Wednesday, December 23, 2009

THE BOOKMAN REPORTS FROM NYC
Obervations, generalisations & comments

Pic left dmwfoto.

Our white Christmas arrived nearly a week early with a massive 11 inches of snow dumped on the city on Saturday night and Sunday morning. The place was an absolute picture within minutes of the snowfall starting. We were walking home Saturday evening from the Bridge Cafe, which is tucked under the Manhattan end of the Brooklyn Bridge, during a quite heavy snowfall, a new expereince for me, a magical one.
The next day we visited Central Park which looked so beautiful with its layer of snow covering every surface. The family went ice-skating, I held the coats and took the photos, it was quite a spectacular sight with I guess 300 or so skaters of varying degrees of ability all swirling around to the music on the famous Cnetral Park rink.

I have been in three bookstores so far, the superb Rizzoli Bookstore at 31 West 57th Street where I lost three hours exploring the four stories of books, I must say I showed remarkable restraint only purchasiing two books, and they were both for gifts, But I could easily have come away with a dozen or more was I not conscious of the airline weight constraints.

Then two excellent Barnes & Noble stores, one of their newest at Tribeca, our local, and the long-established branch at Union Square. Gosh they do have the most impressive displays of all the latest titles, mountains of them. At the Tribeca store I spent some time talking to a staff member about their new e-Book reader, The Nook. As I have a NY address and an American credit card then I could purchase one, US$259, take it home to NZ where I would be able to purchase and download titles. The guy said the product has sold much better than they had expected, in fact they were temporarily o/s, that they had priced it lower than their main opposition the Kindle, who then met their price, but he claimed the Nook has more features than the Kindle. These classy e-Book readers, my son-in-law here has a Kindle that I am using, are truly seductive little numbers and I am hugely tempted to buy one.

Sunday afternoon we went to an off-Broadway show, The Marvellous Wonderettes, which we all greatly enjoyed. Presented in two acts, the first was set at the Sprinfield High Prom in 1958 where four senior students, The Marvellous Wonderettes, provided the entertainment for the students at the Prom, songs like All I Have to do is Dream, Dream Lover, It's My Party, Lipstick on your Collar, It's in his Kiss, Lucky Lips and many others, while the second act was set ten years later when the quartet got back together for a reunion. Almost two hours of superb light entertainment. Of course we came away with the CD!

I'm pretty wary of coffee in the US, they mainly drink filtered coffee, but Auckland friend Simon was here earlier in the year and discovered a great coffee place which I have now visited twice and can report that their double shot skim latte is pretty much akin to a trim flat white back in NZ where I reckon we have the best coffee in the world. La Colombe is the name of the place and they have two locations - 270 Lafayette Street in Soho and 319 Church Street in Tribeca.

This morning we celebrated the 20-something birthday of our niece who is across from London at the most popular Balthazar restaurant in Soho. This fab place is part of the Keith McNally group of restaurants, they are all great, and seven of us enjoyed a wonderful brunch. The place is superbly fitted out as an early 20th century Parisian bistro with every wall sporting huge mirrors. It was a birthday brunch I'm sure Katy will never forget.

Loving having the New York Times arrive at the apartment door every morning around 7.00am. Although I read the online edition daily when I am at home in NZ there is something rather special and certainly preferable about reading the actual paper itself.

My daughter lives near Wall Street just a few blocks from the World Trade Center site and this morning when I was walking back from brunch I went around past the site to check on progress since we were here two years ago. Last time construction was still below ground level but I was delighted to find that building is now at and above ground level. It is a massive building project of course which is going to take many years to complete but the WTC Transportation Hub part of the project seems to be progressing quite quickly with the building above it already at four stories and rising.

While in Barnes & Noble this morning I was most impressed by the range of magazines and journals with a literary bent that were available. I treated myself to the January/February edition of Poets & Writers which I must say is a steal at $5.95. Some of the features include Beyond Words - writers who practice other arts, Fifity of the Most Inspiring Writers in the World, Fires of Inspiration - How the Winter's biggest books got started, Why We Write - the art of perseverance.

Pic left shows poet & visual artist Jen Bervin, one of the writers featured who also practice other arts. There is a two page interview with her.


Tomorrow we head to Livingston in upper New York State, back in the city December 28.We haven't been to this part of the State before so it will be an interesting few days. Not sure on Wireless availability up there so if you don't hear from me for a few days you'll know I am out of range.

3 comments:

Bruce said...

Quite envious of you in New York in all that snow and a real white Christmas.
However the sun is out here and the sea beckoning.
Have fun stay warm
love from us both
Bruce & Halina

Gavin said...

Oh dear... You are in the land of superb printing and binding, acid-free paper and sharp typesetting and you are seduced by an e-reader? If that's the case, I fear I may have to buy one myself!
Happy readings and happy holidays - er, Xmas!
Gavin

Lauraine said...

So wish we could be there, apart from the magnificent show of Pohutukawa aroudn Matakana. Love the take on the bookstores, hate the idea of Kindle (handle the pages and the paper please)and adore Balthazar too. Always went there with Katie!