Tuesday 18 May 2010

New York Trip - Day 4

The first stop was the Flatiron buildings for photos, then a trip up the Empire State Building for panaromic views of the Island. Back at West 26th Street, a block from our hotel, is The Jazz Record Centre, an Eight Floor apartment packed with vinyls, CDs, DVDs, posters and bookers. We spent a good hour browsing before I settled on three CDs (as vinyl is not an easy option when flying) - a recording by New York guitarist Peter Leitch, a Joe Lee Wilson recording featuring Japanese guitarist Ryo Kawasaki (who also played in the Gil Evans orchestra) and the latest Brad Mehldau double CD featuring Joshua Redman.
In the afternoon we met Joshua outside the Public Library with mother & daughter artist team Bea and Adrienne who we had met at the house party on Saturday, for a subway trip to Coney Island. Coney Island is on the brink of a major redevelopment to convert it from Brooklyn's version of Hastings/Margate/Blackpool to exclusive beach side condos. We stopped at Nathan's hotdogs for a snack (clams, hotdog, fries) and then wandered the boardwalk past the ghosts of the amusement park: Shoot The Freak (which involves shooting a live midget with a paintball gun; the Cyclone, a wooden rollercoaster reputed to be the scariest ever; and the huge Wonder Wheel, big wheel with sliding cars. Like the Empire Diner (which closed at the weekend), a piece of history about to disappear.

We ended up in Brighton Beach, or Little Odessa, packed with Russian shops and restaurants and used as a location in The French Connection. We found a very good Russian Restaurant - no frills, Russian clientele - bought some vodka at the liquor store and had a delicious (& very cheap) meal of dumplings, herring, mackerel, stuffed cabbage, pureed aubergine, coffee cake and Napoleon cake.

Back at the hotel we bid farewell to our host, to the D'Angelico (which I have grown very attached to) and then headed out to Dylan Thomas' favourite watering hole, The White Horse tavern, for a nightcap. I'll certainly miss Joshua's warmth, his anecdotes & sharp wit.

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