New York and the Nureyev Tapes
Yes, my friends, we have finally made it out of LA… it’s the first time in a very long time!
The trip was sparked by the zeal of our friend Elizabeth Kaye, who beyond herself convinced us that we simply COULD NOT miss the May 18th (2018) performance of ballet stars David Hallberg and Natalia Osipova in ABT’s Giselle!
But what really drove us to make the unexpected journey was the discovery that nested inside the NY Library for the Performing Arts were the invaluable audiotapes that Elizabeth had recorded during her interviews with the one and only Rudolf Nureyev in 1990-1991.
For our home away from home, we booked an Airbnb in a neighborhood of Brooklyn, both historical and hip, to get a meaty flavor of NY and some off-time from Manhattan which we rode into practically everyday — yes, this global hub takes some getting used to!
A seven minute walk from the place we stayed, we visited this trendy spot in the Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn on more than one occasion. This is one of those modern day dives where you’ll see the fresh juice machine next to the beer on-tap, and where we thoroughly enjoyed the popular Grasshopper drink – a refreshing mix of ginger, green apple, and lemonade.
Here I am at the Outpost with a latte and a side of neighborhood characters. I’m sitting beneath the work of a local artist in the lounge area of the rustic-meets-bohemian saloon, carved-out from the ground section of a large brownstone in the once wealthy neighborhood.
Set on the street level of an old brick-red townhouse as typical for the NY neighborhood, we found a really decent juice-n-smoothie establishment – just around the corner from the place we were staying. Every morning on our way to Manhattan, we stopped in to get our fix of ‘live’ food which would fuel us for the rest of the day.
Across from the smoothie bar was this stylish cafe always packed with regulars eager for their drink and a dose of the flavorsome scene. The cute Brooklyn eatery specializing in coffee drinks and a smattering of Israeli style dishes was definitely on our list, but Golda will have to wait till next time!
Between the ballet performances and the NY Library visits and our time with Elizabeth, the bulk of our activities revolved around Lincoln Center… we even found a large Whole Foods on the way there, which of course made the entire experience complete for us Santa Monicans.
The Wall of Fame at Metropolitan Opera House, or simply “The Wall” is alphabetically tiled with over 1,000 black-and-white photos of star singers, musicians, conductors, dancers, directors, designers and even vip admins.
Overall, the ballet performances were a treat, just because ballet is such a high art and it really does take you into another realm. See the X-tra! X-tra! section below for a glimpse into our performance menu.
The Nureyev Tapes
The greatest treasure we took with us was the experience of listening to the Nureyev tapes. On three separate occasions we visited the NY Performing Arts Library, where the dutiful to the point of neurotic coat check lady, who made sure we absolved ourselves of all but the barest necessities before entering the sacred ground of the third floor dance division, got to know us very well.
What we heard was priceless, not only because of its historical value or the content itself, but because we were privy to a conversation with a channel of something akin to the immortal creative force.
It is possible that Elizabeth may be one of those closest to capturing the enigmatic psyche of the force that expressed itself through the physical vehicle of Rudolf Nureyev. Her prolific and captivating Esquire article on the extraordinary dancer is certainly a testament to this conjecture.
Nureyev is an exceptional figure who encompassed the pinnacle of the ecstasy and agony of the human condition, and who whilst displaying the spectrum of our mortal nature to its extreme, took a leap beyond the bounds of earthly limitation, ushering us into the sphere where the true power of spirit resides.
More to come on the Nureyev Tapes, from which I’ll be sharing segments in upcoming posts!