Get Ready – The Outdoor Free Summer HD Series at the Met starts in August!

Mark your calendars – plan your visit – and simply have a great time!  The Festival runs from August 26th thru September 5th.

Enjoy this free series outside under the stars and the moon (hopefully)!

AMADEUS, the 1985 Oscar winner of Best Picture  kicks off the 10 day event on Friday August 26th.  What a treat!

A great line up of operas streaming on the Plaza will  include: Le Nozze di Figaro, il Trovatore, Otello, La Fille du Regiment, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Cenerentola (Cinderella)  Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci (2 different operas) The Merry Widow, Turandot, and last  Les Pecheurs de Perles (The Pearl Fishers).  The Met website includes more info on each opera.

If you could only go to one – I would  suggest Turandot with that beautiful aria Nessun Dorma (Nobody shall sleep)- plus it hits all the bells and whistles of a grand opera – sets,costumes, the cast  are over the top.    Yep , that’s the one – if you haven’t seen it or even if you have– you know about operas – once is never enough!  You can hear and see Pavarotti on Facebook singing Nessun Dorma as only he could!

Go to one, some, or all – it’s a wonderful New York experience – and if you have friends coming into the City for the US open – which starts on the 29th,   tell them about this Festival – could be a lovely way to turn  a day of  tennis in the sun   into a night of music under the stars!

KAY’S NOTES –   Below are Kay’s Notes from my post back in May on  the Festival.   In fact, if you have nothing else to do while sitting on the beach enjoying a lovely rosé- you could take another look at it. “Yes, The Met Opera…Free” under music category.


Important to know. . Check Met website at 2016 Summer HD Festival. It runs from August 26th  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.

Photo from Metropolitan Opera website

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


NYC Restaurant Week – $29 lunch – $42 dinner


If you’re into it….now’s  the time to try those usually $$$$$ restaurants!

It’s called Restaurant Week – but it runs from Monday July 25th thru  August 19th.   Check it out!  Just google – NYC restaurant week summer  2016 and sites will come up describing different options for those three course prix fixe   meals, $29 for lunch, $42 for dinner at really nice restaurants.   Take note – most do not apply to Saturdays and prices don’t include tips, beverages or taxes.

Wonderful restaurants on the list!   I do lunch ($29)  Last year my sisters were in from North Carolina and I made reservations at Nougatine at Jean Georges  across from Central Park.  It  was delicious and we had a great time.  Added bonus,  we met Mr. Vongerichten, who was there that day.  We each had a glass of wine – well two.  After, we  walked thru Central Park  as it was a cool, lovely  summer afternoon.   Fun!  (may not be so cool this coming week with the heat dome overhead – I’d nix the outside dining).

Enjoy …. you foodies out there! And stay cool!

gelato the pink spoon lincoln center

Kay’s Notes: 

This restaurant week is held twice a year – so if you can’t make it this summer – it’s back in the winter.


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


The Four Seasons, Le Tricorne and the Vanishing Soufflé



Yes, it’s true, the Picasso curtain, Le Tricorne, is no longer hanging at The Four Seasons restaurant.  And, it’s also true that The Four Seasons   will no longer be at the beautiful space in the Seagram Building, their lease was not renewed.  Thankfully, the interior of the restaurant, along with the building, now has landmark status so the space with the soaring ceilings and the beaded curtains will remain.

Fall at The Four Seasons Restaurant
Fall at The Four Seasons Restaurant
Picasso’s Le Tricorne

Our family was in the hospitality business when The Four Seasons was “the” restaurant to go to.  We purposely visited the top restaurants in the City to learn and to teach our children who were in the business…lessons on the success of great restaurants and to  observe how it all came together.

And it certainly did at The Four Seasons. The food was lovely, but it was the whole experience that made it so special.  The mood was set when first entering the lobby of the Seagram Building and then  walking up the stairs, past the Picasso, sitting in the Pool Room surrounded by seasonal gorgeous flowers, plants and yes, trees, combined with the unassuming service, the quiet but lively conversations, and the buzz, it was theater!


Our pleasure, sir  or  I’ll have dessert with my dessert!

A family tradition started at The Four Seasons by my husband.  It was about the desserts.   Everyone would make their choice and then he would say to the waiter, “Please bring us every other dessert on the menu.”   The tradition was to take a taste and pass it along and then talk about the presentation, our favorites   and why.  And yes, notes were taken.  Those polished  waiters would not blink an eye and just  smile and say, “Of course, sir”

We didn’t learn about the vanishing soufflé from my  then future son-in-law until a few years later. He had ordered one of his favorite desserts – a chocolate soufflé. (At The Four Seasons  a soufflé had to be ordered at the same time as the main course to allow the chef to prepare it to perfection).

As was our tradition, the desserts arrived – all of them! His soufflé was placed before him.   He said he was in awe as he put his spoon into that deep chocolate delight for the first time.   He took another spoonful and then heard the word, “Pass”. He looked around a little confused. He wasn’t quite sure what to do, as he saw the desserts on the move, all he wanted to say was,    “Sorry, this is mine!”  But off it went.

He told me that his eyes followed that chocolate wonder as it moved around the table.    When it finally arrived back in front of him, he stared into the  almost  empty cup. He looked at my daughter with quizzical eyes saying as he showed her the few remaining crumbs, “What just happened?”  We had forgotten to tell him about our tradition.  Whoops!

And now, what?

The Picasso is hanging grandly at the New York Historical Society, another restaurant will take over the glorious space, and The Four Seasons is opening in the fall at a new location just down the block.  With any good luck, chocolate soufflé will be on the menu – still needing to be ordered at the beginning of the meal so that it can be prepared to its wonderful and perfect deliciousness.  Perhaps being shared and perhaps not!

Although, I haven’t  been to The Four Seasons in many years, it remains one of my favorite restaurants for so many reasons, but mainly because of the happy memories of good times and laughter shared with my family. None of our operations were even close to the level of The Four Seasons but one of the lessons  learned there was the importance and impact of a  gracious wait staff  to the dining experience …no matter what was requested.

Here’s to The Four Seasons at the Seagram Building


Kay’s Notes:

Important to know:

The Picasso curtain measures 19 x 20 feet and was designed by him for a ballet, Le Tricorne or the Three Cornered Hat in 1919 for the Ballets Russes in Paris  It was chosen to hang in the restaurant  by Philip Johnson, the designer of The Four Seasons in 1959.   It did not receive landmark status as did the restaurant and the building  because  it was not a physical part of the architecture.  The landlord had made a decision to remove the work in order to repair the wall behind it, he said.  There was great  controversy about  moving the  work not just because   of its significance to the restaurant but also  due to its delicacy and age. After the  courts stepped in to delay its removal, the work  was finally awarded to the New York Historical Society where it now hangs for all to see.   There is an interesting video on the Historical Society’s website  showing the painstaking installation process and another in the New York Times on the removal of the delicate artwork prior to its installation at the Historical Society

There are many articles about the restaurant and especially about Le Tricorne on the internet.  An article appearing in Vanity Fair has an interesting take  especially about the controversy.


Good to know: There are rumors that  a book is to be published and a TV special about the restaurant and the Picasso in the fall.

Photos courtesy of The Four Seasons and LA Times 

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




Today  will be a week from the Fourth of July – our country’s always spectacular celebration of the birth of our nation.  I was going to write about the baseball game and the fireworks over the East River  and the wonderful time I had with my family, but I didn’t.

It was a word President Obama used when addressing us… reflection; a reflection on the horrific events of the past week.   A reflection that stopped me from posting the happiness of that weekend.  The scenes from Texas, Louisiana and Minnesota  were overwhelming.

I was born in upstate New York – my family moved several times due to  our father’s work and his final transfer  was  to Charlotte, North Carolina.  Reflecting  – I remember how shocked we were to see  the  signs saying “whites only” and “colored” when we moved there.    And now, reflecting on this past week – certain atrocities may have changed – but our nation has a very, very long way to go before intolerance is no longer part of our lives and violence ends.

My family is interracial and I have family and friends in  law enforcement and every day I am concerned for their safety.

With sadness, but with hope,







After the fireworks, the barbecues, the mojitos, the beer, the hotdogs and the  s’mores – how about some free Shakespeare?  No lines, no tickets and always free!  The Drilling Company has been doing these outdoor productions since 1995 in a parking lot and the last few years also at Bryant Park.   For more information about  this great group and specific days and times of these productions and the rest that run through the summer, go to their website. The information below is from their site.


“The Drilling Company performs free outdoor Shakespeare in the Parking Lot behind The Clemente (Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center), located at 114 Norfolk Street (east side of Norfolk Street between Delancey and Rivington Streets), just three blocks from the municipal parking lot where the plucky New York cultural attraction started in 1995.”

JULY 7 TO 24

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a tale of love and enchantment that is simultaneously set in the woodland and in the realm of Fairyland, under the light of the moon. Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, ever fond of holding a mirror up to its own neighborhood, is adapting the story into a fable of the Lower East Side in the first production of its 2016 season. Kathy Curtiss directs.”


In Midtown – behind NY Public Library – between 40th and 42nd Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

July 21 to 23

“As You Like It” with music by Natalie Smith
“The magical comedy is set in the classical Victorian era and everything becomes Steampunk when the scene shifts to the Forest of Arden. This production premiered in our parking lot last season. The New York Times wrote, “it’s easy to find magic here” and praised the leading performances as “wonderful by any standard.”

Kay’s Notes*  “All the world’s a stage” says Will

This will be my first time going to one of their productions.  My first inclination is to go to Bryant Park as it is much easier for me to get to, but inwardly I’m  being pulled and tugged  to go to the parking lot – where these performances began and sit among the cars!   I just figured it out, I can do both.  Love this City!


Shakespeare cartoon drawing – courtesy of the Drilling Company

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



 August 13 at 5pm

 Outdoors on  the Plaza – Free!the-public-domain

Here  is my first post on this  exciting event — more to come as I go thru the  rehearsals!  Take a look at the website.   I walk around singing and humming more than usual these days, as I ready my scratchy vocal chords for the performance and my debut at Lincoln Center!

From the website:

What is the public domain?

In the spirit of the Mostly Mozart Festival’s conception, the world premiere of the public domain by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lang will be a performance that not only welcomes the public as a free and open event, but will also be performed by the public. A piece inspired by the theme of the collective knowledge shared amongst us all, the composition will be performed on Saturday, August 13, by 1,000 volunteer vocalists from throughout New York City, conducted by Simon Halsey, Choral Director of the London Symphony Orchestra.

the public domain – Lincoln Center

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Center




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.
  • 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
  • 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         

Central Park.           

Hudson River Park 

River to River Festival June 16-26.

New  York City Go  

Free Shakespeare 

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 :  Book Culture 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. 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’ 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. !

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.