Thursday, February 21, 2008

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep

[Yikes! Way behind on the blogging. I will back-date a few entries I've been meaning to post...]

As noted last year when we went to New York, we love riding the subway system. It's easy, it's fast, and it always costs the same amount, regardless of where you are going. This makes the whole thing very useful.

So last night we were riding the subway home across town after going to dinner and the theater and then out for a nightcap (more about all that below), so it was shortly after midnight. Standing on the subway platform, I became aware that people were looking at us. Not in a threatening or weird way, just in a kind of "What are you doing here?" way.

Now, it occurred to me that we were about the whitest people around on the subway at that hour. Unlike the evening rush hour when I headed over to dinner surrounded by yuppies, this was a working-class and largely non-white crowd. But that wasn't it. They weren't looking at our faces.

Then it dawned on me: Everyone but us was wearing black. No, really...Everyone. Black is the color of winter in New York, apparently. Black overcoats, black parkas, black jackets, and mostly black pants or jeans. I wasn't too far off with my blue-and-black rain/snow jacket, but my wife was wearing her very favorite pink ski parka with the fake fur ruff around the hood. So she, in particular, stood out like a sore thumb. We got a good chuckle out of that.

OK, other highlights of the day: Dinner was at a location recommended by my wife's coworker who used to live in NYC: Trattoria Dell'arte. The food was wonderful, and the decor was pretty casual and funky (the theme is noses), right across the street from Carnegie Hall. (So I taught my daughter this joke: "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Take the subway and walk a couple of blocks up Seventh Avenue....") I had the Tordelli Bolognese, which was quite good, but the big hit was my wife's Lobster Carbonara, one of their signature dishes. Sadly, it was too big a portion for her to finish, so I had to share some. Absolutely fabulous.

The show for the night was the real reason we'd come to New York, Tom Stoppard's latest, Rock 'n' Roll. It's very good, though I wouldn't call it one of his best. Well worth seeing, of course. Quite different from just reading it. My wife and I both read the play in advance, which was probably good, but we both had a different impression of the play from reading it than from seeing it. The character who seems to be the focus in the text ("Jan") was much less of a presence on stage. The actor seemed to be losing his voice, which might have contributed to this impression, but all in all, his character seemed much more meek and less consequential than the way I'd read him. All very interesting, as Stoppard always is.

After the show, a little stroll up Broadway. The lighted sign said it was 24F. Chilly, but not unpleasant. We decided to stop in for a quick drink at a bar/restaurant called Serafina, under the Dream Hotel, where I once stayed on business. The woman tending the bar was a bit clueless, but she did make an excellent Manhattan (seemed like the right thing to drink in Manhattan).

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