There are some genuine small gems available in the city right now. Let's start with a show that is only available through November 6 at The Irish Repertory Theatre, "AfterPlay." During a quiet, but powerful 70 minutes (there is no intermission) Dermot Crowley (Andrey) and Dearbhla Molloy (Sonya) recount how they have come to meet at a small, shabby restaurant in Moscow. As the story unfolds, we learn that these characters have been part of larger, more well-know stories--Anton Chekov's "The Three Sisters" and "Uncle Vanya." You don't have to be be familiar with the plays to appreciate the story here. The strength of the actors and the prose of the play are all you need. The play is staged in the basement of the newly renovated Irish Repertory space on 22nd. The intimacy of the room makes one feel like you are a diner at the next table, eavesdropping on a riveting story.
Still focused on characters from across the pond, the Charlotte Bronte exhibit at the Morgan Museum and Library is on now through January 2. See our review here.
The Judd Foundation, an oasis in chaotic SOHO, is a marvel of minimalism (a term that Judd rejected) and thoughtful space. Housed in a cast iron building Donald Judd bought in the late 60s, this once factory is an amalgam of times. From the oil seeping from the walls that is evidence of the factory it once housed, to Judd's careful renovations to house large art pieces, the tour resonates and inspires spacial thought. You are guieded through the four upper floors of the building, which served as Judd's living and work spaces. From the dining table, with 13 slightly different Judd-designed chairs to works by Claus Oldenburg and Frank Stella -- all friends that gave the pieces as gifts--there is precise thought in every corner. In the top floor master bedroom -- 3/4 of the upper floor is framed by a neon red and blue Dan Flavin piece that was all the more striking for the dusk that was descending outside. You must make a reservation for the tour, which are run on Tuesday, Thursdays and Friday. The main floor gallery is open to the public.
Finally, a few restaurant recommendations. Firmly on the place-to-visit-more-than-once list is Mary's Fish Camp. This tiny, village institution is still one of the best places for fresh fish, lobster and creative sides and matchstick fries. The no reservation policy can be part of the charm, but best to go early.
A newer entry off Union Square is Nix, a vegetarian restaurant that isn't too precious and leaves its hippy, alfalfa sprout elders firmly in the past. From the tandoori breads and spread starters the menu then delves into salad/lighter fare. We had the ribbons of jicama and the charred tomatoes with pole beans. For our main, we went with the gnocchi, which was creamy and light at the same time. Everything was dressed to such perfection that we asked for more bread to sop up every last bit.
Pondicheri on 27th, just off Broadway is a revelation, where everything new seems to be a build-a-bowl lines. The team's second outpost--the original is in Houston--has a full breakfast to dinner menu. It is a heady mix of Indian spices and traditionally twists on Indian fare such as flat-bread parathas, chutneys, and kormas. But even Indian novices will find something on the menu. There is spice and flavor everywhere.