To start with, New York audiences are already always enthusiastic, especially at times when they have an occasion to mark an occasion. So last night in the immense and acoustically redesigned Avery Fisher Hall, when the concertmaster Glenn Dicterow was making his penultimate appearance, after 34 years of work with the New York Philharmonic, as the violinist in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, there was a triple ovation, everyone standing and cheering and bouquets tendered and people almost weeping – all of that. And then his Piano Concerto no 5, with Yefim Bronfman playing – ditto the ovation, The Philharmonic’s superb conductor Alan Gilbert is very grand and very engaged, and that’s ultra-important. Then we spilled out into the night .
Enthusiasm has its energy pack built in: so after the Philharmonic, we wandered our way down to the Lincoln Plaza
Cinema to see the film Belle, fantastic anti-slavery opus, and how grand to catch the Last Feature: makes you feel New York Young.
And these days, Shakespeare enthusiasts can see, free of course, the Shakespeare in the Park production of Much Ado about Nothing, and also the American Ballet Theatre’s production of Alexein Ratmansky’s The Tempest and Ashton’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, not free but a whole lot less expensive than the opera in the same seats.
With one of my art critic pals, Michele Cone, we made it to the Guggenheim to see the Under One Sun show: really fascinating from the point of view of politics… I loved most the Wilfredo Prieto’s Walk of 2000, when he simply put a plant in his wheelbarrow and walked it 5 kilometers, recalling all the other Walk art, from Richard Long, Smithson, the Situationists and others. (I am especially fond of Rebecca Solnitt’s writing on walking and field stuff, and the like.) Paulo Bruisky’s and Daniel Santiago’s idea of coloring the clouds above New York all sorts of colors seems super indeed, and Marta Minyin’s Transformation of the Statue of Liberty into Something Edible, sounding like Dali’s comestible architecture, and hoping for a giant hamburger festival on the concluding day, but – alas! - Mcdonald’s said it couldn’t supply the victuals for that grand day. Then there was Tatlin’s Whisper , the Havana Version, which celebrated free speech and for the one minute duration of each participant, a white dove was placed on the speaker’s shoulder to commemorate Fidel’s speech after the 1959 Revolution, in which one white dove landed on his shoulder.
And , yes, we did get to the Jeff Koons Thing. All of the Marcel Breuer building of the Whitney is taken up with this, from early to now, inflatable things, ad things (different narratives for the upper-priced whiskeys and the lower-priced ones, as the knowledgeable guide Meredith Mowder pointed out ), steel-surfaced sculptures, and of course the infamous intercourse works, modeled on the baroque, say the wall texts. Outside we met the witty writer Sidney Offitt, who teased us about going to the Koons he had just savoured with his granddaughter.
Savouring is what New York in June is all about.