I don’t know what took me so long to see Chicago, the musical, but I finally saw it last night. Written by composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb, and choreographed by famed Broadway dance impresario Bob Fosse, it originally debuted on Broadway in 1975. This revival hit the theater in 1996 and is currently the second longest-running Broadway show in history, behind Phantom of the Opera. The foot-stomping music such as Cell Block Tango and All that Jazz, combined with the scandalous storyline, and the provocative choreography make this show a fun, guilty pleasure.
There is a song from the 1948 movie Easter Parade, starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire, that mentions an Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue in NYC. The lyrics are:
On the avenue, Fifth Avenue, the photographers will snap us
And you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure
Oh, I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet
And of the guy, I’m taking to the Easter Parade
I have spent my entire life in Manhattan, but I have never gone to Fifth Avenue on Easter Sunday to see if there really is a parade of people wearing Easter bonnets. I ventured out today at about 10:30 and saw that Fifth Avenue was closed to traffic between 57th and 49th Streets. I am not sure if there is an actual, organized parade, but what I saw were people strolling along the avenue, many of them wearing all styles of headgear from simple to elaborate. Everyone was happy to pose for all of the trigger-happy photographers.
Happy Easter to all who celebrate!
Today marks the 105th anniversary of the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in which 150 people, mostly young immigrant women, died senselessly. These young women – girls really – were pursuing the American Dream, when a fire broke out, turning their dreams into nightmares. The victims were working 12 hour days in stifling conditions and became trapped on the upper floors of factory in lower Manhattan. Their deaths would have been preventable if the doors were not locked and if other fire safety measures had been put in place. This tragedy led to many workplace reforms in the United States. However, factory safety continues to be a major concern in developing countries. In 2012, over 100 workers were killed in a Bangladeshi factory fire. Safety must continue to be a priority in places of business, both in the United States and abroad.
Photo taken by Orli, Brussels, Belgium, July 2015
The Oxford Dictionary defines terrorism as the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims. Belgium is the latest victim of terrorism, joining Turkey, Israel, France, the United States, Nigeria, Kenya, the Ivory Coast, Tunisia and many other countries whose citizens and guests have endured terrorist acts upon their soil recently. Sadly, terrorism works. It takes the lives of the innocent and it instills fear in civilians, changing the way they live and how they move about the world. I wish that people of different faiths, cultures, and races could live together in peace and harmony and that we could all be respectful of one another. I know that it is a dream and dreams don’t usually come true, but no peace-loving person can stop dreaming this dream. RIP to the victims of terrorism.
An American president has not visited Cuba since Calvin Coolidge did back in 1928 — that is until now. President Obama, his family, approximately 30 congressmen, and several American business executives arrived in Cuba, yesterday, hoping to officially end a fifty-five year freeze in relations between the United States and Cuba. It is about time. The Cold War ended long ago, but Cuba has been stubbornly adhering to a failed political system.
I had the pleasure of visiting Cuba for two weeks last summer and it was an eye-opening experience. The country is populated by friendly, yet very poor people, who are living amongst crumbling buildings, poor infrastructure, and impoverished conditions. While changes are coming to Cuba, they are coming very slowly. It is up to Congress to end the embargo on Cuba, but it is up to Raul Castro to end human rights abuses and to allow his people a role in their own governance.
In honor of the first day of Spring, I decided to post some colorful tropical flowers that I love. Bougainvillea, the flower pictured at the bottom, is my favorite. It hails from South America, but it is found in many countries around the world. It comes in several different colors, but my favorite is fuchsia. I hope that these flowers make you as happy as they make me, especially since snow is forecast today in many parts of the northeastern United States.
Looking south down Park Avenue toward midtown Manhattan is 230 Park Avenue, otherwise known as the Helmsley Building. Built in 1928/29, the building is an architectural jewel with beautiful old-school detailing. Running across Park Avenue, it has two portals that allow traffic to flow north and south straight through the building. The building is lit up most nights in various colors; on this particular night it is bathed in a bright royal blue. The building is eclipsed to the south by the taller Metlife Building, but only in height not in architectural interest. The Metlife Building provides a great backdrop. which allows the Helmsley Building, when lit-up, to pop out from the building behind it.
That is me, above, in the O.
The Yo/Oy sculpture by Brooklyn artist Deborah Kass was installed in Brooklyn Bridge Park in November and is scheduled to remain there until August. The eight foot tall yellow sculpture is a nod to the cultural diversity that exists in the melting pot that is New York City. When approached or seen from Manhattan, the sculpture says “YO”, which is the Spanish word for “I”. When viewed from behind on the Brooklyn side, it says “OY”, which is the shortened version of the Yiddish phrase “Oy vey iz mir”. This phrase translates to “Oh, woe is me”, so “Oy” is an expression of woe.
On the Brooklyn side of the East River, between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, is a very pretty park with exquisite views of lower Manhattan called Brooklyn Bridge Park. On this beautiful, yet cold day, I spent some time walking around, enjoying the vista, and people-watching. The neighborhood where this park is situated called DUMBO is an amalgamation of renovated mill buildings and modern glass buildings, sprinkled with cute little restaurants and boutiques. It is a fun area to visit and easily accessible by subway, water taxi, ferry, bus, and car.