Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy 2009

I am sure you have heard it a million times already since last night, but let me once more wish everyone who reads my blog a happy and prosperous 2009, filled with laughter, love, health, and success! xoxo

Now, what did I do for New Year's Eve? Overnight the temps dropped dramatically, and it was so subzero outside that I nearly stayed home. The day opened with blowing powdery snow which did not stay. It was so windy that every time there was a gust, the sofa would move as I was sitting on it. The WNW wind gusts took the clouds away but then there were patches of black ice where the snow had melted against the salted sidewalks. The wind chill was way down at ZERO fahrenheit (-17C)!!!

I had been invited to join friends at Don't Tell Mama, on 46th between 8th and 9th, for a piano bar singalong evening. I am glad I went, even though I have a sore throat now - not from the singing; more likely from the dry cold.

It was quite an adventure getting there. The subways were running very well, but none were stopping at 49th/7th. So...I had to brave the crowds at 42nd St/Times Square, where security was tight for the crowds who were there to watch the brand new ball drop (11,000 pounds of Waterford crystal with multicolored kaleidoscopic effects, 12ft across, double the size of the previous ball).

It took me about a quarter of an hour to exit Times Square station alone, as many exits within the blockaded area were closed - I suppose if you were watching the ball drop you would have been there with a ticket hours earlier. Even following directions to the special exits, I circulated around the station at least 3 times passing the same cops again and again, until by some chance I found my way out.

The streets and avenues surrounding Times Square were blocked with barriers and police cruisers and guarded carefully by police officers, so if you had to get into a venue you needed proof of entry. Well, I thought I was going to 7th/8th so I approached the three cops at the gate. When I couldn't get my friends on the phone, one suggested to the other that he escort me in, so I went for a walk with one of New York City's finest and we had a pleasant chat, but it turns out I was one block off and should have been on the unrestricted block at 8th/9th. I felt silly but he laughed and said it was no problem. I thanked him for walking with me, and he thanked me for allowing him to take a walk. I did feel sorry for the thousands of NYC cops out in force last night, bundled up to their eyeballs and carrying the weight of their belts and their training into the streets. At times like this the city belongs to them, and people were really well behaved, no shouting, no disorder, no obvious drunkenness just people going where they had to go, albeit in silly hats.

Under my seemingly civilized evening wear I was wearing some pretty cozy layers. Then I put on a long wraparound cardigan to go under the coat, plus my fur accessories, yet I was still not quite warm enough...

A Max Studio top which I didn't like until I put the belt on. Belt, cocktail ring, velvet trousers from London. 1928 necklace from NYC. Crystal earrings from my friend Amy, 2007. Mother's vintage Rado watch.

Kenny Davidson at the piano. Singalong to "New York, New York"

It was delightfully informal with a selection of rooms to sit in. Kenny played for 4 hours straight, including some of his own compositions. We sang along to anything we wanted, wrote requests on napkins, and even audience members who were professional or amateur singers could get a few minutes at the microphone. The bartenders too were singers and comedians.

There were many pop songs, oldies, crooner classics, and Broadway tunes from Natasha Bedingfield to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody to Showboat. In fact, by the time we left the pianists had swapped rooms and a younger guy would be singing some Beatles numbers until 4am.

It got crazy when waiter George took over to ring in the New Year and it got bawdy - in fact there were moments when even Kenny at the piano would call out a warning, "Now then, George..." Every year George customizes his apron - last year it was Michelangelo's David - well, this year he had sewn on a flap which lifted to reveal a pop up p*nis made of pantyhose and foam complete with matching beard. No wonder he worked so hard to get us all drunk before midnight! Whatever else happened in the room, stays in the room - I guess now I know why it's called "Don't Tell Mama"!


A said...

wow, Olivia, that outfit with all the accessories looks really good on you.
What an adventure to get to your destination. 11,000 people at Times Square - wow!!

happy new year, dear.
love you

Selba said...

Happy New Year, Livie!

Wow... -17 celcius!!! That must be really freezing... How nice to celebrate New Year's Eve in New York. I was watching the CNN but only until 11 PM... Anderson Cooper was so cute with his black jacket ;)

Your cocktail ring is so pretty. Matched perfectly with the velvet and necklace.

junius worth said...

olivia just wanted to let you know i've been reading your blog since we met in NYC. joanna's husband dave.

Olivia said...

No, I don't know how many people were there. The ball weighed that many pounds!

Aww, Veee, you should have been there with us! OK, not singing ;) but you would have loved the funny stuff! You need to clone yourself, I think, so you can be ubiquitous.

Love you too little sis xoxo


Selby - thanks! Anderson Cooper is kind of cute, but his hair is freakishly pale.


Dave! I know it's you! Thanks for stopping by :)

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year, Olivia! The belt made the outfit. Very elegant velvet trousers and jewelry. Love your hair, by the way. How wonderful that a NYC police officer walked with you for a ways. May 2009 be all that you wish it to be.



Tea N. Crumpet said...

You looked ravishing! I love the outfit-- I love the 1928 line.

I love your descriptions of NYC. In 2000 I was in preterm labor and my brother had just gotten home from a year long gig there. We were worried because it was too early for Dmitri to arrive and he needed another week to "cook." My OB was a NYC Jew and spoke a mile a minute and my brother, who'd warned me that if I started to deliver he was leaving the room, knew what neighborhood he was from. He and my OB got into a discussion about food which I was not allowed to eat, being high risk. The doctor sat down and they chatted and all of our minds were taken off me and I stopped labor. The doctor and my brother kept talking and the doctor didn't want to be interrupted from his conversation with my bro told the nurses, "We need to watch Tea for a bit. Keep her here for another hour and a half." Pizza was delivered courtesy of my OB and he and my husband and brother talked about the City! (Dmitri would arrive a week later, still fragile but he is almost 9 now and fine!) The stories were great and he had spend New Years a week before on Times Square. He was amazed by the effort of your police officers and how well things ran.

Have you been to the Hassidic part of the city? If I ever go there I want to go into a Hassidic Synagogue and just listen to their language and watch how they do everything. He said it was like going into a time warp when he went to one of the neighborhoods.

Olivia said...

Alohalani - very smart of you to comment here rather than over there. And thank you for all the lovely things you say.

My hair has gone straight by the way. You missed when that happened, but it was a couple of months ago.

Hehe, trust you to pick up on the police officer.

Oh I forgot to mention, one of the audience members who got up to sing "Man of La Mancha" was checking me out from the bar, according to Clif. Denise suggested we go and stand nearby, just in case, but I said no. He was *whispers* really dorky...and reminded me of the most boring fellows I'd gone out with a couple of times in London.


Tea N Crumpet - I'm glad to hear Dmitri is fine now. How early was he? I was also preterm, by a couple of months. They tried to keep me in for an extra week but to no avail.

I live not far from the Hasidic part of Brooklyn, Borough Park. I am sure there are other parts too. As a female Gentile, though, I think it would be difficult to get into a Hasidic synagogue because it is an immensely restrictive and conservative society.

It's funny, my friends in this post are Jewish (liberal) and have often promised that when they find a synagogue they want to join, they will invite me to visit. I would love to. I imagine it will remind me of the Greek Orthodox service. The cantor at their wedding this summer nearly made me cry. The Greek Orthodox church also has cantors. As for the dancing, I'd never danced so much in my life as I did at their wedding, I was up for nearly every number, and the last time I'd had that much fun was at a Greek christening. Very similar in the circular dances holding hands, etc.

Olivia said...

Oh, haha! I mean that the cantor's singing was so beautiful it nearly made me cry - not that he was mean or anything ;)

Glo said...

What a terrific entry! Thoroughly enjoyed reading of your NYC New Years adventure and watching the accompanying videos! You looked gorgeous ~ lovely outfit and accessories :) The policeman was very gallant and a walk, I'm sure, you'll never forget! You were very brave setting out by yourself in that cold weather and on such a night! How did you get home????

I wish you a terrific 2009 when all of your dreams will come true :)

Flighty said...

Happy New Year! I shall have a proper read of this post over the weekend. xx

MattJ said...

"...laughter, love, health....."

You do remember me right? :p

Sounds like you had the fun times 'livvy! Happy New Year to you! :)

meimei said...

sounds like you had a lovely time, that outfit was lovely, loved the jewlery.

Right now I am pulling works to submit to two competitions

The Moody Minstrel said...

Your New Year was certainly an interesting and eventful (and FREEZING) one, wasn't it, m'lady?

(Unlike mine...*pout*)

What an interesting venue, too! It sounds so quintessentially New York...right down to the waiter with his SNL-style humor!

And Lady Olivia dresses up in a smashing combination of London, New York, vintage, modern, class, panache, and makes hohe minne so much more agonizingly difficult (he says, feeling exceptionally dorky).

Hopefully 2009 continues to be a choice encounter of the word kind! All my best!

MattJ said...

Mr Minstrel I am willing to bet 50 pence sterling that my NYE was more pout worthy than thine! hehehe!

'Livvy, this is no good I have finally returned from the wilderness and I am still reading about envy-inducing NYE shenanigans, I demand bloggy satisfaction!

Anonymous said...

What an amazing outfit Olivia! :D
You would have been a shoe n at the 1929 party (which I unfortunately, didn't get to attend. BUT, I saw pics of it!).

I'm so glad New Years was fun for you! You always seem to visit such nice spots, downtown! Have a Wonderful, musical, and magical 2009! :)

Olivia said...

Glo - so glad you enjoyed the post :)

Imagine how many other people, though, are *not* thrilled to walk with a police officer? Hehe!

I got home by subway. It is a 24/7 system. I don't know how they do it.


Flighty - that's right, crack open the tea and digestives! xx

(Hm...I miss digestives...)


Matt - you rascal, welcome back!


Mich - I thought you would, you're so eclectic.


Minstrel - are you saying that your NYE was uneventful, and warm? Ah well. It's been a while since I observed NYE anyway. In London I watched it on TV, but then there the Tube closes earlier and the drunken crowds are rowdier.

Actually, come to think of it, this may be my first outside event for NYE, since even in Texas we used to only go round to neighbors' houses to watch Times Sq., drink warm drinks and eat empanadas and sopapillas.

Don't feel dorky, mein gut Minnesanger.


Matt (again) - I have a huge blog project looming, which covers the 3 day adventure I had after Christmas. I am procrastinating, and you're an expert on that.


Miss Fluff - Awwww, I am sorry you didn't go to the 1929 party! I thought you were going...

If I had gone, I really would not have wanted to wear pants, though I am sure it would have been alright since the rest of the outfit certainly does have an Edwardian/1920s feel to it.

While I was out, I wondered how you always manage to find such great spots in Brooklyn.

Um Naief said...

just love the outfit!!!! you looked fabulous. love that belt.. ! really makes that blouse. the ring is also great. actually, just love everything.