Thursday, June 26, 2008

The New York Philharmonic...and fireworks!!

photo from the New York Philharmonic site

Before this week I had only ever seen one concert on the Great Lawn at Central Park. I'm embarrassed to admit it was Garth Brooks. (I don't even like Garth Brooks!) All I remember was that we were very far away, it was very hard to see the stage and we didn't bring a blanket so our asses got soaked.

This week made for quite a different experience. Every summer the New York Philharmonic gives two free concerts on the Lawn. The first one was on Tuesday. Friend M coordinated the whole thing wonderfully: she planned a potluck wine/cheese event and brought two huge blankets. To help us find her blanket she had a small bunch of purple balloons. The idea worked great -- I arrived just before the concert started and had no trouble finding my group. Of course I had to creep my way through a sea of blankets but everyone had left enough space so that the process was not terrible. I followed a guy who was saying "Which group of red balloons?? There are like 10 of them..." and another saying "Yeah, you may be waving but I have no idea where the fuck you are." Ha.

Our group was a mix of peeps I did know and peeps I didn't. Everyone got along well, especially once the wine was flowing. M had staked out a great spot. We were in the second large section of the lawn, behind the section with the speakers. So it wasn't too loud and we could be social because we weren't with the hard core music lovers. While we didn't have a great view of the stage it hardly mattered because we talked through the whole concert anyway.

The concert itself was great. The Philharmonic played the 1812 Overture, which is one of my favorite pieces ever (though I like Bond's version better) and a few Sousa marches. It was perfect summertime lite fare. As the sun set many people around us lit candles while others broke out light sticks (note to self: bring light sticks next year!). It made for the city's largest picnic. The skyline peeked over the trees as if to listen in and the whole scene was gorgeous. We could even see a few stars in the sky.

During the concert though, I couldn't help but think to myself 'Do you know what would make this even better? Fireworks.' It's summer, it's almost the 4th, and I want fireworks in the city dammit! When the concert was over, I looked south and wished for some sparks in the sky.

As if my prayers were answered, suddenly fireworks appeared! A terrific 15-20 minute show yielded awesome sparklers and I was giddy like a little kid. M and her fiance (also M) chanted ooh and aaah as needed while I attempted to take pictures.

Fireworks, baby!

Amazing. They even had a grand finale as all fireworks shows should. What a great night. Kudos to the Philharmonic for a great show, the Central Park Conservancy for an awesome event, and the NYPD for keeping the peace.

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