Miraculously, the holiday season has arrived, and this year both Christmas and Hanukah arrive together! It seems like we just began this year, and here we are watching it come to an end. A lot of new things will greet the New Year, hopefully all good. But as we reflect on this past year it’s worth taking a look around to appreciate the things that make this life fun and worth living. Some are big, or as Trump would say “huge!” Others are right here in our own backyard (as Dorothy wisely learned after taking her trip down that yellow brick road).
This past weekend saw another successful Taste of Rockaway event. What a great idea, to bring the community together to visit those places right here in our own sandboxes to enjoy. Bravo to Robert Kaskel and to all the organizers of this awesome event. I had the opportunity to walk around and see so many smiling faces from place to place. I saw artists and musicians and people who really make Rockaway special. I am sure I spotted a mermaid or two as well, flippers well hidden in this now cold weather. I wandered into a antique clothing shop on the Boulevard only to hear some musicians playing the most delightful tunes. You couldn’t fit in the room but the combination of instruments was so soothing that I wish those guys would play out as an ensemble and give others the opportunity to enjoin their artistry.
I entered the Golf Club on 100th Street and met so many friends I hadn’t seen in way too long. Great conversations were only ended because there were so many to see and talk to. I made a note to myself to get out more, maybe write less, and see people, people I really enjoy being with, Rockaway people. Everyone in Rockaway knows we are getting dangerously close to that time when it gets bitterly cold, and we shelter ourselves in our own little caves. We need to remind ourselves that spring will come, and with that hopefully the opening of the Harbor Light, too.
If you find yourself in the city (Manhattan for those out-of-towners, who don’t know that’s what we call the island enclave), then I have a few suggestions off the beaten path. The first is way up on Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street. The Museum of the City of New York has a wonderful exhibit on the history of NYC, past, present and future. It’s worth the trip, really it is! The museum sits on museum mile along a row of mansions that includes Carnegie’s old place and Frick’s place as well. I was never invited over to those places when the original owners lived there, but I can go now and visit their museums.
On the bigger than life side, I also recommend the opera, yes the opera. Radio City Music Hall is packed these days, but Lincoln Center is just as festive. While the Nutcracker is the more traditional choice, somehow I recently wound up at Le Boehme. Now I am not an opera buff, except for Adam Sandler’s opera Man routine, but I really enjoyed this Puccini Opera. The sets are unbelievable, “huge, and really huge;” the actors are tremendously talented; and they have subtitles right in front of you. Why sub-titles? Well as it turns out my Italian compatriot wrote an opera that takes place in Paris but they all sing in Italian. I don’t speak a word, but I can read English! Although my mermaid wanted to know why Parisians were singing Italian. Good question! What I didn’t know was La Boehme’s connection to so many current cultural entertainments such as the play Rent; the movie Moulin Rouge; the movie Moonstruck and the movie Trading Places. Who knew!
In any case we live in the best town in the greatest city in the world. As the holidays approach, take a look around and enjoy it all, the great and the small!!