The Waldorf Shuttered, The Empire Room Gone, But Lena Horne? Here Forever!

Or…a night i’ll never forget!

Wonderful memories to me are  gifts that are always there to pull upon when life or times get a little complicated.   And this is one of my favorites.  I try to make kaysnycways timely  but I just  couldn’t find the right time to share this memory until now.  After reading that  the Waldorf Astoria  was going under a  total renovation and would be closed for a few years, I said to myself now is the time and  I finished the draft I had started.     Remembering this night always lifts  my spirits  and in these chaotic times wonderful memories are indeed wonderful!  


Image result for lena horne at the empire room waldorf

We were right at the edge of the dance floor at a  very small cocktail table for two…waiting.  It was the  last night of Lena Horne’s  run at the Empire Room.   We   were in our 20’s and it was our  first time  at such a fancy, elegant New York City supper club.  We were wide-eyed and we were star struck not just for the excitement  of seeing her, but also because we were surrounded by celebrities like Carol Burnett, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh and  the McGuire Sisters.     When  she  came out and started to sing, all we did was look at each other with huge smiles! The evening was a surprise from my boyfriend (and future husband) and what an evening it was.  Her  rendition of “Surrey With the Fringe on Top” turned  a bouncy  melody  into a sensual romp!  As she went from one song to the next, everyone was spell-bound  and  the room would explode with applause, cheers and words of love after each.   She took it all in with her usual  aplomb as she waited till we became silent again before she moved on.  What a night!


Image result for lena horne at the waldorf

The  amazing, beautiful, elegant  Lena Horne never leaves us. We  still hear her voice and see her thru her recordings, movies and TV taped appearances. .  She was a native New Yorker born in Brooklyn (1917-2010) )and used her  voice, her  strength and her intellect  to fight  “against racism in the entertainment industry throughout her career and against racial discrimination in this country throughout her life. “*

Take the time  to watch this documentary from PBS’s American Masters’ Series about Lena  Horne on her struggles and triumphs.

There  is a new  children’s picture  book about her life as a performer and activist  written by Carole Boston Weatherford, *”The Legendary Miss Lena Horne” published in February ( 2017).  I discovered something I didn’t know from this bio,  *Lena learned to  read before kindergarten and  books were her lifelong love.  The cover of the book illustrates the dress she wore when she sang “Stormy Weather”.

Next May there will be a tribute to her at Jazz at Lincoln Center in Michael Feinstein’s Jazz and Popular Song Series.

I don’t want to get too sentimental here, but it occurred  to me that we all, especially as we get older, have wonderful memories that help us get through our crazy lives. Those memories also seem to have a will of their own as they just suddenly decide to pop up, or a song plays and it triggers one, or you’re sitting there with a glass of wine, minding your own business, thinking of family and  friends and there it is that memory that always  makes you laugh out loud.   And all the time those other  wonderful memories just sit there in the back of our minds waiting their turn to be rekindled.  Like my memory of Lena Horne – always there and always fresh.

Love this City and love Lena Horne!       


Important to know: Google Lena Horne and read more about this amazing woman and what she accomplished.

 “The Legendary Miss Lena Horne” – by Carole Boston Weatherford a children’s picture book on the life of Miss Horne both educational and inspiring with beautiful illustrations by  Elizabeth Zunon.

May 2–3, 2018  |  7:00pm & 9:00pm  |  The Appel Room Michael Feinstein continues the Jazz & Popular Song series with a tribute to an American national treasure: “The Enchanting Lena Horne”.

Good to know:  “Lena Horne at the Waldorf” is available on CD or to download with many of the songs she sang that night.

“Surrey With The Fringe on top” by Rodgers and Hammerstein

“Stormy Weather” by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler

“From This Moment On” by Cole Porter

*Unfortunately I couldn’t find the source of this sentence I copied, so my apologies to the writer.

Photos courtesy of

Disclaimer: I try for correct info on my posts, but no guarantees people.




843 Acres of Delight…

or..if it’s not Central Park what else could it be…I ask.

Yes, friends, 843 acres running 2.5 miles long and a half mile wide is that glorious part of the City starting at  59th Street and ending at  110th with pure magic in between…Central Park!

Now  where to begin  on my walks through the Park?  A walk to the Boat Basin or to  Belvedere Castle or to  Strawberry Fields or to the Zoo or to the famed Carousel with the 57 hand carved horses?  What to do, what to do.

I made the decision (not quickly) for this first post on the park, to write about my most frequent walk, which is to enter on East 66th Street and wind my way over to the exit by  Tavern on the Green to Central Park West.     (I miss, by the way, that gaudy shiny Crystal Room at Tavern even if the food and service were not so great).

Now before I go any further, just wanted to say, you probably know much of what I’m writing, but if, like me, sometimes a different perspective brings about some kind of awakening to something new.  Even doing my research for my posts, I always have a discovery (e.g.The Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks  The Institute teaches park users and managers to care for urban parks everywhere. )  Didn’t know that.

So let’s get started

If you’re going to the park for any reason, take the time to just enjoy! Wear comfortable shoes, take water, snack, hat and maybe a sweater, throw an umbrella in just in case, a blanket and a book and crossword puzzle if you’re so inclined.   Much of the walkways and paths  are good but there are interesting  paths and trails that are unpaved and often muddy.

The East 66th Street Entrance

Here’s one of the frequent sites seen  everywhere in the park- people reading.  Those readers could be on benches or on the grass or even on the rocks. I’ve done it many times myself or should I say I’ve tried to do it, but it’s not easy to stay focused when there is always so much to see and hear. Must admit weekdays is an easier time of it because it’s  quieter, but even then, the birds chirp, people talk, interesting people talk,  tours come through, children laugh  and I’m very easily distracted .  No, I don’t use a headset.  One reason is “my hearing is definitely not what it used to be” plus I like the sounds and often a musician or group of musicians are playing.  Love that!

As I walked down the small slope and past the children’s playground, I saw  the usual  puppeteer with his egg pubaltoppet to the delight of the kids.   And just a little further up the hill is the popular Balto statue, the famed sled-dog who saved children’s lives in Alaska in 1925.

The Mall – the American Elms – Wow!

As I walked up the hill through the arch and up to one of my favorite places in the park   The Mall, of American Elms  It’s just so beautiful (by the way, how many times can I use “beautiful” in a blog…a lot when describing the park, but I’m going to try to use other adjectives, I promise. It’s gorgeous in the spring, summer, winter and  fall.

The Mall and Literary Walk

And here we are: the single walkers, the bikers resting on the bench, the couple holding hands, the stroller in the distance, all under those magnificent elms. (saving for another post the section of The Mall called Literary Walk with statues of prominent writers.

Ahead of me was Sheep Meadow
I stood under this magnificent tree to take the photo of Sheep Meadow
  •  FROM THE CENTRAL PARK WEBSITE: The fifteen-acre meadow holds true to this intention today as Central Park’s largest lawn without ball fields and as a designated quiet zone. No organized sports or gatherings are allowed on Sheep Meadow to preserve the space for quiet picnicking and relaxation.

It certainly is, trust me on this one

Sheep Meadow Is a wonderful place to stop, bring a blanket, a book, a snack, a hat and spend the morning or afternoon or day. (restrooms and cafe close by). With kids? Yes, bring balls.

And now I’m getting close to Central Park West, I stopped to rest on a bench and watch the action as people went by on bikes, some built for two, scooters, pedi-cabs, horse and carriages, piggy backers, strollers and the most popular…walking!


As I write this Memorial Day weekend, it brought back to mind  my last post on Fleet Week.  I’m sitting looking around when  these handsome sailors (told you I loved men and women in uniform) came by and cheerfully let me take their photo!  What a great way to end this post on this Memorial Day! A thank you to  all who served and serve!



Important to know:  Go to the Parks website – everything  you ever wanted to know about  this magical 843 acres!

Disclaimer: I try for correct info on my posts, but no guarantees people.




Yes, it’s back, just as I promised.

 Fleet Week runs May 24th thru May 30th!   IT’S FREE PEOPLE!


Love this City!



Download the event schedule which has puzzles and such for kids.

Photo: Courtesy of Fleet Week

Disclaimer: I try for correct info on my posts, but no guarantees people.



Or…what you knew and then forgot and then remembered!

A friend told me Lincoln Center Theatre has a membership program that offers  discounted tickets to  their productions. Now some of you might know that, not me.  She said that not  only are tickets heavily discounted, but you learn about new productions coming up with  tickets available before the general  public.  Lincoln Center Theater

Wow, that is  for me.  I checked out the site and found that the membership was closed.  Bummer!   But, good news, there’s a waiting list. I put myself on it and then forgot about LCT until a few weeks ago  when I received an email inviting me to join. Then, of course, I remembered!   Immediately I entered all my info and Voilà I was in!

So go ahead and  put yourself on the waiting list – cause right now membership is  closed again.    It took me a few months to receive that all important email, but it came.  Membership is $50 plus small fee.  As soon as I joined, I checked what was on and immediately bought a ticket to OSLO, center orchestra, for the great price of $57.00 (with fees)

My $57  seat  sells for around $147- if you can even get one! OSLO is based on  the 1993  Oslo Peace Accords between the Israelis and  the Palestinians. It was originally at the Mitzi Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center  to sold out audiences before moving upstairs to the larger venue, the Vivian  Beaumont Theater.

Vivian Beaumont, Mitzi Newhouse,Clare Tow Theaters at Lincoln Center by the Reflecting Pool.

Here’s the link, check it out.   See, it’s good to know what you don’t know, unless of course, you knew and maybe forgot or maybe you’ve been a member for years!   Who knew?

Love this City!

IMPORTANT TO KNOW:  MY FAIR LADY opening Spring  2018 so plenty of time for a membership and early tickets!
GOOD TO KNOW: From LCT OSLO website: OSLO –  How did the 1993 Middle East peace talks come to be held secretly in a castle in the middle of a forest outside Oslo?
INTERESTING TO KNOW:  Not only is the membership available for Lincoln Center Theater productions at Lincoln Center but also for any performances outside of Lincoln Center that have been produced by LCT.
DIRECTIONS:   Enter the Vivian Beaumont, ( Mitzi E. Newhouse and Claire Tow Theaters, housed in the same bldg)  via the street-level entrance on 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam), or at the Lincoln Center plaza level (near the reflecting pool).
WHERE TO EAT:  Too many choices, so little time.
 Disclaimer: I try for correct info on my posts, but no guarantees people.

Here I Am!

Or …as Jefferson sings in the musical Hamilton when he returns to America in the second act, “What’d I miss?”

 I don’t think I missed much even with all the chaos and craziness these days.  And I’m not just talking politics here. What about those Oscars?    Well, on second thought, I did miss Bonnie and Clyde cause I went to bed right before the end thinking, La La Land is a shoo-in.  I woke up the next morning and heard the news and the mixing of the envelopes and said a few choice words.  None of which I will repeat here.

Now the point of this short post is not to go on about what I missed or didn’t miss,  but to let you know I’m back and hope you will continue to read about my NYC adventures. New post is coming shortly.

Thank you for following kaysnycways and please  keep your comments coming.  I love reading them and always welcome your feedback.


No Age Discrimination Here!

Or….to march or not to march ..that is the question!

First of all I couldn’t decide if I should or even could  walk and secondly, I couldn’t  decide if I should write about it on my post…then I decided. Yes, I would march and yes, I would write about it to all of you.    But let me say first, this is not a political statement, it is just about the time I had walking thru midtown surrounded and packed in by women, men and children of all ages and description. Here’s my story about joining the Women’s March on Saturday.

I started out from my apt at 1:00.  I planned to take a city  bus  to as close to the starting point as possible.   I sat on the bench patiently waiting with my pink plaid hat on my  head. Others joined me, including a man who wasn’t marching just needed the bus to get him downtown.   He didn’t know about the March and wanted to know what  it was all about. After I told him he asked,  “Do you think these demonstrations do any good?”  “I do.” I said. ” Give me an example of one that worked?” inquisitive guy bluntly asked.   ” Well,  I will  speak to one of  the marches that I’ve been in.” I told him  how we were able to help  stop the nuclear power plant from being built at Shoreham LI without any workable escape routes, many years ago.”  “Really” he said, wide-eyed.  ” Keep up the good work.”   It  was about then that  we all realized the bus wasn’t coming so quickly… so we started to walk. I bid my cheerleader  goodbye and was off.

Now, as you probably know, midtown Manhattan is a series of rectangles.  The March started on 2nd Avenue  at 47th down to  42nd Street  and then over to Fifth and north to 55th, very direct easy route.

However, by the time I reached 48th  Street the crowds were so dense, I couldn’t move. I said to myself, “Self, this isn’t working.” I’m going to head over to Fifth and join the march there.  I made a hard  right turn and walked with families with strollers, people in wheelchairs,on  bikes,on  scooters winding our way across town to meet up with our fellow marchers.

After about an hour of very slow movement,  I was trapped  between Madison and Fifth. Slowly and I mean slowly we moved.  I’m not a tall person, in fact I’m short, so often in crowds I have trouble seeing what’s ahead.  At one point, I was chewing on disgusting  fur on the back of a  tall woman’s hoodie. Yuck. OK, time to take control. I moved away from  whatever that smelly fur was  and slid between people to get to my target area. After about another 30 minutes, I made it.   I was walking up Fifth with all the  signs, horns, clapping, yelling, periodically loud yelling, and surrounded by the masses.   Exciting

It was about on 53rd Street and around 3:30 that I decided it might be time for me to head home. I knew it would take me at least an hour to walk back.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a  march but it  can get very tight especially  when barricades are up like in the City to control the crowds.  To  get out I had to wait until we got to an intersection that was open.  Then I had to think of the best plan  to get out of the throngs to the open sidewalk on the other side of 5th.  Hmmmm, I thought and then I knew.

And without any shame,  I used my very  advanced age as a ticket to get out of the crush by saying, “Excuse, please, elderly crossing.” “Excuse, please, elderly crossing.”  And the people parted…..with big smiles opening a  path for me to cross the absolutely packed avenue.      “Thank you, thank you,” I yelled and waved.  Now that’s power, I thought!

I  came home very satisfied that I made my stand with women, men and children across America  and across the world  for equality and respect for everyone. I poured a glass of wine, took off my shoes, plopped down on the couch and as I  turned on the TV I said, “Thanks knees you did great!”


Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You must do the things you think you cannot do”

 Image result for eleanor roosevelt


My new header…If I can figure out how to change the one above! Coming soon!

Or… Feet a good theme for a family holiday  grab bag, I ask?

Or should it be, music, or books, or recipes, or “things that go bump in the night”, or handmade cards, or puzzles, or family photos, or signs of the Zodiac, or white elephants, or recipes, or “freebees” from somewhere, or magnets, or  socks?

Our family has done all of the above and more.  It started about 20 years ago when we thought,(I have 5 siblings with kids)   there are now over 50 people in our family,  let’s do a grab bag with a theme to make it more interesting.  A tradition begins!

Now, for some reason, I have become the designated “Oliver” Holiday Grab Bag Coordinator.  My responsibilites?  Get input from my brothers and sisters on a theme, write a very clever poem about the theme (at least I think so), figure out who gives to who, and lastly be sure addresses are correct. And then send it all out to the Oliver group.   A very big job!   Tradition!

I would like to say that we get 100% participation, but not so.  We average about 75%, but like in the Godfather, “just when you think you are out, they pull you back in again.”   Meaning once you hit the age of 18, you are in and there is never any “out”!  Tradition!

I used the name “Oliver”  before, let me explain.   Many, and I mean, many years ago, my then  very young brother and sister were arguing over a something or other, and one was saying, “It’s mine”  The other, “No, it’s all of ours” which through the heat of the argument became it’s “allivers”, one word.  I remember my mother and I looking at each other and saying, hysterical laughing, “Who’s Oliver?”   Hence, our designated famiy name, “The Olivers”    Tradition!

So here we are very close to Thanksgiving, and I just sent out this year’s Holiday Grab Bag to the Oliver’s.   Reflecting over the years, it’s not about getting a gift (our limit by the way is $15.00) it’s about family.  We live all up and down the east coast – and we try to get together for a family reunion every once in a while.   We did manage it this year thanks to my  nephew and wife’s cabin and grounds in upstate New York.

But until the next in person Oliver  reunion, this tradition keeps us close!  I wish everyone a great and safe Thanksgiving with family and friends.   Tradition!


Here's the  poem for this year - can you guess the theme before the end?

“Here’s a very simple thing if you happen to get dirty

It can make you feel so clean and can make you smell so perty

It comes in all sizes, shapes and va-ri-e- ties  

Most often used in our so-called so- ci -e- ties

Now some like a pump and some  hold it in their hand

Choices are  everywhere  across  our ” franchised” land

Ernie and his Ducky are two of its supporters

As they take their daily bath in Sesame headquarters

By now, I think you’ve got it, at least that’s what we hope 

You’re right, you guessed… the theme is…. that ever-lovin’ soap!






Or….what at least two other  people were doing when I stopped for a bottle of wine to drink while watching our presidential candidates at their last debacle, whoops, debate.

Well, as one woman laughingly  asked me, as I picked up a bottle of red and went back for a bottle of white,  “What are you doing  getting ready to watch the debate, like me?”  We bothed laughed, and I said, “Maybe I should pick up a bottle of bourbon too.”   And a man near us said, “That’s what I’m buying.”

Enjoy!   It will all be over in a few weeks and we can go back to binge watching our favorite shows.


,vote: Pop art woman with megaphone and go vote typography


Let The Lions Roar!

or… as Patience  and  Fortitude say  “Come on in!” to the Main Branch of the New York Public Library!
Patience and Fortitude
Patience and Fortitude in front  of New York Public Library  (photo: The consortium/flickr C)
 And see the newly renovated Rose Main  Reading Room
Rose Main Reading Room
Rose Main Reading Room.  After being closed for two years for renovation is now open to the public.
“Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You!”

There is so much to say about this Main Branch of the New York Public Library on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, I couldn’t figure out where to begin.  And, these days, it’s not all about books! So my first suggestion is go to the NYPL website  and spend some time reading about everything this  Main Branch has to offer. Then, when you’re done, look up the other branches and other major facilities (see in Kay’s Notes)  and do the same thing.  I was amazed, I think you will be too. I’ve described below several sections of the Library, but, and a big but, there is so much that I haven’t touched upon.

93,000 free programs a year across its 92 locations, from author talks and performances to exhibitions. Meet your favorite author, hear a live concert, or find something new at the Library.”

” Good News!”

There’s a  “train” inside the Main  Library that delivers materials  in less than 5 minutes! “The cars pick up requested  materials from the newly-expanded Milstein Research Stacks   (underground under Bryant Park)  – which now have two levels that can hold up to 4 million research volumes – and deliver the materials to library staff in two locations: one on the first floor and the other in the Rose Main Reading Room. Staff then provide the materials to researchers for use in the library.”

“Do You Know the Way to San Jose?”

Check out The Map Room, established in 1898,  is according, to the NYPL, one of the world’s premier map collections in terms of size, scope,and  unique holdings…established in 1898 with more than 433,000 sheet maps. And the room itself is simply beautiful.

Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division
“Strawberry Fields Forever”
Child’s Menu from 1907

Calling all foodies!  This main branch has over 45,000 menus dating from the  1840’s to the present.  They are also looking for volunteers to help with a major project for the collection to transcribe their historical restaurant menus so, as they put it, they can be more easily researched.  I haven’t done it yet, but it’s on my list. .   Go to Menus on the site – full details are there.

NYPL Lion SocksSpeaking of food…Amy’s Bread Cafe  has a location on the first floor  and don’t forget a stop at the Library Store  also on the first floor.   Lots of interesting things including these “lion” socks!

“The Best Things in Life are Free!”

Take the time to take the tour! Available everyday – check the website for times.  The Beau-Arts building itself is stunning and what it holds is beyond awesome.  Remember, the Library is free and in a city like New York costly  things are happening all the time, so knowing that there is a wonderful haven out there, to relax, to read, to learn, to be entertained and more and at no cost is, indeed, a New York treasure !

“I’ll See You Again”

Before I close, a post on nright-precous-daysthe New York Public Library wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention at least one book that I borrowed and  a note on what kind of wine I was drinking…rose’.  The lines below open the latest novel By Jay McInerney, Bright, Precious Days and took me by surprise.  Why?  Because I was in the midst of writing  this post, I  just had to figure out where to put it.  I decided to add it at the end.    So here it is…

“Once, not so very long ago, young men and women had come to the city because they loved books,  because they wanted to write novels or short stories or even poems, or because they wanted to be associated with the production  and distribution of those artifacts and with the people who created them. For those who haunted suburban libraries and provincial bookstores, Manhattan was the shining island of letters. “

And so it was and still is, as is the wonderful New York Public Library’s Main Branch  and the NYPL system itself.  If you haven’t been to one of these libraries lately or especially to the Main Branch, go and go again and keep going!

“To the Library and Beyond”
Psst… The Music Division  is at the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center. Check it out !  Songs I use in this post  are in Kay’s Notes.
“The division has made the documentation of American classical and popular music a major priority. Collection efforts bring to the division a copy of almost every piece of classical and popular music published in the United States each year.”
Enjoy!  Love this City!


Important to know: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (the main branch) “Dedicated on May 23, 1911, the majestic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, houses outstanding research collections in the humanities and social sciences, as well as a circulating children’s collection; and plays host to numerous talks and special events. Standing proudly before this Beaux-Arts building are “New York’s most lovable public sculptures, the lions Patience and Fortitude.”

 The New York Public Library System’s other three major locations.

(The) Library’s strength in three areas in particular is so great that major facilities have been built to house them: The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (LPA), at Lincoln Center; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in Harlem; and theScience, Industry and Business Library (SIBL), in midtown Manhattan.

Interesting to know:  Pew Research :

Americans are {also} divided on a fundamental question about how books should be treated at libraries: 24% support the idea of moving books and stacks in order to make way for more community- and tech-oriented spaces, while 31% say libraries should not move the books to create such spaces. About four-in-ten think libraries should maybe consider doing so.  Plus further from Pew Research: 80% of those ages 16 and older say libraries should “definitely” offer programs to teach people, including kids and senior citizens, how to use digital tools like computers and smartphones.  September, 2016

Good to know:  Author,Bright,Precious Days”   Besides his great  novels  on NYC, he is also a wine aficionado and has written several books on the subject along with a column in the Wall Street Journal.

Where to eat:  Amy’s on the first floor for light food, sandwiches, plus the surrounding area is packed with restaurants.

Restrooms: On the first floor.

Kid Friendly: Not in all parts, but definitely in the Children’s Room on the first floor.

How to get there: Bus, subway, walking are the best. Parking difficult and expensive.  Easy location on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.  Can’t miss it!

Music acknowledgments: “Getting to Know You” from  The King and I;” To the Library and Beyond” from Matilda, the musical; “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” by Burt Bacharach; “Strawberry Fields Forever” by The Beatles; “The Best Things in Life are Free” by Ray Henderson; “Good News” by Ray Henderson; “I’ll See You Again” by Sir Noel Coward

Credits: The NYPL’s website  was the source for the information about the libraries  on this page and all   photographs.

Disclaimer: I try for correct info on my posts, but no guarantees people.