A GTG, Pierpont Morgan Museum & Moroccan Food!

Trip Start Dec 01, 2009
Trip End Dec 14, 2009

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Flag of United States  , New York
Sunday, December 6, 2009

We are having a "GTG" brunch with a small group of New Yorkers who
belong to a Yahoo group I interact with called "The Travelzine." We
call our self's "ziners." It is a great group of international members
who post questions and answers about our travels. If a person is going
somewhere and needs info for hotels, B&B's, restaurants, trains, or
what to see; the others post responses with answers. I have cut and
pasted many of these responses to documents I have created for future

Only two of the four other folks showed up. But they were interesting.
Both had traveled all over the globe and we felt a bit out of their
league. I usually don't blow my own horn, so didn't didn't rattle on
about all my travels for my jobs domestically and internationally. For
me it was just interesting to hear their stories.

We gathered at Sarabeth's at 75 9th Avenue at 15th street not far from
our hotel. It was very cold and windy from the direction we walked and
that made it most unpleasant to put it mildly for Susan. [Torture would
be more appropriate] Even for that short distance of eight short New
York “street” blocks of a bit less than a half a mile, it would have
been much wiser to have taken a cab. The restaurant is in the old
Nabisco bakery converted to a long block walk past gourmet food
emporiums, many bakeries and kitchen equipment establishments. The
place was packed by the time we left around 1:15pm. Susan had
outstanding French toast covered in raisins and banana slices. I had a
omelet of ham, cheese and scallions with a croissant and their home
made raspberry preserves. They also made me a very tasty coffee mocha.
One of the two women we met was photographer Jack Reznicki’s wife,
Reggie. (Studio is at 31 W 27th, #10B, bet Broadway and 6th Avenue,
212-925-0771.) She was very nice, as was the other woman, Sheryl. Both
lived in Manhattan.

Afterward we visited the Pierpont Morgan Library
& Museum. They had an exhibit dedicated to William Blake's
watercolors, prints, and illuminated books of poetry revealing his
genius that was incredible. Also an exhibit of Puccini letters and his
original hand written musical scores to his operas. Then there was the
gem of the Jane Austen collection of letters, A Woman's Wit: Jane
Austen's Life and Legacy that reveal her characteristically sharp
observations and irrepressible wit. Oh what a great gift shop! Lots of
Barbar the elephant and a great selection of other books to purchase.

Ambitiously creative, Blake (1757–1827) was a poet, painter, and
printmaker had an abiding interest in theology and philosophy, which,
during the age of revolution, inspired thoroughly original and personal
investigations into the state of man and his soul. I know him as an
engraver, but this exhibition reminded me he was later recognized for
innovations in other media.

The show includes more than 100 works and among the many highlights are
two major series of watercolors, twenty-one watercolors for Blake's
seminal illustrations for the Book of Job—considered one of his
greatest works from about 1805–10 and twelve drawings illustrating John
Milton's poems L'Allegro and Il Penseroso, executed about 1816–20.

In addition to the superlative watercolor series—twenty-one
illustrations to the Book of Job and twelve designs illustrating
Milton's L'Allegro and Il Penseroso—other important drawings are on
display, included Fire (ca. 1805), which addressed the subject of war.

Also featured was a magnificent larges print, touched with watercolor by the artist, depicts Chaucer's Canterbury Pilgrims.

Among Blake's crowning achievements as a visual artist and poet are his
illuminated books, such as Songs of Innocence and of Experience:
Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul (ca. 1794) displaying
his exceptional technical skills, reflect medieval manuscript
illumination and the interrelationship between word and image. Also on
view was the only dated copy of Blake's dramatic The Marriage of Heaven
and Hell.

Sunday was a family activities day featuring Victorian London. Charles
Dickens and his famous characters were wandering around the new lobby
atrium reaching up four stories. They including a woman playing a
guitar of sorts and a fantastic woman in very tall stilts all dressed
in white. I got quite a few shots of both.

We listened to actress Marianna Loosemore as she read a charming short
tale—written by a 12 year old Jane—about a young woman named Cassandra
who sets off on an adventure through London, falling in love with a
fancy hat and eating too much ice cream along the way! Each “chapter”
was only a page or even less. It was in the main library room - books
to the ceiling!

Celebrating Puccini featured forty items related to Puccini's career,
including rarely seen original manuscripts and sketches for Madama
Butterfly and La Bohème as well as first-edition librettos, personal
letters, a period poster and playbills, souvenir postcards, and rare
material linked to Puccini's relationship with Enrico Caruso and Arturo Toscanini.

Adolf Hohenstein's vivid poster for the original production of La
Bohème and a playbill for the world premiere of Turandot are on view.

They have a tea room there, but we decided to spend all our time exploring the building and the well curated exhibits.

Susan really enjoyed this exhibit. We spent quite a bit of time at the library.

After the Pierpont we had a fabulous experience and meal at Barbe's
French Moroccan at 21 E 36th St. just E of Madison named after the
famous Paris neighborhood at the foot of the Sacre-Coeur, also known as
the 'little piece of North Africa'.

Everything was tasty, the environment great and the service attentive
and personable. Susan had something named a Virgin Barbe that consisted
of lemon, lime, mint and ices. It was extraordinary refreshing. I had
Moroccan tea.

For appetizers we had some of the most tasty onion soup ever and cab
cakes a la moroccaine featuring special spices. Susan had Tagine de
Poulet (chicken) with preserved lemon and green olives and I had Tagine
de D' Agneau: lamb with sesame seeds and prunes along with a side of
couscous. Both were delivered to the table in a conical clay cover that
it had been baked in. For desert we shared a delicious out of this
world Pastilla au Lait maded with large layers of filo dough with a
creme sauce that included Moroccan spices in between and some
strawberry slices on the top.
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