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Victoria’s Secrets

There’s No Place Like Home
Well, as you might realize, I love to travel, but as Judy Garland sang in the “Wizard of Oz,” “There’s No Place Like Home,” especially when I live in the most exciting borough, in the most exciting city in the world!
One of my favorite places is the pulsating and vibrant Times Square. Last week we went with Stu’s former partner Dr. Jerry Roberts and his wife Lettie to see the “Three Penny Opera.”
Before the theatre we went to Stu’s favorite restaurant, the former La Cote Basque that reinvented itself as Brasserie LCB in the same location on West 55th Street. The classic French restaurant is in a less formal atmosphere, but the service and food is always reliably wonderful.
I had fond memories of Lotte Lenya (Broadway composer Kurt Weill’s wife) and Bobby Darin singing “Mack The Knife.”
Amazing to me, the rendition of the song in this classic was quite different. The original opera, orchestrated by Weill with lyrics from the book by Bertolt Brecht in the 1920s, was given a new translation by Wallace Shawn. Some of the songs had remnants of the past, but my disappointment was countered by the joy of hearing magnificent voices and seeing great acting.
Cyndi Lauper was well cast as Jenny, one of the whores, but she was overshadowed by Nellie McKay, who played Polly Peachum, the daughter of Mr. Peachum, head of London’s “Beggars Union.” She overwhelmed the stage with her innocence and purity and powerful voice. But, the real star for me was Jim Dale as Mr. Peachum. His moves, his stage presence, his voice — it made the high price of the tickets worth every penny! The show is what great theatre is all about!
A week before, on one of the rainiest days in this late spring, I had to keep my appointment for a press pass. In order to get my photo ID I had to go down to One Police Plaza at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. I felt like I was entering an armed fortress — there are barricades and police booths at every entrance. I’d been there before so I had an idea of where I had to enter. Fortunately, my outdated pass got me through some of the barriers and I got close enough to have only one long city block to walk in the downpour. I finally took my shoes off and walked barefoot until I got into the building. Stu patiently waited in the car, but when I returned the battery on his car was dead! He’d left the engine running so the air conditioner would cool him off. I tried to get one of the guards to help, but they had no jumper cables. We called AAA, but I realized they’d never get through the barriers to find us. So, I stood by one of the police booths and stopped one of the officers. (Fortunately, the rain had subsided to a light drizzle.)
He had something I never saw before, a portable battery charger. It started our battery instantly. I’m buying one!
The delay almost lost us our reservation at the highly-touted, hard-to-get-into Del Posto in the meatpacking district, 10th Avenue and 15th Street. Our own Douglas Manor resident and TV show and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich is an owner with her son Joseph and highly respected chef Mario Battalia, from TV’s Food Network, and also owner of multiple restaurants.
They took an abandoned warehouse with two-story high ceilings and created an elegant and warm environment serving superb modern creative Italian food.
Their extensive wine menu was a virtual encyclopedia. Although there were bottles for over $1,000, they also had a multitude of moderately-priced fine wines.
The attentive service added to the pleasure of the meal.
The buzz about the restaurant is justified and the reason every table was taken, the mid-week night we were there!
Last Thursday evening, the newly renovated and beautiful-to-behold Queens Botanical Garden held their annual gala. This year they honored the super special and powerful Claire Shulman and business leader, builder Steven Fisher.
Borough President Helen Marshall paid due tribute to the two honorees in the covered tent that prevented all of us from getting soaked in the fast but furious downpour that night.
My favorite part of the fundraiser was the silent auction. I love bidding on items because it feels good to give money to the cause and end up with something to take home. Although I bid on a few things, I lost my favorite item. It was a magnificent garden-basket created and donated by the wonderful Keil Bros. family. The brothers Ronnie and Richie have been ardent supporters of the Botanical Garden for decades. This year they “decorated” the tent with beautiful floral plant displays. It made me feel, even indoors, that I was in a garden.

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