New York City at Its Finest Hours: Hemisphere's Magazine

There's no time I enjoy living in New York more than December. (By the way, when a New Yorker says New York it means New York City.) Though the city is dramatic and often beautiful in all seasons, it is at its most spectacular when dressed for the holidays.This week I walked uptown to a fascinating Austrian wine and food pairing from the Burgenland. As it was only two blocks away from Rockefeller Center I paused to enjoy the newly lit tree for 10 full minutes, with the same wide-eyed wonder as all the tourists surrounding me. I think the tree was all of 80 feet high but rose to 84 feet with the placement of the magnificent Swarovski crystal star on top. The Austrian wine and food pairing was most successful because it demonstrated dramatically how the wine changes with the food that accompanies it. I loved the Heinrich St. Laurent 2005 by itself and with the Viennese fried chicken and especially with the accompanying sauce of lingonberries, but not when I sipped it with the Kobe beef roast where the Weninger Blaufränkisch Reserve 2003 which initially I had found quite closed suddenly blossomed. But the two biggest surprises were the sparkling grüner veltliner that went with all the hors d'oeuvres but was also extremely enjoyable by itself as was the Kracher 2003 TBA (short for trockenbeerenauslese for those who fear pronouncing it or want to boast extreme familiarity). Many people refer to this dessert wine as liquid gold and this particular one deserved the name in full. In fact it was so perfectly balanced between refreshing acidity and honeyed apricot sweetness it needed nothing at all to accompany it other than a willingness to fall to one's knees in gratitude (difficult to do when seated).

This morning, when I turned on the computer, I made the marvelous discovery that the article I wrote for Hemispheres, United Airline's In-flight magazine-- "Three Perfect Days in New York," was now on their site along with photos! check out www.hemispheresmagazine.com (You don't even need to get on a plane to read it!) I was very proud to have the opportunity to showcase and share my favorite things about the city in which I grew up. In fact, both of my parents were born here. My mother had her dental office on the corner of 95th street and Central Park West. My father had a wood-working shop on the Bowery next to Sammy's Bowery Follies, and the monopoly for producing bagel peels in all five boroughs, thus becoming familiar with every joke, myth, and street in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. His grandmother was a landlord (or is it landlady?) on the lower east side, and her sons, his uncles, formed the tough defense gang called "The Levy Boys." (Wonder if they'll ever make a movie of that!) I learned to ice skate at Rockefeller Center, enjoyed field trips to the U.N., studied ballet under George Balanchine (getting to perform in his Nutcracker Suite at City Center), studied piano at Julliard, attended Music and Art High School (graduating at Carnegie Hall), watched double feature foreign films at the Thalia and walked ever street and avenue in Manhattan. It was an enormous challenge to concentrate all that I love most about this city into three days. I hope you enjoy reading it and that you'll have the chance to experience it first hand as well.