Wednesday, March 29, 2017

It's Spring


I can tell that it's spring if only because there is more light streaming through our north facing living room window, though—truth to tell—it's still a dark apartment. The greatest light enters the room around 3 pm. Reflected light, it bounces off the windows from a 10 story building across the courtyard. 


Lights on from the get-go in the morning; when I started thinking about the color of light years ago, I was influenced by my work in the theatre, where lighting can either make or break a set. For this room, I chose warm golden light which counters the cool blue light of New York City. This lamp shade was found at Just Shades in Manhattan and has a classic 1920's design, while the lamp itself is a converted Victorian oil lamp that I found at the lamented Chelsea Flea Market. Comprised of several huge lots, tall apartment buildings now occupy what used to be antique heaven. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

My (tiny) Kitchen


My tiny New York kitchen has undergone a metamorphosis from its original state. The white twenty-inch stove is about 12 years old and the wrong color for the cabinets and counter that were added later. Stainless steel or black would be better since white stops the eye, right? (Funny how the difference in color doubles the price.) But replacing it wasn't a priority when weighed against plane tickets to Italy & Paris. Now that I've prepared countless dinners, the color doesn't bother me like it used too. Stockholm syndrome? This also includes the hood, which doesn't line up with the counter below. But ah! I'm not smacking my head on the cabinet when I stir the pot!

What was here before? Non-descript metal cabinets put in during the 30's that only went half-way up the wall along with a vent high on the wall on the opposite side of the stove. Smart, huh? The big change was tearing out the cabinets and wall, then installing much taller cabinets with an extractor fan over the stove. 

As written in a previous post, the butcher block counter was found on the street and cut by a colleague at the opera (I sang with New York City Opera for more than two decades), while the enamel cast iron Kohler sink  (which can fit a roasting pan for big birds) was found on Long Island and lugged back on the train.

The cabinets are Ikea and were heavily damaged about a year after being installed. You can't tell because the doors look fine. But look inside and you'll see water damage caused by a leak from the apartment above; a fine mist of spray from a turn-off valve that was only discovered after several weeks soaked them completely. Of course, Ikea discontinued this line of product, the newers model being much deeper—which doesn't work. But things have a way of coming round again. That's my hope anyway.

The counter top finish will be renewed this summer when I can open the windows overnight. Made out of beetles wings and a toxic chemical, I only have to sand the counter instead of stripping it completely if it was plastic. 

What else? 1960's salt and pepper shakers from the flea market sit on a Gothic telephone stand that I found long ago at the huge once-upon-a-time flea market in Chelsea. Originally purposed to hold a cookbook, its current use is a lot more practical. The mirror back-splash came from a closet door in the bedroom and fit perfectly. All I had to do is mastic it to the wall and order another sliver of mirror.  Both get cleaned every day. But it's worth it—the mirror makes the space feel much bigger. 

The refrigerator is hiding to the left of the sink below the counter. This space itself used to be the passage between the parlor and the dining room. When I replaced the concrete floor with wood I could see the footprint of the original pocket doors which mirrored the window in the living room. The whole things sags somewhat, but then, the building is more than a hundred years ago. Built in 1895 along with the building right next to it, both were constructed for one family and reportedly accessible to each other through our apartment. 

What you can't see is the kitchen dresser sitting along a far-right wall that has a cabinet above it full of tea-things. Hence the tea kettle on the stove boiling water which has its share of dings. Everything does not have to be perfect. Just loved.

The tea was Vanilla Rooibus for Husband and Darjeeling for me. I needed the kick. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

My Carole Stupell Lamp


I was with my father when he bought this lamp at the Golden Nugget Flea Market in Lambertville, New Jersey, years ago. It sat in the back of a shop that was no bigger than 10 feet square with a mish-mash of things around it. My father was attracted to the crystals—not the lamp in and of itself. And he was horrified because someone had painted them blue! He just could not stand for that in his mind. So he talked the owner out of it for a song. Having always admired it, the lamp found its way to me after my father's death three years ago—having been cleaned of its blue glaze, which, my father told me, took some doing.  

Low and behold,  Husband did some research on crystal lamps and discovered it was a Carole Stupell original—Stupell having opened a store in New York City in 1929. The lamp is being stored at the moment since it doesn't exactly fit with the apartment's current scheme. Though it probably needs a modern apartment, I have thoughts of casting off the current sofa, ottoman and chairs and placing  a long low modern couch in front of the fireplace—which is never used—with the lamp at one end—like it is here against the bookcase. Nuts perhaps, but there you have it.  

Speaking of change, I made the huge mistake of trying one of Blogger's new templates thinking it would look good. Boy, was I wrong! It took me quite a while to put things back together again. I suppose it would have worked if I would be fine with not having a photo for a "header," but it just looked awful no matter how I tried to make it work. The spacings for the "gadgets" were really bad too. Just. Not. Worth. It. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Met Man




Anna Moffo, La Traviata, Giuseppi Verdi 

Leontyne Price, Antony and Cleopatra, Samuel Barber 




Two nights in a row, I went to the Met. The first night I saw (funny that we don't say heard) Werther and then Idomeneo—which was Mozart's first opera. The first night I sat in the orchestra and then in the front row balcony on the second night. Guess where the better sound was? Upstairs near the ceiling. No surprise there. Guess which show was more dramatic? Werther. And I had to smile: for all the money spent, the dramatic high point was a simple light cue that revealed blood on the wall. Lots of it. Unseen until the stage manager did her/his thing. 

Interesting to be sitting in the house and not performing onstage as I did for five years running—a very different perspective. You see and hear things differently. God, I thought—not for the first time: "I should be a director. Why the hell is he having the tenor circle around that table during his big moment? It's distracting." 

Levine conducted the Mozart and I wasn't paying much attention to what he was doing at first—and didn't even know he was in the pit—I must confess—until I heard the record skip several times. Looking down—I saw, yeah, that's him—and realized that the orchestra was having a bit of a problem following him. However, they seemed to get their act together as the night wore on. The singers did not seem to not have much of a problem. They went. He followed.

The tenor Matthew Polezani sang like a god, and a young soprano by the name of Nadine Sierra (she's 28) made quite an impression. Gorgeous voice. 

I came home happy to having gotten out of the news cycle. 

Musicke for while let all our hearts beguile.