As many of you know I am an early riser by nature. Today was no different, except that my normal wake up time on the West coast is only 7AM here on the East.
I've gotten quite comfortable with the transit system here. The subways can seem intimidating, considering beyond the bars and turnstiles exists a labyrinth of train lines, and inevitable wrong choices. I got lucky, but all credit for this success so far belongs to Google Maps (a life saver).
Day two could easily be considered the main event, if it wasn't for a certain 25 year reunion concert (tomorrow!!). I grabbed some breakfast and a mocha (shocking) to go, and headed towards said public transit.
Side note: seemingly every other conversation I overheard over these past two days was about the upcoming election. What was more concerning was how almost all sounded "undecided", ala Ken Bone. More on that later.
Today would consist of a minimum of two things: the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, affectionately known as the Met.
(Here's a picture of the Guug)
I was a bit underwhelmed by the Guggenheim. It looks, and is a, ginormous space on the outside, but the vast majority of the inside is the empty space within the spiral walkway. The ongoing Agnes Martin exhibition itself too was OK, but after about 20 of her pieces, you kinda got the jist. That being said, I'd never say no to going, as it is still considered world class, but I pretty well powered my way through that entire place in less than an hour (and I took my time...)
Fun fact: Agnes Martin is originally from Vancouver. Here's a series of three pieces that I actually stopped to look at.
Considering my timing, I went directly to the Met (plans were to lunch in between, but I was barely into brunch territory at this point). I would show you a picture of the Met from the outside, but it is truly too large to fit into a picture that would do any justice. It is massive. This visit would surely take me more than an hour.
The Met is impossible to describe. It truly has everything. Like, everything (outside of maybe the actual body of Jesus himself). But from every region of the planet in almost every era of human civilization, there are rooms filled with priceless artifacts, in remarkable condition.
(The value of paintings in this room alone is in the hundreds of millions no question)
I was once again feeling overwhelmed by the amount of art (and artifacts). Combined with certain disorientation and fatigue, I was nearly ready to throw in the towel until I rounded a corner into a seemingly hidden wing of the Met.
What I was met with was a room, a much brighter room, filled with colour and patterns and texture and space. I was in a whole other world. THIS is why I came to New York. I wanted to see large scale, early 1900-1960 abstract expressionism. And not the throw aways or the sketches, I wanted to see the marque pieces, the ones that are on loan, or in fact are not for sale, because they too are priceless.
The second floor of the "Modern" section was really where I once again put away my phone and just sat and stared. I was overcome with emotion being in the presence of some of my most favorite pieces of art. As a bonus, since this wing was as hidden as the tomb of King Tut, there was practically no one else in here.
Joan Mitchell blew me away, again, but to add some variety to my second blog post I thought I'd share a piece by Cy Twombly, another personal favorite. Pictures will never do justice to any of these pieces, but this blog would be too boring without some form of visual aid.
After I convinced myself it was finally time to actually eat something, I wandered my way back through the Egyptian period to the front exits, and decided I should take a lovely stroll through Central Park.
Prior to this trip, all that I had expected to do was go to the concert, visit galleries, and shop. Little did I know that not only the election was happening, but also the New York City Marathon (that explains all the sweaty lycra I saw running on the spot at each intersection yesterday).
I, of course, was not participating in the marathon. The only time I would be running this weekend is if I saw an unattended backpack. But the streets were filled with onlookers, family/friends, and of course those crazy enough to do this. My walk through Central Park was diverted as a result of the Marathon route, so I decided after grabbing food to go back in to the Met and spend some more time with my friends Jackson, Cy, Francis, Joan and Pablo.
(Here is an unauthorized picture of a stranger)
My final stop for the night was on my walk back to the hotel through the crowd of blue-caped ultra athletes (^). Having had pasta two days in a row, I thought I would go for something uniquely New Yorker. Unique New York. Unique. New York.
I hit up this bagel joint that seemed to be bumping, which I assume is a good sign. I ordered the "Supremely New Yorker": pastrami, swiss cheese, and spicy mustard on a sesame bagel.
What made this pit stop especially appropriate was the timing of Bruce Springsteens "Born in the USA" blaring through the restaurants speakers. Here I was, eating an oversized pastrami sandwich, in the middle of Downtown New York, listening to the Boss.
TIL: pastrami is what we Canadians call smoked meat.
The cholesterol content rendered my body temporarily disabled, so I contemplated taking a taxi back to the hotel. I managed to overcome this temptation and walked through Times Square (again). In the heart of Times Square lived a food truck labeled as the (possibly self-proclaimed) "Best Hot Dogs in New York". Without hesitation I go wait in line to see what all the fuss is about, place the order to the nice man, and receive the cities best wiener in a bun.
Couldn't have been more than 20 metres after as I am halfway through my smokie I see another food truck, this one busier than the last. With mustard dripping through my fingers I see a sign that reads "Worlds Best Hot Dogs". I got played.