March came in like a lion, but a lion cub. Schools closed in NYC due to a predicted blizzard that turned into a mere three inches. Growing up in Minnesota, I thought, if schools were closed for so little snow, we would have never had class. But it was good news for the kids who finally had enough snow for sledding in Prospect Park.
Sadly, it quickly melted, so by the time I went running, the hill by Maryland Monument was mostly mud. There was a group of kids sliding on the remaining snow in a train like fashion, where the kids behind would put their legs in the sleds in front of them. I asked if they wanted a push. They thought about it for a few seconds and then said ok. I thought it would be easy, but once I got my hands on the back of the plastic sled, I realized how stuck in the mud they were. I had to get down on my knees and put my back into it, but finally got them started as they screamed in delight. I definitely felt some pulled muscles as I ran off.
By the end of the week it had turned downright spring-like and, inspired by hearing my NYC bird guide Gabriel Willow on Brian Lehrer, I brought my binoculars for a run on Saturday. As soon as I entered the park south of the lake, I saw a mass of yellow winged birds. I took a look and noticed a red stripe on the head of a couple I could not identify. Later in my run I found another birder and described what I saw. He told me that must be the European Goldfinch, a rare visitor to this continent. I guess they caught a jet across Atlantic to see the Big Apple.
Well, that night, one of the beauties our city had to offer was the Brentano String Quartet at 92Y. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform a program dedicated to my favorite poet Wallace Stevens. I thought about purchasing a ticket on the web but decided, as a single person, I could probably get a decent seat and save money if I bought it at the box office. Sure enough, I showed up that evening, and someone had just returned tickets from the second row, and I paid just fifteen dollars!
First they performed the New York premiere of Martin Bresnick‘s The Planet on the Table, a mesmerizing work inspired by a Stevens poem. The second piece was my favorite by Beethoven, his Quartet in A Minor. Written in 1825, long after he had lost his hearing, the third movement is a ‘Heiliger Dankgesang’ a holy song of thanks after recovering from serious illness. It always brings me to tears, and I could see at this performance, I was not the only one.
On Sunday I ventured out to Newark to see this fantastic exhibit by Wendy Red Star, an artist who combines deep historical research with a crafty style. Through both a personal and scholarly lens she explores the microbeauties of her Apsáalooke (Crow) people. Newark Museum is less than a mile walk from Newark Penn Station which is an easy PATH ride from lower Manhattan. Definitely worth the trip!