Getting in on the act

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Tête-à-tête in Central Park. Photo: JH.

Friday, May 10, 2019. Mostly cloudy, sometimes sunny, fair weather in the upper 50s accompanied by a chilly wind at times, yesterday in New York.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day as you may have noticed if you’re not checking your cell phone. I grew up thinking it was the creation of the American greeting card industry. I learned only yesterday that it’s a day celebrated in many countries all over the world long before Mr. Hall of Hallmark Cards got into the act. Even the Romans and Greeks held festivals in honor of their mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. Early Christians created a festival known as “Mothering Sunday.”

Lord Frederick Leighton’s Mother and Child (Cherries), 1865.  16th century England gave rise to Mothering Sunday, during which children would make a pilgrimage to their family church (aka their “mother” church).

Here we send cards and flowers, and a lot of people take Mother out for brunch. We didn’t need flowers when I was growing up, because my mother grew them in her flower garden. In retrospect, I can see she would have been thrilled beyond words to receive a bouquet. But alas, that never happened and she probably never could have imagined the possibility anyway. My mother did love her flower garden, however. I can still recall as a kid watching her observing the blossoming plants she put in. I never realized until I was much older (much much) the pleasure she must have got just from observing their growth and blossom.

The Central Park Conservancy has program that would have been perfect for my mother. And very much for your mother too. Or, a mother you know of. It’s a card plus a garden. In the Park.  It not only thrills your mother to be honored in that way but it thrills a lot of other mothers and even fathers and even children sometimes. And it’s special …


Plant tulips or daffodils in Central Park for Mother’s Day.

This Motherís Day, give the gift of blooms. Donate in
honor of a special woman, and we will plant flowers
in her honor. Then weíll help you share the news of
your gift with a personalized ecard.

Buy Flowers

Visit or call 212.310.6675
to learn more about the Tulips and Daffodils program.


100% tax-deductible


Catching up; stuff around the (down)town. Award-winning composer/lyricist Max Vernon returned to Joe’s Pub on April 23rd with “Existential Life Crisis Lullaby.”  Ellie Heyman directed Vernon’s six month residency and series of shows at Joe’s Pub. It featured multiple scripts, presented 51 guest performers, thirty handmade costumes, six musical sets, and entertained more than 1,000 audience attending.

Vernon’s musicals have received the Lucille Lortel Award, three Drama Desk Award nominations, a Jonathan Larson Grant, and the Richard Rodgers Award. The New Yorker called his work “…equal parts Bohemia and Broadway, a downtown aesthetic with a progressive take on musical theatre.”

Leah Lane, Ellie Heyman, and Max Vernon.

In concluding his residency at Joe’s Pub, Vernon told the guests/audience: “I have infinite gratitude and feel creatively transformed by our experience together. I will remember it for the rest of my life. Thank you.” 

The April show featured special guests Andy Mientus, Michael Longoria, Jo Lampert, Fancy Feast, Sophia Ramos, Helen Park, Gianna Masi, Avery Leigh Draut, Michelle Geo and Leah Lane.  For more information see:

Max Vernon and Fancy Feast.
Sophia Ramos, Gianna Masi, Avery Leigh Draut, and Michelle Geo.
Max Vernon, Emma Vernon, Gianna Masi, Michelle Geo, and Avery Leigh Draut.
L. to r.: Michael Longoria; Andy Mientus.
Leah Lane.
Jo Lampert.
Max Vernon, Gianna Masi, Avery Leigh Draut, and Michelle Geo.
Max Vernon sporting three of his more than thirty handmade costumes.

Meanwhile, back uptown, Paige Peterson sent us a photograph of the view from Central Park West looking east across Central Park taken on Monday morning when the Sun was warming us up a bit. The very low rooftop on the other side of the Park is the Metropolitan Museum at 81st to 83rd Street and Fifth Avenue.  The tallest brownish building on the left hand side of the photo is Mt. Sinai Hospital at 100th Street and Fifth Avenue. You can also see part of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir on the upper left side of the Park.

On this day, Friday, The Herb Alpert Foundation and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) announced the 25th annual Herb Alpert Award in the Arts to five exceptional mid-career artists — Pam Tanowitz for Dance; Beatriz Santiago Munoz for Film Video; Meshall Ndegeocello for Music; Lloyd Suh for Theatre; and Cecilia Vicuna for Visual Arts. Each award comes with an unrestricted prize of $75,000. Herb and his wife Lani Hall are celebrating the awards with 60 winners of the award this coming Monday hosted by the Herb Alpert Foundation at 6 pm at 547 West 26th Street.

Herb Alpert and Lani Hall. Photographs by Dewey Nicks.

The Herb Alpert Foundation has supported the arts and many other causes since 1982, giving away more than $170 million. “Herb had a hunch that a prize to artists — artists who took risks — could make a difference to artist, certainly, and maybe even the world,” explained Irene Borger  who is Director of the Herb Alpert Award in the Artist. “Herb said,” she continued, “’what if?’ — the core of creativity. The artists the Herb Albert Award Honors and supports not only ‘think outside the box,” they think: ‘What Box?”

The Herb Alpert Foundation has supported the arts and many other causes since 1982, giving away more than $170 million.  Meanwhile, back here in New York, Herb and Lani are still performing, and will be in concert tonight, and Saturday at the City Winery in Manhattan.

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