Thursday, November 5, 2015

Into NYC, October 2015

We spent 10 days in NYC, staying at the Liberty Harbor RV park. The park is at the historic port area of Jersey City, in an area that is rapidly developing. The park is expensive, at $85 per night, but also highly convenient. Just a quick ferry ride to Wall Street or a short walk to pick up the light rail and connect with the PATH to the World Trade Center or 34th Street.

We have been to NYC many times over the last couple of decades -- our first trip here was in 1992. This was, however, the longest and perhaps the most intensive. During the 10 days, some of the things we did was:

  • A remarkable "5 @ 5" solo piano concert by Lisa Yui put on by the diMenna Center for Classical Music in Hells Kitchen.  This series is monthly at 5pm on a Saturday for $5. What a deal. 
  • Two of the three plays in the Honeycomb Trilogy presented at the Gym at Judson (off-off Broadway) by Gideon Productions. The trilogy is an innovative series of science fiction plays which we thoroughly enjoyed. Very, very unfortunately, the final in the trilogy was on Halloween and was cancelled. We'll not get to see the way the events depicted in the Trilogy will pan out. Sigh.
  • A performance of new music by Michael Couper, Saxophone and ChoEun Lee, Piano at Carnegie Hall
  • Tannhauser at the Metropolitan Opera. Four and a half hours of superb Wagner. Conducted by James Levine from his wheelchair and featuring Wagner specialist Johan Botha from South Africa in the title role. A night to remember -- even if the 1977 production is showing its age. 
  • A long walk on the High Line at its very best.
  • Nearly a full day at the New York Botanical Garden and an exploration by car of the Bronx, particularly of the Grand Concourse.
  • Meeting up with very old friends. Friendship is a treasure.
  • Exploring Little India in Jersey City
  • The new Whitney Museum in Chelsea. What a great building. And the exhibition of work by Archibald Motley was an inspiration. I had never heard of this artist and was blown away by this "Jazz Age Modernist."
  • A visit to the Museum of Modern Art -- my first since its reconstruction. We made the mistake of being there during the free hours on Friday night -- there were so many visitors that it was just unpleasant and we had to run before we got run down. We spent most of our time at the exhibition of work by Uruguayan artist Joaquín Torres García. Again, I did not know this artist but really enjoyed his work. We spent more than an hour in the exhibition.
  • We had expected to spend a full day at the Metropolitan Museum. It is just so overwhelming, the brain cannot take it all in. We gave up after three or four hours -- one would really need two solid weeks to take in the Museum. I had also broken the large toe on my right foot (memo for file: do not drop sway bar on toe) and was getting very sore. We spent quite a bit of time in the impressionists and also was able to see several of the current exhibitions. We particularly loved the Design for Eternity Architectural Models from the Ancient Americas, with grave goods from the pre-Columbian period.
  • The highlight of the galleries was the Museum of Art and Design at Columbus Circle. I had not been to this museum previously and it will be on the agenda when we are next in NYC. There were two exhibitions at MAD. The furniture as art from Wendell Castle is stupendous. I was agape at the innovation in this body of work over fifty years. The other exhibition was Japanese Kōgei | Future Forward. The notes to the exhibition was that Kogei is "a genre of traditional art that may be roughly translated as "artisan crafts"—a means of highly skilled artistic expression, both in form and decoration, that is associated with specific regions and peoples in Japan." It is a mix of the ancient and the modern in a way that is not possible in the West. 

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