The Island of Manhattan - my Home for 31 Days


Autumn in New York

Autumn in New York

M & M Store At Times Square

M & M Store At Times Square
M & M Store At Times Square

Friday, November 6, 2009

My Natural History

Tuesday 3 November and I awake to the familiar sounds of sirens – police, fire and ambulance. They sound 24 hours a day and now simply blend into a soundtrack blithely playing in the background of this New York adventure movie I seem to be starring in. :-)

It is a brisk 8 degrees so I dress – scarf, gloves, 3 jumpers, jacket and bottled water - as I head off into the jungle - towards Central Park and my favorite spots so far. Walking down 8th takes me through places that speak of my own natural history - directly past the George Gershwin Theatre to Columbus Circle and from there I have access to a world of wonder. Time Warner Center, Lincoln Square and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York City Opera, (where I booked a couple of shows), the Juilliard School (now that place brought a tear to my eye – memories of performing when I was young) – making mental notes of place to return when I have time – sauntering between Amsterdam and Columbus – past cafes, and churches, and schools and tiny little cute parks and centers for education and development – oh my heart is singing and my legs are screaming.

OK alright I’m listening! I cross over back to Central Park and sit for a while taking lunch and just observing the people as they walk by. Prams pushed and dogs walked – but by Nannies and Assistants. I saw many very young babies out without their mothers and I wondered where they were? Would women living here in such wealth need to work so soon after giving birth? I had nannies for a time with Sam and then Niko while I was running the agency from home so I know the value of a great nanny. It certainly was fascinating to observe the parade of international languages and colors as they chased after their precocious charges while scooping up after the well fed dogs. :-)

The park seems to be deep in thought today. The colors are beginning to fade in preparation for the looming winter and the throngs of New Yorkers here today seem to be taking refuge somewhat. The weather is chillier by the day here yet I get the feeling that this park is always well inhabited. It makes me think of Brisbane where if the mercury goes below 20 we stay at home by the droves. We do not appreciate how lucky we are with our warm weather.
Rested I walked up to the American Natural History Museum - much better than the movie :-) – where I dedicated six hours to the discovery of as much as possible in this beautiful place.

The Theodore Roosevelt hall was goose bump inspiring. The Milstein Hall of Ocean Life - I sat in front of the large screen where whales swam and soothed with singing. I was in heaven! Then the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth, Human Origins, the Dioramas, the Grand Hall, the Fossil Halls, the Grand Gallery. I especially loved the Rose Centre for Earth and Space especially the Journey to the stars and cosmic pathway. It certainly gives one pause for thought. There were a number of halls being renovated and many exhibits closed but it did not matter one iota. This place was filled to the brim and a magical place to spend six hours. My big moment was in the Theodore Roosevelt hall reading about his life and I suddenly felt a kinship with this great man. All my grand aspirations can be read in HIS natural history. This hall is a tribute to the contributions he made to this museum and this city. In Australia, we don't know much about American history. We hear the names from the television shows and movies that form part of our ongoing immersion therapy (thanks ML) however we don't know much about the characters in the American natural history. The entire Roosevelt family were obviously incredibly tuned into human behaviour, nature, culture and the development of the US in many ways. Teddy Roosevelt - now that I have been introduced to him via this medium, was an inspiring fellow. Quotes by him greet the visitor at the entrance of the museum. My favourite is this one:

Nature - There is a delight in the hardy life of the open. There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm. The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased; and not impaired in value. Conservation means development as much as it does protection. Theodore Roosevelt

It's almost closing time and I have to race back from the museum up to 34th street along 8th avenue through peek hour traffic to quickly change, re apply the jungle makeup and hair to go back out again in 30 minutes to the Al Hirschfield Theatre on West 45th Street to see the musical HAIR.

Once I got to the theatre the exhaustion hit me like a ton of bricks. Maybe its jet lag and maybe it's just trying to squeeze New York into every waking moment so I don't miss anything. Between downloading and editing photos, blogging (I'm keeping 4 separate journals), doing Pushworth work daily and updating via Skype with Manny and Sam each night, plus of course actually going out into New York and then there is that little thing known as sleep......well I'm finding it difficult to fit everything in!

But I tell you - it's worth the exhaustion! :-)

Having never seen HAIR before, I had no idea what to expect….and I was pleasantly surprised. Young vibrant cast, singing and dancing and just having a total blast with a 1960s dialogue that is now more comical than topical and they brought the house down. I love the show – that costume mistress must have had fun collecting all the pieces – colorful and imaginative – everything was great!

Dinner afterwards at some Jazz club called Charlie’s where the trio were as old as my parents. Great voices and I imagine that in their youth they spent time on the boards of Broadway and now they sing for the supper in the city jazz clubs. (Time to consider some sort of universal retirement plan for aging performers and musicians mmmmm)

I am exhausted and sleep heavily and late and dream that I am home with my family.

Ah sweet dreams…

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Central Park

Central Park