Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bluegrass Brunch!

[Left to Right: Tom Clifton, Marilynn Mullen, Hannah Davies, Rory Macqueen, Scarlet Shore, Eli Davies]

Eli Davies and Rory Macqueen came to New York City for a week to visit Hannah (while she's still a New Yorker) and to take in the sights. Since Rory has recently taken up the banjo, Eli sent me an email and suggested that Marilynn and I meet them on Sunday for "Bluegrass Brunch" at the Nolita House Restaurant on Houston Street. Also joining us for brunch were Tom Clifton (Rory's friend from King's College of Music in London), and Tom's girlfriend, Scarlet Shore.

It was a damn good thing we had reservations, because the Nolita House was fairly small. But that was actually a good thing: even though the band was at one end of the bar and we were at the other, we could still here the music. Rory probably didn't get a chance to learn any new finger-picking though.

The food was pretty good but the conversation was even better. As expected when dealing with the anyone from the Davies family (and, apparently, any of their friends as well), the conversation was all over the map. In about 3 hours we covered the political landscape (English and US), music (The Smiths, karaoke), geography ("You don't know the capitol of Sudan?"), religion ("What's up with the Pope?", lapsed Catholicism vs. lapsed Lutheranism) and books ("You wouldn't believe the crazy stack of books next to Hannah's bed!") Tons of fun that went by in a flash.

After brunch, we all went our separate ways. The Davies Sisters, incongruously, went for a pedicure. I'm not sure where Rory, Tom and Scarlet ended up, but Marilynn and I took the opportunity to stroll around NYU, Washington Square, and Greenwich Village for an hour or two. Washington Square was jammed with people enjoying the afternoon sun and listening to the buskers. Below is a photo of a group called "The Baby Soda Jazz Band" that had a large number of people crowded around them:

It turns out that these guys aren't just buskers ... they're appearing every Sunday in April at a place called Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn. If you're ever in the area, these guys would be well worth your entertainment dollar. Oh yes, accompanying the music were three swing-dancing couples, at least two of whom were professional dance teachers as well. They were as much fun to watch as the Jazz Band!

In the southwest corner of the park, a number of chess boards had been set up and virtually all of them were in use. Marilynn and I stopped for a while to watch a little girl compete against a guy who we think was a member of the NY Chess Club:

I'm guessing he was taking it easy on her, but who knows? She was holding her own against him when we left.

All in all a beautiful day --- New York City at its best!!