Monday, March 10, 2008

Vive la France!

If you are a Francophile (or just like fine French pastries and music) and you will be in New York City on March 28, this is worth adding to your calendar.

Visitors to the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West (between 76 and 77th Streets) will enjoy free Friday night admission from 6-8 p.m. March 28 and the opportunity to purchase fine chocolates and French pastries in celebration of the ongoing exhibition French Founding Father: Lafayette's Return to Washington's America. The exhibit, on the occasion of the Marquis de Lafayette's 250th birthday, explores his role in the American Revolution and how his year-long tour of the fledgling United States in 1824 inspired the patriotic identification of a young nation. The exhibition runs until August 10.

A local connection? Well, Robert R. Livingston, one of the owners of the Clermont estate (and the man who negotiated the Louisiana Purchase) was friends with Lafayette. According to this Poughkeepsie Journal article, French Marquis de Lafayette spent the night of Sept.16 at Clermont, the home of the Livingston family, where he was entertained by a magnificent ball. Clermont, near the western border of Dutchess and Columbia counties, is now a state historic site and park with lovely views of the Hudson River and Catskills.

During the March 28 event, the beloved Upper West Side bakery Soutine will sell its renowned pastries and visitors will be treated to a performance by internationally acclaimed soprano Juliana Janes-Yaffé.

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