Sunday
Mar212004

“Village” in the Village

Note: Village closed in July 2009. The space became John DeLucie’s The Lion.

*

Village at 62 West 9th St is a West Village gem. For $25 prix fixe you get two courses and a glass of beer or wine. I had a wonderful chickpea curry soup and veal ravioli. Book at “non-prime” hours on DinnerBroker.com, and you get a further 20% off, which was a steal.

Village (62 W. Ninth Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, Greenwich Village)

Saturday
Mar202004

Salome, Metropolitan Opera, 19 March 2004

Last night was the second performance of the new production of Salome at the Metropolitan Opera. As widely reported, soprano Karita Mattila bares all in the Dance of the Seven Veils, but if you blink you'll miss it: she's au naturel for just a second. Vocally, Mattila doesn't quite have all the chops for this role. Still, it's a courageous total performance, by an artist at the top of her game.

I didn't mind the idea of an updated production, but the set design just didn't work for me. Jochanaan's cistern was crammed into a small space downstage left-center. Although there was plenty of open and little-used space elsewhere on the Met's cavernous stage, too much of the action seemed handcuffed by the bulky, ugly scaffolding that surrounded the cistern.

Saturday
Mar202004

O’Neals’ Restaurant, Lincoln Center

Note: O’Neals’ closed in mid-2010. A branch of Stephen Hanson’s Atlantic Grill replaced it.

*

This venerable Lincoln Center restaurant re-opened fairly recently after a two-year renovation. O’Neals’ is trying to become more up-scale, with entrees in the $20 to $32 range. At about $4 less, they would have been fairly priced. Cream of asparagus soup and veal risotto were satisfactory, but I won’t be rushing back.

O’Neals’ (49 W. 64th St. between Broadway & Central Park West, Upper West Side)

Friday
Mar192004

#7 Train Extension in Doubt

The New York Times reports that state and MTA officials are unenthusiastic about extending the #7 subway line from its current terminus at Times Square, to the Jacob Javits Center at 34th St & 11th Ave.

The state and the MTA believe that East Side Access (which will bring LIRR trains into Grand Central) and the Second Avenue Subway are more urgent transit priorities.

Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff believe that the #7 extension is essential to long-term commercial growth on Manhattan's West Side. The city's bid for the 2012 Olympics also assumes that the train will be there. But the Olympic bid has always been a long-shot, and the New York Jets, who want to build a stadium over the MTA's west side rail yards, say they don't need the subway.

The city has offered to pay the #7 extension's $1.8 billion cost out of its own coffers. The theory is that the train will bring commercial development, which will bring higher property tax revenues, which will allow the city to pay off the bonds used to finance the project. But it would be unprecedented to promise future tax revenues to fund a transit project on this scale.

My own view is that the MTA has enough big-ticket projects on its plate, and I have yet to see a compelling case for letting this one go forward. Let's see how the West Side evolves before betting the ranch on future tax revenues that might not materialize.

Friday
Mar192004

Unaccustomed as I am to public blogging....

Why blog? Everyone blogs, or perhaps it only seems that way. On the Internet, to blog is to be. I had to have a blog.

What to talk about? This blog is about my passion for New York City ... its restaurants, its neighborhoods, its transit system, its theatre, its opera companies, its museums.

Along the way, I'll probably editorialize about politics, law, travel, and other topics that interest me. After all, it's the Supreme Blogger's Right to follow fancy's whim, and write as one pleases.

Yet, I do hesitate. Blogging seems so hopelessly self-indulgent. The Internet is full of blogs read by no one, serving no purpose but to satisfy the blogger's desire to see himself talk.

But I decided to give it a try anyway. Whether anyone's reading is beside the point ... but hopefully somebody will be.

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