Thursday, January 22, 2009

“At Last”

Beyonce was wonderful on Tuesday night, serenading President and Mrs. Obama as they danced to “At Last.” This beautiful song is from the era defined as the Great American Songbook. (Of all the songs performed at the various Inaugural Balls, it’s probably the only one whose words I knew.)

In today’s New York Times, Jon Pareles has written about the song and how its title may be interpreted in several ways. To me, however, “At Last,” written in 1941, will always remind me of the days of WNEW in New York City. The station first went on the air in 1934 and was “the standard bearer for the best in classic American music.”

WNEW was my station (“1130 on your AM dial”) and I cannot overestimate its impact on me and so many others. Here was Sinatra and Ella and Ellington and Miller and Basie and Steve and Edie and Tony and Nat “King” Cole and every great band and singer of the time. Even when Elvis entered the scene, I remained loyal to the music played by William B. Williams, Ted Brown, Al “Jazzbeaux” Collins and others.

An era ended in 1992 when WNEW became an all-business-all news station. It was resurrected when it moved to 1560 AM, WQEW, but it just wasn’t the same.

So when I hear “At Last,” it takes me back to my WNEW days “where the melody lingers on.”

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day
Hail to our new chief, President Barack Obama. For the past two years we've admired his intelligence, grace, strength and determination.
May God bless him and give him and his leadership team the wisdom and compassion to lead America ahead, undaunted by its immense challenges.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Now that I live just 30 minutes away from “the city,” I plan on taking advantage of the events, sights and highlights that weren’t as easy to access when I lived near Albany. Noted authors at the Barnes and Noble at Union Square? I’ll be there. The Brooklyn Museum? It’s next on my list, not only for the art work, but also as an opportunity to go back to the borough where I lived for nearly 30 years.

On January 2nd, when I arrived at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it was to meet my son John. Each year, he celebrates his birthday by going to a museum or another interesting place in New York. I had no idea, however, that thousands of others would also decide that John’s birthday was the perfect day for the Met.

Though I grumbled about the hordes at the entrance, at the lines for the coat check and at the admission booths, the crowds soon were dispersed through the Met’s many galleries. However, I’ve promised myself that I won’t go there again on New Year’s Day weekend.

A few months ago I visited the Museum of the City of New York for the first time. The first time, despite having lived in Brooklyn until my mid-twenties. Despite its location several blocks north of the Met. Despite my stated love of the city. I’m remiss, too, in not any recent visit to the New York Historical Society. Could my last visit have been when I was in college?

The Guggenheim and MOMA are due for another visit, but I’ve still got a lot of catching up to do. So, if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

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