NYC 2008

Taken from the “Top of the Rock”, observation deck, 70th floor, Rockefeller Center, looking south over Midtown and beyond.

Looking out the window of our lovely apartment. This is the West Side, roughly speaking. What great accommodations!

The lobby of the Guggenheim Museum. The gallery pieces are displayed on the exterior walls facing in, and it’s basically a ramp that guests walk, from the first floor up to the sixth. The gallery is currently exhibiting a large set of work by Louise Bourgeois. I haven’t before connected with an artist like I did with Bourgeois’ work. Mind opening and somewhat spooky too. The two pieces dangling in the middle here are part of her exhibit.

Andy Warhol original, self portrait. Truly one of America’s counter culture heroes and interesting to see in person (Campbell’s soup cans to follow in another post).

Rooftop exhibit by Jeff Koons. Very, very cool. His pieces are done in aluminum, and are unbelievably accurate representations of, in this case, a balloon dog, and in other cases, a foil-wrapped chocolate heart and a water color sketch.

Looking north over Central Park from Top of the Rock.

My wife and I spent last week in New York City, staying at a friend of the family’s truly gorgeous apartment on the upper west side of Manhattan. It was a learned, inspiring, grounding, and ultimately wonderful vacation. New York is a very cool town, with all the lovable attributes a globally celebrated metropolis should have – a great mix of people and backgrounds, eclectic arts & culture, fabulous fine dining as well as cheap restaurants, and safe (enough) streets and transit systems to ensure you get home safely no matter what time of day it is.

Truly, New York is a bustling megacity that pulses as though it is a living being, with, however, a little bit of an odor problem. 8 million people live in the metropolitan area of New York City, with about a million and a half residing in Manhattan. This is the kind of city that others try to be. Though I’ve never been to Europe, and I am sure that in some ways New York envies Paris or Rome, New York is, to me, the benchmark urban existence.

Our first day in the Big Apple, we strolled through Central Park to Fifth Avenue. We visited several stores, including the Apple store everyone talks about (just a bunch of Apple products, not sure what the fuss is), as well as FAO Schwartz with the famed Big Piano, Louis Vuitton, a six-storey Tiffany & Co. (with a Patek Philippe gallery – I got to hold a $60,000 watch with moon phase, power reserve, day and date indicators, encased in platinum), Wempe and Saks. This is the general area around 55th street where all the failed Apprentices get fired from and take the taxi of shame departing Trump Tower. Meandering through high end stores and retailers, picking up bags as we went along, we gradually made our way to the multitude of office spaces, commercial boutiques, and arts venues that comprise Rockefeller Center. We took a ride up to the 70th floor observation deck, which provided a stunning, panoramic view of Manhattan and beyond. Rockefeller Center features the rink and Christmas tree people attribute to New York in the winter time. In the summer, the courtyard features a much less attractive, albeit glamorous, cafe.

Day two, we took a chance with our lives and rode in a NYC cab from our conveniently located apartment (opposite John and Yoko’s abode, the Dakota) and visited the Guggenheim and Metropolitan Museum of Art museums. The Guggenheim is a spectacular Frank Lloyd Wright designed building; truly a perfect set up for a gallery. The centre of the museum is open to below, with the artwork positioned on the exterior walls, facing in. Guests start on the main floor and gradually wind their way up six storeys. The curators craft the featured exhibition smartly, telling the artist’s story each step of the way. You never really notice how high, nor how fast you are climbing. The Met is a more grandiose group of interconnected edifices: easy to get lost in, and simply mind numbing with the amount of artwork and important historical pieces. We couldn’t get focused in this gallery. Great for exhibiting history, not so great at telling an artist’s story. This day ended with an impromptu subway ride downtown to Ground Zero, which is certainly attention grabbing. The size of the pit – a city block and then some – is nothing short of massive. I’m happy we were able to visit the site and better understand the impact of the disaster. I can’t imagine what unfolded that day, live for several thousand New Yorkers, in such tight quarters. Conveniently located next door to the former WTC site is a famed department store uninterestingly named Century 21. We ended our day at this discount mecca. More details about this UFC for shoppers to come.

About the author cdub

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  1. Hey Craig, thanks for taking us with you again. The photos seem so much more real to me than most of what I see of New York (typically over-produced brochure-ware / TV etc).

    Must be interesting to be at Ground Zero. I get the sense that it will be visited in times to come as a historical sight (until the new tower goes up) with educational application. No shortage of issues to discuss there for a social studies class eh?


  2. […] Europe, and we’ve had only six weeks to put it together. When we went to Hawaii in 2007, and New York two years ago, I spent the better part of 8 months planning those excursions. This tour is twice to […]


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