Volume 21, Number 23 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Oct. 17 - 23, 2008

Seaport Report

By Janel Bladow

2 Queens…
Royalty’s biggest sisters are saying bye-bye to N.Y.C. on Thursday night. You can bid farewell to the Queen Elizabeth 2 on her final American voyage and her sister ship the Queen Mary 2 as they sail out of New York harbor and help out the South Street Seaport Museum at the same time.

“The response has been good considering what’s going on down here,” says Kelly Farrer, the museum’s special events coordinator “We have a large ocean liner community here and a very knowledgeable ocean liner historian in our group. It’s a nice celebration.”

Join museum members and cruise line fans for the ultra-chic bon voyage party aboard Circle Line Downtown’s luxury Zephyr for a harbor sail and up-close view of these two enormously graceful queens of the seas. Board at 3:45 p.m., set sail at 4 p.m. The return is scheduled for 7 p.m. Members ($80) and non-members ($100) will enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and the wealth of knowledge of the museum’s historian. Plus, savor the breathtaking sunset view of the harbor, Statue of Liberty and Downtown. Reservations are a must (212 748-8786 or www.southstreetseaportmuseum.org).

Seaport crooner…
Longtime Seaport resident Klea Blackhurst brings her great voice and super-sized personality to Gotham again and we are so lucky! She and jazz pianist Billy Stritch return to perform their unique show, “Dreaming of a Song: The Music of Hoagy Carmichael.” Klea told Seaport Report about the unusual beginnings of this clever pairing. “Billy and I have a mutual friend, Barry Day, the Noel Coward expert. Barry got it in his head to bring us together. Over lunch two years ago, he handed us Hoagy songbooks. He insisted and we couldn’t resist.”

Thus the act was born and the duo prepared 15 songs, did the clubs and an album then spent the summer on the road together. “Hoagy Carmichael is fantastic. People know ‘Star Dust,’ ‘Georgia On My Mind’ and ‘Heart and Soul’. Who knew that song that all little kids learn on the piano didn’t exist before this great, uniquely American songwriter penned it in the 1920s? He was like a precursor to modern day singer-songwriters like Billy Joel,” Klea says.

Klea, critically acclaimed for her rousing Ethel Merman shows, considers herself a music historian more than a song stylist. “I get in there and discover all I can about the artist, the writer,” she says, adding that she’s been singing since she was a tot in her hometown of Salt Lake City. “Mom was a musical theater performer and our house was filled with Broadway albums.”

Klea frets that today young people don’t know about Cole Porter and double entendre. “They don’t have censors like society once did. You couldn’t say those nasty things you were thinking back then as bluntly like you can now. It took some wit and brain power to come up with those songs.” She now is being drawn to the music of Johnny Mercer and adds that she has a “genetic predisposition to music of another time. But that’s not to say that the great songs of the 1920s aren’t relevant in today’s financial harsh times. “I’m thinking about that a lot lately,” says Klea. “When times are tough, like they were then and are now, you need cheering up. You need to laugh, love and carry on. We’ve been there before and these great songwriters captured it for us and made us feel good.”

The two powerhouse performers have updated and added more great songs to their Carmichael repertoire. You will not want to miss them singing “Skylark”! Join “Klea and Bill at the Metropolitan Room,” this weekend and Nov. 19, 20, 21. Call 212 206-0440 or visit www.metropolitanroom.com for reservations.

The Club…
In these rocky financial times, General Growth Partners, the group that operates the South Street Seaport, has a deal for you. Join The Club and get monthly e-mails of coupons and offers, info on sales and events at S3 and Pier 17. Membership is free (and who doesn’t like free!) and when you shop in cooperating stores, you earn points toward free mall gift cards as well as a chance to win a $500 shopping spree every six months. To join, go to www.southstreetseaport.com.

Spooks & Ghouls… Calling all parents, kids and anyone who feels like one. Join the 18th annual — can you believe? — FishBridge Zombie Walk Trick or Treat on Halloween (Friday, Oct. 31). Neighborhood parents and kids troll the northern end of the Seaport for handouts of candy and goodies. Parents are needed to volunteer to decorate FishBridge Park (Along Dover St. between Pearl and Water Sts.) nice and spooky at 3 p.m. Kids and parents then gather at 5:30 p.m. to traipse around the hood. Various businesses and residential buildings north of Beekman St. give out goodies.

“This is the closest thing to real neighborhood Halloween in New York City,” says the organizing committee’s chief goblin Gary Fagin. “The whole neighborhood has always really gotten into it. Our neighbors and businesses are so supportive.”

Saturday morning volunteers will also be needed to clean up the park. If you want to sign up to give out a treat, join the parade of costumed Trick or Treaters or volunteer to decorate or clean up, e-mail Garyfagin@earthlink.net. And be sure to have your costume ready!

Seaportreport@DowntownExpress.com




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