My Mom and I are staying at her house in Flushing, Queens.  We’re waiting for my UK Settlement Visa to issue and taking in all that New York has to offer.  Highlights of this week.

The Mets.  Last Sunday we saw a day game against the Minnesota Twins.  I could write a book about this.  Throughout my entire life the Mets have been the single biggest source of sports-related anxiety for me.  As soon as I start caring they blow it.  Also, since when do the American League Minnesota Twins get to play in a National League ballpark?  Yeah I know we’ve had inter-league play for decades.  Still can’t get used to it.

Anyway, Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London was there to throw out the first pitch.  My family thinks Khan is great.  Progressive and the first Muslim mayor of a major world city outside the Islamic world.  My daughter hangs out with his nephew too.

The Mets were ahead 3-1 when we left in the middle of the 7th.  They didn’t blow it and won 3-2.  I want to go again this Sunday against the lowly Philadelphia Phillies.

David Sanborn Quintet.  Can’t really translate it into words.  On Tuesday night I met a couple of friends for dinner and then caught the 10:30 PM set at the Blue Note in Greenwich Village.  I started going to NY Jazz clubs 40 years ago!  The Jazz scene is still very much alive and the music was smokin’.  Had a couple of Woodford Reserve on the rocks with plenty of ice water and closed my eyes for the wall of sound.  This is one of the happiest experiences for me in life these days.

Kykuit Rockefeller Estate.  John D. Rockefeller built this estate on 4,000 acres of land in Sleepy Hollow, New York.  In 1908 he purchased the best land in Weschester County, 500 feet above sea level with spectacular views.  The family spent about $5MM building the estate.  I guess it would cost about 10x that today.  The main house stayed in the family for four generations.  It was the main residence for Nelson Rockefeller, four-term governor of New York and Vice President under Gerald Ford.  Now it is managed by a land trust but the golf course, 40,000 sf play house and barn are still controlled by the family.  David Rockefeller, Nelson’s brother age 101 still lives nearby.

Jerusalem 1000 – 1400.  My Mom is a long-time member of the Metropolitan Museum.  We were allowed to visit a preview of this exhibit showing antiquities from this era in Jerusalem.  The assembled collection is nicely cohesive despite coming from a wide variety of collections around the world.  I imagine the curating process for this exhibit was very intensive and interesting.

To complement the assembled jewelry, swords, edifices, books, illustrations and decorations, the exhibit features projected images and videos from the Old City today.  As someone who has visited Jerusalem extensively, this brought it all home.  The narrative text discusses activities in Jerusalem.  For some of them I felt they were also germane to Jerusalem today and that added an ironic twist to the exhibit.  Without question it’s worth a visit.

Snowden.  Very well done movie from Oliver Stone starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  IMO it provides a balanced perspective on the issues Edward Snowden confronted.  This was confirmed by the reactionaries sitting near me.  They only grunted disapproval 2 or 3 times.  Provided a bunch of details I did not know.  It left me questioning my position on Snowden.  Also some interesting anecdotes with insight on Snowden’s genius.  Timely during the election year.

Food.  In NY we eat like kings.

  • Pasha Restaurant.  Turkish on W 71 and Columbus Avenue.  Sizzling lamb chops, ratatouille-like appetizer with great bread instead of pita, remarkable little dumplings in spicy cheesy sauce.  Obligatory baklava.
  • La Pequena Colombian Restaurant.  Roosevelt Avenue and 84th in Jackson Heights.  Incredible, incredible neighborhood.  Guacamole with crispy plantain pancakes, excellent paella, sizzling New York steak on a bed of seafood in creamy sauce.  Karaoke guy fell in love with my mother, easily earning a $20 tip.
  • Nick’s Bistro.  Metropolitan Avenue and 106th in Forest Hills.  Dinner of appetizers and desert.  Spanakopita, baba ganoush, hummus and stuffed mushrooms (eh).  Obligatory baklava.
A Week in September

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