Tuesday, June 5, 2012 – Central Park and “Wicked”

Today we finally made it to Central Park, which is a “must do” anytime we visit New York. All week long I had been noticing the New York Film Academy across 17th Street.  After breakfast, we went over to check it out.  On the left side of the long entrance were a couple of show-ready motorcycles with sidecars.  It turned out they belong to the owner of the school.  On the right side there was the greeter/gate-keeper and a row of people handling telephone calls.  He called them the Admissions Office. [I checked later and the tuition is $15,000 per semester and going up soon.]

The ownner’s collection

The “Admissions Office”

My curiosity satisfied, we headed up to Central Park, entering at 5th and 74th Street, which I figured would be a little more pastoral than the southern end of the park.  However we immediately came to a large tent which had been set up for a concert that night (sold out) honoring Jimmy Hendrix, performed by Roots and many others.  There were many

Banjo pickin’ in Central Park

other musicians in the park, mainly saxophone players, but also a trumpet and a banjo player, who also plays the fiddle.  He is moving to Bloomington, Indiana, because that is where his fiddle teacher lives.  He will be traveling by motor scooter and he said his family is “freaked out”.

We soon came to The Lake and The Boathouse and the dock where they rent rowboats by the hour, which is what we did.  You can easily row around the bend and find yourself with no sign

Boating on The Lake

of civilization if you don’t look too closely, and you are able to ignore the other boaters around you.

No civilization

After the boat it was time for lunch, so we went next door to The Boathouse and had an  excellent meal.  There used to be a landmark restaurant in the park called “Tavern on the

Lunch at the Boathouse

Green” which I recall as being a wonderful place by reputation in the 50’s.  I’m sure I’ve eaten there in the past.  I was saddened to hear that is has been converted to a tourist information center and a gift shop and is surrounded by fast food shops.  Apparently it was mismanaged, and there was a dispute over the ownership of the name, which the city has successfully retained.  After lunch we
We headed back to the W to get ready for our theater evening with Jennifer at the Gershwin Theater to see “Wicked”.  We got downstairs with plenty of time, but cabs were in short supply.  We waited quite a while and finally one of the doormen asked if I wanted a black car for $25, which had been standing by.  That was a bi g surprise because I don’t remember ever being offered a fare less than $40.  I turns out that this driver, at least, makes a practice of offering reasonable fares when handled by the doormen at the W.  I guess the doormen won’t suggest a black car at typical black car rates to a guest.  Makes sense.  We had a well-dressed chauffeur in a luxurious black limousine.  Nice way to go to the theater.  Our driver was from Turkey and is some sort of dietitian, and writes recipes based on astrology.  The recipes are specific to your “weak organs” and your horoscope.

We got to the theater just in time, where Jennifer was waiting for us, and we went inside. Our seats were very good, and we really enjoyed the production.  For this performance the audience was young and enthusiatic. We never found out why.  It was like a huge college age field trip, which was fine for this particular show.

Wicked gives us new takes on just about every aspect of the original “Wizard of Oz”.  SPOILER ALERT:

It turns out that Glenda, the Good Witch of the East, is a self-absorbed, selfish bitch, while  the Wicked Witch of the West is a misunderstood, self-sacrificing generous person.  Nevertheless, she is still killed when Dorothy’s fall on her.

Some thing I’ve noticed with regret over the past few years: There are fewer and fewer shows that have even one singable song. You just don’t hear songs like “Memory” and “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” any more. Jennifer pointed out that just about every song in Frank Loesser’s “Guys and Dolls” is singable.  Bring back the old shows.

After a fine evening, we headed home.

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