Sunday, August 25, 2019

My Patronus Is an Airplane: In Search of Larry Otter

The High Line

Sunday morning, we explored the High Line. The High Line is what remains of an elevated railway built between 1929 and 1934 to raise freight trains above street level. When it fell into disuse around 1980, nature began to reassert its dominance. In 1999, what remained of the High Line was pending demolition, but was instead rescued to create an elevated park running through a portion of the city's west side. Part walkway, part garden (now less wild and more curated), part art exhibition space, it is a unique way to wander NYC while staying above the automobile traffic at street level.

Walking through New York City, reflecting on architecture.

En route to the High Line, we saw this new tower being built and wondered about the triangular platform jutting from the side.

Built 1,100 feet above street level, this glass-bottomed observation deck attached to the 100th floor of the tower at 30 Hudson Yards is purported to be the highest observation deck in the Western Hemisphere. It is appropriately named the Edge (presumably because it can also play jangly guitar).

Also in Hudson Yards is this spiral staircase to nowhere called The Vessel.

It looks a bit like a first contact situation, doesn't it?

Just south of The Vessel, we climbed up to the High Line. By going early on a Sunday morning, the crowds were much reduced. As the hour grew later, we saw fewer locals out exercising and more tourists with selfie sticks.

Original rails are still incorporated into the High Line.

The Bear found either a three dimensional parking lot or an automobile vending machine.

This section incorporated a subtle water feature. Water flows from a grating near the vegetation to another grating at The Bear's feet.

In some cases, the old tracks were used to support art displays.

Photo by Kristy.

The Empire State Building viewed from an elevated garden floating above the streets of Manhattan.

Artwork stands where tracks converge on the Spur.

One of the things that I most appreciate about New York City is that it is not monolithic. Each area has its own unique character and atmosphere. We enjoyed seeing a different face of New York City from the High Line.

We had lunch at Blue Maiz, a delicious, locally-owned Mexican diner with a counter-service format.


Main Event

My family has a long history with Harry Potter. Kristy and I began reading the books as graduate students. When she was old enough, I read every single one of them aloud to The Bear, doing voices for each character. If you're going to read aloud, you have to do the voices. Granted, all of my female characters sounded a little too much like Terry Jones in drag ("Well, I didn't vote for you!"), but my Hagrid and Snape were top notch and my Sirius Black was a pretty good take on Liam Neeson for some inscrutable reason.

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" came to Broadway's Lyric Theater in April 2018 from London, a continuation of the beloved novels that features an adult Harry and is focused primarily on the interactions between parents and their children. We had our tickets for nearly a year in advance.

One of our household in-jokes dates back to when The Bear was younger and adamant that everything be rigorously correct. I used to infuriate her by referring to the title character of the saga as "Larry Otter". The Bear still bristles when I invoke Larry Otter.

"Ready to see 'Larry Otter and the Burst Child'?" I asked The Bear as we boarded Warrior 481 in Sodus for our trip to New York. In response, I received an elbow to the ribs. No matter; I reserve the right to make "Dad jokes" from time to time.

The sorting hat has undergone some revision with the staging of J.K. Rowling's latest foray to Hogwarts.

The Lyric Theater was transformed for the show, which reportedly included narrowing the width of the seating area to better manage sight lines with respect to the varied special effects. We have never seen so many special effects in a live stage show as what we saw that day.

The theater even included a patronus room.

Obligatory Showbill photo. Note the "Part One". "Cursed Child" takes place in four acts spanning two plays. Part One began at 2:00 pm. We had a 2.5 hour dinner break before Part Two started, with the entire work wrapping up slightly after 10:00 pm. That is a lot of theater for one day. Fortunately, it was both dazzling and entertaining. The Bear was enthralled.

We ate dinner just around the corner from the Lyric at City Kitchen, a sort of high end food court. The Bear chose sushi from Azuki, I had a lobster roll from Luke's, and Kristy was still full from Blue Maiz, but indulged in a caffeinated beverage.

No spoilers, here. Honestly, I was amazed that I managed to remain spoiler-free before the show.

The Bear feels that she is a Ravenclaw at heart.

Staff at the Lyric Theater understand the value in complementary nice and goofy photos and did a fine job of upholding our family tradition.

The Bear was very pleased with the purchase of requisite Potter swag.

And then it was time for Part Two to begin.

It was yet another spellbinding theater experience in New York City and well worth the trip, especially considering that we were delivered so conveniently to the city's doorstep by our Warrior.

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