Tag: New-York Historical Society

Songs at the Society

Friday, March 28th, 2008 | All Things, Music, NYC History

Since January, the New-York Historical Society has been hosting “Let Them Eat Cake Fridays” with free admission on Friday evenings from 6-8PM. On select Fridays there have been musical performances with chocolates and French pastries available for purchase from Upper West Side purveyors like Godiva Chocolatier, Grandaisy and Magnolia bakeries.

The events are organized around the Society’s French Founding Father exhibit: “Lafayette’s Return to Washington’s America” on view through August 10, 2008 to mark the 250th birthday of Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier (better known as the Marquis de Lafayette). The exhibit focuses on Lafayette’s 13-month journey through all 24 states that then formed the United States, which began in 1824 at Castle Clinton in The Battery. (Similar commemorations were scheduled in France.)

Tonight’s cakes and hot chocolate were from Soutine on West 70th Street, one of my favorite bakeries in the neighborhood. (And while we’re on the subject, Levain Bakery on West 74th Street makes a mean cookie.) In addition to the sweets was a program in the Auditorium featuring internationally acclaimed soprano Juliana Janes-Yaffé, who performed songs by French and American (New York) composers. Yaffé, who is on the faculty of Mannes College at The New School for Music, sang a program of Charles Ives, Elliott Carter, Gabriel Fauré, Francis Poulenc, Lee Hoiby and Richard Hundley (who was in attendance this evening). Tony Bellomy, pianist for Brooklyn’s Encompass New Opera Theatre, accompanied the singer and performed a solo of Claude Debussy’s lovely “Rêverie.”

Upstairs, the New-York Historical Society reading room:

After the musical program, there was little time to explore the other exhibits, though I did catch one final glimpse of “Here Is New York: Remembering 9/11,” which closed on April 13. The exhibit drew from “here is new york,” a tribute to the victims of 9/11 by professional and amateur photographers, which became an international exhibition and inspired a BBC documentary. The New-York Historical Society’s exhibit consisted of 1500 inkjet-printed photos — I recognized my home and office blocks in several — mounted simply with binder clips on wires strung throughout two stark white galleries. The photos, without credits, titles or dates, were culled from 790 contributors and formed an overwhelming mosaic of the shock, horror and daze of that dark time.

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