Sunday, July 30, 2017

"Dear Evan Hansen" - wow

New York saga catchup: Thursday July 27. 

Went to the Met Breuer, a newish museum I’ve never visited before – an exhibition of the work of Ettore Sottsass, an Italian designer famous for his Memphis collective, his lipstick red Olivetti typewriter and quirky shelving units. The exhibition reminded me of my dear friend Robert Handforth, the first person who taught me to think about style and who undoubtedly knew of Memphis and Sottsass. Bob died of AIDS in New York in the late 80’s, another beloved New York ghost.

Lunch at a lovely Italian place on Lexington with my father’s cousin Lola, who’s exactly the age he would have been had he lived – nearly 95 – and her daughter Patti. Patti is an art restorer at Yale, and Lola is an artist herself, as was her mother Belle, my grandfather’s sister. A great lunch with much juicy family gossip. Lola, like my Aunt Do, still lives alone in her apartment.
Home to change and prepare for the rest of the day. Wanted to go to the actual Met but Ted said we’d meet at six for dinner in Times Square, so rather than hustle, I decided to make my way slowly downtown. Somehow – how did that happen? – I landed at Bloomingdale’s. Last time I was here, two years ago, I got a great pair of black pants so wanted to try again – bingo, same make, Gerard Darel, same fantastic sale. Making my way through this crazy store, I ended up sitting in a chair having my face cleaned and moisturized by a nice lady from South America. She thought I needed to fill in the gaps in my eyebrows. Did not buy her products and wiped off her eyebrow enhancement asap.

Walked down hot, sticky, packed, frantic Fifth Avenue, ducked into Sak’s for fun. I looked at a nice backpack and enquired the price: $1285.00. I laughed out loud. So - fun. It was nearly six when Ted called – he couldn’t get away. I was on Fifth Ave. with two hours to kill till the theatre, no idea where to go or what to do, when I had a brilliant idea and went to the Algonquin, a hotel with a famous bar where Dorothy Parker and other New Yorker writers used to meet at their Round Table. I met with a New York editor there once, intimidated and thrilled; what a pleasure to walk again into this elegant, old-fashioned place, suffused with history. I had a glass of white wine and a delicious crab cake, tended by kind, attentive waiters, and felt like a true New Yorker.

Met Ted and Henry to see “Dear Evan Hansen.” It won the Tony for Best Musical, the young star, Ben Platt, won Best Actor in a Musical and it’s sold out for months, so I treated my cousin and his spouse to house seats rustled up for us by my ex. After only a few minutes, I thought, this is why I’m here, this is why people come to New York. It was simply superb, incredibly moving and well done. Ben Platt gave one of the best, most overwhelmingly honest performances I’ve ever seen. Even hardened New Yorkers Ted and Henry were thrilled and moved, and that’s saying something. It’s the story of a quasi-autistic high school student who gets embroiled in an internet deception involving a fellow student’s suicide. But mostly it’s about family – his mother is struggling, his father remarried and far away, the boy lonely and lost. The music is gorgeous, and Ben Platt and all the others are not only fabulous actors but great singers too. Spectacular. All teenagers should see this play. "You are not alone" is one of the beautiful songs.

After we’d finished rhapsodizing and dabbing our eyes, Ted and Henry left to go to Northport, and I took the Q train to 72nd and 2nd. It’s a new subway line up 2nd Avenue. What a blessing to get out of Times Square so easily.

At home, however, not so easy – as I walked in the door, there was a loud beep. If there’s one thing I dread, it’s the loud beep, indicating some battery somewhere, at my house a smoke alarm, is failing. Here it was the Verizon box, requiring me to get dressed twice to go down and get the doorman, both of us struggling to disconnect the @##@ thing. It took an hour, with several tries. No internet. If it weren’t for my phone, I’d go mad.


  1. I love your New York posts, Beth. We once met friends (from Whitehorse!) at the Algonquin and drank glasses of Prosecco while watching the sophisticates around us.

  2. There are these marvellous pockets of Old New York - like my cousin's Century Club and the Algonquin - where you open the door and step into another era. And a very welcome escape from our era they are too. A thrill to sit with the ghost of Dorothy Parker and her friends. Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker.