Monday, September 25, 2017

Fear and Love

Looking into Central Park Drive North from Fifth Avenue and 86th Street. 4:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Monday, September 25, 2017. A very sunny, hot and humid (99 degrees Real Feel) yesterday in New York. Saturday I made my usual trip to Zabars, Fairway, Price Discount (household items) and haircut with Lyudmilla at Jean Louis David.

I learned in our conversation that Lyudmilla has been there since 1995, which means she’s been cutting my hair for twenty-two years.  I was surprised it’s been that long. She doesn’t look a day older, still young. I’m always reminded that when I was a little kid – four, five, six – I hated to go to the barber. I threw a dramatic tantrum every time my mother told me where she was taking me. She’d keep it from me until we were on our way. Tantrum on the sidewalk, she’d bargain with me just to get me in the barber’s shop. Then I’d shut up because I didn’t want them to see me carrying on like that. It makes me laugh now to think of that “fear” – because that’s what it is.  It was the electric razors. One of the things I like about Lyudmilla’s cut is she only uses the electric razor and not the scissors. Mother was right.

In the last three days of last week, before the weekend, after the UN Week sessions were over, the city got quieter. Except crossing the Park to the West Side on Saturday afternoon, which was surprising. The cause: Central Park West from the Sixties to the Eighties had a lot of huge tractor trailers, as if they were filming in the Park. That was my guess.
Setting up the Great Lawn for the big event.
On Saturday night I went to dinner with a friend who lives over there. She told me traffic was easy coming through the Park but there was a LOT of percussion (“drums beating..”) and it sounded to her like “Stevie Wonder ...” 

Then driving her home, when we got to CPW and 81st Street there were crowds, especially younger adults coming out of the Park in droves. I dropped my friend off at her apartment on 83rd Street where many of the tractortrailers were still parked and now surrounded by what looked like a lot of their crews. So, getting out of my car, she asked the guys “Who was giving the concert?”
The Global Citizen Festival in Central Park's Great Lawn.
Pharrell Williams” a couple of them yelled out. Aha! I don’t really know his work. It’s generational. My parents didn’t know the work of the Beatles or the Stones. And I realize now, “nor did they care to.”

When I got over to the East Side, even as far east as my apartment there were a lot of groups of people returning from the event. The first thing I did when I got into my apartment was put on Stevie’s innervisions albumwhere he’s singing “Living For the City….”  I’ve had that album since it was first released and I’ve played it enough times to know all the words (I like to sing-along — my rendition of Stevie). But this time, thinking of all those people streaming out of the Park at 10:30, walking quietly, slowly as if relaxed after the Wonder of this particular evening, listening to Stevie’s “Living For….” really touched me, really got to me. It’s a brilliant, accurate portrait of the city and what it is.
Pharrell Williams joins Stevie Wonder at the Global Citizen Festival.
I learned Sunday morning, however, what millions already knew – that the concert was a very special one: the Global Citizen Festival — a six-hour, nine-artist event played for 60,000 people in the Great Lawn. I have been before to concerts on the Great Lawn on a Saturday night in fair weather with the lighted towers making up the rim of the park, far above the trees. It’s a little piece of paradise both human and Mother Nature. It’s a heavenly rest from the beat of the city.

And then to think Stevie Wonder played an 80 minute set!! Sunday morning, Steve Bloom reported in Variety that Stevie got down on a knee, and then both, “in support of Colin Kaepernick…” The lineup of entertainers and speakers included Green Day, the Killers, the Chainsmokers, Andra, Whoopi Goldberg, Hugh Jackman.

This is America, the real “land of the free and home of the brave.” One of the things about New York that is so obvious and yet so overlooked in discussions of the world and human relationships, ethnicity, nationality and personal opinions is that here in New York, all of the differences exist all of the time, morning noon and night, and yet, we, the tens of millions of us, still live together in relative harmony, and progress, and prevail. This is Truth. And it’s right here in front of us if we care to look and consider.
More Nice.  This past weekend Betsy Gotbaum and Peter A. Lewis were married at Cazaudehore La Forestiere – Relais & Chateaux. The bride was the New York City Public Advocate from 2002 – 2009, elected first in 2001 and re-elected in 2006. She is only the third woman elected to the post in the city’s history  — the first two were Carol Bellamy (1978-1985) and Elizabeth Holtzman (1990-1993).

A New York City girl, she attended The Brearley School and later The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry. She also attended Connecticut College, Barnard and got her BA from George Washington University After graduating she moved to Recife in Brazil where she taught high school English and mastered Spanish and Portuguese. Several years later she came back to New York and got her Masters in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Betsy Gotbaum and Peter A. Lewis
I have long been aware of her, as have many New Yorkers even if by name only. I have met her but do not know her personally. She stands out in the community not only because of her involvement but because she is a very gracious lady with a natural manner that is reassuring on meeting.  It’s good to know about these citizens. I got much of this information on her public life from Wikipedia, and I share it because the bride is one of those remarkable women who add stability to our city by their presence.

My friend with whom I dined Saturday night told me about the wedding and furnished the photos. She’s known the bride for a long time and was very happy to hear about the wedding. Betsy’s late husband Victor Gotbaum, to whom she had been married for 38 years, died in 2015. My friend told me that Betsy, besides being very active and industrious civic-wise, was also a great friend, a great “girl friend” to her women friends.

The bride and groom are native New Yorkers. Mr. Lewis, according to the New York Times, was born at the Taft Hotel (now the Parc Fifty-One). He has an M.A. in Chinese Studies and an MBA from Harvard. He taught English in Singapore, worked in the Foreign Service, was an assistant director of tehe Bureau of the Budget in the Johnson Administration, and latterly a general partner in Lazard Freres.
Betsy, putting on the finishing touches, with her daughter, Barr Hogen.
The bride-to-be with Annette de la Renta, Marie Salerno, Barr Hogen, and friends.
The wedding ceremony.
You may kiss the bride ...
The newlyweds.
Elsewhere around the town.At an event in New York City on Tuesday, this past September 12th, the Japan Art Association announced the winners of the 2017 Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award.  They are Mikhail Baryshnikov, Senegalese world music star Youssou N’Dour, Iranian-American visual artist Shirin Neshat, Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui, and Spanish architect Rafael Moneo. The prize celebrates lifetime achievement in Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Music, and Theatre/Film/Dance, categories not recognized by the Nobel Prize.
Senegalese world-music star Youssou N'Dour, Praemium Imperiale winner for Music; Peter Gelb, General Manager, Metropolitan Opera.
Among those present at the evening were David Rockefeller, Jr., United States Honorary Advisor to the Praemium Imperiale; Ambassador William H. Luers, United States International Advisor to the Praemium Imperiale; Ambassador Ken’ichirō Sasae, Japan’s representative to the U.S.; Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi, Consul General of Japan in New York; Ambassador Elhadji Amadou Ndao, Consul General of Senegal in New York; Penny Abeywardena, NYC’s Commissioner for International Affairs; Hisashi Hieda, Chairman, Fujisankei Communications and Japan Art Association; Agnes Gund, Lisa Rinehart, wife of Mikhail Baryshnikov, 2017 Praemium Imperiale winner for Theatre/Film/Dance; Joseph Melillo, Executive Producer, BAM; art critic and curator Robert Storr;  architecture critic Paul Goldberger; Nigel Redden, Director, Lincoln Center Festival; Peter Gelb, General Manager, Metropolitan Opera; Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director, The Public Theater; John Elderfield, Chief Curator Emeritus, MoMA; Ann Temkin, Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, MoMA;  Ara Guzelimian, Provost and Dean, The Juilliard School; Melissa Chiu, Director, Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; and Carl Goodman, Director, Museum of the Moving Image.
David Rockefeller, Jr., United States Honorary Advisor to the Praemium Imperiale, with Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi, Consul General of Japan in New York, and his wife, Masako Takahashi.
Ambassador Ken'ichirō Sasae, Japan's representative to the United States, with Hisashi Hieda, Chairman of Fujisankei Communications and the Japan Art Association.
Hisashi Hieda, Chairman of the Fujisankei Communications Group and the Japan Art Association; William H. Luers, United States International Advisor to the Praemium Imperiale; Senegalese world-music star Youssou N'Dour, Praemium Imperiale winner for Music; Maya Zbib, Director of the Zoukak Theatre Company and Cultural Association, winner of the Grant for Young Artists; David Rockefeller, Jr., United States Honorary Advisor to the Praemium Imperiale.
Conceptual artist Emilia Kabakov, a past winner of the Praemium Imperiale, with artist, critic and curator Robert Storr.
Maya Zbib, director the Zoukak Theatre Company and Cultural Association, winner of the 2017 Grant for Young Artists.
William H. Luers, United States International Advisor to the Praemium Imperiale.
Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger.
Melissa Chiu, Director, Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
Ara Guzelimian, Provost and Dean, The Juilliard School.

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