Wednesday, December 23, 2020. One more day until the Christmas Day. Since our big snow day last week, it’s been cold but not too, with temps running into the mid-40s during the day and mid- to high-30s later in the evening. Much of the snowbanks have begun to disintegrate into the sidewalks and the roadways. A day of rain will wash it all down the drain.
This week leading up to the holiday is always quiet. Traditionally a lot of New Yorkers are either busy preparing for the day, or have left town for the last days of the old year. This year is not like any other because of the dilemma of the lockdown. Many are suffering economically and are unemployed, not to mention isolated by the results of the situation.
However, life goes on and many will make the most of it, and hope for the best. That is such a common phrase it seems almost meaningless. The thing about New York is the creative energy that it attracts and encourages. It’s still here. There is still such a thing as “the best,” and something to motivate.
The restaurants are all working it as much as possible. The mild temperatures after the storm has made dining outside doable. I thought after trying it last week for the first time when the outside temperature was in the 30s that I’d never do that again. But this past Monday was a very mild day and I asked a friend who’s been quarantining herself and prefers not eating inside, if she’d like to try Sette Mezzo outside. And so it was; and it was great. There was only one other table (of four) occupied, and like us, they had a comfortable early dinner.
It’s all very odd. But back to basics. Last week I had dinner with Shirley Rosenthal and Peter Heywood at their apartment. It was the first time since last March that I’ve been a dinner guest in someone’s home.
I’ve written about Shirley’s dinners on these pages several times. There might be 12 or 14 at table along with active conversation everywhere. It’s in the mix. A lot of writers, journalists, etc.
This dinner was different because it was just three of us: me, Shirley and Peter who was the chef of the evening. He served Shepherd’s Pie, the Yorkshireman’s recipe. I wouldn’t know the difference anyway; it was gobbling-up good, just delicious. And otherwise it was the conversation: three people all of whom are expressive, to put it politely.
Peter is British; and a painter. As he’s been in New York over the past several years, New York has become his subject. He’s in a show right now at the Saphira & Ventura Gallery on West 43rd just off Fifth. He recently had a solo show at the gallery on the power of dance.
Like every other enterprises in New York these days, people must find ways to not only propel themselves professionally but also to encourage others. Peter is one of those guys. He joined 16 artists — all of whom agreed to donate one third of their sales to artists of every kind — from dance to song to other artists whose livelihood has been impacted by the pandemic.
It’s a major philanthropic virtual exhibition titled “Artists Love New York City.” I love these “Reflections” of the big town against the big town, particularly the bridge. This exhibition, which can also be seen by appointment, will run until spring.