“After I first got here right here, town was great and scary on the identical time,” recollects Robert Battle, inventive director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The Florida native was 17 and had by no means been on a airplane earlier than Juilliard gave him a full scholarship to check dance, a ardour that started 5 years earlier than, when he noticed the Ailey troupe carry out in Miami. The corporate simply opened its 60th anniversary season, with a month stuffed with exhibits at Metropolis Middle. Battle, now 46 and residing on the Higher West Facet, tells BARBARA HOFFMAN the place you’ll discover him on the weekend.
Within the morning, I’m going to Dunkin’ Donuts and get my espresso. I began consuming it once I give up smoking about eight years in the past. I want that morning ritual: one thing sizzling, with somewhat steam.
My routine was once to stroll to Riverside Park. There’s an exquisite space proper by the water with this massive rock you may sit on. Sooner or later, a neighbor noticed me there and requested if I’d been to Lotus Backyard. It gave the impression of a Chinese language restaurant, however he took me into this gated space on high of a parking storage on 97th Avenue. It’s this stunning neighborhood backyard with a lot of vegetation, locations to sit down and somewhat koi pond. You need to give somewhat donation to get a key. I’ll sit up there with my espresso and take heed to Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone on my telephone.
I feel higher once I’m transferring, particularly once I’m choreographing, so I stroll uptown and again. I’ve gone to Sylvia’s Restaurant [in Harlem] for years. All people is aware of me as a rib man, and I like those there, with tangy barbecue sauce. I additionally love the Crimson Rooster, subsequent door. The proprietor, Marcus Samuelsson, is a fan of the Ailey firm, and I’ve been a fan of his since he was on the Meals Community.
Earlier than I got here to New York, I’d heard concerning the Blue Be aware. So many nice jazz performers have performed it, you suppose it’s going to be an enormous house, nevertheless it’s really very intimate. I obtained to see the late Abbey Lincoln there and in addition Kathleen Battle, who from the stage [joked], “Wait? Is that my cousin, Robert Battle?” All my life, folks requested me if we’re associated. We’re not.
My first main efficiency as a dancer was on the Joyce Theater in Chelsea, and I like going again there — it looks like household. There’s an exquisite restaurant close to there, Buddakan, that’s type of Asian fusion. You go up a very steep staircase into this stunning house with a protracted desk, and the meals is fabulous — king crab legs in a spicy sauce, and evenly fried monkfish.
I don’t store a lot. I’m going to Hugo Boss, if I need one swimsuit, and Macy’s — if I need two. There’s one thing about going to Macy’s throughout the holidays. I keep in mind watching the parade on TV as a child. It jogs my memory of the awe of being in New York Metropolis, the place there’s historical past in every single place.