Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2017

After the First Snow in New York

The first snow of the season in New York City fell this past Saturday, and the snow kept falling and deepening into the early evening and late into the night.


The snow came down thick and wet, covering branches of trees and rocks and buildings with heavy layers of white frosting.


Many New Yorkers greet the first snow of the season with joy, followed by a quick caveat that we'll grow weary with each subsequent event.


It's the holidays, of course. New York looks great dressed up for the winter season. The following day, a Sunday, turned bright and blue. The snow still clung to the trees, including the cut trees in the holiday stands.


Side streets are the best way to explore the city. On the Upper West Side, the gift of snow added a nice touch to old townhouse gates and doors.


Even if it was hard to pick out a tree under a heavy blanket of snow.


The snow usually has a way of muffling the troubles of the world, but on the first Monday following the snow, the city woke up to news o…

A Young Orchestra Plays Old Carnegie Hall

Last Friday evening, an orchestra of young musicians known as The Orchestra Now (TŌN) began their third season at Carnegie Hall with an intentionally frightful and thrilling program of works by cinema composers Bernard Herrmann (1911-75) and Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957). Herrmann is best known for his scores of Alfred Hitchcock movies, especially PSYCHO (1960) and its famous shower scene, but he also composed a symphony, included on the evening’s program.

Korngold also wrote a symphony, the gorgeous Symphony in F-Sharp, Op. 40 (1947-52), but is best known for a host of cinema scores including A MIDSUMMER NIGHT”S DREAM (1935), THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938), and KINGS ROW (1942). Korngold, an Austrian-born child prodigy, found favor at a young age from the likes of Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler. His melodies and orchestration would later influence the work of popular cinema composer John Williams. 


The young orchestra, under the baton of their fearless leader Leon Bots…

Ai Weiwei’s Vision in Washington Square, Night

In celebration of its 40th anniversary, the Public Art Fund has unveiled its largest public art project to date in the city, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” by the Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. The installation, consisting of more than 300 artworks throughout the city, is designed to draw attention to the plight of international refugees. Three large sculptures dominate the ambitious work - one in Central Park, another in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, and the “Arch” in Washington Square Park (pictured here).


The “Arch” in Washington Square Park may best be viewed at night, as the vision is so stark. The metal cage-like structure, set within the famous Greenwich Village arch at the base of Fifth Avenue, invites the viewer to walk through cutouts of refugees. The interior of the cutouts are mirrored, so as to imagine and personalize the journey. The arch itself has long served as the passageway between the world of the Village and the larger metropolis to the north,…

New York Museum Exhibitions: Fall 2017

A new Spring 2018 list is NOW PUBLISHED HERE.

Below please find a selection of continuing exhibitions at major New York City museums as well as the dates of upcoming openings. The list is not comprehensive so please check with individual venues (links included).

New York City Museum Exhibitions: A Selection for Fall 2017 Spring Exhibitions 2018 may be found here.

Upcoming exhibitions are noted in bold type. This list will be updated to reflect changes in the exhibition calendar.

American Folk Art Museum, 2 Lincoln Square, Columbus Ave. at 66th Street:
War and Pieced: The Annette Gero Collection of Quilts from Military Fabrics
Through January 7, 2018

American Museum of Natural History (Central Park West and 79th St.):
• The Titanosaur
Through January 1, 2020
Mummies
Through January 7, 2018

Asia Society Museum (725 Park Avenue at 70th Street):
Masterpieces from the Asia Society Museum
Through July 2018

The Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse at 165th Street:
• The Bronx Museum C…

Walking the World at the Bronx Zoo

Walking through the Bronx Zoo, the largest zoo in the United States, can at times feel like a walk through the whole world.


From the African Plains to Wild Asia to the Congo Gorilla rainforest, a walk among fascinating creatures takes on characteristics of a worldly, and even otherworldly, pilgrimage.


Except for glimpses of the Bronx River Parkway from the zoo’s Wild Asia Monorail, the concrete metropolis gives way to dense jungles, pastures of green grass, and ponds with sleepy pink flamingos.


Set within 265 acres of parkland, the zoo provides the best conditions for the most beneficial sort of walk - a stroll through nature’s green bounty. Here, the company of giraffes and ubiquitous peacocks, among thousands of animal species, are included in the price of admission.


Gorillas in the Congo Gorilla Forest cost a little extra, unless you go for the zoo's Total Experience ticket. Same for a ride on the seasonal monorail, but both these experiences are highly recommended. Riding on …

Vessel and the Shed: A Walk in Hudson Yards at Sunset

Hudson Yards, currently under construction over the West Side Rail Yards in far Midtown West, is one of the largest real estate developments in New York history. Watching the massive development take shape over 28 acres is akin to being present for the creation of Rockefeller Center during the 1930s. Hudson Yards takes up an even bigger footprint than the 22 acres of the Fifth Avenue Rockefeller complex, and its ambitions are no less vaulting.


Hudson Yards will boast its own equivalent of Rockefeller Plaza and Radio City Music Hall in the form of two structures known as “Vessel” and “the Shed.” Vessel, an interactive public artwork designed by Thomas Heatherwick, will consist of inter-woven stairs and landings that zigzag up and out, in the shape of a vessel, to a height of 150 feet. I imagine Vessel will provide a handy place to escape the crowds of the High Line below, until, of course, it becomes too crowded. At which point, we will need to fly.


This public walking structure is mea…

Walking in Woodstock

For anyone looking for an escape from New York, or a place to drop out for a few days, Woodstock, New York would be a good choice. While the musical festival associated with the town’s name took place decades ago and some sixty miles away, the small mountain town, located in Catskill Park about 100 miles north of the city, is blessed with tall trees and a gentle spirit. Rolling streams, many of them suitable for swimming, cascade through the area.   


Of course, you will still find peace, love, music, and all matter of tie-dye in Woodstock. Many of the shops along the town’s main road, Tinker Street, sell merchandise associated with the famous 1969 festival. Merchants this year are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, as Woodstock once played its part as an East Coast version of Height-Ashbury. Woodstock is also commemorating the centennial of the New York State passage of the Suffrage Amendment in 1917. The town was home to many women who campaigned for equal right…

The Eloise Story

Review. The most famous resident of New York’s Plaza Hotel, a mischievous little six-year-old girl named Eloise, is the subject of a delightful and curious exhibit at the New-York Historical Society. Eloise at the Museum is currently on display through October 9, 2017.

Eloise: A Book for Precocious Grown-ups (original title, 1955), along with a series of follow-up books, became a phenomenal success in the late 1950s. Author Kay Thompson (1909-1998), a cabaret singer and drama queen with a flair for self-promotion, gave voice to the character of Eloise. Thompson lived at the Plaza. Hilary Knight (b. 1926), a trained and accomplished illustrator, gave her the look. Thompson and Knight had met in the hotel’s Persian Room in 1954, and a dynamic duo was born. By 1960, though, the two collaborators, embodying contrasting sensibilities and personalities, had a falling out. The Eloise brand lived on, not quite the same, in fits and starts. Eloise is forever a child but leaning into the pretend…

At the Rubin Museum, Listening to the Sound of the Universe

Given the global diversity of New York City, you can always expect a wide cultural sampling of the world, yet it’s nevertheless surprising that the city serves as home to a major museum devoted to Himalayan art. The Rubin Museum of Art, located in Chelsea on W. 17th St. near Seventh Avenue, grew out of a private art collection owned by Donald and Shelley Rubin. The museum opened its doors in October of 2004.

The Rubin is housed in spaces previously occupied by a former Barneys department store, including a sweeping spiral staircase that is easily imagined to have once been used by fashion models. An expansion in 2011 gave the museum additional space to provide educational services. The museum now routinely offers noteworthy public programs, many created to building paths between the high mountain world of Himalayan art and the seekers down on W. 17th Street.   

The museum provides a welcome relief from the ordinary business of New York. The galleries direct attention away from the g…

When the Mountains are Closer: Day Trips from Upstate Manhattan

Updated May 2018. Last year, Dream Vacation magazine published an article titled “27 Best Day Trips From NYC.” The list includes all good ideas, including The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art branch that highlights their medieval collection.

But, wait. The Cloisters is in NYC. I live in NYC, and I live near there. I can even see the building’s tower from my bedroom. For me, a visit to the museum is not a day trip, just an after lunch stroll.


Many people think of NYC as somewhere to the south, like Midtown with its tall skyscrapers and crowded avenues. Frequent lists of “best things” in New York and much of media attention center on events and places below 110th Street, the northern boundary of Central Park.

“Upstate Manhattan,” a phrase generally referring to the area of Washington Heights and Inwood in northern Manhattan, may seem to some city residents as far away as the Adirondacks. Whenever I invite anyone up to my place, I usually bundle the offer wit…

Let’s Go to Bear Mountain

A day trip from New York City to Bear Mountain State Park and a walk on the Appalachian Trail

If longing for a nostalgic return to the summer camp days of youth, Bear Mountain State Park will get you there. Located approximately 45 miles north of New York City on the west side of the Hudson River in the Hudson Highlands, the bucolic park features an assortment of natural and man-made wonders in addition to its star feature, Bear Mountain. From the city, it’s relatively easy to get to Bear Mountain via bus from Port Authority.


Of its many attractions, the 2,189 mile-, 14-state legendary Appalachian Trail winds through Bear Mountain State Park. As a continuation of a long stretch in Harriman State Park, the trail veers up through a high section of the park before a descent into the Trailside Museums and Zoo near the river. In terms of elevation, the zoo area marks the lowest section of the whole Appalachian Trail. The trail then proceeds across Bear Mountain Bridge and over to the area…