Wednesday, May 23, 2007

New York - Part The Second

On the Friday morning we pootled around Soho and its environs taking a peek inside some of the shops. We met up with Lucretia for lunch prior to his jetting home to Maine that night. Ama was a very pleasant Itialian restaurant which Tinseltroos is modelling here:

T

The proprietor treated us to a lengthy diatribe on the failings of his employees who had apparently telephoned him thirty minutes before to say they were sick and couldn't come to work; he suspected this to be a fib and since the weather was a balmy 80 degrees I tend to agree.

Friday evening saw us visit the New York offices of a former employer so we could a) Take advantage of their lovely roof-terrace with views like this:

View from Framestore NY's Roof

and b) go out for the evening with several former colleagues for pizza at the remarkable Lombardi's Pizzeria:

FS Dinner

Lombardi's claims to be the oldest pizzeria in New York and I love New York style pizza. The consistency seems like a very light dough which has been thoroughly beaten flat meaning that once cooked it is slightly thicker than an Italian pizza base but not as bready as more deep-pan pizzas. They also had pitchers of Yuengling and Sam Adams beer which was the perfect accompaniment. Following dinner we went out for a few drinks till our jet-lag would finally leave us alone no more. Here is my Perfect Manhattan in Manhattan:

A Perfect Manhattan in Manhattan

On Saturday we had breakfast in an old style New York restaurant called Prime Burger. The swing out tables and bar-top dining combined with the staff and pleasingly mechanical till made me feel as if I'd just stepped into a Damon Runyon story. They did a good bacon and scrambled egg too. Next we took a ride in the fastest elevator I've ever been in up the Rockefeller Center to take in the New York skyline. Whilst not a high as the Empire State, the Rockefeller grants you wonderful views of the Empire State which I'd rather have that a view of The Rock. The vista laid our before us was predictably astonishing. Until you get above the roof line it is hard to grasp just how big New York City is. London apparently has a greater population but that's spread over a greater area and much of it is suburb, the part you'd actually call city-like is pretty contained. In New York it extends for miles. Amazing.

Skyline

After The Rock (not Alcatraz) we went up to The Guggenheim. It was disappointing truth be told. Half the gallery is closed to allow for renovation, the entire exterior is shrouded in tarpaulin meaning little of Frank Lloyd Wright's design can be seen and the visiting exhibition of neo-impressionism and divisionism was full of some of the nastiest paintings I've seen. I've never liked Seurat and to have room after room filled with him and his acolytes did not cheer me or Tinseltroos. I liked this photo I took of the entrance to The Guggenheim though:

Looking At Art

From there we walked to the Frick Collection. Henry Clay Frick was an industrialist who had a fortune so vast he decided to build a replica of a French palace on Fifth Avenue. The building itself is a skillful pastiche but is not of much interest beyond that. What is of interest is Frick's art collection that he filled the place with. He has Holbein's portrait of Thomas More, there are Rembrandts, Vermeers, Piero della Francescas and a collection of deliciously naughty Bouchers. If the building feels a touch ersatz the art more than makes up for it.

We did one more gallery, the International Center of Photography. Having thumbed through a copy of Time Out New York I'd found that the gallery had an exhibition of the work of Stephen Shore, one of my favourite photographers, and so we decided to stop by. In addition to the Shore, which was the biggest selection of prints I've seen together in one place there was another show on African America portraiture. Whilst this could have been very tokenistic, the theme of the show was how photography had allowed images of prominent African Americans to be widely disseminated and thus how photography formed part of the political struggle for equality. The photographs chosen were incredible as were the stories of those portrayed. A very impressive show.

Here is a napping courier I photographed on our wanders through Midtown. I only include this photo because I like it:

Napping Courier

Having had enough of culture we head back to Soho through the East Village stopping off for a spot of lunch. Inspired as I was by Stephen Shore, here is my pastiche of a famous Shore picture of a half eaten McDonald's meal in 1973:

Tasty Burger

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