Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Music Everywhere

Passing by a school playground full of children at recess in the East Village today, the din of a car horn in “panic” mode droned on and on in a monotone as they played. Just as I began to feel sorry for city kids who have to endure the urban noise around them from within their 12 foot chain link fence enclosed playground, I heard four or five boys stop what they were doing and start to build a chord based on the note from the car horn. They matched the rhythm creating the third and the fifth with one of the boys providing an off-beat and another improvising a counterpoint melody. One boy began to conduct with his right arm while the ball he had just been playing with was tucked under his left. I stopped on the sidewalk to wonder at the spectacle. Touched and amused at their ability to make music out of a car horn, I rounded the corner and realized that this was no ordinary playground I stumbled on to, this was the playground of Grace Church School.

A beautiful Gothic Revival style edifice set back from the street at 820 Broadway, Grace Church boasts one of the finest musical programs in the city. Their open-door policy and daily organ meditations are famous in the neighborhood. In fact, the school at Grace Church began as a boys’ choir boarding school in 1894. Eventually the school expanded into a regular elementary school and became co-educational, but obviously they have maintained their strong music program including a chorister training program for kids. Good thing, too, because these kids probably would have been beaten to a pulp on any other New York City playground. Keep singing, boys!


Friday, November 20, 2009

I Need a Little Christmas

I won't lie. The last couple of months being back in New York have been a big adjustment. After such an incredible year at school it was bound to be a let down getting back to the city grind. I miss the friends I made and the constant creative stimuli. On top of that, I had to finish up my final paper (which is done!) and I'm still living in a temporary housing situation. The reason? Because the tenant I chose with such care last year to rent out my apartment while I was at school won't get out! I won't go into all the details, but it has been a constant source of frustration and anxiety the last six weeks. So, when my friend Jimmy suggested I join him to attend the Unicef Snowflake Lighting at 57th and 5th Avenue, I jumped at the chance. Somehow the beauty of 5th Avenue as the holidays approach never fails to lift my spirits.

As these holiday lightings go, the Snowflake is a bit of a dog and pony show. It's short and sweet; a kids' choir singing some holiday tunes, some remarks from the Unicef mucky-mucks and a beautiful celebrity like Unicef Ambasador Lucy Liu to flip the switch. Et Voila! Merry Christmas! Just what I needed. But the best part was probably going out for burgers afterwards with Jimmy who loves a good greasy spoon diner as much as I do. Bacon cheeseburger deluxe, please. Ah, La Parisienne Diner--c'est magnifique!

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hunka Munka Chunka

I don't care how stupid he is--Levi Johnston is HAWT!