Swooning over Shakespeare
I was also very taken with a portrait of his patron Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, also recently identified, and fascinating to study. This is obviously a young and gay pretty boy with lip rouge and long hair, dressed as a woman. The exhibition text diplomatically tries to play down the effeminacy (not gay, oh no, it's just the period), but there it is, plain to see. The two portraits together are more than enough for a fabulous dip into Shakespearean England in the heart of New York.
His pretty Patron
The literary diaries were wonderful too, a very rich exhibit that I could have studied for many hours. I particularly loved a touching little entry by Queen Elizabeth I, written in her exquisite handwriting at age 15. The whole thing was a fantastically eclectic collection of what seemed like everybody famous who ever kept a diary, from pioneers to magnates, Thoreau to Bob Dylan, Charlotte Bronte to a heartbreaking piece by a cop describing rescue efforts on 9/11. It was extremely absorbing, but this being one of my compressed New York visits, I had to tear away to meet my friend Laurie, who was waiting for me at the Ramble in cold (temperature had dropped into the 20s) but sunny Central Park.
Slept in, till 10. Ate the last of the Zabars lox. Cold, sunny day. Subway down to Sheridan Square and a cappuccino at Cafe Reggio. After a short wander around the Village, took the subway back up to Riverside Drive to visit my friend Barbara, American secretary of the Charlotte M. Yonge Society, as I do every year. A couple of hours of lovely book and travel chat, over tea and sandwiches, flies like ten minutes. Then I dipped into a favorite bookshop near her, Bookculture on 112th Street, http://www.bookculture.com/
before meeting my childhood best friend, Mark, at a Starbucks on Broadway near his office. Then I went back to Ezra's to tidy up for dinner party, which wasn't far away, at another Hunter friend's beautiful, rambling 4-bedroom apartment with the most stunning panoramic view of Central Park and the reservoir that I have ever seen. The gathering was small and select, all writers, warm and friendly, and the dinner was beautiful. I am particularly fascinated by people who stayed in New York instead of emigrating as I did, and seeing what they and their lives are like today...genuine dyed-in-the-wool sophisticated New Yorkers!
Love, Denny (P.S. No More Cheese for Marshy, Please!! We do not need that cat vomiting up curds.)
Squbble (as I called them as a child) in Riverside Park. Food dish or litter box?