Friday, April 24, 2015

Approached with equal interest

Looking west towards the San Remo on Central Park West from The Lake in Central Park. 2:30 PM. Photo: JH.
Friday, April 24, 2015. Yesterday in New York was a bright sometimes sunny, sometimes cloudy day with temperatures dropping into the 40s and feeling suddenly chilly again.

Yesterday I went to lunch at Michael’s for the first time this week. My lunch date was Geraldine Fabrikant who’s written a couple of travel pieces for the NYSD on Sarasota, Florida. Gerry and her husband were trying it out this past winter after wintering on the East Coast of Florida, and they like it, as you may have noticed from her reports.

"Mayor" of Michael's and good cheer Joe Armstrong, with Michael's GM Steve Millington (Photo: Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times)
This was a week of lunches and deadlines, both approached with equal interest. On Monday I had lunch with Joe Armstrong who has just returned to New York after ten weeks working in Paul Newman’s camp in Jerusalem where they host children with serious illnesses to give them a week of fun with other children with games and activities. The children are from different religions – Jewish, Islam, Christian – and of course they all get along with each other.

I’m always reminded of that Oscar Hammerstein II lyric from “South Pacific”: “You’ve got to be taught ... before it’s too late, before you are six or seven or eight; to hate all the people your relatives hate. You’ve got to be carefully taught.” 

At the Paul Newman camps they cater to children with serious, even fatal diseases, giving them all a chance to enjoy their days, and away from the pain and suffering of their individual realities. It was Monday and raining. Joe and I had a quick lunch at Orsay, another very popular restaurant on Lexington in the 70s. Orsay’s location is where the old Mortimer’s used to be.

Tuesday and Wednesday were two important lunches in New York  – the New York Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s Spring Lunch which was held at the Pierre on Tuesday, and the American Museum of Natural History’s annual Environmental Lecture and Lunch at the Museum on Wednesday. We’ll show you and tell you more about them on Monday’s Diary.

Yesterday after lunch midtown traffic was hellish so I opted to take a cab through the park up to East 72nd and Fifth. The skies were turning stormy grey by mid-afternoon. Looming, as if we were going to get it. We didn’t. A ride through the park always evens you out.
On entering the park at Sixth Avenue and Central Park South, you travel along a winding road that opens to this view of southeast corner overlooking Fifth Avenue and CPS. The green mansard roof on the left is the Pierre Hotel. The green spire  is the Sherry Netherland just one block south on Fifth. Nex to it is the former GM Building, former Trump Building where the Apple Cube. Looming over it is the a-building 432 Park Avenue. To the right with the Chippendale style top is the Philip Johnson designed Sony Building on Madison Avenue, the tall black slab is another Trump tower, and the limestone colored building is the Plaza Hotel which has been standing there, occupied since 1908 before any of the other buildings were, even in somebody’s imagination.
There are lots of these flowering trees now at their height leaving carpets of pink or white surrounding them. Behind the trees is number 834 Fifth Avenue.
What are those blossoms crawling along the rock. The building behind with the arched façade is Temple Emanu-El on the corner of 65th and Fifth.
Heading north. A lone figure stands in all the flora.
We’re up to 70th and Fifth now in the background. The green copper roof is that of the Frick Collection.
Regular readers know I love these trees. The excitement is heightened by the fact that we know that within a week or ten days the white will turn to green and the love affair will have faded too. This tree on Third Avenue between 80th and 81st Street on the west side of the avenue, is maybe my favorite. I’ve photographed it in previous years. It just has so much style and insouciance, and awesome beauty.
Coincidentally JH was at the park at the same hour getting his famous closeups of the extraordinary beauty surrounding him and anyone else lucky enough to be there.

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