Friday, April 13, 2012

a stop along the way

we decided not to chance missing our flight to Cuba on Sunday AM so we came early to MIA (our charter departure point) and spend a couple of days-

we arrived yesterday late afternoon. had a wonderful dinner at Michael's Genuine with cousin Michele and today we visited Fairchild Botanical Gardens... lots of beautiful views -

above - clearly a pineapple relative... below - a park bench from an earlier era

there are several art installations at the garden - this one was a Yoko Ono one that involved wishing and tying the wishes to a growing tree

above - a lovely lily pond and below - waaaayyy coool palm "bark"

a strange color jade flower of a flowering vine- not quite blue - not quite green...

a couple of permanent collection Chihulys-

this weekend a show and plants for sale- here a rainbow of bougainvillea

several incredible vistas with the latest show of Will Remy flowers and insects sculptures

 and finally one from Scotty's in Coconut Grove where we had grouper sandwiches for lunch!

so a good way to pass some time before we head to the past... LOL this will probably be it for a while.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

a virtuoso performance

tonight we saw Greg Matthew Anderson in a virtuoso performance at the Remy Bumppo Theater in a one man show called Chesapeake.

timely from a political standpoint and running the gamut of emotion and intellect I can hardly think of an evening better spent. run don't walk to get yourself a ticket to this one.

a fabulous tale of irony and poetic justice and then some- of art and politics and the interaction of humans and "their" animals... this play works on so many levels and has such range - from the laugh out loud funny to the tearful recognition of what it means to be human (via a dog's words and thoughts)

go- you won't regret it- thanks Greg Matthew Anderson for such a masterful performance in every way- I am sure he brought the very best to the material written by Lee Blessing.

from now until the end of April my posts will be delayed - I am off to Cuba- sans computer and sans Internet connection... no working cell phone...should be interesting- and of course more on that later!

all agog at google

so on Saturday we went to visit the NYC Google HQ courtesy of our host Lee - of Angela and Lee.  The whole thing was pretty mind boggling... and the photos are extremely random so forgive the "creativity" with which the group was put together...LOL

a logo sign in legos-

throughout the facility things are labeled in CD cases - which can be easily changed to re purpose the room or to move office space - as even the staffers have these cases which they insert their names into and their space declared (not permanently) as things change with various team configurations

because there is really no private space personal phone calls are made from "phone boxes or booths or rooms" and these are individually designed- (the sign above is for a phone room for work purposes I think)

of course anyone who has video conferences or teleconferences knows that sometimes things can get quite loud- this sign indicates that at google they still have the same issues as other offices

the break rooms are spaced what seemed like every ten feet and include lots of snack-y things as well as coffees teas waters etc...

this was a mural from a break area and the scooter parking was in front of it- staffers use the scooters to get around the huge space - once a port authority truck depot - the building is a full NY block...

in the above photo you can't really see it well but there are little clamps to park the scooters in the front of the "police line" style barrier

the view from the terrace- an outdoor space with a fire pit and tables and chairs

keeping track of time at the various google locations

throughout the facility there are places to just stop and exchange ideas or rest on the way to the other side of the office - here a table from a google manhole cover-

the library has a stately feel (tongue in cheek) with portraits of guiding founders (here R2D2) and wing back chairs with pin stripe fabric and rep ties...

the lending library is of course e-books....

below the secret panels in the library hide nap rooms for those exhausted by the walk from one side of the office to the other- LOL - or overplaying in the game area or lego fatigue...LOL

the google truck street food also comes home on occasion-  to serve frozen yogurt and other treats-

chefs are invited in to cook in one of several restaurants and cafes...

above the play area- and below part of a funny display of old computing equipment - we saw several of our old computers along this route....

the entrance to another break area- specializing in coffee

a request for feedback on the food in the break areas-

the lego play area - below and above the kitchen graphic and couch area from a conferencing room (occupied by Susan and Lee)

sign identifying the google truck location- the truck is in...

thanks again to Lee (and Angela) for the fun fun tour - I do have to say that in 30+ years of law I never worked in an office that looked at all like this one... and I am not sure if that is good or bad-- I can imagine being quite distracted by the environment there but then the work is SO different that there is really no comparing the two ---

the food and the friends

of course - first things first- LOL

we went to NYC over last weekend to visit with the kids and with our good friends Laure & Arno (parents of Alix - the world's cutest baby)

so on Thursday night we arrived on time to LGA and got to the hotel and unpacked and then rushed out to meet up with Angela and Lee at the Greensquare Tavern in Chelsea (chosen for proximity to the show we would be seeing later that evening) Review: nice room and pleasant service but the food is nothing special.

we left and headed around the corner to the Metropolitan Room for the 9:30 show of Lauren Fox. I had read a review of her show about two months ago in the Times - since she only had three dates scheduled I figured it was unlikely that we would get this worked out but it turned out her final date was the same night we were arriving in NYC.  so there we found ourselves enjoying our two drink minimum in a lovely intimate room on 22nd street. 

her show was an intertwining of the Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell stories from their meeting and brief affair on through each of their careers - focusing on their songwriting to show similar issues and life paths.
Ms. Fox used lesser known songs as well as a few of the most recognizable "hits" for each artist.  it was a lovely show which was intended as a surprise for Phil (who grumbled all the way there about how he was being dragged to some show that was a big effing secret!) LOL.  I think he liked it anyway....

the next day - Friday - was amazingly beautiful weather as we walked past the flat iron building on the way to lunch. things in NY were in bloom and so we took our time heading out-

the photo below was from a window near our hotel - the store sold display models... LOL

so on this Friday noon- we began our series of matched locations (double numbered where the address and street number matched each other) for restaurants by going to 15 East 15th Street for lunch with Jeremy and his friend Jenna.  the sushi was amazing and the meal was all around good- I started with oysters with ponzu which were incredibly tasty and Phil started with the tuna tartare- also excellent.  we shared sushi and sashimi plates and then finished with a couple of out-of-the-ordinary desserts.  after lunch Jeremy took us to see the exhibit on the sustainability program he has been developing for NYU. 

we figured he had been in NYC for almost 9 years (since fall 2003) and since he finished school in December 2006 he has been the driving force behind the NYU sustainability initiatives- of course he has lots of folks involved in the execution but he is the one who coordinates it all... and things have really been accomplished in the last five years-  YEA, Jeremy!

so then we go on the subway to the hotel as we had early-ish dinner plans for the Duck-A-Vore dinner at Wong's with Laure & Arno.  stupendous... amazing... incredibly innovative things done with duck - at least six courses.. and well worth the call ahead two days planning needed to get to the end result.

then we headed back to L&A (Laure & Arno- not to be confused with A&L- Angela and Lee) for some catching up time.

Saturday started with tea at noon with A&L and Lee's family at Lady Mendl's in Gramercy.  We had a chance to spend a bit of time with Brad and Susan - Lee's parents (easy people to be with- friendly and warm) and afterward had a double presentation of Angela's new lingerie line The Versailles Collection- one at the Google NYC headquarters where Lee gave us a tour and one in Angela's studio in Hell's Kitchen.

the preview show is next weekend but we got a sneak preview ahead of time. and BTW- more on the google visit in a separate post.

then dinner was at the Monkey Bar on 54th - we had a really good meal in a place known for the room itself.  I can especially recommend the steak tartare and the s'mores dessert.

the next day (Sunday) we met L&A for lunch at their place so we could see the world's cutest baby Alix! we carried in lobster rolls from Luke's lobster and then went for a walk along the Hudson River.

some photos of the area near L&A's place- where we walked along the Hudson River...

after heading back to the hotel we got a call from A&L who said they were headed to the Fry Pan on the Hudson for drinks- so we met them and I had lots of excellent sangria---

could have skipped dinner- LOL- but we had a later reservation at the second of our double number restaurants 18 East 18th Street- Craft.  lovely room- good food and first rate service- worth a return trip and we probably will go again next time we are in town.

Monday we had made reservations to go to Le Bernardin for the prixe fixe lunch (can't afford dinner there) which we did. I had mixed reviews of the food- the tuna tartare with foie gras was a dish worth crossing the desert for- WOW! the main courses of grouper and skate were both overwhelmed by the  heavy flavor of the sauces- the skate especially suffered at the hand of too much saffron in a zarzuela style preparation. however the desserts more than made up for the mains shortcomings--- another WOW... but overall we probably will not return unless we can have the tuna at the bar...LOL

Since our lunch Monday was not scheduled until 2:30- we pushed Monday night plans back a bit (but we were meeting Jeremy and his friend Vanessa for drinks and then dinner- and they had to come from work so it couldn't be too late...) we headed for the Knickerbocker Bar on University but found it closed for TV show filming (bummer) so we quickly went to Plan B- and had a drink a another place on the way to our dinner at the Gotham Bar & Grill at - you might guess it 12 West 12th Street! (for our third double numbered restaurant in four days!)

and excellent meal all around with the winning dish being Jeremy's mushroom risotto with pancetta. I was too stuffed for dessert but Phil seemed to enjoy his one scoop of dulce de leche ice cream. after hugs all around - we got in a cab and headed "home" as my shoes had finally gotten the better of my feet.

Tuesday morning we got up and left the hotel and headed to Grand Central Oyster Bar for lunch of chowder, oysters and lobster rolls before heading to LGA- the old time bar was populated with the whole spectrum of folks- real NYC folks as well as tourists....

our flight home was late leaving but early arriving to ORD so we were home by 6 PM.  of course since I was a road warrior for nearly two decades I have been through the United terminal a thousand times but this time I stopped for a photo...

today I am getting the final things ready for Cuba and tonight we have a play at Remy Bumppo - meeting Phil's folkie friend Vicki for dinner before at Barleycorn's near the theater.

zoom zoom- before we left town I had lunches on two days with two of my old CEOs and I hadn't seen either of them in months and months- the time just zips by.... excellent trip- the great thing was getting to spend time with each of the kids and with L&A and meeting Lee's family was really fun too.  while we probably won't get to see too much of Susan & Brad - they were very personable and it would be good to see them again if the occasion arose.