hamilton 15

Ok – let’s start at the beginning.  I was told from a lovely, generous couple to hold Friday, June 24th open.  Fine, I said, looking at my blank calendar,  I had nothing going on of any importance.  So I updated my smartphone and saved the date.

And, then on Wednesday, I got the call.  “Surprise, you are going to see Hamilton on Friday night”…I gasped, gulped and think I uttered “Thank you.” I’m  not quite sure, I think I was in shock.  What I do know was that I was beside myself with excitement. Then Friday night came and there we were. The lovely, generous couple was my daughter and son-in-law and my daughter  invited me because she knew how much I wanted to see this historical groundbreaking musical.

The theatre district was packed especially around the Richard Rodgers Theatre where Hamilton is playing.  We were in the ticket holders’ line waiting to have our bags searched and our tickets scanned along with the rest of the  very lucky ticket holders.   Then loud cheers and applause erupted next to us.

No, not because a celebrity arrived, it  was the cancellation line.  You  know that line, where people  stand and wait  for the very  slim chance that there will be cancellations and  they’ll get a ticket?   The news spread quickly down the line  that one of their own was “in”!  The woman next in the line told us  that the lucky recipient had been waiting  and working the line  for every performance since Monday or Tuesday and it was Friday. Now you could sense the excitement of   others in the line as  they saw it was possible – possible that they too will have a chance to get that prized  Hamilton ticket and  at regular prices no less.

I’ve been to the theater my entire life and i don’t remember ever being with such a  happy, accommodating, smiling, excited crowd.  I went to our really really great seats and my daughter stopped to get us water,  wine and  M&Ms.(our dinner).  I must say, I do like it that most  theaters allow you to bring their  wine in expensive little souvenir cups into the theatre itself.  I love sitting in my seat, relaxing, reading the Playbill and sipping on that glass of mediocre wine waiting for the lights to dim.    By the way, the theatre has invented a new drink named after the show, “Hamiltini”….  clever.

As for Hamilton,  no matter what you’ve read or what you’ve heard, it is all of that and more!  We were fortunate to see it before the departure of Lin-Manuel Miranda and the others. However, I have no doubt that the casting will continue to be outstanding especially with Javier Munoz taking over the role of Hamilton as he’s been doing at every Sunday matinée.

I have to give a “shout out” to my eight year old granddaughter.  Her parents have seen the show and downloaded the music to their phones. My  granddaughter loves the music and sings the songs to me all the time.   I could mouth “Alexander Hamilton” and “My Shot” along with the best of them!

kay hamilton



Doing my research I found many sites on how to get tickets and stories on the cancellation and in-person lottery lines.   I’ve listed some below but also – suggest you google “Hamilton” and read about the experiences and methods people are using to get tixs.

Important to know:   You may know this, but if not,  there are tickets that won’t cause you to mortgage your  house, your  apartment, or sell those lovely jewels or that Picasso! But it takes a little work on your part.

  • Enter the Hamilton Lottery on line for $10  tickets  for that day’s performance.   https://lottery.broadwaydirect.com/show/hamilton/
  • Wednesday matinée lottery in person line -outside  the Theatre.  Entries start at noon for a drawing a half hour later.
  • Stand in the cancellation line: Regular priced tickets.  There are rules. Can’t hold places, no tents, no chairs, can buy up to 2 tickets, tickets sold beginning 30 minutes before performance at regular price. If you’re lucky enough to get a ticket you have to go right to the box office and then inside the theatre.www.playbill.com/article/hamilton-updates-cancellationline-policy
  • Or my very fortunate   way – have someone give you a gift of tickets!

*Disclaimer – I try for correct info on Kay’s Notes and my posts  but no guarantees people.


It’s official – it’s summer!


The City will be bouncing all summer long with hundreds of fabulous events.  Here are some of the major  sites  I use to find out what’s happening.  I will  keep updating this post as new things pop up and they will. To  get us started and so we can mark  our calendars –check them out. Hundreds of free- easy to get to – events!

Lincoln Center                  www.lincolncenter.org 

Central Park.                     http://centralpark.org

Hudson River Park           http://www.hudsonriverpark.org

River to River Festival     lmcc.net/news/river-river-2016- June 16-26.

New  York City Go            http://www.nycgo.com

Free Shakespeare           http://www.shakespeareintheparkinglot.com

And, don’t forget the beaches – we are surrounded by water!

Rockaway Beach

Kay’s Notes: 

Important to know:     There really is so much to see and do and so little time.   I make a list and  mark my calendar (on my phone and the one on my wall) otherwise, I wake up and realize that I missed the event the day or night before that  I really wanted to go to.

picnic in park

Good to know:  Picnics and blankets in the parks are so much fun.   Bring books, newspapers, balls, and get ice cream and gelato from one of the food trucks. Now sitting on a blanket is great – but getting up from a blanket can be a challenge and…the process of getting up is not a pretty sight, if you know what I mean.    So you might want to bring a folding  chair.

Restrooms: – Will take a little work …each site will have restroom locations on their sites so you might want to take note of them before you go there.

*Disclaimer – I try for correct info on Kay’s Notes– but no guarantees people.     Photo of Central Park courtesy of NYC




Eavesdropping…an art form

I leaned over to my friend and said, “If I hadn’t gone to see the Picasso sculptures at MOMA  and didn’t stop for a glass of wine at the Bar Room   and didn’t sit beside Paula and didn’t eavesdrop, we wouldn’t be here tonight!”

We were sitting back in our chairs, sipping a glass of chardonnay, waiting to hear Paula Whyman read from her first published book, “You May See A Stranger” at Book Culture  on the  upper west side.  You remember Paula from my very first post,  Picasso and Paula ?

blog book culture
Paula ready to read from her new book, “You May See A Stranger.”

I feel so connected with this book, I keep thinking I was there at the beginning.   Well, not the real beginning, Paula said during her interview that it took her five years to write the book and I only met her in April.   But I was there for the finish, I’ll take credit for that.  And the award for  “Best Eavesdropping Finish Line” goes to….. Kay of kaysnycways! Applause, applause!  And, where does Paula get some of her ideas.. …wait for it….  “Eavesdropping”  she told the interviewer.


I know a couple who  took eavesdropping  to a whole other level by developing the art form into a game of mischief.  Their  targeted audience were strangers sitting near them in a crowded restaurant. They would start in low tones and then perhaps display a bit of anger or a little laugh, a naughty word, here or there, purposely allowing  their eavesdroppers to catch something, look at each other  and stop talking.  The strangers would then discreetly listen to this couple tell their mostly lurid  fictional tales. And these  gamers had no shame – they began at cocktails and didn’t finish till dessert.  They’d get up and leave and as soon as they were outside become  hysterical  and  congratulate themselves on what they considered  spectacular acting, knowing full well  that the tables surrounding them were left wondering …”Did we really hear what I think we heard?”

I heard Paula use a word  at her reading  that I didn’t  remember, “plotting”. It came about when someone asked the author what advice would she give to young writers, she answered, “Read.”   One of her main reasons, she said, was  that reading helps in plot development, “plotting”.     Now I was an English major and should have recognized the word, but please keep in mind, senior moments are always popping up at the most inopportune  times.   I wrote the word  down in my blog notebook, so I wouldn’t have another senior moment trying to remember what word I didn’t remember.

blog you may see a stranger

Now in summary and to  paraphrase my Picasso and Paula post, “always stop for a glass of something and  always eavesdrop” cause you never know where the art of eavesdropping  will take you and it  may surprise you when you get there.



Important to know:        Paula’s site : http://www.paulawhyman.com  Book Culture http://www.bookculture.com a small chain of independent book stores on the upper west side

Good to know: Museum of National History is across the street and Central Park a block away.

Where to eat:  Lots – including Shake Shack down a few blocks and Isabella’s  at 77th and Columbus on the corner.   http://www.isabellas.com where we ate.  You can eat inside or out, we shared our meal, and with tip  and rose’ came  to about $45 each.  Nice casual restaurant.

Kid Friendly:   Very – both at the bookstore and restaurants

Restrooms: Yes

*Disclaimer – I try for correct info on Kay’s Notes– but no guarantees people.









Jazzmen and Gelato





A clarinet, a trumpet, a trombone, a piano and drums—At the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts – Lincoln Center and it’s FREE!

And it’s great… standing room only!  Age of the audience?  My peers, that’s for sure, although the trombonist said, “I see some young people here – they must be in their 50’s!”

We were dancing  in our seats, bopping our  heads, tapping our feet, clapping our hands,  loving the  music we all knew, a major part of our memories, at least I know it was for me. Plus, the Jazzmen seemed to be having just as much fun playing for us as we did listening and watching them.

Opening number was Avalon followed by— Am I BlueTangerine, Rose of Washington Square,  Ida, some Fats Waller, James P Johnson, and Edgar Sampson’s music.  (see Kay’s notes on these famous pianists and composers ). Can I say anything more – if you know this music, you know exactly what I mean.

The Jazzmen  are all accomplished musicians, Ed Bonoff, drums; James Lincoln Collier, trombone; Lee Lorenz, cornet, Ernie Lumer clarinet; Peter Sokolow, piano; Skip Muller, bass.  They are not only great musicians but are composers, arrangers, orchestrators, and writers among their other talents.  Lee Lorenz, cornet, also draws cartoons for The New Yorker.

Why I love this music.  My  dad (handsome guy on the right leaning on the piano) sang with this trio in Rome, New York in the 30’s.dad trio Watty,  as he was called,  besides being a singer, played the violin and tried (tried is the operative word here)  to play the sax.    He also was an avid collector of vinyl records from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s and  taught all of us ( his 6 children) a great love of music especially of our American  standards.  He would often call us into the living room to guess what song and who was singing.  No prizes, but if we got it right, a grin, as he would  put his pipe back in his mouth.   So, when this group of accomplished musicians began to play their Dixieland jazz, to the song, Avalon,  I started to get teary eyed and then just couldn’t stop smiling throughout the whole set.   Wow!

Don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but I often use song titles as subheadings on my posts, just can’t help it!   They fit. Like….

I love a piano, I love a piano, I love to hear somebody play…. 

I  am in total awe when I hear an accomplished pianist playing anything. But jazz is something else… when I go to hear jazz, I always try to get a seat where I can see the keyboard.   I love to  watch the pianist’s  hands moving like liquid* across the “ivories”. And, Peter’s fingers’ moved magically as he sang along.  (I took piano  lessons most of my life, still can’t really  play ). * I also can’t take credit for the word “liquid” in this context, I was telling my brother about this post and he said the pianist’s fingers move like liquid- so right, thanks Bro!

All of this is free – and it was standing room only, as I said.  The Jazzmen  perform every Tuesday  at noon. They’ll be ending for a summer break on June 28th, but they’ll be back later this year.   It is a treat and a joy to be able to see and hear these great musicians.  Hope you get a chance to go. !http://www.lincolncenter.org/show/gotham-jazzmen

gelato the pink spoon lincoln center

Blue Skies – smilin’ at me – nothin’ but blue skies – do I see!

And, when I left – no wine or old fashioned, but a lovely pistachio gelato on the plaza. Named this selfie …”Pink Spoon”.


lincoln center performing arts signage


Important to know:  New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is at Lincoln  Center – snuggled between the Met Opera House and Mitzi Newhouse Theater. The Jazzmen play at  the Bruno Walter Auditorium, there is an  entrance on Amsterdam Avenue or you can go through the front entrance of  the Library.

Good to know: Check out the exhibits while you’re there.  Currently, there is an exhibit of the costumes from Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute along with a Shakespearean exhibit and  Mostly Mozart memorabilia.

Really good to know:  Read more about these important jazzmen

James P. Johnson, 1894-1955, pianist, composer, pioneer of stride piano.

Edgar Sampson, 1907-1973,saxaphonist, violinist, composer and arranger

Fats Waller,1904-1943,jazz pianist, organist, composer and singer

Where to eat:   In the Library on the 2nd floor is a small cafe, Amy’s Bread and, of course, many places in the area of Lincoln Center

Kid Friendly: –Much  older kids, who like Dixieland  and lots of grey-haired people.

Restrooms – On 2nd floor

*Disclaimer – I try for correct info on Kay’s Notes– but no guarantees people.



Make Music New York today – Event Passed Was on June 21 2016



2016 (Designer: Adam McCauley)MAKE MUSIC NEW YORK

is a live and free musical celebration today,  the longest day of the year, with over 1,200 concerts on streets, sidewalks, and parks across the five boroughs!   And it’s a beautiful day here in NYC.


 Go to their website –  enter what neighborhood you want and even the kind of music  and the listings come up.  Closest to me is the Carl Schultz Park with the following:  Times may change.
 Kay’s Notes:  Poster courtesy of Make Music New York 2016
*Disclaimer – I try for correct info – but no guarantees people

Yes, The Met Opera…Free!

Daggers, swords, poison, death – the fun things in opera can be yours for the taking in August. The Met’s annual Summer HD Festival of their beautiful operas on the Plaza will be back! And, it’s free!
I love it, and when the night is clear and the moon is shining overhead it’s glorious. If you know about this series and have done it… you know what I’m talking about. If you know about it and have never done it or didn’t know about it until now – do it! Did I mention it’s FREE!


First come first served
There are over 3000 seats set up on Lincoln Center Plaza by the fountain with plenty of space to stand or bring your own chairs. And what an audience: families with and without strollers, dog lovers, fans in wheelchairs, the young, the old, new to the opera, serious opera goers and surprised tourists who just happen to be in the neighborhood. Generally speaking, a great diversified audience.

Spoiler alert…drama is not just in the operas
Just so you know, there are some diehard opera fans who are a bit aggressive. They will push, and I mean push, their way to get a seat. I remember last year a woman, with a very worried look, was saving four seats and constantly scanning the Plaza to see if her people were arriving. A few minutes before the opera was to begin a woman, let’s call her Ms. Nasty, yelled  at Ms. Worried. “I’m calling the police… you can’t save that many seats!” But Ms. Nasty got her comeuppance when a nurse arrived pushing an elderly man in a wheelchair with his elderly wife at his side. Ms. Worried stopped worrying as she leaned over to say, “I’m so glad you’re here Dad.” With that, Ms. Nasty turned stone-faced and left in a huff. A round of applause ensued. It was a few minutes of drama amongst the spectators and then Otello began…talk about drama. (Otello the opera – Othello the play, as you probably know).

Maria, I just met a girl named Maria
The Met hasn’t announced the operas for this year yet. The series begins August 27th and runs for 10 nights. Last year to kick off the Festival, West Side Story was shown. As you might know, parts of the movie had been filmed on the construction site of the now Lincoln Center. Interesting fact, well not a fact but interesting; Peter Gelb, managing director of the Met Opera, spoke before hand and asked how many in the audience had never seen West Side Story. To my amazement, a quarter of the audience raised their hands, including three young women in front of me. As the movie unfolded I watched as tissue after tissue was pulled from their bags as they wiped the tears streaming down their faces. At the tragic ending … sobs! I asked them later how they liked it…. “Loved it” they said, as they laughed wiping off their running mascara.
So here is my advice – come early –bring food, wine, a book, crossword puzzle and relax. Enjoy the spectacle before, during and after the opera. Be ready to experience one of the real treats of NYC! The Metropolitan Opera outside on an August night at Lincoln Center – magical!
Kay’s Notes*
Important to know. Operas will be announced sometime in July. Check Met website at http://www.metopera.com 2016 Summer HD Festival. It runs from August 27th thru Labor Day Sept 5th. starting time is around 7-8 o’clock.
Good to know: The series goes on rain or shine except thunder storms. Suggest you bring extra jacket or sweater as it can get chilly. And, perhaps a seat cushion
Where to eat: All over the place. Many people, in fact, bring their own food, drinks and snacks. I, myself, am a popcorn and wine person.
Restaurant prices: In the area – varies from hotdog carts to OMG$$$$
Where is it: At Lincoln Center Plaza known as the Josie Robertson Plaza in front of the Met Opera House on the Upper West Side between West 62nd and 65th Streets and Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. Buses and subways close by. Plenty of parking. Met website has all kinds of info on directions.
Restrooms: Here’s the tricky part. If there is an event at the David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher) the restrooms are open in the Hall. But if not there are restrooms on the Concourse level below the Met Opera house. There is an elevator to Concourse level on the outside of the David Koch Theater or an escalator in front of the David Geffen Hall. Restrooms also at the David Rubenstein Atrium on Broadway between 62nd and 63rd right across the street.
Kid Friendly: Absolutely and stay for a little while or for the whole performance. Lots of kids will be there.

*Disclaimer – I try for correct info on Kay’s Notes– but no guarantees people.