Well, we attended the opening of the 10th anniversary of Riverdance at Radio City Music Hall last night and it was brilliant. The principal dancers were Sinead McCafferty and Conor Hayes and they were on top form, the sets were creative, the singing and instrumentation well-executed, and the crowds huge. I'd assumed the crowd would be Irish and was astonished to find how disparate the audience was judging by the wide range of languages I heard spoken at intermission, though I realized later that the performance includes flamenco, tap and Ukrainian dancing. It was also interesting to learn that the Riverdance concept began in Dublin as a six minute routine to fill an intermission in the 1994 Eurovision Song contest; 300 million Europeans had been watching and it proved so successful the producers created an entire show.
Because St. Patrick's Day is almost upon us, and thinking to keep the theme of the evening very Irish, Larry and I sought out an Irish Restaurant/Pub called The Blarney Stone in Midtown which had been recently featured on the Food Network. On the telly, it looked very inviting and Bobby Flay, the program's host, lauded the food and authentic atmosphere. Of course, assuming there wouldn't be very many restaurants called 'The Blarney Stone' in midtown, I didn't bother to go on the net and research its address. Instead, my strategy was (and I thought it sound) to ask the first cop who looked Irish around the Port Authority and he'd sure point us in the right direction. After all, I reasoned, they hang out in Irish places. The problem was neither the first, second or third cop looked Irish and, when I found one that did, she knew some Irish bars but had never heard of The Blarney Stone. Of course, I'd also forgotten that many NYC cops live in Long Island and do their socializing there. In the end, I inquired in the first Irish restaurant I came across and the very helpful manager--himself from the 'old sod' too--said there were no less than three places called 'The Blarney Stone' in mid-town, all quite distant from each other.
Off we went to the nearest one on 47th Street. Inside looked vaguely familiar to the interior I'd seen on the telly--I allowed for telly lighting, etc. I asked the Mexican waiter if this was the restaurant featured on the Food Network and he nodded. I was completely satisfied. It was a typical NYC Irish pub: de rigeur faded portrait of JFK, posters of Gaelic football players--I imagined a few years ago they probably had my brother Dermot's mug up there because he was one such famous Irish footballer--the Irish flag, Guinness, Smithwick's and Harp on tap. One interesting twist was a blown-up photo of the 'Rat Pack'. And the food, especially my skirt steak, was delicious. After we'd eaten, the manager came by and I remarked how good the food had tasted. I decided to make his day by adding we'd heard of his pub on the Food Network and made a point of coming here.
"Oh, this isn't the joint," he said. "That's up on 3rd Ave. People make that mistake all the time." He winked. "But we're not complaining, like."
[technorati: NYC, Riverdance, Radio City Music Hall, St. Patrick's Day]