Of course right! First of all, the weather has been very pleasant so far this summer. Apart from a few unspeakably humid days, the temperatures have been very nice.
In case you were wondering, this picture was taken at the end of May. Just to create suspense, I am not going to tell you what this picture concerns, but you are certainly welcome to guess. And if you have any great captions for this picture, feel free to share them.
Anyway. School is out, and I have since performed a couple of concerts with the Musica Bella Orchestra of Manhattan. The first concert was at Riverside Park on June 9. It was a lovely evening for an outdoor concert, and was enthusiastically received by a small but faithful audience. The second concert was a Baroque-ish chamber concert at a church near Prospect Park in Brooklyn at the end of June. My friend Antonio played his Vivaldi bassoon concerto; we also did a Handel organ concerto, some Bach arias, Brahms lieder, and a set of newly composed violin-soprano duets which were written for two sisters that are involved with the group. Again, the concert went very well. I have since been asked to continue my involvement with Musica Bella for the coming concert season, but have not committed to it .... yet.
A couple of weeks ago I decided it was finally time to get going on wedding-related tasks. Among other things, I had to find a dress, which is notoriously a not-easy task for bridesmaids and maids of honor. Fortunately, there is a David's Bridal in Queens, and so my faithful friend Antonio agreed to go with me for what turned out to be an exciting all-day venture.
First I must mention that Brooklyn is not directly accessible to Queens, even though they are on the same land mass. In fact, one must actually take the subway through Manhattan in order to travel between anyplace useful in either borough. In the middle of the long subway ride, Antonio discovered that I had never been to Patelson's Music. So he insisted that we make an emergency detour, which fortunately was off of the same subway we were taking.
So, as it turns out, is Carnegie Hall, which is right next to Patelson's. And do you see what I see? Isaac Stern Place. Very exciting.
Patelson's is THE place to go if you're a musician in the city and in need of music. Despite an unassuming storefront, the inside houses two levels of an astonishing array of books and sheet music for every instrument. Unfortunately, they didn't have any of the pieces I would have wanted to buy, except for the Shostakovich Violin Concerto, which is not readily available in the States due to some Russian copyright issues.
After we'd had our dose of Patelson's, we hopped back on the subway to Queens. It was an uneventful ride, and then a mere 5 minute walk to an asphalt parking lot-ed strip mall sort of thing that would look totally authentic in Iowa. In this strip mall was David's Bridal. As it turns out, it only took about 2 hours to narrow a large selection of bridal gowns down to 3 that would be great. Unfortunately, they only had the 3rd place dress in stock in my size and color, and it was going to take too long to order anything in. Fortunately, a store upstate had dress #2, so after a 10 minute phone call, the dress was on its way to me.
By this time it was early afternoon and Antonio and I were ready for lunch. The next stop of the day was the Queens Center Mall, several more stops into the borough. We decided we couldn't make it that far without something to tide us over, and fortunately there was an ice cream truck parked across the street from the strip mall.
In Iowa, of course, I had never even seen an ice cream truck. Which is really a pity, because they are so cute, driving around with the special jingly ice cream truck music and bringing chilled summery goodness right to you! So of course we stopped so that I could have my first ice cream truck ice cream. We each got a cone, which turned out to be disappointingly small, it was enough to get us to the mall, where we enjoyed a rather large and delicious meal of Thai food.
The rest of the afternoon was rather uneventful. We shopped until we dropped, fully enjoying four gigantic levels of shopping and temptation and end of summer sales, and then we slept on the train all the way back to Brooklyn.
At this point you might be expecting some sort of conclusion or ending to this post, but wait!
It has now been nearly a year since I moved to New York, and once again, I am in the process of apartment-hunting. My lease is up at the end of August, and I'm hoping to move to a cheaper apartment in a nicer, quieter area of Brooklyn. This time around I have the advantage of actually being able to look in person over an extended period of time, which will certainly help. I also found a roommate, which turned out to be a more complicated and prolongued ordeal than I had expected. But we're looking together, and she has the added benefit of having lived in Brooklyn for most of her life, so she actually knows which neighborhoods are nice. I'm hoping we'll find something soon. Things are looking promising.
Title lyrics: Sam's Town, by The Killers (Sam's Town, 2006)