As part of my continuing efforts to revisit my favorite places before leaving them for a while, I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan a couple of days ago. My upcoming departure has become the perfect pretext to enjoy some of the more amazing aspects of New York (and Boston this week-end).
Starting off from the Brooklyn side of affairs. I can't help but get the wind kicked out of me when I see this incredible construction. Thank you, Ken Burns.
Looking forward to Manhattan (hello Statue of Liberty!)...
I'm deep in nostalgia mode as I prepare to ship off to the midwest. Last night I picked up Joe after work and we walked down the West Side from Columbus Circle. Walking the High Line seemed greatly appropriate. We've been enjoying this park since it opened - the various phases of its building and growing progress throughout the seasons. On a sunny evening like yesterday, it offered stunning views of Manhattan, New Jersey and the river.
In the sunset light...
... and against it.
Both of us share a fascination with the buildings of Manhattan, and the seemingly endless stretches of the its urban grid.
Today was quite probably my last lesson in New York before I move to Ann Arbor for my first term at the University of Michigan's School of Music. I bought a one-way plane ticket for Detroit this afternoon - what an odd feeling to think that I am leaving my beloved east coast! But, as melancholy as I am to leave my haunts and loved ones (and anxious at the prospect of packing up my too-numerous books), I am tremendously excited to start my new, midwestern adventure.
The clouds, too, were brewing up something on the Upper West Side.
Much of my excitement stems from the work I've done this past year: I am proud of my progress, and of how I used my "gap year." I'm ready to meet new people and test out my independent efforts. The summer gave me a taste of this, and I have written a list of goals for myself that build on my experience in California. I want to make good use of those around me, and be open to be put to good use myself. It is a particular pleasure to realize that you are an important and supportive member of your group! Onward to new projects!
At nearly three this morning, I finally arrived from a very long day of airports and airplanes. I've spent a lot of time in transit for the past year: audition flights in the winter, near-weekly trips between New York and Boston, and my hour commutes from Brooklyn to the Upper West Side. What do I do to fill the time so that a) I don't lose my mind to boredom and b) I don't feel that my life is slipping between my fingers in the form of recycled air?
1) I read. This is easiest on the subway, especially if I can sit down, as I sometimes get motion sickness on busses or above-ground trains. When you look around a typical subway car, it's obvious that I'm not the only one who's adopted this method of entertainment. I even enjoy my commutes when they're not at peak hours, because I'm able to have a focused, timed reading session.
2) I learn, memorize and review music. I don't always particularly enjoy this. But "silent practicing" is something that demands a good deal of my time, so if I can fit it into a boring bus trip to pass the time, I feel that I'm killing two birds with one stone.
3) I knit or cross-stitch. (This is very Domestic Young Lady of me.) I don't always have room to bring along supplies, but it's a good alternative to more thinking-heavy distractions.
5) I cut out pictures. Collages are a favorite of mine, and I've been heartlessly cutting apart magazines for years. So, assuming I have space in my bag and at my seat, and that scissors aren't forbidden, you can find me happily snipping away.
6) I do crosswords. Ah, Will Shortz, you have kept me company on many an excursion!
I used to be an adamant equestrian, but I quit many years ago. However, horses and riding still make me dream, so when I saw that the Pebble Beach Equestrian Classic was going on this week-end, I knew I had to visit. Plus, it was Joe's first horse show, so I had a chance to introduce him to the world of jackets and jodhpurs.
A constant of barns and shows is always a panoply of dogs.
Meanwhile, I also took the opportunity to check in with a friend - my one-time pony Trooper, who is now an old fellow, but still just as friendly as he always was. My lovely old companion still recognizes me!
Sunday was our last performance of L'Étoile, and it was a wonderful way to cap off this first summer season. Now that I'm on vacation, I've been playing tourist with Joseph, on visit from Brooklyn, and eating up a storm in restaurants. Tonight, however, I decided to cook.
Lamb stew, with roasted potatoes and zucchini.
Lamb and cherry stew
2 lbs lamb - various cuts, with a few bones for stewing
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
1 8 oz. can tomatoes
2 handfuls fresh sweet red cherries, pitted and halved
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tbsp turmeric
1 tsp tsp cumin
1/4 cup red (sweet) vermouth
salt, to taste
Remove as much fat as possible from the lamb and cut the meat into pieces. Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan with lid or Dutch oven; pat the meat dry and sear on high heat for a few minutes. Add the onion cut into thin strips and the minced garlic.
Reduce the heat to a medium. Add the tomatoes and halved cherries. Add the herbs, spices and salt, as well as the vermouth. Once the mixture begins to simmer, reduce the heat further to low. Cover the pan and let the stew cook for 1 hour, until the meat falls away from the bone and be split with a fork. Adjust salt to taste. If you've started your stew early in the day as I did, you can let it sit, then reheat it gently before eating (this is a good way to make sure the flavors settle). Remove the bay leaves before serving.
And for dessert, honey-rosemary crème Saint-Honoré with nectarines and blueberries, almonds, Cointreau and rum sauce. Now we sit, round and tired, digesting while watching Hitchcock's Suspicion.