Thursday, January 12, 2012
New York City
(NEW YORK CITY ... View from the Staten Island Ferry. Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)
The weather could not have been more perfect for a long, January weekend in New York City. At times, we didn't really need coats. The sky was deep blue and the nightlights of Times Square were bright and beautiful.
We arrived on Thursday afternoon, met our elder son Mathias and his girlfriend Laura-Jane in time for dinner at Bubba Gump's at Times Square ...
... followed by an evening with Bob Fosse's Chicago.
On Friday morning we visited Ground Zero and the 9/11 Memorial.
I honestly didn't think any other memorial created during my lifetime could be as powerful as the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC ... but I was wrong.
The place is still very much a construction zone. There are blasting signs and orange-reflective clad laborers everywhere. Security is strict. Admission is free. The place is overwhelming and ever so appropriate. One cannot see the bottom of the two pool's recessed space ... an inverted rectangle descending into the ground so suggestive of the structures taken down by terrorists. All the victim's names are organized by flight or location.
People wept. Others just stared at the new buildings going up just a block or so away, one tower reflected into another.
The museum still isn't open. I'll have to come back one day.
From there we went to Staten Island and back on the FREE ferry.
The view to the city, to the Statue of Liberty, and of Ellis Island are wonderful.
Then ... on to Brooklyn ...
... to the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
I've always wanted to see Judy Chicago's iconic feminine art masterpiece, The Dinner Party.
It was better than I dared hoped. Every guest was perfectly incorporated into the ceramic plate and the unique, embroidered tablecloth.
The lighting is low but the detail shines through.
Every little stitch! It was wonderful.
Yet, we saw all sorts of great art in this museum ... and we only visited two of the four floors! One of the ingenious works was by Mounri Fatmi, a collection of Islamic prayer rug covered skateboards called Maximum Sensation. The juxaposition of cultures in this guy's life were obvious and also wonderfully a happy mix. I didn't snap any photos at MoMa when we got there. It's FREE on Friday nights ... and packed with people, especially in the deKooning retrospective. Believe it or not, I ran into a friend from Columbia, Natalie ... who owns the local bead shop. She, too, was visiting her son. He's a model in NYC. Later I ran into Suzie Surkamer, the former head of the South Carolina Arts Commission. She was on business ... staying in the same hotel. Small World!
After MoMa, we had dinner at Bottega di Vino ... a place that served wine in the largest glasses I've ever used! Everything was beyond scrumptious!
We had to walk after such a meal ... and it was a total pleasure to see all the lights of Times Square.
We also took the subways all weekend long.
Laura-Jane got a hat to sort of "match" Mathias'. They look like chipmunks to me ... and now this one is my computer's screensaver.
On Saturday we got half-priced tickets to see matinees. Mathias and LJ went to see Sister Act. Steve and I went to see Memphis. We were all totally thrilled with the performances.
So much about being in a big, teeming city like New York is artistically inspiring. I'm not really referring to all the fantastic works in international renown museum though. Inspiration, at least for me, is more often found in cemeteries ...
... especially ones with churchyards dating to the 17th century. This was at Trinity Church ... a place with dozens and dozens of awesome headstones. I wrote down a few personal epitaphs but didn't make a rubbing. (No crayon; no fabric ... must return!)
Inspiration also comes through music and any other live performance filled with passion ... like this group singing under the Bethesda Arcade in Central Park.
Unexpectedly, however, the most inspirational time came while walking over the Brooklyn Bridge.
It wasn't just the structure or the traffic or the people enjoying the weather.
Instead, it was the number of locks left by people as mementos of their love.
I snapped at least one hundred photos. There's "something" about locks ... like keys ... that resonates with me. The graffiti was good too ... and in several different languages.
I love New York City ... its energy, its inspiration, and the sense of possibilities that seem to jump off the pavement with every passing person.
Of course, the food's good too ...
... even in the diners! What a hot dog! The menu boasted fifteen inches ... and I think it was correct!
The thing I think I like the best, however, it still the buildings ...
... like the Guggenheim, where we saw Maurizio Cattelan's incredible installation All. (The museum's website has a most amazing time lapse video showing how this enormous piece was installed in the soaring space. It is HERE.)
I took nearly 600 photos. I trimmed the selection to under 200. Most (except for all the locks and the images from the cemetery) are on a Flickr! page. It is HERE. There are over 30 "buildings" in this collection, lots more photos of The Dinner Party, etc. ...
... below are just a few!
Now ... back to work! Back to the joy of creating my own art while thinking about all the inspiration for even more artwork!