Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Trip Journal, Day 4: "Saturday in New York"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

We got up fairly early and had breakfast at a nice sidewalk cafe near the Sheraton New York Towers and then took the subway down to Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan.The subways in New York are "the pits" compared to the Metro in Washington DC. Lots of deferred maintenance and decaying infrastructure. We went to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We also saw the globe that was in the courtyard of the World Trade Center. It's battered but that is a sign of honor.From there we walked up to Wall Street and saw where George Washington took the oath of office as President of the United States for the first time. We then saw the New York Stock Exchange. From there we walked by the location of the World Trade Center. Still a hole in the ground but they are working on it. We still need revenge!We then took the subway to Greenwich Village. As we were walking to Washington Square Park I got a "Go Ducks" from a passerby who saw my Oregon hat. The park has the big arch for which it is famous but it also has a lot of green areas where you can sit in the shade. We sat down on a park bench for about 30 minutes and listened to the live jazz music being played by a group. How appropriate. For the first time I felt I was in the real New York City. There were less tourist and we felt like we were sitting with the residence of the city. Lot of people walking their dogs. We then walked down Bleecker street where there was a long street fair. As a fan of Bob Dylan and the early 60's folk scene being on Bleeker street and 4th street ( "Positively 4th street") was a thrill. We even walked by The Bitter End nightclub. We then took the subway back to the Sheraton to rest up for "South Pacific"

About 5 PM we took a cab to Lincoln Center for the play. We had reservations for dinner at O'Neals across the street and enjoyed dinner there although it was expensive. There was a large play crowd there and many looked like native New Yorkers. The service was very good. While at O'Neals there was quite a rain storm which was over by the time we walked back to the Lincoln Center. In addition to South Pacific there was a ballet performance at another theater there and it was fun watching how "dressed up" the folks were that were going to the ballet. I though back to Tom Wolf's book "Bonfires of the Vanities."

The musical "South Pacific" is my second favorite musical second only to "1776". This is a revival of the show that fist played on Broadway in the late 1940's after World War II and stared Mary Martin. I have the movie on DVD and just recently purchased the Blu-ray DVD and love it. This revival was very good. Of course they can't recreate the scenery of the movie but I was impressed by what they could do on a stage. I love the music and have been known to sing it in the shower "Some enchanted evening...... " or "There is nothing like a dame"

The musical is based upon a book by James Michener who was in the South Pacific during World War II. At the end of the musical the following passage from Michener's book "Tales of the South Pacific" were projected on the stage screen:

They will live a long time, these men of the South Pacific…. They, like their victories, will be remembered as long as our generation lives. After that, like the men of the Confederacy, they will become strangers. Longer and longer shadows will obscure them until their Guadalcanal sounds distant on the ear like Shiloh and Valley Forge.”

Some 64 years after the end of World War II as members of "The Greatest Generation" die off Michener's prophecy is coming true.

After the play the night was beautiful and we walked the 14 or so blocks down Broadway and took one more peek at the lights of Times Square. A very nice night to be with my two dates.

As a Fathers Day gift our daughter bought me the CD soundtrack to the new Broadway revival of "South Pacific".