Years ago, when I was a teenager thinking of becoming a nun, I used to take the train from the small town of Suffern (where I went to an all girls’ Catholic boarding school) to New York City in order to see my spiritual director. When the train arrived at Grand Central Terminal, I transferred to the subway to head downtown.
It had been 50 years since I last visited the station and during that time has been slated for demolition, saved by a Supreme Court decision, and transformed into an architectural wonder by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). On May 2nd, I decided to take a memory walk back to the station and was stunned at its new beauty. I gaped at the ceiling, lusted through its food markets, gawked at the travelers bustling through it. But best of all, I arrived at the tail end of the Music Under New York auditions. Not that I was glad to have missed most of it but rather than I was glad I hadn't missed all of it.
Music Under New York is “one of the many visual and performing arts programs administered by the MTA. subway riders in
I inched my way into a mix of several long tables of audition judges, rolling cameras and newscasters, and people like me lured by the sound emanating from a second story balcony. A sister act was rolling to a close and a Scottish bagpipe player, complete with tartan kilt and hat, waited in the wings. What I wouldn't have done for a camera (imagine touring New York on my own and forgetting my camera?). And he was good! Could get that bagpipe to hymn tunes of sorrow and of joy. Nothing like a good highland dance tune to get the blood up. Next to perform were an ensemble of Chinese musicians playing historic instruments, a brass group served up some real smooth jazz, and a blues, bluegrass, folk five-some fiddled and stumped up a storm. Please forgive the lack of specifics as I didn’t have a note pad and had only my cell phone with me (not exactly the best cameras . . . hence the less than wonderful photo). I returned the next day to take photos with my digital camera . . . and though the terminal was still impressive the performers were not there to add their timbre to city architecture. (Play on words deliberate).