Archive for the ‘ NYC ’ Category

The Movement

Today was incredible and deeply inspiring. The people appealed beautifully and powerfully for Women and against our newly inaugurated president, who has disrespected, disparaged and expressed disdain for the entire gender. After months of dark anxiety and absolute dejection, this was the only possible antidote; a rallying cry from millions of American patriots rejecting the fraud and deception now in the White House and demanding decency, respect and compassion for all people.

Alaina got on a bus this morning to be in D.C. for the main event, so I packed Ivy and Miles into the double stroller and, bearing through weekend-disrupted service on three subways in absolutely packed stairwells and cars, emerged from Grand Central into a great crush of humanity with purely positive energy; marching, chanting, singing while uniting in solidarity and commitment to the cause. It was instantly obvious that this massive and powerful engagement will ultimately overwhelm the evil forces currently attempting to steal our country. I, with my years of anti-war protests of the GWB era, was very impressed with the display, and I could tell that my children, who have obviously never seen anything like this, were absolutely amazed at the sheer glory of this event.

Personally, I always need to find something positive in anything negative. I seek balance in my life, and I have been dizzy and free-falling through this period, wondering what would catch me and when, how I could ever recover my personal peace, and why we now find ourselves in this position. I saw the answer today. I have no doubt that this movement will grow and save us, giving us firm ground to stand on in our battle for truth and justice, freedom and equality. We will recover from this crisis and rise to greater heights as a Liberal Democracy. I have never been more proud to be an American. With reverence to those who built our Nation and with duty to those for whom we will continue to build, I dedicate my soul to this progressive movement!

Halloween

Tonight was one of my all-time parenting highlights; watching Ivy spend 2 hours handing out candy on our porch and 1 hour trick-or-treating around our block was absolutely amazing. I have never witnessed such a dense swarm of people, mostly kids, in our neighborhood like that; there were times when the line stretched from our porch 30 kids deep down our steps and walkway to the sidewalk, each waiting for Ivy to drop a piece of candy in their sack. It was a constant flow of candy from bowl to bags and we ran out way before we anticipated, even including a run to the store to replenish supply, due to severe underestimation of the throngs. Ivy handled her duty with a seriousness and focus that I have never seen from her, carefully picking a candy from the assortment and placing it in a waiting receptacle for each child. She was sad when we ran out of candy and had to tell the costumed revelers “Sorry”, but as soon as we started walking down the block, and she understood the concept of receiving the candy from neighbors, she was as joyful as I’ve ever seen her; with every piece of candy she was given, she came bouncing back to us beaming and proudly showing off her loot. She was amazed and enthralled by the lights and decorations (E 4th St. contained some of the best displays I’ve ever seen), and I was able to share with her the phenomenon known as “Ghostbusters” when our neighbor installed a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man with video projections of Slimer in the windows — so she is now an expert at singing the call and response theme song! I felt a beautiful and euphoric combination of nostalgia, wonder, excitement and bliss watching her enjoy Halloween as I imagine I once did.

Labor Day

What a Summer for this guy! I currently sit in one of my favorite spots in the known universe: Eventide Cabin on Mt. Desert Island. Acadia is a personal paradise and spending time here with my wife, child and parents is very high on my who/what/where triangulation rankings.

I have been consistently scoring very well this Summer, packed with fantastic weekends around the Northeast: The Land, Bellport, Osterville, Vermont, Maine, and even a few in Brooklyn; Ivy and I rolled all over town on my bike and explored beaches and amusement parks (Coney Island!), swimming pools and water playgrounds (Sunset Park! Brooklyn Bridge Park!), sports events (Cyclones! NYCFC! US Open!), concerts (Prospect Park!) and celebrated her birthday with a backyard BBQ bash. I have enjoyed freedom from work over the past three months and have spent it with my daughter as well as I could. She may not remember our adventures, but I had so many experiences with her that I will never forget! Alaina and I spent every weekend together, which never happened when she worked in theater, and we had two incredible theater date nights, seeing Cymbeline in Central Park and Hamilton on Broadway, the latter of which set a new gold standard for me; simply the most exciting theatrical experience of my life. I also played a round on the best golf course I have ever seen at Fishers Island and are at my new favorite restaurant, The Honey Paw in Portland, established by my awesomely talented brother. 

And now I sit overlooking Frenchman’s Bay in one of my most tranquil moments of the Summer (Ivy is napping!) and reminiscing on time passed and time ahead: Labor Day weekend is always bittersweet as my return to labor is imminent. I have great work to go back to, but I will definitely miss my freedom and days of Ivy. We’re on to Fall!
  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

             

Sufjan Stevens at BAM Again!

A few years ago, I witnessed a performance that still ranks as the most incredible live event I have ever attended. Sufjan Stevens’ BQE at BAM: video of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway with a live score performed by large ensemble and hoop dancers. It was such a unique and special event and I cherish it as an inspiring and beautiful demonstration of audio-visual possibilities.

Last night, he performed his newest piece, Round-Up, with slow-motion rodeo footage and an entrancing score performed by Sufjan and quartet Yarn/Wire. It was phenomenal. The music was layered and textured, with a propulsive Steve Reich feel, and the musicians played pianos, organs, vibraphones, percussion while Sufjan conducted from his laptop. The score was synced tightly with cuts in the film and the long, detailed shots matched the pace and depth of the composition.

The rodeo is a fascinating study in human culture and ritual, and of our dominating and violent relationship with animals. In the faces and character of its participants, Cowboys and Indians, and the raw chaos to be tamed of the wild beasts, we see through time to our primal ancestors and the quest to conquer their domain.

Busy

The fact that I have not written here in over two months speaks to how fast time has accelerated recently. I am working more than I have ever worked and doing my best to learn new skills and techniques of teaching older kids. It has been a challenging period for me, but I am enjoying it immensely. Seeing the musical abilities of children rapidly improving through the elementary years is awesome and inspiring!

Unfortunately, this schedule has made Ivy time increasingly rare. During the week, I see her from too-early in the morning until I leave for work. She is usually asleep when I return, so I cherish the hour or so I do spend with her, even in my typical morning zombie mode. Because of my limited Ivy-hours, I enjoy the weekend even more than I did when I spent those days in party zombie mode. Last weekend was a bit of a throwback to the olden days of my younger self; a Friday night Halloween kids parade followed by 5th Ave bar crawl and a Saturday night with Dean Ween band at Brooklyn Bowl, and a trip to Foxboro with Dad and Bro on Sunday where the Patriots stomped all over the Broncos and reasserted their dominance in the NFL. It was an epic party weekend with a confluence of amazing events! This weekend was more low-key and the past three days were wonderfully family-centric, sending me back to work tomorrow with great memories of time shared with my favorite people. I had Friday off and took Ivy on a tour of Brooklyn parks; we took a walk in Prospect Park, then Sunset Park and the brand new Bush Terminal Piers Park, where Ivy was recognized as the first baby visitor! Saturday was a Geisler/Taylor family adventure to the beautiful Storm King Sculpture Park and a trip to The Bronx Zoo and Sunday was a stroll through local Greenwood Cemetery and some quality time with Ivy’s bestie, Maisie. October weekends included a Vermont excursion and celebration of Grandma’s 90th birthday with four generations of Herters! Of all the amazing things I get to do in my life, there is nothing better than simply sharing time with Alaina and Ivy!

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Brooklyn Museum Fountain

I am lucky to have Brooklyn Museum as my local art collection. It is classical and cutting edge with interesting and eclectic permanent collections as well as a fascinating and evolving mix of current exhibitions; it is a wonderful space to revere and contemplate art. And when they announced an open-call for submissions to score the fountain, I was inspired to make music! My compostion was chosen as one of ten pieces to be played in a program on August 14 and I watched the fountain dance to my work. I spent many fun hours in the pursuit and truly enjoyed creating the soundtrack, so it was exciting to be a part of this event and share it with family, friends and strangers.

Thank you Brooklyn Museum for celebrating and inspiring artistic creation!

Eventide Rides NYC

When Chef Andrew Taylor and the Hugo’s/Eventide crew roll into NYC, they come on a mission. They seek the best food experiences in the city, and on this occasion, provide some of their own. They returned to The Lobster Roll Rumble and served thousands of their signature Brown Butter and Steamed Bun Lobster Rolls. I assisted with service at the Eventide Oyster Co. table, and although they were dethroned as defending Champions, the crowd’s enthusiasm and appreciation for their unique take on the classic sandwich was amazing to witness. It is a daring creation from my brother’s kitchen, and I was honored to be a part of the team introducing this Portland, Maine gem to New York.

I was also incredibly fortunate to be along for the ride wherever their food and bar safari took them. We enjoyed cocktails at Del Posto and Toro (including a porron pass-around). We ate incredible late-night dinners at Pearl & Ash and Carbone, with the latter topping my lifetime list of outrageously delicious and delightfully extravagant meals.

I enjoy good food often but rarely like this. Andrew knows the food in my city much better than I do, and it is always a treat to tag along on his excursions. But for all the pizzazz of fine dining, It is also just fun to hang out with the dude and his family; I am more than happy to eat chicken fingers at the Central Park Zoo snack bar if it means spending time with Rachel, Lincoln and Oliver!

Eventide Lobster Roll Rumble

Eventide Roll

Oliver

Zoo

SNOW!

I was born a snow lover, a few weeks before the blizzard of ’78 in Boston, and have always appreciated the convergence of atmospheric phenomena that produces dendrites! Sledding was the earliest form of snow fun and my backyard, with its 15′ vertical drop was more than enough to thrill me through my tiny years. When I outgrew that, I would sled down our back steps off a jump onto the patio. I started skiing when I was 7 and was quickly obsessed, following daily conditions in the Boston Globe Sports Section and memorizing mountain statistics; I drew hundreds of imaginary trail maps and skied every Saturday with the Mass Ski Club forĀ  years. I chose college in Vermont to be near the mountains and bought a season pass every year. Upon graduation, I considered moves to a more permanent ski bum lifestyle in California, Utah and Colorado…

But ended up in New York City.

I have lived here for 12 years and couldn’t be happier. I chose a culture bum lifestyle instead and enjoy the world’s best Arts and Entertainment here. I make sacrifices in personal space and ski access to live here but still get giddy for a good Nor’Easter, of which we have had several this year. I have skied on the sidewalks of Brooklyn when there is ample powder, but haven’t quite found anything steep enough to satisfy my schuss needs… So I bought a hill in Vermont!

I now find myself sacrificing ski days for my daughter and still love the trade-off. I look forward to years of skiing with her in the future. But even with my inconvenient locale and family overtime, I have managed to click in for a few fortuitously-timed days this season. Just after New Years Day, I skied some fresh snow at tiny Mt. Peter in Warwick, NY; top to bottom was under 30 seconds, but most runs were untouched and pure powder. The most recent storm dropped two feet on Southern Vermont and the conditions were spectacular for President’s Day Weekend. Half-days at Okemo, Killington, Magic and the VT Backyard took the edge off my craving for frozen sliding and the prospect of Spring doesn’t scare me as much now as it did a week ago.

I still follow snow reports around the country and get excited when The Pacific Northwest gets dumped on or sad when Tahoe is dry. I have dedicated myself to other life pursuits beyond this passion and have learned to enjoy any time I do spend on the slopes without reservations about its limited nature. I have little control over timing and less over conditions which makes the recreational appreciation greater than any experience in a controlled environment; when my work and family schedule allows, plus a perfect combination of temperature, moisture and pressure drop crystallized water molecules from the sky, I will always enjoy them!

Philip Seymour Hoffman

His death is haunting me. Since the moment I read of his demise, I have been wrestling with the grim details and vividly imagining his final moments. I do not follow celebrity news, but for all his fame, he seemed like a true man of the people. I have seen him around town at various theater events and he was dedicated to that world–one that most movie stars abandon entirely or dabble in only occasionally. He was immersed in the craft and pursued it completely; it is obvious he had a true passion for the work and his career is astounding. His performances are so strong and so varied and every one of them draw the viewer into whatever world he is creating. His characters are alive and inhabit him. He makes great Art.

 

And now He is dead.

 

Heroin scares me more than almost anything else. How the most respected actor and a nameless junkie can be on that same high stakes quest to inject poison is beyond my comprehension. It transcends life and it ends life.

 

I will miss watching him grow old and continue his incredible work, but he will always be an inspiration. We are lucky that he gave us so much before his final credits.

Ivy Dorset Taylor

My daughter arrived on August 11, 2013 at 7:24pm at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, NY as she and her mother performed the most unbelievably amazing act I have ever witnessed. This is all I am capable of putting into words at this point as I try to process what happened in Labor and Delivery Room 3 from 9am to 9pm today. Maybe with some time and perspective I could describe the event in greater detail, but I will never be able to communicate any real sense of what I experienced there.

Love is Born!