I love living near New York City.  I will admit, that for many years, I’m embarassed to say how many, I avoided going into the city, working myself into a state, finding all kinds of reasons why I was too busy, but in the last couple of years, I have discovered two very important things.

NYC is an amazing place and like anything in life, you just have to practice.

It is critical that I get out of my studio and see what’s happening in the world if I want to be a player in art or fashion.

So, my daughter and I boarded the bus this morning from the transit center which is 5 minutes from my house, and within 40 minutes, we were in Port Authority Bus Terminal in mid-town Manhattan.  $12. round trip, you can’t beat it. The trip is usually faster but there was a particularly large amount of traffic this morning, summer tourism I’m thinking…

First stop, Columbus Circle via the C train, uptown, express.  The new digs for the Museum of Art and Design (MAD Museum) are just gorgeous.  They have space, their exhibits are classy and interesting, and they have a fantastic permanent collection of fine craft.  The exhibit we wanted to catch is leaving July 5, so we made that a priority.  The exhibit was titled Elegant Armor: The Art of Jewelry, featuring innovative pieces from the permanent collection, dating from 1940’s to the present.  Fortunately the website has a great selection of images from the show.  And I was thrilled to see a couple of pieces from craftsmen I use to exhibit with when I did craft fairs in the 1980’s, like Tom Mann, and Bob and Loes Pfuelb and Arline Fisch, yep, that Arline Fisch who wrote the book Textile Techniques in Metal.  We really loved this exhibit, and there were drawers full of additional pieces we didn’t have time to open.  I would have loved to have gone back, spent the day with a sketch book, so I’ll do the next best thing, I already have my order ready to go on Amazon for the catalog.  The pictures are gorgeous.

We left Columbus Circle, continuing uptown on the C train local, and got out in front of the Museum of Natural History at 82nd Street.  My intent was to find the entrance to Central Park, and walk across the park to the MET, but there was a huge sign hanging outside the American Museum of Natural History that said Extreme Mammals and Bri turned to me and said, “Oh Mommy, I really want to see this…”  So in we went.  This is a real kids museum, they have all the great dinosaur skeletons, and the place was packed.  The exhibit cost extra, in addition to the entrance price, but it was a really terrific exhibit, Bri was so thrilled, she suprised me at how much she knew about living and extinct mammals and marsupials, and said, “You know, I’m thinking I really need to go into a career that involves animals.  I work in a kennel, I am fascinated by all aspects of animals, and I think I need to go to school and become a zoo vet.”  Bri is at that age (16) where she will need to come up with some kind of direction for college, within the next year, which is so ridiculous, but her skills are all over the place, and she is having so much trouble focusing on any one thing.  As it should be.  Last year it was Biomedical Engineering, and two years ago, it was Jet Propulsion Engines.  Meanwhile, she sat in my studio the other night making Temari balls…

So, we left the Natural History Museum, and walked across Central Park, the weather was perfect for a summer day, not too hot, and we came out the other side of the park, and into the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  My most metfavorite place in the world.  I could easily live in that museum.  Since it was well after lunch, we grabbed lunch in the basement cafeteria, one of my favorite places to eat in NYC, the food is great, and reasonable for NY, and then we went up to the second floor to see the Exhibit, The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion.  “This exhibit focuses on iconic models of the 20th century and their roles in projecting, and sometimes inspiring, the fashion of their respective eras.”  The exhibit runs through August 9, so there is still time if you are planning a trip to NYC, and I will say it was a blast back in time, following fashion and those famous faces we all remember, through the 50’s, 60’s, (remember Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton), 70’s and the supermodels of today.  This photograph by Alex Hills is from the MET website, there are all kinds of images of the exhibit including ones “behind the scenes”.  It is so frustrating not to be able to take photos in any of these exhibits, but fortunately they are all just a click away!

Weather permitting, I always take a quick ride up to the roof of the MET whenever I’m visiting, there is always some wonderful installation, and the views of Central Park and Manhattan are the best around.  Roxy Paine, an American artist, created a 130 foot long stainless steel sculpture for the museum’s roof, called Maelstrom.  It is pretty amazing.  Here are a couple of shots, the first is one with my daughter Bri.

rooftop2rooftop1We left the MET and headed downtown on the M4 bus, which picks you up right in front of the MET.  It heads all the way down 5th Avenue, past all the grand windows of the best stores in the world, to Penn Station at 34th Street.  We got out there, and walked down to the Museum at FIT, I can’t say enough about this museum, which is totally free, they have the best fashion exhibits anywhere, and an unbelievable textile collection.  The latest exhibit, in their spacious basement gallery, is Isabel Toledo, Fashion from the Inside Out.  This exhibit runs until September 26.  Opening next week, in addition to this show, is one called Fashion and Politics.  I’ll just have to go back later in the summer to see that one as well.  But I wanted to see the Isabel Toledo exhibit, and I will say, I am on sensory overload.  OMG!  I felt like I did when I saw the Ralph Rucci exhibit there a couple of years ago.  Who knew anything about this designer?  Remember Michelle Obama’s lemon grass dress and coat toledocombination she wore at the inauguration?  It was designed by Isabel Toledo.  Mostly Isabel makes her garments from basic shapes that fall over the body in the most amazing ways.  There are a few of her garments pictured in the press release for the show.  The catalog for that show is already on pre-order through Amazon in my little shopping cart…  What I loved about this show, besides how close you could get to the garments and how well it was lit, was the little illustrations below many of the garments that showed the actual layout when the garment sections were flattened.  Origami is just the beginning. Like this apron dress from her 1997 collection in silk chiffon.

We left the museum at FIT, and headed for the long walk uptown to the Port Authority.  The skies were getting very dark, and the wind was picking up, blowing grit in our eyes, and it was definitely looking like a major summer thunderstorm was brewing.  We walked as fast as we could through the rush hour crowd, and made it to the door of the Port Authority just seconds before the skies opened up.  We boarded the bus the second we got to the platform, no waiting, and off we headed back to NJ.  When the bus exited the building, we were hit with torrential rains, all the way to NJ.  When we arrived back at the transit center to pick up the car, the rains stopped, miraculously!

woolRemember my wool cooking in the crock pot yesterday?  Before I left for the city this morning, I carefully rinsed it, a beautiful shade of burgundy, and laid it out in the sun to dry on the back balcony.  Silly me.  I forgot to check if there were any thunderstorms predicted…  So when I got home, there was my completely drenched wool, so I went to plan B, and I used the rack in my dryer to dry the wool out.  I have more wool cooking, this time a lovely navy blue.

Tomorrow, a trip to the Allentown Art Museum…

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July 1, 2009 10:55 am

I am exhausted just reading about your trip. How could you find the energy after the weekend of hustle and bustle?
It’s always a good time in NYC.

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