DC vs. NYC Round 1: Street/Subway musicians

September 19, 2010 at 9:37 am (music, new york city, washington dc)

When we moved from SF to NYC, I had a few posts on my thoughts about how the two stacked up against each other.   Now that we’ve moved to DC, I figured it’s time to start those comparisons again.

I don’t think any city will have performers that match the ones in NYC.  Like this guy who looked like Roger Federer, played electric violin, and danced like Gene Kelly AND Michael Jackson.

But since moving to DC, I have enjoyed the guys who are always drumming on plastic bins in Chinatown.  Not a lot of variety, but I’m glad that I can count on them being there all the time.  And I did run into two guys who were playing trombones while walking down the street.    Sorry, there’s no photo.

The two guys playing trombones, even if I never see them again, bump DC considerably higher, but the Federer look-alike who played electric violin while dancing, plus all the other amazing musicians in NYC, can’t be beat.

NYC: 1

DC: 0

SF vs. NYC, Subway musicians

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New York City vs. San Francisco Round 8: Subway musicians

December 28, 2008 at 9:33 am (music, new york city, san francisco)

I’ve heard the worst subway musicians in NYC.  There’s one guy that seems to always be playing violin in the Union Square station.  He’s usually playing something Vivaldi-esque with a recorded accompaniment.  He can’t keep up with the accompaniment and as you might imagine, it’s not a good outcome.  But I admire his persistance and I expect that his frequent “practicing” will lead to great improvements.

But I’ve also heard the best subway musicians in NYC.  Many of them are pretty amazing, actually.  Last night I heard a flautist playing beautiful baroque music.  I gave her an extra big donation because the music was so lovely.  I was sad when the subway arrived and I had to go, but I was pleased to see that there were some drummers on the car.   They were quite amazing and they had much of the subway car dancing.  Last night was an exceptionally good night for subway music, but it’s often really good.  And I love that people play such funky interesting instruments that I’ve never seen before.

If it weren’t for the Union Square guy, I would have thought that they hold auditions for musicians to play in the subways here!

Maybe if my cousins get good enough at Rock Band, we can try out!

img_3581NYC: 3
SF: 5

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From sea to shining sea

July 23, 2008 at 8:44 am (bread, dessert, education, food, music, recipes, travel)

I’ve been really quiet with the posts lately – it’s been really crazily busy with all these workshops to prepare for and teach.  I just got back from Williams College.  It’s a really beautiful campus, just what you might expect from an old New England college campus.  There are also mountains – the famed mountains of “purple mountain majesties” – surrounding the campus.

And the people are all lovely.  I ate the most delicious and pure fruit pies baked by someone who lives in Vermont.  Great crust.  The filling of the peach pie was perfect.  My guess is she added little or no sugar and just let the peaches be peaches.  There was also a mixed berry pie.  The rumor is that she picked her own berries.  There was an almond flavor in the berry filling that was really nice.  The baker’s name is Kathy or Cathy.  The pie boxes said “Brick Oven Bakery.”  But I was unable to find anything on the web.  You have to be in the know!

And we had an impromptu performance by a wonderful trio – violin/fiddle, keyboard, bass/guitar – Trio Cafe Budapest.  The fiddler was the brother-in-law of one of the workshop attendees and when the originally scheduled outdoor performance was rained out (by a huge, magnificent thunderstorm!), they came to the lounge of our dorm and gave us a private performance.  Very eclectic music – Irish, Turkish, spirituals, waltzes, jazz.  All of the music was full of emotion and spirit.  I was smiling during the whole performance, and at times, I felt the urge to run outside and start dancing in the pouring rain.  No one danced outside, but several people got up to waltz, and at the end, the whole group got up to dance.  It was all awesome!  We shared some of our extra pies with them to thank them.  It’s such a small world in southern Vermont and Northwestern Massachussetts – it turns out that the band members are friends with the baker!  Here’s another neat tidbit.  The keyboard player teaches at Williams and he studies quantum information theory.  Quantum information theory – that just blows my mind.

trio

Perfect and intimate setting for the Trio Cafe Budapest

The workshop attendees were all great.  I learned a ton from them and it was great to start meeting people who are interested in education and teaching in the NY area (that’s where I’ll be heading soon!).  I learned about hunting morels.  And a bunch of other people all got up to do yoga together every morning.  I would have liked to join them, but it was way too early and I was way too jetlagged.  The focus of this workshop was on how to teach bioinformatics and genomics to undergrads.  There’s still a long way to go, but we’re definitely making progress.  Hearing about the modules that were being developed by the other workshop participants made me want to go back to college!

Why don’t airlines and airports convert the arriving flight info screens to be departing flight info screens?  Since they started preventing people from meeting arriving passengers at the gates, why do they need the arriving info screens anymore?  And if there were more departing info screens, the ones that they do have wouldn’t be so crowded!

This recipe for Tomato-Bread Salad looks really amazing!  I’m going to gather ingredients this weekend at the farmers market and put this together.

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