Drowsy after the cloudy day drive into NYC ala the bus, I surfaced onto the sidewalk, struck, as always, by the change in speed, color, and volume.
Also, as always, my own speed fluctuated. At first there was the dazed, "here I am again," noticing the faces of people as if I've never seen a human being before. Then my body starts to acclimate, and I speed up, and my rhythm starts to match that of the others around me. I went at this speed as I walked across 53rd St. heading for the MOMA. All the while imagine the song "New York, New York!" from that Gene Kelly sailor movie On the Town. The song muffles a bit as I enter the store, shop, pay for my wares (love to show you what I got, but we have no camera...), and then the volume grows as I come back out onto the sidewalk. But now my bags are more numerous and heavier. The music slows down... until... rrrr.... the needle skids and scratches the record until it comes to an abrupt stop.
Fortunately, there is a cool bench made from a tree trunk and various chairbacks outside the store so I can sit and rearrange my bags. I get up and walk more carefully. I can't get sucked in by the speed of the city, there's no way I can keep up with it, why pretend -- oh! the subway station. I've got to get a Metrocard. Down the stairs, money in the machine, card spits out -- "Wahoo!" For whatever reason the Metrocard has given me fuel, cue the music, here I go -- "New York, New York!"
And so it goes pretty much all day. Speed up, fed by the energy of the city, found in very strange places (Metropolitan Museum bathroom, anyone?), then sapped beyond reason (downtown trains not stopping at my station, must walk to bus stop, fight exasperated commuters to find a place to stand...).
The entire time I kept hearing that song in my head, speeding up and then slowing and skidding to a halt depending upon my energy levels.
I suppose I should have put the ipod/phone in my ears.
Despite my bipolar energy levels, it was a great time. LOVED Dream Girls. Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson received applause DURING the movie, and when the credits rolled. The Ziegfeld is a great place to see a movie like that, if you ever get a chance. Huge screen, good sound, and a sink in each of the stalls of the ladies room!
The room Beckmann and I rent there was rather, uh interesting. The apartment is great -- incredibly clean and well-appointed. The woman from whom we rent is nice and keeps to herself, pretty much. But our room is, I kid you not, about 50 feet from the elevated train. I could see the trains' wheels as they sped by, and whenever they stopped, there was the fuzzy voice of the conductor and the "ding-dong" of the closing-door warning bell. Not to mention the occasional screech of brakes.
You just have to laugh. Or buy earplugs. Which I did. But boy were they uncomfortable. It felt wrong sleeping with something stuck in my ears. They didn't last the night. I got used to the sound of the trains, and I guess I was fortunate the trains didn't make downtown stops at the station -- fewer screeching brakes.
Art-wise, I saw Americans in Paris at the Met, a German expressionist portrait show, and an amazing display of spirit boards from Papua, New Guinea. I took a few camera photos of those, which I hope to post another day, but Beckmann has the phone at the moment, so it must wait. In the Americans exhibit, I was wooed by a series of seven small oil sketches by Maurice Prendergast, a portrait bust of Henry Ossawa Tanner by an artist of whom I'd never heard, Charles Grafly, two oils by John Singer Sargent (Madame X and a portrait of 4 daughters), and a few by Mary Cassat. I think Cassat is often taken for granted. Maybe because her works are seen in reproduction so much, or maybe because of the subject matter of mother and child -- I've seen many a male art-student friend of mine walk quickly past her paintings just because of the subject matter (what is up with that?). But when you see them in the flesh, as it were, you see what a prodigious and painterly painter she was. Not only was she the only American to exhibit with the Impressionists, but one of only three women, too. The one of the little girl on the blue chair is really wonderful, and then there is another of a mother about to bathe a sleepy baby. The heft of the child's body is so tangible, you can feel the mother's arm straining to keep the sleep-laden child from slipping onto the floor in a puddle of babyness.
All in all, a wonderful trip, made all the more special by my friend Lu-lu, whose new beau I got to meet. He did not disappoint. Totally attentive to Lu-lu, cute, and has a lovely Spanish accent. Mmmm....
The best part is that she looked so happy and comfortable with him. And that makes me happy. Now please spend some time enjoying the art!