What a whirlwind trip! Friday, Bill came in from Boston and we went -- along with his friend Greg -- to games at the new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, which replaces Shea Stadium as the Mets' home. Saturday, we saw West Side Story, took the subway to the East Village for a couple of beers at McSorley's, then had dinner at Impanema in Little Brasil.
The new Yankee Stadium is nice, but rather chilly. From what I saw, most of the $1 billion of taxpayer money that went into building it must have gone into the luxury suites and the field box area. Yankee fans are entitled -- they seemed to expect the umpires to cheat in the Yankees' favor, and didn't hesitate to boo when they did not. Also, the place may be a launching pad for left-handed power: The Yanks clubbed five home runs to the Indians' one, all to right field and all but one to left-handed batters. One game does not a statistical trend make, but both teams hit an awful lot of homers in the series.
The new Yankee Stadium:
After the game, we took the subway back to Manhattan long enough to down a couple of slices of pizza ($2.75 for two slices and a drink), then back on the subway to Queens and Citi Field, which was considerably more fun than Yankee Stadium. The location -- I admit -- was not promising: Citi Field lies next to Shea's former address in the middle the 1964 World's Faitr grounds, currently a metropolis of auto graveyards and muffler shops.
But, the entry through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, with flat screen TV's broadcasting highlights from Robinson's career and the floor with Robinson quotes inlaid on it, seemed to inspire just about everyone passing through. Moreover, Mets fans -- and I hate to admit this -- are terrific. Not only was there much good-natured give-and-take with the few Brewers' fans in our area, they even worked up a credible "Yankees Suck" chant! The other highlight of the game was Gary Sheffield's 500th career home run, which by pure luck I happened to get a picture of.
Citi Field, including Garry Sheffield's 500th homer:
And that was just Friday. Saturday afternoon, we grabbed a sandwhich and sat on a bench in Times' Square right across from the theatre playing West Side Story. (See video above. The statue looking out over the Great White Way is of George M. Cohan.)
West Side Story -- directed by Arthur Laurents, the 91-year old author of the book (the non-musical part of the play) -- was wonderful, especially the dancing. I can't say enough about Matt Cavenaugh's (Tony) tenor or the vitality of Karen Olivo's Anita. Moreover, this version was bilingual, with very effective Spanish-language renditions of "I Feel Pretty" and "A Boy Like That/Have A Love" and a boy soprano singing "Someday." "Quintet" was especially well-produced, and remains one of the most memorable moments in all of musical theatre. Here's the version from the 1961 film:
Having some time before dinner, we took the subway to McSorley's Old Ale House (est. 1854 -- "We were here before you were born") in the East Village. A classic Irish tavern, McSorley's serves its own brew in small mugs that you toss down two at a time. McSorley's Old Ale House:
Then it was back to Midtown's Little Brasil for dinner at Ipanema, a Brasilian-Portuguese restaurant. In Manhattan, it's as difficult to walk a block without finding a decent place to eat as it is to traverse the same territory without hearing a siren or a honking horn. Ipanema definitely qualifies as a decent place to eat. I started off with the Brasilian version of a margarita, made with a Brasilian rum. From there, it was on the fried Portuguese sausage and a pot of Feijoada Completa, a black bean and pork stew described as the Brasilian national dish. Collards, rice, orange slices, and a ground root accompany feijoada, and you mix them together as you eat. If all the food there is like this, I could see living in Brasil...
New York isn't the only great city in the country: Check out the faces of New Orleans here...
The First Lines are from Yeats' "The Wild Swans At Coole," a particular favorite of mine. Read the entire poem here...