NYC in May: Part 5

After our adventures at the Whitney, we went to see  another Tony nominated musical: The Visit. It starred Chita Rivera who was the sister of Maria who sang “America” in West Side Story. I think the musical was one of the most mean spirited musicals I’ve seen. I’ve seen a lot of musicals with darker and/or satirical themes but this one managed to roll around in the mire without much redemption.

Without going into a great deal of detail, the musical is about a billionaire woman returning to her home town that she had left as a young woman. The town was awful to her and the people are fairly terrible. But she has her own agenda coming back. It’s about revenge and never letting go of the past. While I’ll admit I like a good revenge plot, this one was all sorts of icky and honestly kinda messed up. Also, I don’t buy narratives about never letting go of the past. It’s just a worldview I don’t subscribe to. Onward march, methinks.

As for the other elements of the musical, it’s fairly creepy and dark. All the action takes place in what looks like a cross of a broken cathedral and train station. Everything is decayed. The characters are all dressed very shabby as a result of the hard times of the town but that went with the theme. However, the songs are fairly gloomy themselves too.

Now, I don’t expect musicals or plays to have to be about happy things. In fact, my favorite musical was Curtains, a murder mystery musical (which was funny). But this musical left a bad taste in my mouth. The actress will likely win a Tony for her performance, which was fine none withstanding the other elements of the play.

After the musical, I decided to head down to Greenwich Village. This proved to be a bit more of an adventure than I had originally expected. All I wanted to do was to take a train downtown. When I got down to the platform, I learned that all the lines heading downtown in that station were not going downtown. I spent some time staring at a MTA map, trying to figure out where to transfer. I ended up giving up, leaving the station, and walking over to Times Square to find a different line to Greenwich Village. When I finally go on a train heading downtown, I learned that the train was going to go express one stop before my final destination. Ugh. Thankfully, it wasn’t a huge walk from the one station to my destination. The experience made me appreciate the CTA a bit more. CTA isn’t perfect; it’s annoying that you have to change in the Loop. However, in comparison, CTA runs buses when there are closures on the train and has a lot of signage to keep people informed. Now, I’m not a tourist in Chicago so maybe my experience in NYC is repeated with tourists in Chicago.

Greenwich Village is still such fun. I wandered around, enjoying the tiny shops that sell a variety of food stuffs. I had a pork filled bao from one place that was perfect for walking around and munching on. I visited an artisan fair called the NYC Market where vendors sell their goods. I also tried some iced tea at a local shop that was fine. I eventually wandered into Washington Square Park. As always, it was full of life. There was a man playing on a piano. Behind there was a group of folks playing drums and tumbling. Only NY. I listened to the pianist for awhile and then checked the tumblers out. They were really good. At one point, one of them was balancing someone on his head and spinning around and around. I’d never seen the likes of it before. Dangerous as anything but cool to watch. I also ran into a sno cone truck giving away free sno cones to support the Rangers. I declined as a proud Chicagoan…but I also don’t like sno cones. Free ice cream trucks seem to appear where I go places.

Then we had a nice dinner at a Spanish restaurant nearby. I thoroughly enjoyed my lobster, a family tradition on the island. I love Chicago but the seafood just isn’t the same quality. We used to drive out on the island and have a proper lobster meal. Sadly, we haven’t done that in years. Plus many of the towns we frequented were washed away by Hurricane Sandy. But it’s still nice to stick to the tradition as we can.

We wandered back through Washington Square Park. Night had fallen so new folks were out performing. There was a drum circle on side; breakdancers on another. And there was a guy with a booth set up asking people to share their stories. People wrote down a story in their own handwriting and he’d collect them. He just published his book last week! I have to check it out some more. I want to do something like that (after the oral history project is done!).

Washington Square Park at Night

Oh, NYC.

That’s all for now!

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