Fiber Arts

Thanksgiving 2017 – Monday 11/27-30


I was awake at 5AM, knowing that my schedule was wide open for the day. I dozed and read email. We had a breakfast muffin and coffee at the deli down on the street corner. We stored our bags at the hotel and taxied with Eric and Andrea to Penn Station where they boarded to return to Cary, and we bought NJ Transit train tickets to Wayne, NJ for later in the day. We boarded the Hopon Hopoff Red Line tour bus for the Downtown route and rode the entire route through Wall Street, Battery Park and the Downtown-Lower Manhattan area. After a two hour ride, we had lunch at Rock Park Cafe overlooking Rockefeller Ice Skating Ring. It was a relaxing day. We walked back to Hotel Edison through Times Square to get our bags and taxied to Penn Station to board NJ Transit train to Newark-Broadstreet drop off,  where we visited and had dinner with Marianne and Jim, Norm’s brother, at their home.


We enjoyed a very relaxing day in Wayne, NJ, with Jim and Marianne, taking a ride to Wykoff Nature park and enjoying an amble through the woods there.


Wednesday, November 29

New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York

Jim, Norm and I headed out by bus and train to the Bronx. Vanderbilt constructed the railroads, and he was clever enough to put a train stop adjacent to the Botanical Gardens that he also built. This is a gorgeous 58 acre park in all seasons, but at Christmas time, they host a model train and buildings show in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. All of the model buildings represent 150 NY landmarks.

“Marvel at G-scale locomotives humming along among familiar sights such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Rockefeller Center on nearly a half-mile of track. This year’s exhibition showcases Midtown Manhattan’s iconic skyscrapers and other architectural wonders, featuring new replicas of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, General Electric Building, and St. Bartholomew’s Church.”

All of the model buildings are finished with natural products from woods and gardens.

The first three pictures in the slide show are of Grand Central Train Station in NYC. Each slide show is quite lengthy, so don’t move on too fast.


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We boarded Amtrak at the Newark Penn Station at 11:22AM and arrived home in Cary, NC right on time at 9:15PM. It is a relaxing ride…. but bring your own entertainment and food!!!! These pictures are of Newark Penn Station… an old fashioned but comfortable and clean place to board the train.


Thanks for joining me on this journey!


Fiber Arts

Thanksgiving 2017 Sunday 11/26

It was an early morning for me as we had a Call Time of 8:15AM. I walked to Park Central Hotel for coffee and an egg sandwich, and then walked to Carnegie Hall Stage Door.

Dress rehearsal would be held on stage from 8:45-11:30. We were led through the back halls of Carnegie Hall to our assigned Orchestra Room to wait for our call. I took advantage to snap a couple of shots of photos on the wall as I waited. Back stage is a maze of hallways and orchestra rooms. Because I was seated, I also had access to an elevator and didn’t have to climb the six flights of stairs up to the orchestra room and then back down and around to the stage.

After our rehearsal on stage, we were led to tiered box seats on each side of the audience hall. We would sit in the box seats, high up on both sides of the hall while Choir #2 presented their parts. After rehearsing the last of our part with Choir #2 on the stage we were dismissed until 1:15PM. The stage manager allowed me to snap one photo of Choir #2 and the orchestra as they rehearsed on the stage. The red box seats on the left are where we would be seated to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. There were box seats on both sides of the hall.


I took time to take some photos outside of Carnegie Hall before finding a place to grab a snack. I did not eat at the Russian Tea Room, however.

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I crossed the street to Red Eye Grill and had a brunch of avocado toast/poached eggs/tea, changed into my concert apparel in their bathroom, touched up my makeup, went to Park Central Hotel to pass the time. We soon walked to the Stage door and were seated on stage for concert. The concert was sold out and well received. When all 400+ voices join together for the Hallelujah Chorus and Amen, the audience is amazed as they are seated almost in the middle of the two choirs.

A review was soon published so can read all about it. To quote:

“Not only does DCINY have its own capable orchestra for such occasions, but it gathered close to five-hundred singers from Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Ohio, as well as international choruses from Austria, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Mexico, and “individual singers from around the globe.” The emotions created by such large musical forces, mirrored and magnified by the excitement of the packed hall of music-lovers, have to be experienced to be believed. Suffice it to say that anyone proclaiming the end of classical music needs to crawl out from under his rock and witness it.”

There was a gala held at the Brasserie 8 1/2 Restaurant. I met Norm, Eric, and Andrea at Park Central Hotel and we walked to Brasserie 8 1/2 for open bar and buffet dinner. The small group that represented the Cary Community Choir posed for a picture together. We comprise about 1/4 of the Cary Community Choir.


Eric went back to hotel, but Norm, Andrea and I walked to the subway and took it to Macy’s to view their Christmas windows. We had hoped to go to Madison Avenue to see the windows there, but I was too tired.

We taxied to Hotel Edison by 9:30 and had a short rest. Then Kathy and Chuck Johnson, friends from Minnesota, joined us in the lobby for a brief visit. They just happened to be in NYC at the same time. We were pleased to be able to connect with them. They walked back to their hotel. ……..Sleep.

Copyright© 2009 All images and text in all categories are copyright of Mary A. Ritter (aka M'Unique) and may not be reproduced without express permission. · Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017 – Saturday 11/25

I had an early Call so I was up at 7:30 and walked to Park Central Hotel for a coffee and muffin at the deli in their lobby. Call Time was at 8:45 with rehearsal from 9AM until 2PM – no breaks. The two choir pictures show just Choir one which is about 200+ voices and sings Part I of the Messiah (the Christmas Portion). Choir 2 rehearses separately and is also 200+ voices. They sing Part 2 and 3 of the Messiah – the Easter portion of the Gospel. We will sing together on the Hallelujah Chorus, Worthy is the Lamb and the Amen – 400+ voices. I sit right under the directors podium…. he hears all my mistakes and doesn’t hesitate to say something! When I take too deep a breath, he says….. “I hear you!” But he is funny and friendly.

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I met up with my family back at Hotel Edison, but took time for pea soup at Juniors Restaurant (from the 1950) before we headed out once again. They supposedly have the best cheesecake in NYC, but I didn’t try any this time. I think I missed my chance.

Tonight’s destination was the northeastern corner of Central Park by Jackie Kennedy Reservoir. We walked the path in that area and enjoyed the colorful trees that still survived this late into the fall season. One picture shows the Metropolitan Museum through the trees.

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We walked past the Guggenheim to see its architecture, but again it was a free night, so we avoided the crowds this time. The line was around the corner and back as far as we could see. My rehearsals took away from the better times for the museums, but we knew that would happen.

The dim outlines of the Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Lloyd Wright can be seen through the trees. The only way to get a clear view was to stand in the street…. which was pretty busy!

We ate dinner at New Amity Restaurant, a classic old-school, NY diner with friendly service and neighborhood clients on the Upper East Side. It is a short walk from both the Guggenheim and Metropolitan Museums. Since I had eaten a late lunch, I enjoyed a waffle with ice cream – a reward for a heavy day of singing. The cold felt good on my throat, but probably wasn’t the best choice for it. We took the bus back to Times Square and watched the neighborhoods float by along the way. On our walk from the bus to the hotel, we stopped to watch the light show on the wall of Sak’s Fifth Avenue.

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After a short walk to Hotel Edison…. Sleep.

Copyright© 2009 All images and text in all categories are copyright of Mary A. Ritter (aka M'Unique) and may not be reproduced without express permission. · Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017 – Friday 11/24

Norm, Eric and Andrea took off to tour Wall street and Lower Manhattan first thing in the morning. They took the subway to Brooklyn and then walked back to NYC over the Brooklyn Bridge. They were challenged to try the subway system for the first time, having negotiated BART in San Francisco and The Metro in Washington D.C. previously.

BrooklynBridge Brooklyn Bridge with Freedom Tower at One World Trade Center (with the spire) in center view. (Photo by Norm Ritter)

They also saw the Wall Street Bull and the Empowered Girl.

2017-11 Andrea -StrongGirl2017-11 Norm:Pig NYC

Norm found another friend, and they both say hello!

I had a leisurely breakfast at Friedman’s in the lobby, and then walked to rehearsal at Park Central Hotel, from 47th to 56th. In the early morning, my feet held up. Our Call was for 11:45 with rehearsal from noon til 5PM. I will always be seated, by request, so I shouldn’t have problems with my feet, but no one will be able to see me on the stage as I will be placed, along with a dozen others who are seated, directly behind the orchestra.

Norm, Eric, and Andrea met me in Park Central lobby and we walked to MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). It was crowded with art students, but we joined the crowds to see three panels of Monet’s lilies, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Kirchner’s Street from Dresden, a Hopper, an Andrew Wyeth, and two Seurats. After a couple of hours, we crossed the street to Connelly’s Irish Pub for dinner. The walk back to Hotel Edison was not far and we were ready to call it a day.

Copyright© 2009 All images and text in all categories are copyright of Mary A. Ritter (aka M'Unique) and may not be reproduced without express permission. · Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017 – Thursday 11/23

We were awake and up fairly early as we needed to switch to larger rooms before heading out and about. We walked around Times Square and Rockefeller Center, eventually settling at 51st and 6th (near Broadway) to watch the Macy’s Day Parade. The angels outside Rock Center welcomed us and the camels were awaiting their stage time in the spectacular at Radio City Music hall. The windows included the Anthropologie store, The American Doll store and the Lego Store. We had visited this area in a summer in the 1980s as a family so it was a good starting point.

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We chose a street corner where the parade would not perform as those spots would be overly crowded. We just wanted to see the balloons and wave to the participants.

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We grabbed brunch at Heartland Brewery and Bakery on 5th Avenue, and we then continued down 5th Ave to view window decor, starting with Sak’s 5th Avenue where “Snow White” is the theme this year. St. Patrick’s Cathedral came up in the middle of our walk.

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We also walked to Bryant Park – Winter Village and watched skaters.  After walking about 16,000 steps in all, we returned to our hotel by 4:30 and rested a bit. Then we walked around the block to enjoy our traditional turkey dinner at Bond 45 on 46th across from the theater where “Hamilton” is being performed. Followed by … Hotel Edison…  Sleep…. We didn’t plan a destination day, but just wanted to experience New York City for a day. I think we accomplished that, but there is much more to see and do!