I rounded out my own personal three-day music festival last night with a rare trip to Staten Islandaboard the free ferry for the first timewith H. to see the New York Philharmonic play one of their free concerts at Snug Harbor. The evening was almost perfect, no clouds, very little humidity, not too cold as darkness fell, dragonflies buzzing about, an egret or two floating by high abovewhich can be pronounced E-gret or e-GRet, I've now learned. The program featured Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto and Dvorak's Eighth Symphonynot the "New World" one, but still tuneful and satisfying, keyed in a major key, but filled with minor touches.
The crowd was, well, what you'd expect, lots of toddlers and babies, people who wanted to clap in the middle of the violinist's first movement cadenza, grandmotherly types who answered their cell phones and chatted in Italian for a while, mid-music. I mean, I didn't really expect any different, but it still cracks me up, and makes me wonder: Do they teach arts etiquette in school? Where do people learn that you're not supposed to clap between movements of a concerto or symphony? Where do you learn that it's perfectly OK to clap in the middle of a jazz piece, especially after a solo? And ditto for a great aria in an opera? Maybe I'm too arts-centric myself, but I feel like knowing some of these basics is part of being a good citizen, since arts attendance is a public proposition. Am I just imposing my petty bourgeois values on the situation or is this something that really should be taught somewhere along the way?
Still, the ferry ride was great, and made us proud to be taxpayers of the city of New York. (As they say, one of the only things here that actually ever went down in price.) Great head-on view of the Statue of Liberty, basking in the sun on the starboard side, as we ate our dinner from the deli, and scooted over to give some French tourists some more room. Afterward, we decided to forgo the S40 bus, and just walk back along the road that traces the top of S.I., passing areas that reminded me of Scranton a little bit, catching a glimpse of the dark minor-league baseball stadium and the island's 9/11 memorial from the promenade, before we reached the massive terminal at St. George, which feels even more like an airport than the one on the Manhattan side, what with its connections to the Staten Island Railway and buses and taxis and the ferries.