Anniversary, Architecture, Art, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Carole King, Inwood, J. R. R. Tolkein, Manhattan, Middle Earth, Musical Theatre, New York City, Stephen Sondheim, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Morgan Library & Museum, The Silmarillon, Travel

New York, New York…It’s a Wonderful Town!


New York City – AKA “The City” if you’re a local. Well, I’m not a local anymore but it is where I was born. It isn’t where I grew up, although I did attend P.S. 52 in Inwood for my first year of school. I grew up on the West Coast. But that is a story for another day. Today’s story is about my most recent visit to the place of my birth, and the very special reason for the visit.

Doesn’t this manhole cover say, “Manhattan Born” or am I reading it wrong??

My Dear Husband and I decided to make this trip in celebration of our 12th wedding anniversary. Trip highlight… orchestra front-row seats to see “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

12 Years – I can honestly say I didn’t know what love really was until I met this man!
We still know how to bring it

I cannot say enough good things about this production. It covers the early days of her musical career, beginning with selling her first song at age 16 (It Might as Well Rain Until September) through the years she (composer) and her partner/husband (lyricist) wrote some of the top songs of the 1960s, and ending when she decided to become the singer/songwriter we are familiar with today. With her move to California from New York and decision to write her own lyrics as well as sing her own songs she changed the musical landscape for female singer/songwriters. In 1971 she won Grammys for It’s Too Late (record of the year); Tapestry (album of the year); You’ve Got a Friend (song of the year); and Tapestry (best pop vocal performance, female). There have been additional nominations and wins in the years since. I have to say, the music and performances I saw on stage that day left me exhilarated and wanting more.

The architectural features inside the theatre enhanced the experience!

Walking around The City is an adventure in itself. I never leave the hotel without a camera. I love taking pictures of the buildings and their details.

An ice skating rink was set up in one of the nearby parks.

While I was there a friend told me the Morgan Library is hosting the exhibit Tolkien: Maker of Middle Earth. There is no way I was going to miss THAT once I knew it was there! From the Museum website: “The exhibition will be the most extensive public display of original Tolkien material for several generations. Drawn from the collections of the Tolkien Archive at the Bodleian Library (Oxford), Marquette University Libraries (Milwaukee), the Morgan, and private lenders, the exhibition will include family photographs and memorabilia, Tolkien’s original illustrations, maps, draft manuscripts, and designs related to The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.”

By the way, in case you are interested, costumes ARE permitted although shoes must be worn at all times. No masks, wizard staffs, scepters, axes, bow and arrows, or swords are permitted. What costume would YOU have worn if you decided to attend? Let me know in the comments! It will be there through May 12, 2019 so you still have the chance to go see it!

The photos above are of the fencing and window coverings of the Library. Although we got there early on Sunday morning we still had to wait an hour in line to enter the exhibit hall itself. Of course, NO cameras allowed in the exhibit proper! I did get this photo of a portion of the original cover of The Hobbit since it was part of their advertising.

An added bonus was being able to visit J. P. Morgan’s actual library. I could have very easily lived in that room for a good long while! Three stories of books filling all four walls. Magnificent ceiling and skylight. And the books! Oh, the books! Facsimiles of some of the illuminated books are for sale in the Gift Shop: cost between $1,400 and $12,800. A little rich for my blood!The photos below show part of one wall, the ceiling, and one of the bookshelves. The jeweled cover is of the Lindeau Gospels, France. It was bound sometime between 751-888 AD. Next is A Medieval Romance from the Renaissance. It was completed in the thirteenth century. Last but not least is the Book of Hours, circa 1475, probably from Milan. This is only a taste of what you will see if you visit.

A couple more random street photos… need I say the food everywhere was fantastic! This carousel looked like it would be fun to ride!

So until next time, I leave you with warm memories of the very cold days we spent in The City!

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