2013 New York City Letter 5

plodding along on the pushbike honey……..

Sunday, 27 October 2013 3:39 am

No, we have given up bikes, well for the time being, his bruises have almost gone.

We left you with a hint of our trip to The Frick, it’s been fricking difficult to say the least, our guide book has let us down a tad, but after this week we have learnt the need to double check any museums times for Mondays, Tuesdays & Wednesdays, we have taken turning up on theirs days off to an art form. Anyway we finally got to the Frick, and as it was a slow start day, when we finally got there, it was a long queue to join. But we queue well and finally got in. New York, unlike Paris has has museums built on steel, coal, railways and such like, Paris has their built on banking. Mr Frick made his billions from coke and steel and got into bed (figuratively so to speak) with Andrew Carnegie to ensure both their fortunes grew and sounds a bit of shit to work with or be employed by, but he had a good eye for art and spent big. In 1913/4 he built himself a huge house on 5th avenue (taking up the entire street frontage from 70th to 71st) overlooking Central Park and filled it with unimaginably wonderful art works and he enjoyed it for five years before he popped off with a heart attack. He left the house and collection to the country as a monument to himself.  Whilst he does not sound my type of guy at all, his house and collection is my type of museum, eclectic, interesting and not too overwhelming in size. We spent about 4 hours moseying around and they also had a very nice extra exhibit of Vermeer’s, Van Dykes and other such like painters.

We then walked, and walked, and then walked a tad more and somehow we now have a collection of ‘Rap’ CDs, my travelling companion can’t quite help him self and once again fell for the old trick of taking something from sellers on the street thinking they were being ever so kind and giving him a ‘present’ that they very quickly endorsed with his name, anyway $30.00 latter and he owned several of them. We have not played them yet but I’m sure they will be riveting! We then made it to Grand Central Station, had a good look around and very late lunch at the oyster bar minus the oysters, he did baby prawns whilst I did a crab cocktail, he chose better. I really wanted to go to the Campbell Apartment for a drink but someone was a bit under dressed so that’s on hold till latter. We finally made it back to the apartment and dealt with domestics before heading out for dinner at 10pm. Locanda Verde at the Greenwich hotel was the desired destination and this was the earliest sitting we could get (hence the late lunch) but it was worth the wait. One of the ‘in’ place in NYC, it part owned by Robert D’Nero, not that he cooks, but his dad did do the art work for the menu. Very Italian, Very nice.  We shared all dishes, Baby fried artichokes with minted lemon yogurt and a brilliant salad rocket, watercress fennel, celery, apple, toasted blanched Almond (Marcona if you need to know the verity) with Asiago cheese (aged).  The next duo of dishes where Girandole pasta with duck sausage, radicchio, dried cherries and sardo cheese and an amazing dish of seared Scallops with cauliflower (Sicilian, of course) Pine nuts, lemon and capers and with restraint we shared a dessert of  Pinenut semi freddo with huckleberry sorbet all washed down with a Sicilian 2009 Valle dell’acate Cerasuolo Di Vitoria Nero d’Avola & Frappato blend. A good end to a good day.

Wednesday day has us up town again, this time the Neue Gallerie, but they don’t open Wednesdays, and so we walked, from 86th street, down to 75th to the Whitney, which was open. This was founded by one of the Vanderbilt girls, Gertrude who increased her fortune by marrying Bill Whitney (line of credit from Oil, Banks & Fags, the ones you smoke rather than sleep with). She was a very talented sculptor herself and set up Whitney Museum of American Art because The Met (gallery, not the opera) did not want her collection of modern art. It’s a small but very attractive modern gallery (but they are building a new home down by the love of my life, the Highline, and The Met are taking over the existing one for contemporary exhibitions, funny about that!). They had a great exhibition of Robert Indiana works, you may not know him but you know his art, he did the LOVE thing that has the ‘o’ on the angle and it is on every mug in the world (illegally). Very sixties and free love, but still going strong. They also have a great collection James Calder works; he more or less invented the ‘mobile’, the hanging one, not the phone. We dined in at the in house restaurant aptly called ‘untitled’ and had good burgers! We then walked, and walked and finally made it to 50th street checking out retail along the way. The evening was our second James Beard Foundation dinner. Grandly named ‘Fall French Elegance’ it was another perfect meal, even if it was a tad too French, with good wines (French) and great company. Our newest best friends, Tony & JoAnne, Gerald and Chris (boys, but not a couple) where fun and interesting dinner mates. The chef was a local, has a couple of places uptown, and is young, enthusiastic and a bit of a traditionalist. We had a lot of Hors D’oeuvres, Tuna & Ginger Tartlets, Tomato & Goat curd galettes, Salmon Ceriche with dill sauce but we some how missed the mini cheese soufflé and Foie gras confit. We then had Pheasant Veloute with garlic sausage and foie gras toast, then Sea Scallops with pumpkin puree and other bits and pieces, and then followed Venison ‘Grand Veneur’ and finally a Chocolate & Chestnut cake, I said he was a traditionalist! All French wines and take away bags of petit fours. It was a great night and I wish we could do another dinner before we go but alas we are starting to run out of time!

Newest best friends at James Beard House Dinner

Newest best friends at James Beard House Dinner

Thursday we were bad! We started well, the Neue Gallerie (open!), this is what makeup does for you, owned by Ronald Lauder (son of Estee Lauder) and started with his mate Serge Sabarsky who was an art dealer, it is very much ‘old’ European of pre world war two of Austria and Germany art and design. It’s again set in a spectacular house built in 1914, and was the long time home of Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt III but its been done over and is now a very intimate museum with some seriously up there paintings. Dear old Ronald forked out 135 million for one painting a couple of years ago. They have a collection of works by Gustav Klimt, but his portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer has hit the jackpot in art pricing. It does have a bit of gold leaf in/on the but more like $135.00 worth than millions. It’s also home to s superb collection of furniture and homewards from early 1900’s, a very desirable amount of silverware by Josef Hoffmann that I would really like to bring home as hand luggage. The big-ticket item whilst we visited was the Vasily Kandinsky exhibition that was worth the trip to New York alone, love his work! After that we followed instructions from our mate Graeme in the Sydney Hills (should I say some what smokey hills of Sydney?) who insisted we go to café Sabarsky for coffee and cake. Graeme dear, I know you think with your tummy, but it’s actually a gallery with a café on the side, not a café with a galley attached! Anyway we got in after a half hour wait, we are getting good a queuing, an as it was a theatre night we when full hog.  Himself ordered goulash and potato soup and was surprised that it had a lot of meat in it so needed assistance, I ordered asparagus with fried potatoes, prosciutto and hollandaise and he had frisee salad with lardoons and a soft poached egg and then we had cake. Sabarsky Torte for him and I played safe with Sachertorte and for once good coffee. The café is all polished wood and marble and very, very, Viennese. We where happy chappies with full tummies. We then walked about 40 blocks down 5th avenue and hit the shops, he had seen a “must” have jacket at Aurizio Baldassari on 5th, but as luck would have it he found a new wardrobe at Banana Republic of all places, much more sensible jacket, several shirts, two toned mittens and was very New York and wore most of it out of the store. He also made a new life long friend with Reema in the change rooms, she was in charge of making sure one on took of with clothing but from the noise level between the two of them I could have stripped the joint bare and on one would have known. Feeling left out a got a pair of red chinos a Joe Fresh’s, but he would not allow the pink jacket, dismissed with an ‘even too much for you dear’. I had been on the look out for a new man bag, not something I normally use, but with guide books, maps etc my dear trusty Turkish one had given up the ghost, so I now sport a very nice ‘mail’ bag from Cole Haan, sorry Jan the whose are still on the shelf, not quite me. I had been lusting after a pair of green jeans, sort of out there bright apple green that I saws a guy in, should have accosted him and asked because I can’t find any. I have a sinking feeling they might be Versace, but we then did Macy’s and he now has a wardrobe full of Levi’s, so cheap, steel grey and red so we can be twins!

Big Fish was the theatrical number that night. It’s a new show on Broadway, with mixed reviews, but everyone at the theatre loved it, so I think it’s here to stay. Dad liked to tell stories, son is a non believer of his stories and a bit of a prat (he’s a banker type when he grows up even though he’s sort of in media) Dad’s gong to die, so there’s a lot of flash back, and closer to death he gets the more the son wants to know the truth and not the fiction he feels his father has always presented. It takes lots and lots of great dancing, chorus lines, acrobats, mermaid (she features big time) floods, tall and short stories, songs and more songs, more dancing until the son is confronted with need to just accept, believe what he can and farewell his father. There’s not a dry eye in the audience, thank god for the lady next to me for her supply of tissues she kept handing me. I hope the show lasts; I’d love to see it again. It was doubly moving for us, as our most beloved story teller, Beth, the lad’s aunt, his dad’s baby sister died last week and we were lucky enough to have the honour of many years of her stories, love and friendship. Her funeral was starting in Adelaide as the curtain came down and I couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute than a seeing a show based on a storyteller who loved music and theatre.

After all the emotion we set out for the seaport and east village areas on Friday, but unfortunately my early morning walk took me on a zig zag of all the streets between 7th & 8th avenues from 20th to 10th before I hit the Highline and I discovered lots of homeward stores and another clothing store, so we checked them out and have probably found the next lot of hand luggage dinner ware and some interesting linens. The clothing store was a ‘remains’ store, end of ranges, so he has another black on white checked shirt and I have a couple of Calvin Klein numbers (I did not know he was still going). I did pass up on a D&G leather boomer jacket, a steal at 1800, down from 3500, as if! We finally got to Seaport several hours late, its a little area just below the Brooklyn bridge and has echoes of The Rocks in Sydney but was badly hit with Sandy last year and is the first time we have see what it must have been like. We had lunch a cute little pub called Café Paris (his newest best friend is Oxana, she waited on us and they bonded). It looks like it’s been there for ever but we discovered it only re-opened two weeks ago after 11 feet of water went through it, the front door was found in Wall street about 2kms away. Most of the buildings are almost finished being restored but Pier 17 is closed for a full on redevelopment. East village and the Merchants Mansion museum, owned by the same family for 100 years, baby daughter never left home and died in 1933 at 98 and a cousin decided it should be kept as a museum. Great insight to private homes in the 1850’s but needs more restoration.  We found yet another food store on the way home so re-stocked and then off to the pre-Halloween event! Halloween is big here and I still do not fully understand it, loads of pumpkins everywhere and now cobwebs appearing. We raced up town to the Church of St John the Devine for a silent horror film called Dr Cagliari’s Cabinet, not too sure about the story line, the lad’s convinced someone has doctored the story line anyway, but who cares, the huge cathedral was full for the 7pm showing and best of all the film was accompanied by the pipe organ doing silent film accompaniment, don’t know who he/she was but they were fantastic, the whole building shook and rumbled at times. We then had the procession of the Gaul’s, very Gaulish!! He has bonded with several of them. The cathedral was started 1892 and is only 2/3 done, you can see the New Yorkers have got their priorities right, office tower (the Empire) in 1 year 2 months, the till on the hill, 120 years and still on going!

With that we are off, back up town (east) to Nicholas Roerich Museum, another town house number museum, then tonight, the San Fran Ballet at Lincoln Centre, we are culture vultures.

Many thanks for your many and varied emails, please accept this as our personal thanks

Him & Me xo

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