Sunday, November 15, 2015

New York City - Week 2

Beginning week 2 with a trip to the borough of Brooklyn was a pretty good way to start. In all the many times I have been in NYC I have never ventured over the bridge to Brooklyn, not because I didn't want to, but more because Manhattan had soooo many things to occupy my time. Now with more time I was determined to see this new 'Hipster' thing that I keep reading about in Brooklyn, so a few hours at Saturday's 'Brooklyn Flea' is the perfect way to do it. With the approaching cold weather, this market has now moved inside and houses an eclectic mix of good vintage clothes, handmade items and delicious food. We followed this with a big injection of US culture - viewing the extensive Halloween dress up. Apparently Bleeker St in Greenwich Village is the place to see it all and they certainly go all out on those costumes! I particularly loved the ones where the entire families - adults, young children and babies in prams were all dressed in some dramatic theme. Clearly more for the adults than the children!

Sunday we wandered the flea market in 25th St - small but worth a rummage & the Flatiron area is such a lovely part of town to meander on the weekend with great restaurants and a really nice vibe set against a backdrop of spectacular 1930's architecture. The unseasonably warm weather was a perfect accompaniment.  

This week we began art history classes at MoMA - booked in to do 2 different classes - "4 ideas that changed how we see Modernism" & "Icons of Modernism" - each class is 2hrs, 1 day/week for 4 weeks and although we have both previously studied many University art history classes, nothing beats an indepth discussion whilst standing in front the actual artwork. This gallery, with its fabulous bookshop, serene sculpture courtyard, lovely restaurants & extensive collection of Modernism has long been a favourite, so spending time here with highly qualified lecturers is a true joy.

Thursday we took a train to New Canaan Connecticut, to view an Architectural icon I had long admired. Philip Johnson's "Glass House" built in 1946 seems to float among the picturesque autumn landscape. Together with a handful of other iconic houses around the world, it redefined the notion of "house" by paring back the unnecessary to focus on structure, geometry and proportion and in the process allow one to engage with the surroundings through transparency. To most it would appear architecturally simple but meticulous detail enables the occupant to feel as if the walls do not exist - Johnson himself called the glass walls "his changing wallpaper" and this aptly describes the feeling of being inside this beautiful building. The 46 hectare property, with a multitude of other interesting structures containing his large art and sculptural collection, a library, a guesthouse and numerous follies, is beautifully preserved and definitely worth the 75min train trip from NYC.

I am continually delighted and still even surprised by the options NYC offers so we have definitely been availing ourselves of as many as possible. This week we saw 2 more plays, some awesome jazz with Tommy Igoe who we saw last year in San Francisco so knew it was essential to go again and the very extensive Picasso sculptural exhibition at MoMA. To sate my love of cleverly designed interiors we have also been to the Ace Hotel designed by Roman & Williams - quirky, rich use of varied materials and a wonderful sense of fun, BG restaurant in Bergdoff Goodman designed by Kelly Wearstler - elegant and glamorous & the gorgeous timber lined 1936 interior of the New York Athletic club with a spectacular view of Central Park - a very easy place to pass a delightful few hours!

MoMA's Picasso exhibition has a huge collection of his sculpture 
Fabulous Chelsea Shop "Olde Good things" sells a myriad of assorted interior essentials such as this Statue of Liberty!

Phillip Johnson's iconic Glass House built in 1946 - no room to house any clutter! 

Robert Rauchenberg "Bed" 1955 - Asemblage, one of the 4 ideas that defines Modernism
We were shown the groovy bedroom interiors at the Ace Hotel - just in case you play the guitar!
Bar of the Ace Hotel - an emphasis on faux taxidermy gives it a fun quirky vibe