check or too big a bill) by letting him get change at the next terminal stop. He also unloaded luggage for some girls, which was surely not in his union contract. We came down Park Avenue for a full frontal view of Grand Central Station. We were dropped off at the Hilton, and had to get in a line to check in. They have a weekend special with breakfast included, so I went to pick up the breakfast coupons. Up to Room 2711, using the plastic magnetized cards as keys. After we settled in, we left, passing many, many Japanese guests. Those guests that weren’t Japanese were also foreign.
We walked down 54th and crossed the Avenue of the Americas to the Tango Sushi Restaurant, where Kent had eaten before. Fine nouveau-Japanese cuisine. I had a Perrier and Kent had a Kirin beer. We shared an order of Tekka Maki/tuna sushi roll as an appetizer, raw tuna in rice wrapped in seaweed, with some wasabi. It came in three rolls, each cut into six one-inch pieces! But we ate them all along with the ginger. I had shiitake mushrooms “filled” with shrimp. They were three huge mushrooms and were cut in half. They were dipped in tempura batter and fried, then soaked in a ginger and soy broth. Kent had the Salmon Ageni, slices of salmon fried in tempura batter, then simmered in a broth with green onions and button mushrooms. Very tasty! We cleaned our plates, but didn’t slurp the broth! Left $67 including tip.
Got some mints at the door and walked up the Avenue of the Americas, then down 55th Street past numerous restaurants, mostly Japanese, with Chinese and Italian, and one Indian. At 5th Avenue we turned left and at 57th Street we found the Trump Tower, with terraced areas of trees filled with miniature white lights.
Trump Tower
We walked into the lobby of marble, with lots of brass and glass. It is supposedly the tallest concrete structure in New York. Saw some hanging gardens and an 80’ waterfall down one marble wall. Peeked in a jewelry shop, then left to head up 5th Avenue to 53rd Street, and back to the hotel.

Saturday, August 6, 1988
Up at 8:00 and went down to the Café New York where we could use our breakfast coupons. But there was a long line out the door. So we went to the McDonald’s a couple blocks away, but it didn’t open on weekends! We headed over to the Broadway Theater at 53rd Street to see when the ticket office opened for “Les Miserables;” at 10:00. A block over at 7th Avenue and 53rd Street we saw Lindy’s Corner, which was open for breakfast with no lines. I had the Lindy’s corned beef hash with two eggs over easy, some fried potatoes, and toast with tomato juice. Kent had the same with coffee. Left $26. No one who worked there spoke English as their first language. In fact, New York is full of foreigners, especially on weekends when it is mostly tourists. We returned to the hotel to brush our teeth, then head out again to wait at the Broadway Theater until 10:00. When they opened the doors, we learned they only had single seats left. We went down Broadway to Times Square to see that TKTS was open, and got in line for the twofer specials. Then we found out they were only selling tickets for the matinees at this time. We wanted an evening show, but didn’t want to come back at 15:00 in the middle of sightseeing. So we went to try “Cats” at the Winter Garden Theater; same thing. We picked up a Theater Guide to realize that “M Butterfly” starring John Lithgow was the 1988 Tony Award winner for Best Play. We hurried to the Eugene O’Neill Theater on 49th Street to manage to get two end of row seats in orchestra for $40 each. They warned us they were partial view seats, but at this point we didn’t mind. We at least had our evening plans settled.
We walked over to the Museum of Modern Art on 53rd on the other side of the Avenue of the Americas. It opened at 11:00 and there were long lines that moved quickly. Paid $6 each to enter and first went to the second floor.
Museum of Modern Art guide
The museum supposedly has been renovated to double its exhibit space. We went through the Garden Hall with a Picasso or two to the Monet Water Lilies Room with two major murals. Next was a Pablo Picasso room then the Cubists, including Georges Braque side by side with Picasso showing nearly equal style. We doubled back through rooms with Gustav Klimt and a woodcut by Edvard Munch called “Angst” (1896). There were a couple post-impressionism rooms with a Paul Gauguin, an Edgar Degas, and Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” (1889). A Paul Cézanne room.
We walked down a hall with Mexican revolutionary-type art to the area of surrealism with Yves Tanguy and Salvador Dalí. Saw a shadow box “The Little Theater” (1934) by Dalí with eleven painted glass panels lined up in front of each other. A room for Alberto Giacometti with both paintings and tall skinny sculptures. A room for Joan Miró and another of Dadaists, primarily Man Ray and Alexander Calder, with prints, collages, sculptures, etc. A huge room for Picasso with a central sculpture and the “Charnel House” (1944-45). Charnel House is a place for keeping the dead. Many of the Impressionists also did sculpture.
Paintings by Vasily Kandinsky, and the smaller prettier ones by Paul Klee. A room of Henri Matisse with paintings and sculptures. Some loud Constructivism in a stairwell, a room of Piet Mondrian squares, Futurism starring Umberto Boccioni, some Expressionism leading to Marc Chagall paintings and a Le Corbusier. Back through Cubism and we were done with the second floor, or so we thought! Saw the photography wing with a wide variety of artists including Lee Friedlander.
On the third floor we first went to Prints, featuring Matisse illustrations of books. Pre-war America with an Andrew Wyeth, a Georgia O’Keefe, lots of Arshile Gorkys and more Mirós. Post-war European featuring Jean DuBuffet and Willem de Kooning. Also Early Abstract with many from Jackson Pollock, the first of the paint drippings paintings we were to see. A late Matisse room showed where he made paper cutouts of swimmers and divers from colored paper to create four walls of the “Swimming Pool” (1952). We saw more contemporary art, with Andy Warhol being the only familiar name. The smaller Drawings room had Jasper Johns, another Warhol, and an exhibit of modern allegories by Robert Rauschenberg to illustrate Dante’s “Inferno.” Some of the drawings were titles “Fagend” which is a frayed end of cloth or rope, or the inferior remnant of something exhausted in quality and utility. Many of the paintings were done in gouache, which is a method of painting using opaque water colors mixed with a preparation of gum. We sat for a while in the Garden Hall, watching Japanese kids pose for pictures; little 2-3 year olds posing quietly and cooperatively! We also looked down on the outdoor sculpture garden/court with Picasso’s pregnant goat (“She-Goat, 1950).
We went up to the fourth floor with design posters and a helicopter! Saw Le Corbusier, Adolph Loos, and Egon Schiele through architectural plans and models. Passed a display of modern design of furniture, lamps, plates, bowls, appliances, etc., including those of Louis Comfort Tiffany, Antoni Gaudí, Frank Lloyd Wright, and the ubiquitous Man Ray!
Next we went down to the ground floor, first to see an exhibit titled “projects,” which was very hilarious. This project was “Fauna” by two Spanish artists (Joan Fontcuberta and Pere Formiguera) who put together notecards, videos, audiotapes, and photographs apparently based on the work of a German zoologist, showing rare species made of real animal parts! There was a Decontructivist exhibit showing Russian art and contemporary architectural designs which fracture geometry and seem to defy gravity. A large exhibit of Garry Winogrand photography, who was more into people than events, and used a fish eye lens to create a focus on the subject. At the end of his life he left 2,500 rolls of film undeveloped and 6,000 more photos unproofed! We continued to a lower level to see a large poster exhibit, and the theater level with French cinema posters. Back upstairs we made our way through the gift shop, and after a good three hours, we were done!
We walked over to 5th Avenue and debated what to do about lunch, deciding to first go to Tiffany’s. The elevators were slow. So we took the stairs up to the top floor (fourth) to look at the chinaware. Nothing special. A quick look at crystal, then down to look at silver and leather, then down and out.
We checked out the Trump Tower restaurant, but decided to go to the Market at Citicorp Center at Lexington and 53rd Street. There is a skylighted Atrium with an indoor garden café and international restaurants and shops. Kent had been there, so we went to Alfredo’s to eat, supposedly the real Alfredo’s of Roma, the originators of Fettuccine Alfredo. Their only other US concern is at EPCOT in Disney World! We arrived just after lunchtime when the tables had placemats. We were the first to have a cloth tablecloth for the dinner shift. We had iced teas, then Kent had a glass of white wine with his meal. We shared an insalata caprese, where I had one large slice of mozzarella and tomato, and Kent had two. Whole basil leaves and a jug of olive oil as dressing. The waiter ground the pepper. I had the Fettuccine Alfredo with funghi porcini, which sure tasted like morels! A nice smooth cream sauce, with tasty mushrooms in broth poured over it all. Kent ordered the taglierini, but they didn’t have it, so he got the pansotti, called tortellini, but were like triangular ravioli with an herb and garlic filling, and a walnut and garlic paste to spread on top. Very tasty! The bread was covered with sesame seeds and was also still warm, and delicious. Kent finished with a cappuccino, and we left about $60.
In the Atrium was a display of Hollywood costumes which we perused.
Market at Citicorp Center brochure
Outside in a corner of the Citicorp building was a church, St Peter’s that blended in with a modern exterior. We couldn’t find our way inside, so we don’t know if it is still a church. However, Mass times were listed.
We walked up Lexington Avenue to 59th Street to Bloomingdales. It was open until 18:30, so we had time to check out their chinaware. Didn’t see any Limoges that we really liked, but saw possibilities by Villeroy & Boch, and Heinrich. Also looked at duvet covers, but they are all in solid colors. We returned to the hotel to change out of shorts and t-shirts. I looked down from our window at the streets below and noticed a predominance of yellow taxis over any other form of transportation, probably 5 to 1.
Shortly before 19:30 we started walking down to the Eugene O’Neill Theater, arriving just before the doors opened. Out front an old guy was fiddling, never finishing a song and interjecting old jokes. We took our seats and read the programs.
M Butterfly program cover
M Butterfly program
The curtain was raised at 20:00 on the excellent, excellent play, where it was easy to believe a man played the part of Miss Chin, etc. (Alex Mapa did so tonight) even though it wasn’t part of the story. But the star, B D Wong! Afterwards we read carefully through the credits and noted that any use of gender pronouns was avoided, and it was because she was a he! (And that was meant to be so in the story where a French consul in China has an affair with a Chinese spy who plays a female, but is actually a male. The French consul paralleled his side of the story to “Madame Butterfly” with excerpts from Puccini’s opera. We recognized Chris Odo from Nissan commercials, and the warrior skills of Jamie H J Guan. George N Martin is a Trinity Rep player and is in local New England TV commercials. Some interesting characters in the audience, too, with a Jewish Tammy Faye Bakker and her deaf mother who shouted comments during the play, and the fat smelly daughter.
After theater, we walked over to 55th Street with all the restaurants, and stopped at the basement La Bonne Soupe. Got a great deal in ordering soup, but the bread was a disappointment: soft crust. We had a simple green salad and a large bowl of soup. Kent had French onion and I had mushroom barley with lots of celery. For dessert we shared a crème caramel and a chocolate mousse with whipped cream. I had club soda and Kent had white wine. We were done as the place closed at midnight. Left about $16.50; a cheap supper!

Sunday, August 7, 1988
Up very late at 9:00. We went down to join the line at the Café New York. Some pushy Spaniards got in ahead of most of the people. We got a window table next to them! We used our coupons towards the scrambled eggs with salmon (chopped lox!) and lots of onion, hash browns, and a toasted bagel, which came after toast was brought by mistake, and we never got the cream cheese. I had tomato juice and Kent had coffee. The coupons were worth $15 and altogether our breakfast and tip cost about $28.
We checked out and left our suitcase at the desk. We walked up the Avenue of the Americas where policemen were gathering and blue wooden sawhorses were being set up. Kent asked a policeman about the blockade, and he said there was a Dominican Republic parade to begin at noon.
We went to Central Park and hiked up and down the small hills of the wooded section of the park, passing the skating rink, playgrounds, joggers, skaters, bikers, etc. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, because Dyckerhoff provided the cement for building the museum, Kent took photos of the immense building, one of the greatest museums in the world, with Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art, Near East art and antiquities, European art and fine arts, and American decorative arts.
We continued up 5th Avenue at a good clip to 89th Street and the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in the spiraling building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. We paid $4.50 each to enter, and instead of waiting in the long line for the elevator, we started walking up the ramp. We passed the exhibit on Modern Treasures from the National Gallery in Prague, first with paintings from Czech artists, then their Impressionist paintings from Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Edvard Munch, Paul Gauguin, also Gustav Klimt and Henri Matisse. Some very fine pieces. In the Justin K Thannhauser Wing was an impressive collection of mostly Impressionists. As we ascended, there were the collection galleries of 20th century art including new acquisitions. We noted that Mondrian started with multi-squares and later did his black line and primary color square geometrics. We followed chronologically (backwards) the works of Georges Braque, collected from many sources for this exhibit, and now we understood the parallel with Picasso, as together they developed the Cubist style and had a long working relationship.
A small gallery of recent acquisitions held mostly contemporary and abstract art. One of the guards had bleached hair, but was shaved on the sides in his natural color. We spiraled back down and checked out the Czech paintings on the ground level and the gift shop. Outside we shared a cold root beer from a street vendor for 90 cents.
We walked back down 5th Avenue and into Central Park. Passed a gay glen of suntanning couples. It was oppressively hot. We crossed the park to the American Museum of Natural History at 79th Street. Entered the immense building and paid the $3.50 suggested donation each and received a button as a contributor.
American Museum of Natural History
guide
Museum of
Natural History
button
It was soon evident that the place was not air-conditioned. We slowly wandered through dioramas of African animal, and displays on African cultures. Near the restrooms was a special exhibit with Tibetan monks shaking colored sand through a long tube to create a wheel of time mandala. A very intricate design; exacting work. It was being videotaped, and interestingly, it was cool in that room! It may take weeks to complete a mandala, and then the sand is ceremoniously collected in a jar and taken to a body of water as an offering back to nature.
The Akeley Gallery had an exhibit on Korea, with the present shown as technology and the Olympics, and the past being an expedition by a naturalist from the museum. We headed to the top floor to be impressed by the size and number of dinosaur remains, including a “mummy.” Down one floor to see more African mammal dioramas, but we were starting to fade. We skipped floors to the first floor to find the model of the great blue whale in a cool dark room. Purchased a couple cans of Coca-cola (for $1.35 each!), and sat beneath the whale to look at the fish all around us.
We left and walked up Central Park West and arrived at the beginning of the Dominican Republic, which was still forming and marching out at 15:30!
Dominican Republic Parade
We couldn’t believe how many people were in the parade. It surely everyone from that country! And all their relatives lined the street to watch! We followed the route to 59th Street, and crossed over to walk down 7th Avenue. We turned down 55th Street and crossed the parade at the Avenue of the Americas. All the restaurants were closed on 55th Street, so we went back to the Avenue of the Americas and went to Prego: Pasta d’Italia to get a window seat to watch the parade. There was a large bowl of marinated/pickled vegetables on the table, which we nibbled. There was great bread. I had mineral water and Kent had a beer. Kent ate the pasta frutti di mare, which had linguine with mussels. Squid, and clams in a plain marinara sauce. I had gnocchi pesto, which was more cream sauce with chopped tomato than anything basil. Tasty, but as Kent says, the Wendy’s of Italian food. Left about $30 for the Indian waiters.
About 16:00 we returned to the hotel to pick up our suitcase. Kent carried it as we hiked over to 49th Street and Park Avenue to see the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. They also had cement supplied by Dyckerhoff, so Kent took a few photos. We caught a cab as it discharged a passenger, and zipped over to 1st Avenue, seeing the UN buildings. Passed Dangerfield’s Comedy Club and went over to FDR Drive. Over the Triborough Bridge where we could see the dark smoke from a fire in the Bronx. Took Grand Central Parkway to LaGuardia Airport. Hit traffic, but arrived at the Delta terminal. The cab ride cost $15.25 and Kent gave him $19.
We checked in and got drinks to sip while we waited for our 18:15 flight to Providence. We saw some guys in suits, and Kent recognized some as Minnesota Twins: Bert Blyleven, Dan Gladden, and Steve Lombardozzi. We also saw several people walking by carrying musical instrument cases and sporting t-shirts or decals proclaiming the Jazz-Blues Festival. Kent thought one guy might be Dizzy Gillespie!
We boarded a nice new Saab SF-340 and took off on time, arriving earlier than 19:15 on Providence. We paid $13.75 for parking and drove straight home. When we passed the harbor, I saw the huge salvage ship (Dutch), which had brought home the mined USS Sam Roberts to Newport.

2 comments:

dragonflywendi said...

This is probably going to sound completely crazy, but is there any chance you would still have a ticket stub to M Butterfly? I was at the exact same performance you attended on August 6, 1988. It was the very first Broadway show that I ever saw and holds dear sentimental value for me. I have been looking for a ticket stub from this performance for years to replace the one I had but lost in a fire a few years ago. If you happen to still have one, would you consider selling it? Or even a scan of it?

Jax Stumpes said...

Most unusual request! I do have a scan of the ticket, but not the original, and it is over-stamped with PARTIAL VIEW. If you would like me to send the scan, leave a comment with your e-mail address. I will not publish the comment to keep your address private, and I will e-mail you the jpeg. I also have scans of every page of the program.