Monday, January 18, 2010

New York City - Day 10 - Rockefeller Center and The Sybarite5 Chamber String Quartet

Thursday, December 10, 2009

great sunny day, but quite chilly. (Chicago - bad with a wind chill of 9 degrees.)

We spent the entire day at Rockefeller Center

After going crazy running around and trying to find the correct location to procure tickets to the Top of the Rock so I would be up there an hour before sunset, at sunset and then during dusk/twilight and also tour the NBC studios, we took a short rest and then went on the tour. We were provided with our own helper, Donald, about our age who cleared the way all the time, even finding our own elevators. The guides themselves were just great and had some personality. At the end I volunteer to play the roll of a news anchor person and read the news from a monitor. Lots of fun!

We went outside and viewed the Christmas tree, along with a gazillion little kiddies on field trips. OMG! We then walked around the ice rink. How convenient that there was a Metropolitan Museum of Art gift shop right there! Well, we could not pass THAT gift shop! Bought the Robert Frank book and more and are having all of it sent home.

Then we crowded into a small Dean and Deluca coffee shop across from the Today Show window. We had some chili soup and ham and potato soup along with a Cuban sandwich we shared and I had a large hot chocolate.

Unfortunately we did not run into Louis Mendes, who has been shooting tourist photos in front of the tree for 40 years with a vintage Speed Graphic 4x5 camera, potato masher flash and sells you a Polaroid print! He even has a Facebook page!
We eventually went to the Top of the Rock where it was quite cold and windy.
By this time Susan was quite tired.

Upon descending we found a Starbuck’s inside the lower level of the center. Susan had a tea and I had a coffee mocha. We sat looking out picture window onto the skating rink. As we looked out the window, during the cleaning of the ice by the Zamboni, a guy and his girl friend skated to the center of the rink in front of the gold winged sculpture and the Christmas tree above it. He proposed to her, complete with the ring. Sweet! A memory to cherish.

Although it seemed impossible to hail a cab, I managed to attack one when I spotted one pulling over to drop off a well heeled couple. Such good luck! That wind and cold was not pleasant.
Susan decided to relax at the hotel.
I went to a concert performed by The Sybarite5 Chamber String Quartet at a small venue next door to the hotel called "the cell.' The group was fabulous and played rock music that they or others had had arranged for string quartet simply because there is virtually no music composed for such a group - combination. Quartet yes, quartet, apparently not. They opened with "The Rebel" by Piotr Szewczyk which was simply dynamite. One piece was by Dan Visconti who has spent some time Memphis, TN. It was titled " Black Bend," and evoked, at the beginning the erratic circling of a bee. Then it picked up speed and it started to truly swing! I found my foot tapping and noticed those all all the musician's feet tapping as well. The reason was the slap of bass and the cello. It proceed to really rock and have the flavor a bit of country music. They also played two pieces by Astor Piazzolla arranged by Piazzola himself. "Muerte de Angel" was really great. They finished with "Heart Breaker" by Led Zepplin that brought the small intimate group to it feet. I think a few even whistled.
Afterward there was champaigne and mixing with the group and audience. I spoke to the cellist for quite some time.

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