August 13

Down the Hudson River Valley to NYNY! More once I get my bearings.

...the 14th - So I said I'd do more and of course I snapped my way all along that Hudson River Valley but now I'm actually in New York New York and those pictures seem so banal, so uninteresting in comparason...
August 14

OMG I just Looove this apartment. Of course I love my friends, of course, that goes without saying, but this apartment, OMG.
And the rooms go on and on every one of them facing these un-be-Liev-able windows. Can you even imagine all this light in a NY City apartment?!
I'll have to be re-editing this story as the days go by or there'll be about a ba-zillion of these street scenes and another ba-zillion museum shots.
Julie's friend Ellen invited her to a birthday luncheon and I got to go too. Oh Goodie! From the right bottom it's Julie and Ellen and standing Ilene and Bonnie. Ilana was there too but she left before the photo-op.
First stop after lunch, MOMA!
The guard taking a break. Lovin' how those windows frame the art outside.
It was packed with people as MOMA is the only museum open on Mondays but here was a little break in the crush.
I don't recall seeing this before but Leslie assures me that there are three others that make up a series and they are de Kooning's most famous work. He also assures me, having recently read a book about de Kooning, that it was not that he had a problem with his mother.
The pictures have a bit of the evil eye but it's like they were made to go with the floor.
That's Julie and Ellen in the blue sweaters. We spent a lot of time with this picture. The title is Rebus and here's a link to examples of Rebus puzzles. So of course we had to puzzle over the meaning of every little thing.

We also discussed two of the main genres of Modern Art, the first being the 'But Is It Art?' school and the second being those works that fall into the category of 'What Was He Thinking?'.

It is an undisputed fact that MOMA has a very very fine collection of art largely free of the above. And the new space is bigger and it's not like anything is particularly wrong with it but I thought the space was perfect the old way so it'll take a few more times to get back the total affection I had for the way it was before.
Look where they put this one. In the Stair Well! Now other little girls can't stand up right next to the dancing ladies and read the sign! Bummer!!
August 15

This is the big fence around Gramercy Park, a lovely clean, quiet, well tended park taking up a whole city block and privately held by the residents surrounding the park. To enter you must have a key and to acquire a key you must live in one of the apartments surrounding the park and then you pay pay pay.
A view from the 6th Avenue bus down to Paul and Gretchen's. Or is it up to Paul and Gretchen's? I have been corrected twice so I better check again and get it right!
Look, it's my own New York City pigeon lady!
She wanted to pose one for the photo.
The Trump Towers facing the river and Riverside Park. Talk about controversy!
Gretchen wasn't feeling well so for dinner Paul and their friend Jonathan and I went to eat Italian. Then on the way back to the house, one block from where I was going to pick up the bus, I just Had'ta have a Gray's Papaya hotdog and juice. I just Had'ta.

I used the bus for this expedition instead of the subway because it was a straight shot and a photo-op. It was fun too and I would use the bus again. Previously I had disdained the bus in favor of the subway. Just goes to show.
The city that never sleeps... You might find yourself in a place where you never sleep either. Right exactly below your window, the clubs can run until 5am and construction and trash pickup starts around 6am. I'm sleeping straight through despite the noise which I find amazing.
August 16

I had a very lovely day, just no lovely pictures. I'm hitting a dry patch.

We went to a Farmer's Market a few blocks from the apartment and we could have been in Santa Monica during a record breaking heat wave. I bought a sheep's milk yogurt with fresh honey and then took all the fruit samples you pick up at Farmer's Markets, stirred them into my yogurt and it was scrumptious.
It was a postcard day for a tour bus. It was a 10 degrees too hot and sticky for me but considering it is August in New York one must hold one's tongue. The breeze upstairs on the moving bus could have made it quite pleasant.
Yup, I went to the Guggenheim. You can only take pictures in the lobby which is why every single person who ever went to the Guggenheim has this exact photo.

I do have eight others that are the same with slight variations in angle and population.
We ate dinner in a Vietnamese place. These New York neighborhoods are just mind-boggling in the ease with which you can live within 5 square blocks and never have to go anywhere else.

One thing though. The world, including NYNY is going chain store crazy. Here you have your Starbucks, your Bed Bath and Beyond, Whole Foods, Barnes and Noble, PetCo, and on and on and on and on. There are more chain stores than independent operations.

But I can't get too het up over this because generally these stores are successful because they are pretty good and most importantly, here they occupy these glorious historic old buildings and they have been respectful of them. It could be worse. It could be a mall.
August 17

I've gone through a couple of subway/bus cards already. It is so easy to get around but I always underestimate the time it will take since there is still a lot of walking to-from the stops and the few minutes wait for a subway and the occasionally extended wait for a bus.

Yesterday I used the subway all day and they've gotten quite sincere I hear in enforcing the new rule that there are to be no photos in the subway. Today I had a few bus legs and here come some out the bus window building shots.
Elegante. (Out the bus window.) On the way from meeting Paul for lunch and to Gretchen's trio rehearsal.
Traditional. (Out the bus window.)
New-ish. (Out the bus window.) I look at these buildings and I think 'central air.' I guess the ones with balconies are apartments and the blank-faced ones are offices? I have no idea what was here before.

And I'll tell-ya, the chain store thing can really get to you when you've been out and about all day. You want to hold your hands to your head and moan 'make it stop.'
Here's Gretchen's trio, with Ira, the piano player, on the left and Syd on the right. I went to one of their rehearsals. Syd's son is getting married and they'll be playing. What fun!
Peggy was there too. She said she really did not like to have her picture taken but she thought this one was pretty benign.
L&J in the pas de deux that is the making of dinner.
August 18

It's me... the place where Julie does her yoga class.
Then I went for a few hours walk. This is pretty much right outside their door. The Empire State Building!
Their neighborhood is called The Flatiron District because of this building you can see behind the trees of Madison Square Park.
The inscription on the left reads 'Every law not based on Wisdom is a menace to the state' and on the right 'We must not use Force till just laws are defined' in front of a state courthouse.
The Chrysler Building. I don't usually do vertical photos but NY simply demands them.
At Grand Central Station, a couple of cuties from Sweden who really love NY.
Flags. I was in NY in 2002 when 9/11 was on everyone's mind and in every conversation.

Now it's not so omnipresent and genuinely, I have to say, people here are Nice. Twice bus drivers have gone out of the way to chat and have thanked me for visiting(!), people on the subways are open for questions and will happily give you advice, and on the street they are Glad to point you in the right direction and then they encourage you to have a nice day. It's true.
Julie and I went up to Harlem in the late afternoon. This is the work of a well know graffiti artist James de la Vega but this view is not representative at all of what we saw.

We were in the area of 125th where Bill Clinton has set up shop and for blocks around everywhere we walked with very few exceptions the streets and buildings were clean and well kept and the action on the street was purposeful and lively. A lot of mid-rise new construction is fully occupied. There seems more homeless people and panhandlers in Santa Monica.

We didn't make it to 138th, because we didn't check before heading out (bad tourist!). There the grand old buildings are being restored and gentrification has fully taken hold.
August 19

The Woolworth Building downtown. Here is an interesting site for learning about New York City on the internet.

This guy's got a nice hat too but is most highly regarded for its interior and primarily the lobby but...
...oh well, not today.
New buildings can find their space.
The building in the photo above is in the front mid-right here and you would have seen the tops of the World Trade Center buildings (the site is on 'the other side') in the hole on the far left.
Here's someone else's shot from the same general view at a slightly different angle that I got off the internet so you can see how the WTC once dominated the skyline.
From the Staten Island Ferry! I was pretty sure the price would have changed from the long time charge of 25-cents. Sure enough, it's changed, to Free!
Paul called their friends David and Georgia when we arrived on Staten Island and they came right down, picked us up, and treated us grandly. Thanks you guys!
August 20

My last day in New York and then it's off to the overnight bus to Ottawa. We went across to Queens to visit P.S.1, a museum that is part of the MOMA group. I've never been here before either.

P.S.1 a has long and most entertaining story which you can read about here at the P.S.1 website.
Across the street.
My favorite trio down the block from Leslie and Julie. It's actually a quartet but this is the view I know and love.
The New York skyline out the bus window. Good bye New York! Good bye dear friends. It's been FAB!!
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