Punks & Other Colourful Culture
Our first born just exited looking every inch the throw back to 1980s punk much like those who swaggered the streets of my childhood London. Sadly, by the time I came of age my generation were victims of the questionable “fashions” of the 90s. After I pollute the atmosphere with a final squirt of green spray Boy skips out of the apartment rocking out on his air guitar towards Crazy Hair Day at school.
New York puts vim in all our strides. Perhaps Boy is still high from watching the dress rehearsal of the Rockette Spectacular the other day, to which we were kindly invited by a dear friend. You know you’re in for a ride when the usher hands you 3D glasses along with your playbill. I turn wide eyed to my friend, a veteran Rockette (in experience not age) who has invited us along – aren’t all theatrical events were already in life dimensional 3D? Flashing a smile, clutching her 9 month old upon her hip, she tells me I have no idea what I am in for.
Santa as MC it turns out, heading an army of dancers who perform in eerie synchronicity. Their shimmering smiles belie the arduous rehearsals endured to reach performance These warrior women must surely breathe, eat and menstruate in perfect unison even after curtain call. I gawp at the breathtaking beauty of Radio City Music Hall, steeped in the opulence of 1930s gold gilt glamour. Edward Durell Stone drew inspiration from his time aboard an ocean liner when he designed it – the carpets swim with art deco fish and the auditorium’s ceiling tunnels towards the “sunset” proscenium arching over the stage.
The week of performance continues when my brother and sister-in-law join the boys and I at a family friendly (and affordable!) concert at Carnegie Hall. We leave all the wiser on pentatonic scales and the ability of music to build cross cultural bridges – a Chinese violinist plays alongside an Arab-Venezuelan drummer, an Israeli cellist and a Puerto Rican clarinetist.
Continuing our cultural ride, we visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art, travelling there on our local bus that becomes an unofficial tour of Upper Manhattan. We snake through the gentrified areas of Washington Heights, the merengue of Morningside Heights, the pulse of Harlem and the student buzz of Columbia University. Turning left onto Central Park North we take in oil painting autumnal views, glassy waters of the parks’ ponds beside bedrock cragging up toward the crisp blue skies and the glistening amber foliage of its’ trees. Reaching our destination, nestled in the elegance of the Upper East Side’s end of fifth avenue, or Museum Mile, Boy, Junior and I join a free children’s artist lead session whilst husband and in laws trawl the European masterpieces. The family regroup beside 15th century armour before scoffing pasta on Madison Ave.
Now we hope our pre-teether will settle before husband packs his wife into the closet. Earlier in the week, I had an offer from an author to narrate the audio book of her work. Before I had even finished an emailed acceptance, husband had emptied my clothes and lined the tiny space with pillows and towels and set up a fancy microphone. Is he excited for me to get back to work or that I’ll be shut away out of the sight listening to the sound of my own voice? Don’t answer that. I already know which one is closest the truth….
Sara Alexander and her husband Cory English (formerly of Walworth NY) are actors, who met in the London acting community. They live in London, with their two children, but are currently living in New York, while Cory performs in the Broadway show “Chicago”.