Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My New York Adventure - The Grand Finale

My Manhattan experience was rich for the places I explored but, museums or not

  New York IS art  

from the outdoor sculptures in parks 

to the buildings themselves  
and their ornamentation, inside and out...

(even the bathrooms!)

or the magnificent (or mundane) murals that surprise you

to the call from El Museo del Barrio 

to have its neighbors share their art  and what great treasures they shared!

(I know it's hard to read but these are these "charms" are the ten commandments)


including this one-of-a-kind thrift-store chair that screams 

to the tremendous art one can find in any thrift store (though Housing Works shops are my special favorites and I bought this etching with the money my daughter gave me for Mother's Day)

                     YOU GOTTA HAVE ART!!    

...And finally to the unique and wearable art created by the lovely Irene Kean (?) I met (quite appropriately) in the American Folk Art Museum during one of my adventures.  

THE FACT IS: It's New York and 
art is all around you...

From New York City Center 

to spectacular Radio City Music Hall 

  let's just admit  I LOVE NEW YORK!

(And I hope you do, too...)

Monday, July 7, 2014

My New York Adventure - Part 3

Way uptown, on Fifth Avenue just across from Central Park, is the Museum of the City of New York, an extraordinary place I am always excited to visit but this time I'd seen the current exhibitions (and you should if you can)


               Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile

               CITY AS CANVAS

               Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection

               GILDED NEW YORK

               Costumes, jewelry, and decorative objects from the Gilded Age  and

               ACTIVIST NEW YORK

               Exploring the city’s history of social activism

  so I went to a museum I'd never been to  El Museo del Barrio, "New York’s leading Latino cultural institution, welcomes visitors of all backgrounds to discover the artistic landscape of Puerto Rican, Caribbean, and Latin American cultures"   and discover new landscapes I certainly did.  What an explosion of creativity, imagination, and color!

Above, the art and below a close-up so you can see what the artist used to create his work.

The next room held some surprises


And then, amidst a series of black & white framed photographs, even more surprising,  I noticed the photo of a journal entry that was exactly 46 years earlier  to the day!  Wishing I could share this "find" with someone, I called over one of the museum guards who politely came over as beckoned.  

"See this?" I said, as I pointed to the date, "This was written EXACTLY forty-six years ago!  Isn't that amazing?"

"WOW," he said as he looked at me with astonishment, "I wasn't even born yet!"

El Museo had so much more to see (and a great gift shop!) 

but soon I felt the need to travel downtown  to my old neighborhood  the 20s on the eastside. 

In keeping with the budget, I packed my dinner, a large towel and headed for  Madison Square Park where a conservancy has reclaimed and restored the park (from drug dealers and the like, decades ago) and made it beautiful and vibrant for everyone.  On Wednesday evenings in the summer, there are concerts and this evening featured Nicole Atkins "Known for her 'smoky vocals and dishy delivery,' this New Jersey native was recognized shortly after her debut by Rolling Stone as one of the top ten artists to watch in 2006."  I found my spot on the lawn, leaned against a lamppost, took off my sandals and enjoyed the food: watermelon, feta and cilantro salad & tuna, tomato, elbow macaroni, celery, mayo and dill;

the wonderful music, and this darling little guy (I asked to take his picture) who was having a fine time of running, playing, & eating his dinner while his dad kept a watchful eye...

It was a beautiful night and I'd had another great day absorbing more great art in the Big Apple...

Friday, July 4, 2014

My New York Adventure - Part 2

Continuing my adventures in Manhattan, on Monday I traveled down to visit the Eldridge Street Synagogue, now a museum  a place I'd always wanted to see.  Though I'm not Jewish, I was curious about this house of worship built for the immigrant population cramming the tenements.  From the museum's website:

"Between 1880 and 1924, two and a half million East European Jews came to the United States. Close to 85 percent of them came to New York City, and approximately 75 percent of those settled initially on the Lower East Side.

The Eldridge Street Synagogue opened its doors at 12 Eldridge Street on September 4, 1887, just in time for the Jewish High Holidays. Hundreds of newly arrived immigrants from Russia and Poland gathered here to pray, socialize and build a community. It was the first time in America that Jews of Eastern Europe had built a synagogue from the ground up."
Lucky for me, I had a terrific docent, Miryam Wasserman who took us through the downstairs renovation and the glorious upstairs restoration where everything was as it was at the turn of the century  save for the new stained glass window (last shot below) to replace the original that was long gone.  The building is steeped in history that details the Jewish experience and how this synagogue created a united faith-based community of those from a widespread diaspora.  I learned a lot  including where the expression, "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater!" came from.  

Sticking with the budget, after my immigrant experience, I traveled further on Eldridge Street and treated myself to an order of Chinese pork & scallion (yes scallions, but they were cooked) dumplings from Prosperity Dumpling  very tasty, filling, and best of all, the price: $1.00!

Well, my lower East side experience was wonderful (and there's still the Tenement Museum I've yet to visit) so on Tuesday I decided to venture even further downtown  to the 9/11 Memorial Museum.  If you go to their website two weeks in advance, you can sign up for free timed tickets on a Tuesday.  In my case, I didn't know in advance but you can get on line on a Tuesday, after 4pm and they start issuing tickets as available to go in at 5pm.  [Saved me $24.]

It is a magnificent tribute to the fallen and those who survived and I was particularly moved by the audio accounts of each incident pieced together (with timelines) by multiple individuals.   Brought to tears, I was touched by the thoughtfulness of the museum's tissue dispensers in these video rooms.  

In this case, a picture is truly worth a thousand words...

I had to take this in two shots and they don't
align perfectly but I hope you get the picture.

This shows where the piece of ruptured steel below came from in the building.

After an exhaustive experience I walked through the last three rooms without stopping  one on terrorism and the others on things following the tragedy.  I needed to leave and be outside.  The escalators up from the underground memorial showed this ...
The old World Trade Center
 and outside I was dwarfed by the sight of the tower that has risen in its place.

and the new WTC

Next time, a visit all the way north to Fifth 104th, El Museo del Barrio.