The Pearl Oyster Bar on a winter evening, bright and unadorned. At the bar, patrons wait for a table. Malcolm McLaren sips something cold and makes no conversation with his companion.

The writer for The Sopranos wrote this restaurant specifically into the script. The main character, Tony emerges from a coma craving their ‘lobster roll’. After taking your table, it’s easy to take his recommendation. The dish arrives swiftly, an unpretentious sandwich overgrown with shoestring fries, a tangle of crispy filaments. The lobster is cubed and shell-less, cold fleshy chunks slick with mayo, clean and weighty in a sickly-sweet hotdog bun.


You duck out of pouring rain into the Church of St Paul the Apostle. Grand architecture, warm oranges and purples, far vaulted ceilings bearing projected lights for the occasion. Rows of wooden pews face the large raised stage.

The orchestra takes their place; you applaud. John Adams’ Christian Zeal and Activity is surprisingly caustic and irreverent. You wonder if any pious patrons are disgruntled.

The bench is too hard. You shift uncomfortably as they move into the next piece, Gavin Bryars’ hypnotic but over-long Sinking of the Titanic. The notion is that the music reflects sinking into the ocean with the ship as the band continues to play. Waves of green and blue lights wash cleverly over the scene, convincing and calming.


The Empire State building welcomes you home again. The pattern of lights change every day or two. Perhaps it’s signalling to its fellow buildings in a slow Close Encounters morse. The glacial language of skyscrapers: Creaks and whispers on multi-storey winds.