Autumn in New York

Hudson sunset with George Washington Bridge, taken from the Cloisters

Hudson sunset with George Washington Bridge, taken from the Cloisters

Even with temps in the 20s and 30s (F) and an eye-watering wind, it still had all the glitter of the song.

Even the week before Thanksgiving, when the Rockefeller Center tree was still under wraps and the store windows were bare of holiday decor, Autumn in New York was still inviting.

Rock Center tree waiting to be unveiled

Rock Center tree waiting to be unveiled

Even girded for the chill, we kept to indoor activities as much as possible, and rode the subway practically everywhere (except for an excruciating two-hour Super Shuttle ride from LaGuardia to our hotel near Times Square. I know it was rush-hour in Manhattan, but we were going in circles in the East Village. My only regret is that, as everyone sat silently staring out the windows or at their devices, I didn’t speak up and say, “Hey, let’s sing 99 Bottles of Beer, or somebody tell jokes.” Or, at the very least,”Where are you from?” And a two-hour bus ride uptown another day; more about that next time.)

Our first destination was MoMA, for the Matisse Cutout exhibit. The lines were long, it was packed, there were school groups–and it was sublime. Matisse’s genius was his mastery of color, line and composition. We were both in awe. Photos were not allowed, but here is an image from MoMA’s website.

One of Matisse's windows from the Vence Chapel.

Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954). Nuit de Noël. 1952. Maquette for stained-glass window. Gouache on paper, cut and pasted, mounted on board, 10’ 7″ x 53 1/2″ (322.8 x 135.9 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

After that delight and a quick deli lunch, we attended a matinée of The Elephant Man, with Bradley Cooper in the title role, Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivola. Cooper played the role using only body language, speech, clothing and props–no grotesque makeup. The staging was also spare, and the whole production was fantastic and very moving. (I’m not going into logistical details, but we had to do some ticket switching; we still got pretty decent prices for all the shows we saw. )

Apparently still not sated, that evening we saw The River, with Hugh Jackman. Strange and thought-provoking play. We talked about it for days afterwards, trying to puzzle it out.

We had never spent much time in Brooklyn, so next day we hopped on the subway and rode it all the way out to Flatbush and walked around a bit, then took the train back to the Brooklyn Museum. I had wanted to see Hiroshige’s One Hundred Famous Views of Edo since part of it had been shown at Austin’s Blanton Museum. To my great disappointment, the Asian floor was closed. There was a show called “Killer Heels,” the history of the stiletto and its many foot-torturing relatives, plus a couple of other interesting exhibits, and the museum’s permanent collection, so it was worth the trip.

Three of my favorites. Nine of these are on our bedroom wall.

Three of my favorites. Nine of these are on our bedroom wall.

Edo fishEdo swing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That evening we saw our last show, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. It’s about an autistic teenage boy who tries to solve a dog’s death and ends up learning awful secrets about his neighbors and his family. There were many kids in the audience, and my English-teacher daughter teaches the book, which led to a lively Thanksgiving-table discussion. Great story and performances, and the staging was mind-boggling: an open cube with ever-changing electronic images on all the inner surfaces.

The repast is only half finished and I’m over 500 words, so….to be continued. Next: The Met, the Cloisters, Grand Central, PS1 and Queens, the World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial, Greenwich Village and the High Line Park, and lots more pictures.

 

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Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. New York, Part II | Wiggins Words and Images - December 12, 2014
  2. Radical Retirement Review | Wiggins Words and Images - December 31, 2014

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