my Sunday feeling (written on Monday)

Yesterday was a truly frabjous day (calloo callay). First I ran an errand for a very grateful friend, then picked up Matthew at a friend’s house where he’d spent the night, then picked up The Mom and The Infomancer and the five of us all drove down to SoHo for a magical afternoon.

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I put on one of my nice sweaters for the occasion…

Our first stop was Lombardi’s Pizza, which is generally considered the first pizza place in the United States, having opened in 1905. It takes up all of the corner of Mott and Prince Streets, and has expanded out to several other spots in the area, depending on how crowded it gets. They only take cash, they only take reservations for six or more people, and they have some of the best pizza you will ever eat in your life. Added bonus: you can get an genuine Italian raspberry soda, complete with whipped cream, which is to die for.

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After that, we went across the street to Rice to Riches, which only does rice pudding. Now, mind you, I dislike rice pudding intensely, but everyone else with me loves it, and I love going there just because they have the most entertaining signage. The place is worth going to just to read the silly signs….

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We had time before the concert we were going downtown to see to start — we left a lot of time to be seated at Lombardi’s, which we figured would take forever, but we got seated right away, amazingly enough — so we traipsed over to Harney & Sons for tea. H&S has some great teas, and Wrenn is particularly addicted to their cherry blossom green tea, so we got to refill that.

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Finally, we went to the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral for a lovely concert by Amor Artis, a magnificent choral group. They did a beautiful Christmas concert filled with beautiful renditions of many songs of the season, from classical to baroque to modern and back again, opening with a gorgeous medley of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” and continued through to a bunch of lovely songs.

The main reason why we wanted to see this concert in particular is that the daughter of one of The Mom and The Infomancer’s fellow library students at Columbia University back in the early 1970s, Sarah Nelson Craft, is one of Amor Artis’s featured singers, and she did a powerful rendition of “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” an early-20th-century song in the style of Negro spirituals (and which Mahalia Jackson did a particularly stunning version of).

The show ended with “Auld Lang Syne,” plus an encore of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” It was beautiful, with great music, and excellent use of the spectacular church acoustics.

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And then we went home, filled with pizza, tea, rice pudding, and music.

 

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