New York, New York

“Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic: Imagination” exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Theater, Museums, Dining and Fashion

By Janice Carter Levitch

There is something so energizing about New York City. Every time I visit the Big Apple, it stimulates an energy and creativity within me like nothing else does. From the moment I board the airplane, the excitement begins.

Flying into LaGuardia Airport reminds me of a circus: the people, the noise and so much going on. You never know what you’re going to see or encounter as soon as you step off the plane. It’s currently under a mammoth renovation, which will include a sky-high new addition to part of the terminal. Luckily, my flight landed at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and I discovered that there are moments when the city that never sleeps actually does adopt a slower pace. Minus the busyness of the construction going on, this was one of those rare moments. 

But let’s back up to checking in at the ticket counter to board the plane, which I had to do in order to check my luggage. Now, when your flight departs at 6 a.m. on a Saturday, you have a tendency to think that no one else will have the same idea as you; depart early and get to your destination so the entire day is open for sightseeing and other fun things. However, as soon as I walked through the front doors of the airport, I realized I was wrong and witnessed a mob scene.

La Mercerie Cafe at the Guild.

It was as though everyone in the city decided to get on this flight. Once I reached the counter and talked with the agent checking me in, she informed me the flight was closed. Apparently, the airline was understaffed on this particular morning and I wasn’t the only one in this situation. However, I still began to cry. Tears kept flowing and of course, I had no tissue, which added to the misery and comedy of the moment.

The agent informed me that if I ran to the gate, I just might make it. In my spiffy, New York-appropriate, platform sandals, I ran my heart out. Of all the mornings to not wear my workout clothes and shoes, it had to be this one.

Off I went, running through the airport to the gate, winded and desperate. I prayed I’d get to the gate without collapsing into a heap of mush. I’m a walker, not a runner, and this wasn’t pretty. Someday, just for kicks, I would like to request a copy of the airport security camera video just so I can get the same laugh the entire airport must have had as they watched me get to the gate on time.

Thankfully, I made it. It was a direct flight, so that meant a two-hour nap for me. The seat next to me was empty and after takeoff, I attempted to lay down. Feeling like a contortionist fitting into a suitcase, I was able to fold myself up and sleep. Yes, I know, it’s another part of the comedy that launched this trip.

Evidently, my luggage was a bit shy about showing up on time and chose another route to New York, skipping over LaGuardia Airport completely. Who knows, maybe she needed an espresso to prepare for the over-scheduled weekend I had planned. After reporting the missing luggage (or should I say “delayed” as the airlines refer to mishandled bags) that had most of my essentials packed inside it, I headed toward the exit sign directing me to ground transportation.

After grieving over my “delayed” luggage I decided to splurge for a taxi ride, which costs about the same amount as a new pair of shoes, depending on where you shop. But I figured there had to be a Target close to my hotel where I could feel at home and find everything I needed. Fancy traveler indeed.

Once my rough beginning was behind me, it was on to the fun part. One of my favorite things to do in New York is go to the theater. “Angels in America” on Broadway is currently playing at the Neil Simon Theatre and it was marvelous. It currently stars Nathan Lane as Roy M. Cohn and Beth Malone as the Angel. I’ve seen the production at Actors Theatre in Louisville, and this was a wonderful opportunity to see it on Broadway. After the performance, I caught up with Beth Malone.

Walking into the Neil Simon Theatre.

“It’s such a pleasure meeting the fans,” she commented. “Being the Angel is pretty awesome and requires a lot of physical agility. The wings are so huge that they are actually carried by other performers dressed in black as I move around the stage.” She has a smile that lights up the room. In addition to “Angels in America” she is also the author and star of the critically-acclaimed one-woman show “Beth Malone: So Far.”

Next on the itinerary was dinner. My good friend David from One Kings Lane recommended La Mercerie, which is located inside Roman and Williams Guild in Soho. As you are seated, the hostess lights a tall, grey candlestick. I learned that the clever idea behind this candle is that by the time you are finished dining, the candle is also gone. The meal was delicious and started off with a cheese board and ended with profiteroles smothered in the best chocolate I’ve ever tasted.

The next day, I headed to The Met on Fifth Avenue to experience the current exhibit, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” This show features the work of designers who, for the most part, were raised in the Roman Catholic tradition. It explores how the Catholic imagination has shaped the creativity of the designers and how it is conveyed through their narrative impulses, beginning in the Byzantine and Medieval art galleries and continuing in the Anna Wintour Costume Center. The visual elements of each design are astounding, and one after another is an incredible work of art. Music surrounds you as you move through the exhibit, elevating the experience – as if you are walking the runway but the fashions stand still. This exhibit actually moved me to tears it is so beautifully curated. From the original Coco Chanel cuff bracelets by Verdura to each garment full of meticulous detail, every single piece was a showstopper.

Departing New York is always difficult because there’s just so much to do there, but I have to admit, it’s great to get back to Louisville. Our community offers a great quality of life and continues to impress me with everything from our arts community to the growing Nulu and downtown area. There’s definitely no place like home. VT