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Showing posts from 2007

2007: The Flâneur's Return

When I started walking the streets of Manhattan in the summer of 2007 I had little idea where the streets would take me. I had recently quit an isolating desk-confining job on the Upper East Side, and all I wanted to do was walk. I started walking everywhere - down Broadway to the Battery and up to Bryant Park, through the museums and Chelsea galleries, up and down the Bowery and through the Ramble of Central Park. As my legs grew stronger, I walked over the bridge to Brooklyn and back. I lost 20 pounds in two months, and I saw beautiful things. Walking opened up a world that my previous life had shuttered, and at some point I became the flâneuse , one with a twang and some crazy red boots. Walking brought me back to the dusty roads of my identity and kick-started my imagination. Several art exhibits that I saw along the way featured images of my newly discovered flâneur heritage, and I felt part of the world again. As I look back on the year, 2007 brought good news for walkers of the

The Bears of New York City

revised 2012 • A polar bear named Gus lives in the Central Park Zoo. • A Dancing Bear statue  is near the Zoo. • "The Bear Dance," a satirical painting by William Holbrook Beard (1825-1900) on a poster for the New-York Historical Society, is popular with young people. The painting is also known as "The Bears of Wall Street Celebrating a Drop in the Market." • For more on this bearish subject visit the office of Bear Stearns at 383 Madison Avenue, or better yet, see Walking Off the Wall Street Bears on this website. • Dancing bears, a street act in which real captured bears are made to perform, is a cruel tradition and should be universally condemned. • The bears in the American Museum of Natural History include the Alaska brown bear, grizzly bear and polar bear dioramas. • "Group of Bears" (1932, cast 1963), a statue on the south side of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is by American modernist sculptor Paul Manship. (picture) • The Art Be

Those Fabulous Anarcho-Socialist Ashcan Artists, and A Walk to McSorley's

''Never think of beauty or use small brushes.'' - Robert Henri View Larger Map Three current exhibitions, two in New York and one in Wilmington, Delaware, highlight the work of the Ashcan artists, a cohesive group of artists active in the early decades of the twentieth century. Two of the exhibits, John Sloan's New York at the Museum of the City of New York and Seeing the City: John Sloan's New York at the Delaware Art Museum, focus on the prolific member of the circle whose drawings, illustrations and paintings of daily life in New York have become illustrative of the movement. His painting of the Carmine Street Theatre (1912) in Greenwich Village is thought to be the only painting that actually depicts an ashcan. The third exhibit at the New-York Historical Society, which I wrote about last week , includes all of the artists known as "The Eight" as well as those artists of similar artistic sensibilities such as George Bellows, Alfred Maurer, and Gu

The Pogues' Shane MacGowan at 50: "Fairytale of New York"

After so many lessons, it's time for a carol. Happy birthday to Irish singer-songwriter Shane MacGowan, born December 25, 1957, who will turn 50 on Christmas Day. He is currently touring Ireland with his reunited Pogues. Kirsty MacColl, who sings the duet with MacGowan on "Fairytale of New York" from 1987, died in a boat wreck off the coast of Cozumel in 2000. The song has legions of fans, with many claiming it as the best Christmas song ever written. See a story about hard-drinking MacGowan's miraculous approach to 50 in The Guardian.

The Hot Tamales of Avenue A

Having grown up in Texas, I am accustomed to the tradition of Mexican tamales at Christmas time. So I decided to walk out the front door of my building in Nueva York and search for some. Labor-intensive in their making, these pockets of masa, lard and meat (pork, chicken, beef, etc.), hidden in corn husks, are best served steaming hot and accompanied by red and green salsa. I could have traveled to many far-flung neighborhoods of the city in search of the great hot tamale, but I don't like tamales well enough for them to require multiple forms of transportation. After some internet research, I headed out to the upper reaches of the East Village to Zaragosa, a Mexican deli (215 Avenue A, between E. 13th and E. 14th St.), and hoped they had some tamales. I didn't even call first. I needed the walk anyway, as I had veered out of dietary guidelines with respect to daily gingerbread consumption. And, yes, they had some tamales that day, but just of the chicken variety. After I sat

On "Two Aesthetics"

When I discovered late Sunday evening that the celebrated American literary scholar Stanley Fish quoted my review of the New Museum's Unmonumental exhibition in a post for his New York Times blog, I was dumbfounded. I was shocked that Fish found me in the first place, little ole' me, and then I saw that he cited one of my more descriptive passages, one that I happen to like. OK, fine, even if he used the quote to stand in for our different aesthetics in regard to the New Museum. This is exciting, I thought, but I have other posts on my agenda. I'll ignore it and move on. Yet, as the days passed, something bothered me. In Fish's post titled "Two Aesthetics," the blue-highlighted hyperlink that brought many visitors to the site earlier this week was the phrase "a description from a reviewer who loved it." That's the phrase that bothers me. Yes, the reviewer is me. But how does he know what I love? Did I draw big red hearts around my words? Did I

Shopping in SoHo Without Euros

View Larger Map I have completed most of my holiday shopping now, and efficiently I might add, finding everything I needed at two museum shops and the stores under the starry firmament of Grand Central Station. As I live near SoHo and enjoy roaming its cobbled streets and glancing at its cast-iron facades, I thought I'd wrap up the holiday shopping there. I decided to play the poor rough street urchin and unfurl my fingerless gloves to see what a weakened dollar or two might bring home for holiday cheer. I have no Euros, sadly, and thus must look puppy-eyed and longing at the consumer sports of the visitors, thems in their fancy Marc Jacobs clothes. So, yesterday, after straightening the flowers on my hat and rubbing the soot off my face, I bid farewell to the guv and mutts and took to the cobblestone streets south of Houston to search for affordable trinkets and plum pudding for me in-laws. While I pressed my nose against the window pane of many a store I dared not enter, I vi

Washington Irving's Solitary Walk Through Christmas

"Stranger and sojourner as I am in the land,--though for me no social hearth may blaze, no hospitable roof throw open its doors, nor the warm grasp of friendship welcome me at the threshold,--yet I feel the influence of the season beaming into my soul from the happy looks of those around me." - Washington Irving It's well known that New York native and storyteller Washington Irving made Christmas an important holiday in the United States, reworking Dutch folk tales of Saint Nicholas to invent the jolly, though obese, Santa Claus and publishing popular "sketches" of the time he spent Christmas in rural England with an aristocratic family. A subtle and important aspect of Irving's writings about the holiday is how he approached a convivial family-oriented time of year as a homesick solitary man. The back story: The much loved and charming youngest child of a large New York merchant class family, Irving was pressed to study for the law though he loved literatur

Walking Off the Big Apple's Freestyle Iced Gingerbread Cookies

The image says it all. Rolling out dough for gingerbread cookies , I realized that the slab was nothing more than raw material for sculpture or a blank canvas on which I could apply paint. I looked at the cookie cutters on the counter and decided I didn't need them. It was time to get real. It was time to get POP. So thinking about the most popular artist in the world, who is no longer with us, I pulled out a knife and started slicing through the dough. And then I thought, "What about my needs?," and so I made other shapes that spoke to my personal interests. Decorating cookies is a fun artistic medium, especially with the edible gels and decorative frosting. The latter is nothing more than confectioners sugar, a little vanilla, a bit of beaten egg white, and food color. It's possible to make anything. I could bake an abstract expressionist collection, emphasizing the work of Franz Kline, or maybe just all Mark Rothkos. Those would be so beautiful. Or maybe I cou

List of Walking Off the Big Apple's Printable Maps

What follows is a list of links to Google maps I've created for Walking Off the Big Apple . These are all self-guided walking tours built around a theme and designed for visitors and residents alike. These interactive walking maps are meant to supplement many of the walks listed in the sidebar. These are the routes that I've traveled and would recommend to others. I don't conduct walking tours myself, preferring to veer off chartered courses, but I like to think that people using these maps might bump into others at some point. That reminds me. Once upon a time in graduate school, I took a course on Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allen Poe. I wrote a research paper comparing the two authors' use of urban imagery, and I argued that Hawthorne explores the street to comment on the individual's responsibility to society while Poe conceptualizes the city as a mental labyrinth. I'm looking at the paper now, as I've just fished it out of a trunk. I begin the paper

The Shame of Our Landmarks: The We Are Ellis Island Campaign

Joe Montana, the former star quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and once the model of the American Man, is something of a surprise in his key turn as an advocate for the restoration of Ellis Island. But there he is, in a highly effective televised ad campaign titled We Are Ellis Island , wearing a Save Ellis Island T-shirt amid the structural decay of the island's endangered buildings. He talks, in a conversational tone of voice, about the loss of older family members and the need to remember history with his own family, and then he explains the historical function of several outlying buildings on the island and why we need to save them. The campaign, sponsored by the Arrow shirt division of Phillips Van-Heusen, features several celebrities in addition to Montana, including Katharine McPhee, Elliot Gould, and Christian Slater. On the website, many more "All Americans" who are not as famous share their stories, and there's also a place to give money or pass along

The Pleasures of the Ashcan Artists: An Exhibit at the New-York Historical Society

Many of the most famous paintings by members of the Ashcan artists, such as William Glackens' Hammerstein's Roof Garden and a pair of George Bellows' boxing paintings are currently on display in the exhibit Life's Pleasures: The Ashcan Artists' Brush with Leisure, 1895-1925 at the New-York Historical Society (170 Central Park West between 76th and 77th). While visiting the exhibit this week I was happy to see collected in one place so many of the works that I knew. Studying the brush strokes and appreciating the scale of these paintings is, of course, only possible in person. Reproductions also tend to mislead when it comes to color. The greatest pleasure was in seeing works that I didn't know as well, especially Robert Henri's pair of tall vertical portraits - Salome (1909) and Ruth St. Denis in the Peacock Dance (1919), and the exquisite Juliana Force at the Whitney Studio Club (1921) by Guy Pène du Bois. The thematic approach of this exhibit focuses

Capturing the Big Mo: Michele Asselin's Photographs of Mike Huckabee

The Huckabee Factor by Zev Chafets, the cover story of the upcoming issue of the New York Times Sunday Magazine and now available online, is accompanied by several images, including a couple of stunning photographs by Michele Asselin. Artful, composed, and aware, these are myth-making images. The former Arkansas governor's political star has risen sharply in recent days, a newsworthy fact that perhaps figured into the NYT's early release of the Huckabee feature story. These images could contribute even more to his Big Mo, but only if he doesn't get into too much trouble with some of his answers to Chafet's questions. Asselin, a portrait photographer, has captured other celebs and politicians in the past, Hillary among them, but her black and white photographs of Huckabee for the Times , in their sophisticated way, may help translate the candidate (and what a cute name he has) for a big city audience. In one image, Huckabee is wearing a serious dark suit, seated alone

Farewell to Asymmetry: The Remaking of Washington Square Park has Begun

Yesterday, while walking through Washington Square Park, I heard the sound of an accordion playing a tune in a minor key. Romantic but mournful, the song sounded like the soundtrack of a European postwar movie. Rounding the statue of Garibaldi, I saw the musician playing this sad song, and then I saw them, the crews unloading the barricades for the long-delayed and much-litigated renovations of the park. I'm glad I had an appropriate soundtrack for that moment. Washington Square Park is my park, as many New Yorkers have adopted a park as their own. It's where I walk my dogs, where I met my first friends (in the dog run, of course), and where I start my walks. It's where I've heard the best free music and where I took students first to learn about New York. So for the sake of symmetry, the fountain will now be shifted to bring it more in alignment with the Washington Square Arch. The fountain will get new plumbing. Other renovations will follow over the next two or three

Gifts for Walkers and for Flâneurs, The Distinction: A Pedometer Versus Champagne

WALKER: GPS device, pedometer, maps, compass, backpack, sports drink bottle, dog, journal, trail mix, down vest, heart rate monitor, MP3 player, walking shoes, pedicure kit, foot balm. FLANEUR: champagne, walking cane, flask, pill box, expensive umbrella, hat, sherry, turtle, absinthe, carrying case for cards, passport case, small notebook from Venice, full length Italian cashmere overcoat, Chateau d'Yquem. Image: Sketch of mannequins in an exhibit by students at F.I.T., 2006.

Thank You for Not Sketching: Sketching Policies of New York Museums

A time-honored practice in formal art training, sketching art objects in museums can enhance the artistic experience. It's important to know, though, that each museum establishes its own policy with respect to permitted sketching materials. While the Met allows several types of drawing utensils, the Cloisters branch is more restrictive. Most museums do not have a problem with someone sketching with a pencil in a small notebook, but when a person sets up camp, spreads out an oversize drawing pad on the museum's lovely floor and starts pulling dusty pastels out of their drawing bag, then the security guards take notice. What follows is a smattering of sketching policies of some New York museums, collected from their respective websites. Once or twice I made the mistake of drawing with contraband art materials, and I did not enjoy the official conversations that ensued. Hey, kids, stay clean: The Metropolitan Museum of Art "Sketching with pencil, felt tip, ballpoint, crayon,

What's In My Wallet: Museum Membership Cards

Even before I saw any art at the New Museum's new home on the Bowery, even before I knew that the café had red velvet cupcakes and the elevators were that shade of green, I joined as a member, finding it easy to sign up at the front desk. After I visited the New Museum this past Saturday, I walked over to the MoMA Design Store in SoHo (81 Spring St.), encountering the store jam-packed with shoppers taking advantage, like me, of the member discount days. With 20% off the regular price, I was able to round up many unusual gifts for all the usual suspects. As a frequent museum visitor, it's more cost effective for me to become a member. At MoMA, for example, if I shelled out $20 each time I visited the galleries over the course of a year, that would cost more than my annual membership. I also like to skip the lines and take advantage of discounts at the shops and cafés. With my Met membership, I can enjoy previews of special exhibitions and the beautiful quarterly Art Bulletin t

Unmonumental at the New Museum: Just Like Your Favorite Messy Friend's Place (A Review)

Looking at the New Museum of Contemporary Art's inaugural Unmonumental exhibition is like visiting the crash pad of a favorite friend, the one that's creative and stays up all night and leaves dirty dishes piled up in the sink and doesn't have any real furniture and what's in their place came from the stuff people threw out on the sidewalk. They've taken their broken mattress and stuck a fluorescent light tube through it and artfully stacked their laundry in a huge tower of bungee cords. They've scotch-taped xeroxed pictures of their friends on the wall, and they sleep elsewhere. Sarah Lucas, now 45 (impossible! when did THAT happen?), seems almost too famous for Unmonumental , because I immediately connected her bed object with her name and established career. Isa Genzken, born in 1948 and the oldest artist, represents the core handmade aesthetic of the exhibit with Elefant , her assemblage made of cloth, vacuum tubes, plastic, and paper. The rest seems the wo

Mixing and Matching at the New Museum on the Bowery: A Review

During the rush of pack arts journalism that greeted the opening of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in the Bowery (235 Bowery) last weekend, I read all the reviews but decided to stay home until the initial frenzy died down. I wanted to get some distance, if only a week, between the opening marathon and my memory of the reviews. I wanted to experience the newness (as, indeed, all is branded there as "New") with judgments unburdened from the critical mass and to see, really, if I would enjoy myself. The new building, designed by the Japanese architecture firm SANAA, feels both modern, with a touch of early modernism without the polemics, and postmodern, with plenty of playfulness without the irony. The museum offers several pleasures. The almost medieval staircase linking the galleries is so narrow that it's hard not to be intimate with people walking in the opposite direction, and I intend to use these steps in the future as my public stairmaster. The bathrooms are l

The Specter of Holiday Attributions, and The Nick and Nora Walk

I was all set to design a Christmas walk involving the wealthy Chelsea scholar and poet Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863) when research led me to arguments that Moore did not write A Visit From St. Nicholas but had appropriated a poem authored by Major Henry Livingston, Jr. (1748-1828). My, my, my. This revelation upset me, because I was already bent out of shape after reading the NYT story of artist Richard Prince's appropriation of Jim Krantz's photography for the Marlboro ads. People should do their own work. Now that I'm mad, WOTBA readers are saved from a Gramercy-to-Chelsea holiday walk, one that would have started at Pete's Tavern where O. Henry wrote The Gift of the Magi to the house where Clement Moore maybe didn't write A Visit from St. Nicholas . Instead, I've quickly designed an uptown walk based on Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man (1934), a sophisticated hardboiled tale set during Christmas in New York. This Nick and Nora Charles homage should

Walking and Knitting At the Same Time, and News About Red Velvet Cakes

(Ed. update- The Point, the knitting cafe described below, closed in late April 2009.) While I was walking across an intersection in the Village a few days ago, I passed a young woman who was walking and knitting at the same time. Not only was she in the process of knitting mittens, using the three-needle method, she also wore two other knitted mittens strung around her neck. It was obvious she had also knitted the cap on her head. She looked completely happy. When I reached the sidewalk, I turned around and just stared with amazement at the disappearing figure of this one-woman knitting machine. I haven't a clue how to knit mittens, but I am getting professional help in all knitting matters by visiting The Point Knitting Cafe on Bedford Street. I can make my way through knitting a scarf all by myself, but starting and finishing a sweater on circular needles requires some hand-holding. I've brought home some beautiful yarn, a recommended book, new bamboo needles, and importantl

Walking to Strand Bookstore

After writing the previous post and contemplating an alternative life as a recluse, I became despondent for three minutes and so had to leave the apartment to walk anywhere or somewhere. The somewhere turned out to be  Strand bookstore, a brilliant spontaneous choice, if I may say so myself, as I think the store is the center of civilized life below 14th St. (12th @ Broadway). While browsing Strand today, I understood better why I like to get out of the apartment in the first place and why I like to shop for books at a bookstore more than I do online. While I'm in a bookstore I'm able to scan the shelves for a particular book, but my eye frequently lands on some treasure that I would never have discovered otherwise. This is especially the case for used or out-of-print books. The same principal applies, of course, to browsing the shelves in the library. Online bookstores don't know me, and when their software sends up the "if you enjoy this, then you will like this o

Walking Off the Big Apple, or Not

To walk off the Big Apple, or not to walk off the Big Apple, that is the question, because I have the option of never leaving the apartment. After reading the Brookings study about walkable communities, I realized that contemporary life and technology have made it such that I never have to walk anywhere at all. I could stay inside all the time, making my livelihood on the Internet and ordering groceries, pet food, new clothes, a treadmill, books, art supplies, and whatever else I need to sustain my existence. If I get lonely, my friends could come over and visit, although they would complain that I never went anywhere. The dogs certainly need to go outside, but I can hire pet walkers for that service. I could build the WOTBA empire just by sitting at the dining room table, pounding away at the laptop and occasionally moving from room to room. I could just make up walks that I imagine and illustrate the walks with drawings. For all the discussion of building walkable communities, we ma

Shakespeare, Always in New York

"How many goodly creatures are there here!" - Miranda, The Tempest (bonus points if you know the next line) I always have it in mind to see every Shakespeare production in New York, because it seems like a goodly project, but it's nearly impossible to keep up with the Bard in New York City. I recently saw the Wooster Group's production of Hamlet (now closed) at the Public Theater. I thought their interpretation was brilliant in several passages but annoyingly distracting in others. Cymbeline at Lincoln Center just opened to excellent reviews. (Vivian Beaumont) Also playing: Richard III at Classic Stage Company (136 E. 13th St.) through Dec. 9. For those who believe Christopher Marlowe wrote some of Shakespeare's plays, take notice that the Red Bull Theatre begins previews of Garland Wright's adaptation of Edward the Second beginning Dec. 11. Gounod's Roméo et Juliette returns to the Metropolitan Opera on Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. Plácido Domingo conducts. Also,

Brookings Releases Study of Most Walkable Cities

Christopher B. Leinberger, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, ranks the country's most walkable communities in a report released today. New York ranks 10th overall on the list of the 30 largest metropolitan areas, but the city has more walkable urban areas than other places, according to the study. The walkability factor was determined by counting the number of "regional-serving walkable urban places," meaning places with jobs, shops, and culture that attract people who don't live there. Washington, D.C. is the overall leader, because the ranking is based on a per-capita basis. Our nation's capital is a lovely place to walk, I can attest, especially around the DuPont Circle neighborhood where the Brookings Institution is located. Leinberger observes that young professionals are behind this desire, but other factors help with the creation of successful walkable communities. He cites the viability of a city's rail transit system as the most importan

Walking in Inclement Weather

New York is currently under a wind advisory, and I can attest that conditions are not ideal for a stroll in the park. I've been out walking anyway, just because I needed to get out, and I took the dogs with me, because they had their own reasons for getting out. The effort seemed thrilling for the first ten minutes, but then the walk turned frightful. The wind was gusting to 50 mph, and I thought my terrier was going to rise in the air like a Thanksgiving Day parade balloon. We turned around and walked home. I like to walk every day, but when bad weather arrives, I find little pleasure in the alternative of walking on a treadmill in a gym. I'm a flâneur, not an athlete, and so I need the intellectual stimulation of the street more than I need to watch myself in the gym mirror walking nowhere and squirting water in my mouth from a sports drink bottle. I don't like to let inclement weather stop me from walking, so I will bundle up in a parka that makes me look like the Michel

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Artists on Your List

The best gift that you can give an artist is free room and board for a year in a spacious loft studio with track lighting and a generous per diem for expenses. Something free you can give an artist, and something that would be appreciated, is ATTENTION. Another free idea is to set up a fan website for them and write reviews of their work. People are inclined to give art supplies to artists, and no doubt many appreciate this gesture. I love it when the colonel buys me art supplies, because I like to just look at them. True committed artists can get geeky about their materials, partial to certain types of charcoal or the brand of paint or the kind of found objects they need for their sculptural assemblages. If the artist is particular about materials, consider giving a gift certificate for purchases at the art supply store. The Back-to-School Art Supplies Walk on this site provides contact information for a few good New York stores. Budding artists of younger ages may be easier to plea

Weekend Frivolities DIY Edition: Venetian Masks

The previous post on taking black-and-white photos in New York in the snow could be filed under Weekend Frivolities, in that it's about making holiday gifts, but I didn't think it crossed the Bridge of Idiocy enough to qualify for this feature. I've been promising to demonstrate how to make Venetian masks, but I think they're too hard for me to explain. First of all, you need to make a clay sculpture that looks like something, maybe a terrier or a cat, mix up some plaster in batches and then pour it over the sculpture, wait till it hardens, pull the clay out of the mold, and then start cutting up pieces of paper for papier-maché. That's just for starters. It's a big mess. I've cried any times. The best way to learn how to make beautiful masks in the authentic tradition is to fly into Marco Polo Airport, find a hotel in Venice for a few days and then walk the mysterious streets of the Dorsoduro until you accidentally find the Ca' Macana shop. The form

The Intrinsic Beauty of Gotham in the Falling Snow

I can usually sense when snow has started to fall overnight, because snow seems to suck any noise out of the air. The silence of last night, though punctured in the wee hours by shrills of the late night revelers, indicated that the first serious snow, the kind that sticks, had arrived. New York looks fabulous dressed in the first coats of shimmering white, so photographers are encouraged to make haste before the pristine flakes turn to the familiar mushy mess. Those looking to make gifts for the holidays can do no wrong with presents of images of New York covered in snow. Digitally remove all the color, and voila!, your own classic, no matter how mundane the particular shot. New York. Snow. Picture frame. You're done. Images: Washington Square Park. December 2, 2007

Nancy Graves, Francesca Woodman, and Barbara Kruger in Midtown Galleries

Hallelujah, art sisters and brothers! Read on about three fine exhibits that are all within easy walking distance of one another. • Nancy Graves Bronze Sculpture of the 1980s Ameringer Yohe Fine Art (20 West 57th Street) Through December 22, 2007 and January 2-12, 2008 The sculptural assemblages in bronze made by Nancy Graves (1939-1995) in the 1980s are among her most critically acclaimed and important artworks. These brightly colored objects, all more than just the sum of their found object and familiar form parts - palm fronds, egg cartons, wheel spokes, tractor seats, etc., exude an inner dialogue, as if they are sentient beings capable of playing amongst themselves. Though heavy, they seem to defy gravity. These sculptures could fit perfectly in the debut exhibit of The New Museum of Contemporary Art, but I'm afraid they would have the effect of making some of the new work by young artists seem derivative and so yesterday. • Francesca Woodman Marian Goodman Galler

The Post-Holiday Diet Starts Early and A Blank Chart O' Progress for December

Flipping over the pages of all my dog calendars to December (the golden retriever wearing Santa's hat, don't you know), and noting that it's still in the early stages of holiday merriment, I have decided this very morn' that I need to lose six pounds this month, come hell or high water, before the new year. A little alarmed about the lingering effects of Thanksgiving , and, frankly, anxious about my walking future through sleet and snow and, thusly, the ability to make metaphorical the lessons of Gotham's streets, I have taken up the task once again of puritanical chart-making. Walking for exercise and weight loss, the raison d'être of Walking Off the Big Apple in her infancy as a website, low, just these four-and-a-half months ago, eventually gave way, as loyal readers know, to discussions cultural, economical, and philosophical. Art reviews and descriptions of New York's neighborhoods, new and old, pushed out posts on walking off slabs of beef . Diatri

Holiday Books: Tony Duquette, Andy Goldsworthy, Eric Clapton, Edith Wharton

Image: One of the windows at Bergdorf Goodman (754 Fifth Ave) inspired by the fantastical work of the California-born designer Tony Duquette (1914-1999). The lavish book, Tony Duquette , by Wendy Goodman and Hutton Wilkinson is published by Abrams. Readers who like Walking Off the Big Apple may also enjoy the following books published in 2007. Books of art: Enclosure by Andy Goldsworthy On Ugliness by Umberto Eco, Alastair McEwen (translator) A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932 by John Richardson A Lifetime of Secrets: A PostSecret Book by Frank Warren The Writer's Brush: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture by Writers by Donald Friedman Also: Two books about cultural ideas - Modernism: The Lure of Heresy by Peter Gay and Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design, and Culture At Midcentury by Elizabeth Armstrong Two autobiographies - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin and Clapton: The Autobiography by Eric Clapton Two biographies - Edith

How Not to Blow Your Diet During the Holidays, Illustrated

At this time of year I read many articles about unnecessary holiday eating and drinking, the kind that adds pounds that never come off. I can easily visualize the quantitative portions of various holiday desserts and appetizers that I should not consume, but alcohol is sometimes hard to ration. Here, as illustrated in the photo, I've set out three different size wine glasses and poured one serving, or 5 ounces, into each of the glasses. The amount of wine appears different from glass to glass, n'est-ce pas ? I love the short stemless glass in front, but the 5 ounces appear small in there. In the tallest wine glass at back, one serving doesn't even fill half the glass. The wine glass on the right seems perfect for one serving. By the way, I bought this particular wine glass at a restaurant supply store in the Bowery that's going out of business. One serving of wine equals 100-120 calories, so walking off one glass will require walking one mile. What did I learn from thi

Tickets Already Snapped Up For The New Museum Opening Marathon

Am I going to the opening of the New Museum of Contemporary Art on the Bowery this weekend? I wanted the answer to be " H e l l , Y e s ! ,"* but I've learned that all the time-allotted tickets for the Target-sponsored 30-hour opening marathon have officially been given out. According to the New Museum's website , it's possible that some tickets will be returned or unused, so you're free to show up and get lucky. * Ugo Rondinone 's sculptural rainbow, H e l l , Y e s ! is currently installed on the front of the New Museum of Contemporary Art. Image above: The New Museum of Contemporary Art as seen from behind an industrial mixer at a restaurant supply store across the street. WOTBA.

The Morning News: Curtains Up on Broadway and Stocks Soar

The Broadway Strike is Over: The Broadway stagehands and the League of American Theaters and Producers reached a compromise yesterday, ending the painful 19-day strike. ( NYT story here. ) On the other hand, the writers at CBS News look like they will take to the picket lines in December. The Stock Market Soars: The American economy seems so pitiful that the Feds signaled that a further rate cut may be in order. ( NYT story here. ) Hence, the stock market posted a stunning one-day gain yesterday. Just because the market had a good day, however, doesn't mean that the American consumer had one. Consumer confidence is down, credit is harder to get, and home foreclosures are up 94% over a year ago. Sorry. After a pipeline explosion overnight, oil prices went up, so that may make investors nervous. Traders figure that people will not spend as much on the holidays if they have to spend more cash on gas. I think people will still try to acquire items on their shopping lists, but they'

Walking Off Gramercy/Flatiron With Canadian Women

View Larger Map A couple of weeks ago I took a large group of charming, adventurous, and educated women from Vancouver, Canada (and its extended geographical area) on a walk through the Gramercy/Flatiron neighborhoods. I am just now writing up an account of our stroll, and I've worried that I would forget some of the details. This modest walk works just as well, I think, for individuals who are not women from British Columbia. It's fun, though, to walk around with Canadian women who stop and notice beautiful buildings, ask a lot of questions and take about a million digital photographs. See if you can go find some. Members of a book club, these women have known one another for years and so could handle the pressure of cramming every major New York tourist attraction into five days, sleep four to a room and still manage to stay friends. This group trip, a kind of Extreme Girls Night Out, was organized by a New York-crazed woman who had discovered Walking Off the Big Apple duri

Walking Off the Wall Street Bears: My Fundamentals Are Deteriorating and My Personal Expectation Index is Partly Cloudy

I have recently started reading the business sections of newspapers and online news sites every single day. This is a startling turn of developments, and I have just come to understand why. Before I lived in New York, I rarely read the business section of a newspaper, I think, because I could take the pulse of the economy just by looking around. In a time when I actually owned a vehicle and a single-family house, I could easily visualize downturns and upswings in the economy by driving my car through neighborhoods and to stores. I could see how quickly the SOLD signs appeared on houses on the market, and I could watch new activity, or lack thereof, in new home construction. The health of the housing market could be quickly assessed by the length of the line at the cash registers at Lowe's or Home Depot. I could often extrapolate how other middle class energy consumers like myself reacted when I filled the gas tank of my car. When I lived in Texas or the Upper Midwest or the Deep So