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.



Kay’s Picks – NYC Pride March Sunday June 26- Event Passed


 (Photograph: Filip Wolak)

The March  takes place in NYC on Sunday, June 26, 2016 at noon.


  • It begins at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue and ends at Christopher and Greenwich Streets in the West Village. See the route map here.
  • This year’s theme is Equality Needs You. Last year’s March was a joyous occasion coming mere days after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, but now, there’s a serious note as we realize how far we still have to go.
  • Because of the Orlando shootings, there will be added security this year, with hundreds of security guards throughout the March. Nothing has been cancelled.

For more info on the March and other events go to: http://nycpride.org

Write up and photo – courtesy of TimeOut NY and NYCPride.org




Kay’s Free Picks – Night at the Museums Downtown Event Passed – was June 21

TUESDAY JUNE 21  4 TO 8 pm




From the Night at the Museums’  website.

“The museums and historic landmarks of Lower Manhattan are an American treasure. Explore one of the most diverse and concentrated groups of museums in the world – 15 sites – all within comfortable walking distance of each other. 

Special this year  are  free musical celebrations on the  21st, the longest day of the year, with over 1,200 concerts on streets, sidewalks, and parks across the five boroughs.

 Museums  include: African Burial Ground National Monument, The Anne Frank Center USA, Federal Hall National Memorial, Fraunces Tavern® Museum, Museum of American Finance, Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, National Archives at New York City, National Museum of the American Indian—Smithsonian Institution, National September 11 Memorial Museum, 9/11 Tribute Center, Poets House, The Skyscraper Museum, South Street Seaport Museum and Wall Street Walks.”

Note: some museums require advance reservations – still free – but necessary .

Hope to see you there!


Kay’s Notes:  Just go to their website – everything you ever wanted to know about Night at the Museums is there!


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

Hudson River Walk -Part 1



Hudson river greenway


“Should I or shouldn’t I?” That was the question.  

I had been to the new Whitney Museum, absolutely wonderful building…a must see.  As I left, I began looking for a cab.  But then, taken by how beautiful the day was, I decided to be adventuresome  and cross over the West Side Highway to  stroll along the Hudson. I had walked many times along the river but closer to Battery Park and Tribeca. So I said to myself, “Self, nothing ventured, nothing gained, let’s go!”

On the sunny side of the street…

Just so you know, if you haven’t crossed the West Side Highway, it gets a little tricky.  There are crosswalks for pedestrians, but not at every intersection. After I left the Whitney, I walked south for a few blocks and came to a marked crossing, waited for the light to change and crossed over.   Safety note: Don’t try to beat the light, just wait till it turns to “walk “again, and  then go.   Those cars, cabs, buses are just sitting there revving up their motors… on the ready to peel away.  Patience is the key.

vesey st
Vesey St and North End Ave-one block south of Murray

With the West Side Highway behind me, the walkway was just a few steps ahead.  I didn’t have a destination in mind, but I knew by looking at the Freedom Tower far off in the distance, that if, indeed, I was going to try to make it there, I had a good walk ahead of me.  I accepted the  challenge and off I went.

It’s quarter to three….

It was tranquil for the City (but you know, there’s always City noise but not so bad) that afternoon. It was around 3 o’clock with a slight breeze, some clouds overhead and  the temperature was perfect.  As I walked along, I couldn’t help but smile to myself and to others as we passed.  Some smiled back, some gave a nod, some ignored me  and I knew some were  wondering, why is this woman smiling?   I was by myself and having the best time. The view of the water, Jersey across the way, boats sailing by, people walking, running, riding bikes, kids with soccer balls, nannies and strollers, skateboards…delightful.

teds nyc

I  was quite happy to see the number of benches on my walk; I plopped myself down several times, took a sip of water, and continued on my journey.    I had absolutely no intention of walking that whole way without stopping.    I took photos, I especially liked the one at the top of this post, far off in the distance, you can just make out the Statue of Liberty.


Put me in coach..I’m ready to play…today

I came to Pier 25 which is a destination in itself.  It’s the longest pier on the Hudson River.  Stop there if you have time.  On weekends, it is filled with families.  There are soccer fields, an 18-hole miniature golf course, water park, a floating library, snack bar and restrooms. You’ll find it on the Hudson River Park site (under kay’s notes)

Show me the way to go  home……


It took me about an hour to walk the almost two miles.  I finished at Murray Street, across the way is  Freedom Tower.  I stopped at  a restaurant with  great views of the river before heading home.    What did I order? A  glass of wine and French fries and sat back to take it all in.

Americas cup

If I had gone a little further, I would have been at the World Financial Center/ Brookfield Place, which is full of all kinds of  stores, restaurants and lots of  free interesting  events.  Plus, outside is the Cove where sailboats and yachts are just waiting to sail away…somewhere.  We(my family) and thousands of others   watched the America’s Cup NYC races there on Mother’s Day.

Americas cup

It’s a great walk-  take the time to just relax and enjoy the view. If you still have time, stay for the sunset.  Spectacular!

Kay’s Notes:
Artwork by TWO

Important to know:  Hudson River Park runs from Battery Park City North http://www.hudsonriverpark.org .    The walkway, called the Hudson Greenway runs along that system.  Check out the site….so much to see and do – and events keep changing.

Whitney Museum of American Art is at  99 Gansevoort St (meatpacking district) http://www.whitney.org  A stunning building (my visit there on a later post).

 Good to know:  A twist on this walk: Take the Highline http://www.thehighline.org to the Whitney and then cross over the West Side Highway to the walkway. Note:  you probably already figured out you can do this in reverse to the  Museum and beyond.

Where to eat:  During spring and summer months there are snack bars , and water fountains.   My suggestion is to wait till you get to the area around Brookfield Place,https://brookfieldplaceny.com/ selection of food options is amazing.

Restrooms- There are several on this section  of the walkway – sometimes though they aren’t open or under construction.  The site will tell you which ones are available.

Kid Friendly:  Friendliest!!!

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


Fleet Week in NYC will return 2017


“Fleet Week New York, now in its 28th year, is the city’s time-honored celebration of the sea services. It is an unparalleled opportunity for the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today’s maritime services. The week-long celebration has been held nearly every year since 1984.”(the photo and excerpt above are courtesy of Fleet Week New York).





Confessions of a NYC smartphone user


“Stop the cab!” I yelled to my son and granddaughter. “I can’t find my phone!” Horror of all horrors. But after a few minutes of frantic searching through my large overstuffed handbag, we found it. Whew! I’m sure you know the feeling that hits your belly when you think it’s gone. If you have a smartphone, then it’s all those photos, texts, contacts… lost. (Because, maybe, like me, you didn’t save them). And, OMG, wonder if there’s an ID thief stealing all your personal info. Then, comes that deep sigh of relief – when you find it. Double whew!

It had to be you…

I think I’m addicted to my smartphone. I mean, first thing in the morning, before I get out of bed, I reach for it. I check for missed calls, missed texts, emails that are waiting to be opened and Facebook. Hopefully, someday soon, I’ll see a message from my NY lottery subscription that starts, “Congratulations, you’ve won!”
Wishful thinking. Oh, I can’t forget to tell you about my “check” list. Every time I leave my apartment, I have a mental check I go thru…keys check, hearing aids check, batteries for hearing aids check, cell phone double check. I’ve returned a few times from the elevator because I didn’t have my phone. Yikes, maybe I should do a triple check for my cell. Told you I think I’m addicted.

Not … ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille…
FaceTime, on the phone, is great when you’re ready for the call. It’s a wonderful chance to see your grandchildren, who it seems are the only ones that I get those calls from. However, it can catch you when you’re not really up for prime time. For example, a few weeks ago my phone rang; it was before 7 in the morning. As I heard it, far from my even semi -awake state, I wondered, “Is that my phone?” “Is that the FaceTime ring?” I picked it up and there was the grinning face of my 4 year old granddaughter, “Hi Grandma.” she said. “What to do, what to do,” I thought. I couldn’t hang up – it was my granddaughter. So, I patted down my flyaway hair, put a big smile on my face, looked at myself on the screen, winced, and said, “Happy Birthday, birthday girl” She was turning five. All she wanted to know was, “Grandma, are you coming to my birthday dinner tonight?” “Of course,” I said. A few blown kisses and goodbyes, FaceTime over. Coffee please and make it a double!

Layne Jeff Koons heart best pix

My photo of my 14 yr old granddaughter taking a photo of Jeff Koons’ exhibit before the Whitney Museum moved to Chelsea.

What… there’s an app for that?
Everything you ever wanted to know about New York is probably on an app. And, if you don’t see it now, it will probably pop up very soon. I was looking for a new app and came across this site. http://www.nycgo.com/articles/best-nyc-smartphone-apps .Some apps are free and some have a cost. You might want to check it out. The navigation apps are really helpful. I use a bus app frequently to let me know when the next one is coming. Most anything you want to do or see in the City is probably on this site.

So Set ‘em up Joe… TOSHIBA - Hellonyclink photo
And, check this out http://Hello@link.nyc— The City is in the midst of installing these Wi-Fi stations across Manhattan. Can’t miss them… about 9 feet tall. They have built-in tablet computers, a 911 button, phone chargers and you can call anywhere in the States, all for free. Sounds convenient, I haven’t tried one yet, but I see them popping up all over.

I love my smartphone, it’s really nice to have. It does so much more than just making and answering calls. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not selling smartphones, I just like what it does for me. The camera feature is fantastic. All the photos were taken with my phone. I use it whenever I’m out and about. I’ve also learned to always take my charger with me. You never know when that little device is going to need a boost. FYI… if you stop for a Bourbon Old Fashioned along your travels … I haven’t been to a bar or restaurant yet that doesn’t have a place to give your cell a charge. CHEERS!

TOSHIBA - view from taxi jersey

View of lower Manhattan from water taxi
Kay’s Notes*
Important to know:
From The Pew Research Center
“When it comes to tech adoption, seniors generally lag behind their younger counterparts. But for Americans ages 65 and older who own a smartphone, having one in their pocket is a liberating experience.” For full article go to http://www.pewresearch.org/fact…/seniors-smartphones
Good to know: Water taxis from downtown Manhattan are fun to take. http://nywatertaxi.com for more info. All about my water taxi trip to Jersey on another post.

*Disclaimer – I try for correct info on Kay’s Notes– 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.