Monsters University

We are huge Disney fans, as most of you know, and we were all quite eager to see Pixar’s latest offering, Monsters University. While we were mildly disappointed that Pixar chose to release a prequel to a well established hit, it didn’t make us any less eager to see it.
Prequels are sometimes more difficult to make than sequels since the outcome of the movie is pre-determined. For example, you know before you see Monsters University that Sully and Mike are successful scarers. And so, as a result, much of the action in Monsters University is predictable. Nonetheless, the movie does manage to surprise, especially towards the end. And, as with all Pixar movies, the animation is superb and the dialogue is lively and witty, appealing to both children and adults. Some of the secondary characters are a bit two dimensional, but it was certainly fun to see Randall (boo! hiss!) as a college student, and much of the satire about college life was spot on and amusing.
I (and the rest of the family) highly recommend the movie!

July 4 in New York City

We had one of the best July 4 holiday weekends ever! To begin with, we spent most of it with one of our favorite families to hang out with. And we spent it in one of our favorite cities, New York, and at one of our favorite hotels, the Carlyle (located at 76th & Madison).
Our many stops included Dylan’s Candy Bar, which is a must for those who thrive on sugar, candy, and ice cream. The sheer volume of offerings is a bit overwhelming, but it’s great fun and definitely a New York landmark for those with a sweet tooth. We also paid a visit to the Kate Spade store, to which I’m hopelessly addicted. The summer sale was not helpful for my addiction at all (or, rather, it was helpful in feeding the addiction but not in overcoming it). FAO Schwarz is a requirement every time we go to New York, for the grownups as well as the kids. It’s the best toy store. Ever. And the Armani store and the Ralph Lauren store were also on the shopping list. (Did I mention that I am also hopelessly addicted to Armani?) When I looked at the Armani store receipt later, I realized that all of the merchandise we bought there (the summer merchandise) was 40% off. Which almost makes Armani affordable (but not quite).
Educational visits included the Central Park Zoo and the Cloisters. I love the Cloisters, as it fulfills every medieval history loving bone I have. We also visited the New York Public Library to see the original Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga, and Eeyore.
We watched the 4th of July fireworks from the Chelsea Piers where you could see not only the fireworks (which were spectacular and seemed longer in duration than the ones on the Mall), but also the barges on the Hudson that were shooting the fireworks off. The barges looked like they were shooting anti-aircraft guns. It was quite cool. The fireworks were as well.
Dinners included meals at the North End Grill (in Battery Park City), the Modern (in MoMA), and Jean-Georges (in Trump Tower). All three meals were phenomenal, but I probably have to vote the Modern as the best of the three. The food there manages to be delicious, beautiful, and fun.
Dim sum was at the Golden Unicorn in Chinatown. We think there’s pretty good dim sum in the DC area, but it was nothing compared to the quality in New York. Décor is the usual Chinese tacky, but service was surprisingly friendly and helpful (although it helps if you speak Chinese).
We saw two musicals—Cinderella and Pippin. Cinderella was the Rodgers & Hammerstein version, updated with a couple of new songs and a bit more humor than the original version. It was extremely well done, and all of us enjoyed it very much.
Pippin was excellent with very 70s-style music (or, as our daughter puts it, old people music) and a complicated and morally ambivalent plot. I liked Cinderella better myself because, of course, it had a happily ever after ending. Which Pippin also has but in a much more complicated way.
We always have a wonderful time in New York when we go and wonder why we don’t go more often. And then the credit card bills hit, and we understand why. ☺
Nevertheless, it was a marvelously fabulous trip!