Thursday, October 20, 2011

Whirlwind Week-end in New York, Part 1

LaGuardia Airport at 5:30 on a Friday afternoon is a microcosm of New York City.    The people!  The noise!  The energy!   A bit shell-shocked after months of being away from the City, I wove my way through the crowd to the taxi stand where, amazingly, there was not a single person in front of me waiting for a cab.   A good omen for the week-end if there were ever to be one! 

The pace of my week-end in New York was very similar to the pace at LaGuardia.   I hit the ground running.  After dropping off my luggage at Wendi and Lee's apartment (Lee greeted me with "Welcome back" and a big hug, making me feel like a favored guest at an upscale hotel) and a quick catch up, I was off to meet my nephew for dinner. 

TJ at John's on 12th Street
TJ is a freshman at NYU and it was incredibly strange to see him walking towards me on the streets of New York.   We had dinner at a neighborhood Italian place that Lee has been patronizing since he was a teenager--he thought the sophistication and romance of the massive burning candles would impress his dates--and TJ told me about his impressions of college and the City.  His biggest issue--the distractions.  "Like what?" I gamely asked, not sure what to expect.  "Like Occupy Wall Street.  I'm fascinated by it and have been trying to formulate my position."   Rest assured that this was NOT the type of issue I was grappling with when I was a freshman at Mount Holyoke College in southwestern Massachusetts. 

Mickalene Thomas' "Le dejeuner sur
l'herbe:  Les Trois Femmes Noires" 
Saturday was jam packed.  Wendi takes a fabulous class at the New School called "The Art of Viewing Art."   Each week, her "homework" is to view the art that will be the subject of that week's class.   This week the focus was Lower East Side Galleries and she had a lot of ground to cover.    I only made it a few of the 25+ galleries on the list but saw some interesting stuff.   I particularly enjoyed Mickaelene Thomas' More Than Everything show at Lehmann Maupin.  The exhibit included a variety of styles and mediums, and her collages with updated images of classic art works were my favorite.   Her take on Manet's "Luncheon on the Grass" was a smaller version of a mural that she did for a window at the Museum of Modern Art in 2009 and I can only imagine how striking it would have been in a large format.    "Luncheon on the Grass" is such an iconic painting that I didn't give myself much credit for immediately figuring out the reference.  I did, however, give myself a pat on the back for recognizing the reference to Ingres' "Grand Odalisque" in one of Thomas' other works.  It's good to know that some of the info from all those art history classes lives somewhere in my brain! 
Eliza Grisanti (center) with friends
and family at Bowlmor Lanes
Next stop on my itinerary was Eliza Grisanti's 11th birthday party at Bowlmor Lanes.  (Of course they want you to bowl more since one game is a whopping $13 plus $6 for the ever so lovely shoes! )  Eliza is the daughter of my friends Suzanne and Chris, who were summer associates with me in 1985 (yikes--we must be old!)   When I arrived the girls had been dvided into two teams and there was a close match underway.  It was pretty funny to watch the kids' technique (which relied heavily on the bumpers that protected against gutter balls).  The birthday girl's style was a bit more reminiscent of shot putting than bowling, but it worked.

From there it was back to NYU to meet TJ for a snack at one of the dining halls.  Again, nothing like when I was in college.  This venue has Quiznos, Chick-Fil-A, pizza, ice cream and a variety of other nutritious dining options available until 3 a.m. for a swipe of your meal card.

I arrived back at Wendi and Lee's place around 5:00 just as Wendi was getting back from her gallery tour.  She was ridiculously energetic given the amount of walking that she had been doing.  I was thoroughly exhausted and don't think there's any shame in admitting that I had to take a nap to gear up for the rest of the week-end's activities, which will be the subject of Part 2 of this post.  

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