Classic New York Moments: Mahler, Patti and Pizza

Sunday I enjoyed a classic New York moment. My friend Ricky and I were supposed to go see Mahler’s 1st at Carnegie Hall for $10. (You can get $10 obstructed view tickets at 12 pm.) Well he called me after 12 to say there were no $10 tix, the cheapest tix were $80. I said, “Sorry, Rick, don’t got it.” He said, “Well I love Mahler so I’m going to pay the $80.” “Ok, have fun!” I said.

I returned to my Chelsea apartment. I played with my cat, I read something online. I set out to do some work but fell asleep on my couch. The phone rang around 3.

“What are you doing?” said the voice.

“Ummm,” I replied.

“It’s Ricky. It’s intermission. There’s an empty seat next to me. Hop in a cab and get to Carnegie Hall and go up three flights and find me in front of the spotlight.”

Now I’m the sort of person who 99% of the time would have said “no” or “that’s illegal” or “are you nuts?” but this time I didn’t and I simply said: “Ok!”

I hopped in a cab, sat in some traffic, but arrived at Carnegie in 10 minutes. I was all ready to sneak in when a woman guarding the stairs said, “Ticket?”

I called Ricky on my cell. “They’re asking for a ticket!”

He ran downstairs (four huge flights!) and passed off his friend’s ticket which I showed and snuck in and as we ran back up the four flights the bells were tolling for the beginning of the symphony. This moment was so cinematic: I literally collapsed into my seat as the conducter took the stage.

This was the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the second half of the show was the Mahler’s. Ricky loves Mahler, Alex Ross blogs about him, and Sondheim has the lyric: “A matinee / a Pinter play / perhaps a piece of Mahler’s.” Elaine Stritch, in her one-woman show, says that when she first sang that lyric she thought “a piece of Mahler’s” meant a slice of cake at some pastry shop named Mahler’s.

Anyway, this is all to say that I loved it. It was an amazing piece of music and an even more amazing performance. The Vienna Symphony Orchestra makes the music explode in your ears. There was such a buzz in the air—when the first movement ended I wanted to leap into the air and applaud but Ricky had to hold me back. You don’t applaud between movements, apparently, when at the symphony.

Here’s a picture that gives you an idea of how grand and exciting this afternoon was:


All because I said: “Ok!” And because I stole an $80 seat.

Now then, this is a food blog. I remember that. Afterwards, we went to the best secret spot near Carnegie Hall: The Burger Joint. (Apprently, it’s not so secret—Kottke was there this weekend too.)

This post is titled: “Great New York Moments: Mahler, Patti and Pizza.” We’ve covered the Mahler, now let’s talk about the Patti and the Pizza.

While at Carnegie, I noticed that Patti Lupone was performing Monday night. I took it upon myself to go Monday at 12 pm and get the $10 obstructed view tickets. I love Patti Lupone—her voice is so unique and so powerful. This is embarassing, but I used to drive around listening to her concert CD at full blast and belting “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” with my windows open. Umm…don’t judge me, ok? We’re all entitled to our vices.

So before the concert, I went with Jason and Lisa to this pizza place across from Carnegie Hall. It’s a really good pizza place. I can’t remember the name. I am a terrible food blogger.

But look, I will tell you this: it’s not the really really fancy Italian restaurant. And it’s not the really really cheap pizza by the slice place. It’s the one across the street from Le Parker Meridian. I think it’s Angelinos or…no, I think that’s it. This is what the pizza looks like: (featuring Jason’s Vanna White like hands):


We all enjoyed this pizza. As for the concert, Patti was great. She didn’t do her greatest hits, but that’s understandable—she has to keep redefining herself to stay a vital artist. (Ok, ok–I realize that to 99% of the world Patti Lupone is not a vital artist, BUT TO ME SHE’S ALL THE VITAL ARTISTS IN THE WORLD.) At the very end she put her microphone down and sang, sans mic, a song called “100 Years from Now.” It was hard to make out the words, but the sound definitely filled the space. On the way out, we saw Martin Short! I was too starstruck to tell him that I’m the world’s biggest Martin Short fan, I must say, and that I have monologues memorized from his obscure 1994 special featuring Jan Hooks and Phil Hartman. I simply savored it and moved on—the perfect capper to the two nights of classic New York moments.

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