Whenever I leave New York for several days, I feel like there's much catching up to do upon my return home. So much can happen in a few days. When I left the city last Wednesday morning for a trip to Savannah, Georgia, New York was still basking in the yellows of autumn foliage. I did notice the blue holiday snowflake lights appearing in Greenwich Village. While in Georgia, I came down with some kind of bad cold, one that I suspect started during my long brisk walk in Prospect Park but that was given optimal conditions to flourish in the steamy rains of Georgia. Now, I see on returning to the city that many of the leaves have blown off the trees, and it feels like winter is setting in. At any rate, I arrived back in the city yesterday afternoon and have spent much of the day today drinking peppermint tea and reading various metropolitan news sources. Here are some items of note:
• Grace Hartigan, 1922-2008. One of my favorite twentieth-century painters passed away on Saturday, November 15. Associated with the New York School, Hartigan could run with the big boys of the Ab-Exers, but she was her own painter. Not completely abstract, she maintained a vigorous (not delicate!) balance between representation and abstraction in her powerfully painted canvases. As a woman, she held strong opinions that she freely shared. She was once the toast of New York, especially in the 1950s and early 1960s, but when she moved to Baltimore, she fell off the NY art world radar. She was a highly respected teacher at the Hoffberger Graduate School of Painting of the Maryland Institute College of Art. I learned of her passing in the Baltimore press, via the "New York arts" news feed on this website, in the middle of the sidebar on the right, and not through the NYT.
• Collapse of the Art World Auctions. Apparently, it's all over. It's hard to work up enthusiasm to purchase expensive beautiful works of art in a nervous recessionary climate. See Carol Vogel's story in the NYT.
• Gunfire at the Waldorf-Astoria. I was completely shocked to read about the brazen armed robbery at the famed hotel, because I like to walk through the hotel lobby when I'm up in that part of town. This incident sounded like something out of a gangster movie. I'm glad to hear that the retired detective who was shot is doing okay. AP story.
• Hotel Deals. I've noticed that many visitors seemed to have disappeared. Last year I was always running into the Euro-spending classes at all hours of the day, and now the cobbled streets of Soho are awesomely clear of traffic. In this sort of international visitor downturn, it's not surprising that the city's hotels are offering all sorts of reasonable rates. If you live here and people still want to crash at your place, tell them to go to the internet travel sites and check out the fabulous hotel deals in the city. (Note: to the two friends staying at my apartment this weekend, I am NOT talking about you.) See Hotel Chatter for all kinds of stories.
• NYT article on Palazzo Chupi. Readers of WOTBA know of my healthy obsession with Julian Schnabel's Palazzo Chupi, so I was delighted to read Penelope Green's account of her tour through the pink wonderland.
• NYT's Gallery Issue. The Weekend Arts section's "Special Gallery Issue" provides nice overviews of the gallery scene in different parts of town. The section is especially helpful for the downtowners like myself who have much to see in the galleries of the West Village and the Lower East Side.
• The Holidays! Bloomingdale's holiday windows! Tony Bennett live! The most powerful convergence possible happens Thursday, November 20, at 4:30 p.m. (link to Bloomingdale's) With a 30% chance of snow, what more could anyone want out of a holiday in New York?
So, I'm caught up. I missed walking in New York and then telling everyone about it. I'm looking forward to shaking off this winter cold as soon as possible and rediscovering the city.
Image above: Line of taxis at stop. The leaves on these trees have mostly fallen now. Somewhere in Greenwich Village.