Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bryant Park Fall Festival

There is quite literally ALWAYS something going on at Bryant park. I think so far in this blog, I have gone ice skating, played Petanque, gone to fashion week, and visited the New York public library. All in the space of the four city blocks that make up Bryant Park. In the interest of variety, I did not plan to do any more "bloggable" activities in the area, but a few days ago on the way to a shindig, I happened upon another adventure in this happening midtown locale. The Bryant Park Fall Festival. Apparently, every Fall, the park puts up a large raised stage, invites numerous well-known performance-based groups to do their thing, and New Yorkers come out with blankets and hot chocolate to hear and see these free bits of soaring culture. I literally was walking down 40th street and was drawn toward the angelic music of the Brooklyn Philharmonic. Luckily, I had a bit of extra time, so I headed into the park and sat down to enjoy.

I am a bit embarrassed to say this, but I have never seen the Brooklyn Philharmonic. Anywhere. As a good friend put it, "NO! Michelle's in Brooklyn?!?! Oh, wait. Brooklyn came to Michelle in midtown." I think that sums it all up. I generally don't traverse the island to visit those far away boroughs, but after seeing the performance at Bryant Park, I might actually consider it. First of all, it was a mild early Fall evening at dusk and there was ample seating on the lawn. I chose a seat on the right of the stage and settled in. There was an adorable older couple snuggling beside me with eyes closed, apparently appreciating the Appalachian Waltz. There were kids playing at a respectful volume to my right while their parents discussed the clarinet player's extensive training. A group of young adults were huddled together toward the center of the lawn playing some sort of card game and drinking out of paper cups. Oddly, none of these folks seemed rude. The laid-back environment of the park seemed to be the perfect place for all ages to enjoy the music. In most concert halls, these young children could never sit through an entire concert, but here, they danced and skipped to Mozart's Quintet for Clarinet and Strings. Additionally, the program was very wisely chosen to be music that is accessible to a wide variety of people. Good thinking, Brooklyn Philharmonic. I sighed deeply and wallowed in my good fortune for finding such a lovely way to spend the early parts of my evening. It was another very New York moment. I looked up at the towering buildings around me and the deepening cobalt blue sky, I looked at the world class musicians that were playing for me for free, and I looked around at the bevy of diverse individuals with which I might share this experience. Only in New York.

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