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Hermes Artisan Show

walking through central park

sewing a saddle

watching the watchmaker

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seamstress on the cuff

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buttons

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explaining how a scarf is made

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scarves

My New York City Weekend

I stayed in the city but I felt like I went to camp. I have been preoccupied with myself, winding down from my day job and gearing up for my small biz. So I got out of my writing head and into my artsy, theatrical side. I had such a restorative weekend in New York City, a ménage à moi.

There are so many creative, fun, and cheap things to do in the city. As a mother of three, I am always looking for fun and cheap activities for my kids, but I found fun and cheap stuff for myself.

On Friday night, I saw Shakespeare in the park — Riverside Park —  Hudson Warehouse’s Richard III. It was a magical, bloody, funny, professional production. (cost: free)

Richard III, the Hudson Warehouse production in Riverside Park

When you see theater outside, you are at the mercy of the elements. And there is room for serendipity, like the lamp posts flickering on at the magic moment. Or when a family looking for a picnic spot crosses in front of the stage with their stroller and grandmother. (That was very funny!) Also, you can’t go wrong with the backdrop of Riverside Park — breathtaking — at sunset.

On Saturday morning, I took my favorite collage art class with my favorite teacher Mariano Del Rosario. I learned that my life drawing teacher Anita Steckel had died. Sad, but she was getting up there.

There are so many brilliant men and women who teach at the Art Students League, many of them ancient. When you take art, it doesn’t matter how you look or what you wear or how you think. What matters is getting into the zone of creating and making something out of nothing. (cost: about $18)

Last night, I attended Sunday Night Improv with Tom Soter. I love improv. I believe in the, “Yes, and…” philosophy. Say yes and then move the story along. The one-hour class went quickly. (cost: $10)

After a scene in which I was making a ton of offers to my partner, Tom gave me a bit of advice, “You don’t have to work so hard.” Wow! He also advised the class not to try to be clever, but to “Say the simple thing.” Brilliant. I’m going back.

Check out:

Hudson Warehouse for Free Shakespeare

The Art Students League

and

Tom Soter’s Sunday Night Improv

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And no NYC weekend is perfect unless you have a slice. Mine was from T & R Pizza, my local joint. (cost with a soda: $3.50)

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Tree Down

I stood at the bus stop. I waited for the Riverside Drive M5 bus around 6:30 pm. I was later than usual coming home from work. It was still a sunny, hot evening.

I heard a crash like thunder: a gut-wrenching, tearing sound.

I looked at the road. Nothing. The sky? Not a cloud. Then I looked at the park, there it was, 20 feet from me — a huge limb of an old tree crashed to the ground, leaves still shaking.

No one was down but the tree. Just today in the New York Times, Lisa Foderaro reported that the city is allocating more money for trees. This money for pruning cannot come soon enough. Like most New Yorkers, I live in the New York City parks. I don’t want to be scared of (or killed by) falling limbs.

I’m a tree hugger. And I don’t like the crash of a huge fallen branch.

(Just as I went to investigate, my bus pulled up so I snapped this pic as I rolled away.)

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Fleet Week

I feel sorry for all the sailors dropping anchor in New York City’s harbor for Fleet Week this year. They’ve hardly had one sunny afternoon with all this rain.

But let’s face it, the sailors look for sunshine at the piano bars after dark in Manhattan during Fleet Week. That’s when the men and women in their crisp white uniforms laugh and smile and sing.

If you’re a New Yorker long enough, you know where to find the sailors. They flock to Marie’s Crisis and Don’t Tell Mama’s. As well they should. No more fun can be found on land nor sea than singing show tunes in New York’s cabaret scene after hours. I think my workplace chums are planning to go out and sing with the sailors tonite!

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Riverside Park

The girls did gymnastics.A butterfly stayed close by.Toes in the grass.

Last year on Mother’s Day I was disappointed — no presents, no dinner out. Ultimately I just wanted to be alone!

But this year I let go of expectations. My motto? Low expectations = high results. High expectations = low results. So when one of my BFFs suggested a picnic in Riverside Park, I jumped. We spent hours with our toes in the grass, talking about work, books, politics, kids, health, mothering — all the usual.

We fought off a bold squirrel who kept inching closer, stalking our Middle Eastern and Mexican food. We watched our girls turn cartwheels. A hawk flew low with a squirrel dangling from its talons.

Mother Nature put on a show this Mother’s Day. Who needs a bouquet of roses when you have friends, Riverside Park, ethnic food, and nature? My beautiful New York.

The God Box

I work in a big solid square building known affectionately as the God Box. The building has this nickname because when it opened, so many Christian religions were housed here. Now Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Bike New York, and a lot of other nonprofits, are housed here too.

The best part of my workplace, besides my lunchtime Pilates and Yoga classes and my camarades in the cafeteria, are the monthly art openings.

Last night’s show was especially swank because the show profiled 12 artists from the Bronx. For each of the next five years, a new borough will be profiled. This year’s show is: the art of the 5: a shout out from the bronx.  As someone who studies and practices visual art, seeing the variety of these works inspired me. I don’t know if it’s true, but I heard a rumor that a live snake lives in one of the window boxes of art. (A snake in the God Box? So appropriate!)

Here are some photos from last night’s party. Yes,  at the monthly art openings, the wine and beer flow, which is, I’ll admit, kind of a draw (except, probably for the AA folks). But the appetizers are lovely too. Last night there were crabcakes and steak bites. And as you can see below, I snagged that last salmon appetizer.

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The artists assemble for a photo while the sculpture Sirena sits idly by.

Hanging out with my coworkers in the lobby, schmoozing with artists, sipping wine, talking about art — kind of a perfect way to end a work day.

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My colleague, left, Liz Lee, talks to the artist, Jeanine Alfieri, who is the sculptor who creates casts from life.

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The artists from the Bronx gather.

Springtime in the Park

Tell me if you’re getting tired of photos of flowers in Riverside Park. I can’t stop noticing their loveliness. I realized that Earth Day is around this time of year, because Mother Nature never looks so good as she does now. I took these this morning with my iPhone as I was riding my bike to work.

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