Tuesday, July 12, 2011

In the City on July 4th

We have a fine family tradition of going to NYC on 4th of July weekend. It started many years ago and over time has evolved from being a Broadway show marathon to an “exploring the city weekend”. As it often happens with these NYC trips I feel overwhelmed and energized by the intensity of the city. In a weekend packed with events and 300 pictures taken over the course of 3 days, I was not sure how to write this blog entry without boring my few readers. As a result I decided to write just about few things that I could not keep to myself.
We arrived on Friday afternoon and walked to our hotel in Midtown Manhatten. Arriving at Penn station is always overwhelming. The density of city life in that part of town is overpowering, devastating or awesome depending how you feel about huge crowds. I somehow manage to feel all of that simultaneously. As we reached Herald Square we heard live music coming from the middle of Broadway. As we got closer we saw a young man playing Chopin on a pink piano in the middle of the street:
It was clear right there, that this was going to be a fun trip! After we checked into the hotel we went to Eataly for lunch. The Italian food empire opened recently in NYC just off Madison Square Park by famous gourmet food industry VIPs. http://eatalyny.com/
The place consists of huge market with best Italian food money ($$$$$) can buy and a few restaurants serving pizza, pasta and other Italian favorites. There is not much to say except that it is simply Italian food heaven in the middle of NYC. There is a lot to see and salivate. All the usual suspects are there: the armies of pasta,
the cheese:
sea food:
and guess what more pasta:
We had lunch in the beer garden on the roof
They are making beer there:
Being on the roof of the tall building in Manhattan is a great experience:
Add to this drinking cold beer in the middle of a crowd of young, beautiful and rich people gives you an illusion of being on to the top of the world in more than one sense of the word:
On Saturday we went to flea market in Brooklyn. There were a number of very amusing items:
but the food carts were amazing and worth coming for more
The star attraction of the visit was Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty exhibit in the Met. I’m not very much into fashion and the only thing I knew about McQueen was that he was considered a brilliant designer and committed suicide in 2010 on the top of his career at the age of 40. The exhibit is a blockbuster and I was a bit skeptical mostly because I’m always skeptical of blockbusters. This is the third fashion show exhibit I've seen at the Met and first which without doubt deserves be a part of a major world museum. Not that Channel exhibit we saw at the Met a few years ago was not fascinating and absolutely was worth going to. It was amazing display of the brilliant master tailor who reinvented the women’s fashion and created the modern clothing.
The Alexander McQueen show has only few “clothing” items in the first room of the exhibit, but as you move to the next rooms you suddenly are in another world. This world is not about clothes even though it has mannequins dressed in the garments created by the designer.
It is obvious that the garments are not created for wear, but as artistic expressions in the manner of paintings or sculptures. The artist takes you to the dark corners of his mind and exposes raw emotions and deep subconscious dreams in form of dresses made of falcon feathers, clam shells and adorned with skulls of vultures.
You are suddenly in the Venetian carnival gone creepy with women transformed into chess pieces by dressing them in sculptured leather garments decorated by horse hair or to fantastic creatures covered by coats made of hair. The installation in the Met was accompanied by the music and recorded videos of the runaway shows were collections were demonstrated. It contributed a great deal to the understanding what moved the artist to create his pieces. As I walked out from the exhibit into the regular museum space the art pieces surrounding me became invisible, my ability to accept images was exhausted by the overwhelming effect of Alexander McQueen creations.
With all the multitude of cultural attractions for me the city walking is still the best. The fact that New Yorkers refer to New York as the City by itself is very telling. It underlines the idea that there is only one place which you call the City and there will be no ambiguity in communication. There is certain brashness in this attitude. But at the same time I feel it makes sense. The magical combination of diversity of everything, freedom, energy creates the wow feeling every time when you walking around Manhattan with your eyes open.
The following two pictures were taken from the same spot:
The random strange things you see all the time and everywhere:
Both New Yorkers and visitors (I’m just one of them) are desperate to seize the feeling and are taking pictures all the time hoping that these images could preserve and transfer the wow feeling:
They rarely can but it never stops them from trying…