I Heart NY

I Heart NY

We finally made it to see “A Subtlety,” Kara Walker’s installation inside the old Domino Sugar Factory.

The work itself was amazing.

And, as luck would have it, the artist was there.  She could not have been more gracious, answering question after question regarding this thought provoking piece.

I don’t know this for sure, but it appeared as though she was there to discuss the work with Mayor De Blasio and his family.  Our kids were pretty excited to see the Mayor and noted how tall he was.  We think he may be the tallest mayor of NY, but I have not spent the 30 seconds it would take to confirm this fact. We also guessed that former Mayor Bloomberg was the shortest.  Sara Rose added that Taft was the fattest.  We had to remind her that Taft was president not mayor, but nice attempt at random trivia for a six year old.

Oh, and did I mention Susan Sarandon was there as well? And yes, she’s still gorgeous.

Three things to say:

1. We love a good factory

2. Why does all the cool stuff happen when we are NOT visiting

3. I hope you are keeping a book of all the awesome comments that come out of Miss Sara Rose’s mouth!


Photo Fun

Photo Fun

It’s been awhile…

A little something to browse on this rainy Friday:

60 amazing photos

Which one’s your favorite?

Also, this exhibit of Latin American Photography at ICP looks fantastic.

Maybe I’ll head over this weekend.

Those are fantastic! I love them all but especially Audrey Hepburn shopping with her pet dear and the building of the Golden Gate Bridge.

image from installation at Socrates Sculpture Park

I Heart NY

I Heart NY

Spring finally made it’s way to NY! Yesterday was sunny and warm and beautiful.

After rounding at the hospital, I met Joe and the girls at Streit’s Matzo Factory for the annual Passover Palooza on the Lower East Side. Kids and their families rock out to silly passover themed songs like “Mission Imatzoble.”  You know, Weird Al Yancovic style.  The best thing, though, is they open their doors for tours of the factory.  The matzo produced at Streit’s has been made with the same recipe on the same equipment since the 1920’s.  Amazing.

After brunch and the Palooza, the kids were playing in a park on Christie Street.  Samantha needed the bathroom.  We spotted a bar on the corner and walked over. It was 3 on a Sunday afternoon and the bar was hopping.  Music was blaring, there was an 80’s themed birthday party happening, everyone, including the bartender, was dancing and one grown women was being thrown over people’s shoulders and paraded around the bar.  Samantha took in the scene, and rather than being thrown by it, she danced her way to the bathroom line.  When she was finished, in the spirit of the room, we exited through the window.

I was wishing I was with you last year and now again this year. Sounds so fun and the window exit just goes to show, you are all growing up! Are you a committed Streit’s  customer? That is what I want to know.
I Heart NY

I Heart NY

This past Monday night, my family had the pleasure of being included in our friends’ Holi celebration.  Holi is a Hindu spring festival also known as the festival of colors.  After a delicious pot luck meal, kids and adults alike ran around spreading brightly colored pigment on each other.  With our faces covered and all of us laughing, it was really special and pure fun.

On Tuesday, I noticed Samantha writing what looked to be Chinese.  She explained that one of her friends is teaching her Chinese on their bus ride to school.

This morning, while walking home from the gym, I couldn’t help but feel in awe looking at the beautiful sunrise reflected against Manhattan’s skyline, the Chrysler Building shining like a jewel.

On the subway up to work, two gentleman sitting next to me (one of whom was dressed in a gigantic fake fur jacket) discussed, in detail 1. how to make “ice” 2. how to smoke crack and 3. the finer points of why black people smoke crack, but white people, especially white people in trailer parks, smoke ice.

It’s been really cold and snowy all winter here, bringing out some fabulous winter fashion.  Joe spotted a woman yesterday sporting a fur muff.  The only other person I know who actually uses a muff is Samantha’s American Girl doll, Molly.

New York,  I love you!

Three things:

1. How do I get invited to a Holi?

2. I have a muff

3. I have to get out more

Gone But Not Forgotten

Gone But Not Forgotten

As we were leaving brunch yesterday, a Velvet Underground song was playing.  I stopped and made a point to Sammy and Sara Rose, “This is one of my favorite bands ever.”  When we got home in the afternoon, I found out Lou Reed had died.

It is, of course, always sad when someone passes away.  I must admit, however, that I surprised myself by how upset I was at hearing the news of Lou’s passing.

For me, Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground will always be synonymous with New York and rock and roll.

I was really into them when I was in college and any time I hear one of their songs I’m immediately transported back to late nights in the printing studio in Florence, Italy trying desperately to pull a proper lithograph (that fucking stone!) and blasting White Light/White Heat again and again while I kept pulling one failed print after another.  Listening to that music then (and even now) always felt a little rebellious.

Once I moved to NY and lived in the West Village, I used to see Lou all the time.  Often times riding his bike.  He wore novelty socks.

Supposedly he was kind of a dick.  Or at least he was in interviews.  In some weird way for me, that just made him more rock n’ roll and made me like him even more.

Joe and I tried to see him in concert once in Tel Aviv, but the show was sold out.  The only time I ever saw him perform was at the Rufus Wainwright Family Christmas show at Carnegie Hall.  I know, random on so many levels. But even there, Lou was kind of bad ass.

The world has lost an artist, and I feel profoundly sad.

Joe really put it beautifully earlier today…

He was like the Statue of Liberty – you always assumed he would be around NY forever. In a way, he’ll always be here.

This may be the first post I don’t really have a response to other than I wonder where I was while you were pulling lithographs listening to Lou Reed in Florence. Standing beside you attempting my own lithos? Painting studio next door? In any case, I have no lasting memories of Lou Reed (although I do enjoy his music and the Velvet Underground will always remind me of you) and I find it so odd that he was at that Rufus Wainwright Christmas show.

F*%k the Rain Room

F*%k the Rain Room

Do I sound a little bitter?  I’m kidding.  Mostly.

There are few artistic endeavors I enjoy more than a good installation. The work of Olafur Eliasson thrills me. And I couldn’t get enough of The Gates in Central Park. So whenever there’s a new one on the horizon (large or small), Joe and I always try to go see it.

He and I had both separately heard about the upcoming exhibit, The Rain Room, at MOMA weeks, if not months, before it arrived.  We talked about how we definitely should go.  And then it opened. And we were busy.  And it became “a thing.”  Which happens in a city the size of New York, especially in this day and age where everyone is tweeting and instagramming their every move and showing how cool they are that they saw it first.  So the lines became long.  Really long.  Like eight hours long.  And somehow, the Rain Room no longer seemed worth it.  It had become more about the bragging rights than the actual art.

This past weekend, we went to go see the Voice Tunnelan installation by Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.  He managed to turn the 1,400 foot long Park Avenue Tunnel into an interactive light and sound show.  As we approached the tunnel, we saw a line.  An endless line.  A wrap around the block, and then another, and then another kind of line.  Oh no, it’s another Rain Room, I feared.  But, happily, the tunnel had the capacity to hold many more people at one time and we only ended up waiting about 15 minutes.  The tunnel was super cool both because of the installation and because this was the first time ever it had been closed to cars and opened to pedestrian traffic.

So, F*%k the Rain Room.  As much as I love New York, I guess this kind of “I did it first. I’m cooler than you.” mentality is one of downsides of living here.

Don’t even get me started about Cronuts.

Of course, you know I am completely oblivious to any of these installations. And, dating back to our teen years, you know I have no patience for standing in any lines whether it is for the coolest bar, nightclub or a once in a lifetime experience. Just not worth it! So, I am happy you came to your senses and turned your back on the Rain Room and found the Voice Tunnel, which looks super cool. What did you say into the box?

I think out first exposure to something like that was in the Denver Airport (if my memory serves me) and always thought more of that kind of stuff she be in public spaces. Jarrett recently was looking into something like that to incorporate into a mural in the oncology unit at Children’s Hospital. Unfortunately the budget did not allow it, because the kids would have loved it!  

Mapping Manhattan

Mapping Manhattan

Last Saturday, I was taking the M96 crosstown.  It was a cold, rainy day, and I, along with most of the bus riders, was feeling pretty grumpy that the weather was so miserable for Memorial Day Weekend.  And then, out of the blue, the bus driver got on the loud speaker and asked if it was anyone’s birthday.  Eduardo, sitting in the back, piped up that it was his.  Then the bus driver asked us all to sing to him.  And just like that, a bus full of strangers cheered up and loudly sang Eduardo happy birthday.  I. Love. New York. I’ve said it before (http://www.letters2slinkie.com/i-heart-new-york/), but there really is no other place like it.

That’s just one of the reasons I am especially enamored with Becky Cooper’s new book, Mapping Manhattan. The author/artist hand printed hundreds of maps of Manhattan then walked all over town and handed them out.  She asked people to fill them out as they wished and send them back to her.  Soon, her PO box was filled with maps telling all kinds of personal stories from past loves to lost homes, childhood memories and surprising confessions. The book, Mapping Manhattan, includes 75 maps from both anonymous mapmakers and famous New Yorkers, including Man on Wire aerialist Philippe Petit, New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov, Tony award-winning actor Harvey Fierstein, and many more.  She also has a tumbler page where you can fill in your own map and tell your own New York story. (http://mapyourmemories.tumblr.com/mappingmanhattan)

I can’t wait to fill mine in!  Slinkie, wouldn’t you love to do this for DC?

image c/o vintageprintable.com

Why aren’t we the ones to come up with such a super cool idea?! Love this. At first I thought it would be great for lots of cities to do and then see how they compare, but then I realized that there really is no other place like New York. The allegiance, the commitment, the passion folks have toward New York is unparalleled. If one was done in DC, I predict it would be much like the fashion – conservative, constricted, conformed. But then again, I would love to be proven wrong and see all sorts of wacky and clever map renditions capturing fascinating and memorable experiences.

PS: The bus story brought me right back to the days of Jarrett singing on the metro with his morning buds.

Miss Manners on the MTA

Miss Manners on the MTA

A few months ago, Joe was exiting the 6 train at Grand Central.  He heard a strange buzzing sound on the stairs behind him so he turned around to investigate.  A fellow commuter, climbing up the stairs, was using an electric shaver. Gross.  Personal grooming on the subway is not OK.  I see a lot of women putting makeup on during the morning rush hour, which I find odd, but not quite as disgusting.  On a downtown train to Brooklyn, we once watched a woman eat an entire order of hot wings.  One by one, licking her long acrylic nails after each greasy, messy bite.  The image is still burned into my brain.  Loud music played on headphones annoys me, but I usually calm myself by thinking–I’m irritated for a few moments today.  You’ll lose your hearing for a lifetime.  Loud music played for everybody on someone’s iphone is another story.  That makes me crazy.  But for me, hands down, the single most annoying interruption to my otherwise peaceful minding my own business while reading subway commute is the self proclaimed evangelist screaming their nonsensical Biblical ramblings at the top of their lungs.  What’s your subway pet peeve?

What a crazy compilation of subway oddities – the chicken wings is the worst for me. Just the idea of someone licking their fingers while traveling the NY subway – GROSS! I wish I had something to offer here because that would mean I actually had the opportunity to ride the metro often. I know this may be old fashioned but I think one of my biggest pet peeves on the bus, my general form of public transportation, is when people talk loudly on their cell phones. Do they care that we are listening? Do they want us to listen? Are we allowed to join in the one sided conversation?