Posts Tagged ‘Metropolitan Museum of Art’

Of late, I’ve been blue or maybe gray is a better color description;  Not because I went to see Fifty Shades of Gray, but rather because there are so many things going on in my life.  Work has been troublesome and the immediate future in that arena doesn’t look very promising.  I seem to be in a time and place where if it can go wrong, it does AND it always costs $$$.

Then there’s the fact that it’s February and it’s been so cold here for so long that I can’t imagine we are actually going to have Spring next month.  The gray days of January and February are bad enough but when you live in The City, it can be downright depressing.  Imagine walking to walk when the wind is blowing and the temperature is in single digits.  Then imagine how it is to walk on sidewalks slick with frozen slush or cross streets where each corner is either a black pool or frozen lumps worn slippery by the hundreds of people walking on them.  OK, OK, enough already right?  NO! When the sun comes out and it does, the slick stuff melts and is black slush, something you would never ever walk in and the edges of the sidewalks are lined with piles of snow in Fifty Shades of Gray and Black and are embedded with trash.  This is NOT a criticism of the Sanitation Workers, because for 3 weeks alternate side parking rules have been suspended which means the streets have not been cleaned!

So now that I’ve painted the ugliest picture of NYC and haven’t begun to complain about the forced hot air heat that every apartment has, I will.   I hate the dry hot air which makes my hair fly around with electricity and my face crack, not to mention getting a bloody nose as all my nasal passages dry out.  Yuk that’s awful!! SORRY!

BUT THEN, there’s this…We left the apartment about 5:00 this evening and took the bus up to Fifth Avenue and walked over the Metropolitan Museum.  This IS a world treasure, there’s no doubt about it.  I take it way too much for granted and don’t visit the museum often enough.  We had in mind a few exhibits we wanted to see but of course walking through the museum on your way to one hall or another you are surrounded by art, sculpture, etchings, and artifacts from around the world!  Literally if you have never been to the MET, then you really can’t imagine  how big it is, how chock full of treasures it is and how accessible it is!  We marveled at Byzantine carvings, admired paintings by Jackson Pollack, Seurat, Pissaro, Van Gogh and more AND we hadn’t even gotten to the exhibits. 

We saw drawings and sketches by Paul Cezanne and the complete set of his portraits of Madame Cezanne.  Hortense Fiquet, (Madame Cezanne) was Cezanne’s favorite model, who he eventually married to legitimize his bastard son.  She posed for 29 portraits, never moving an inch and not talking since Paul Cezanne preferred his models to be silent.  This is the first time that the set of paintings known as Madame Cezanne in a Red Chair have ever been exhibited all together and in fact, they have never been together since they left Cezanne’s studio.  Then we were off to see the Caravaggio’s or at least that’s what we thought.  The exhibit was not exactly paintings done by him, it was more about the origin and evolution of musical instruments popular in the time of Caravaggio. However, we did get to view priceless Tintoretto’s and other Italian Renaissance painters.  The paintings were very religious and very beautiful.

We saved the best for last and headed to the American Wing where the fabulous mural, America Today painted by Thomas Hart Benton was displayed.  It’s a breath-taking,  wall-to-wall panorama of life in America in the 1920’s. The palette is rich in primary colors as befitting the strength of the muscled boxers, workers and the whole work itself.  Below is just one of the ten panels that make up this epic work.



But before we went into the room that housed these magnificent panels, we spent considerable time viewing his preliminary sketches, his models which were drawings and even small paintings of future sections of the mural-to-be.  There were practice sketches of hands in different poses, of complicated parts of machinery cobbled together and of many characters who would appear in the mural.  This is where I saw beautiful, sexy women just oozing femininity and each with the sparkle of life in the 20’s in their eyes.  They reminded me of my friend, the gorgeous Grace Gotham.  She exudes sensuality when she performs and was surely born in this era before her more recent incarnation.  Her burlesque performances are stellar with her as the shining star;  lithe, graceful and luscious, Grace could have been one of Benton’s models!  But don’t take my word for it, you can see for yourself at http://www.gracegotham.com.   Meet Grace!

Grace Gotham

Grace Gotham



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Reczniki papierowe

Paper Towels


Unfortunately this weekend just slipped away amidst some family crisis, laundry, spring cleaning and doing my taxes.  So now it’s Sunday evening, I’m expecting a guest for dinner and so f0r the last hour and a half I have been scurrying around the kitchen and dining room like a crazy person.  I actually employed Peter to help me and that’s something I rarely do but boy oh boy I was off schedule – the damn taxes AND THEY’RE NOT EVEN DONE YET!


Friday I literally spent the entire day on the phone and was emotionally drained and exhausted  by 5pm.  We just ordered-in some Chinese food and I finished paying the first of the month bills.  Then I got some kind of second wind and stayed up until 2am watching all the commercial tv shows that I had DVR‘d for my late night viewing when he who shall not be named relinquishes the remote and retires to the bedroom to continue watching any movie that’s on  TCM.

Saturday morning I was dragging and spent a lot of time on the computer playing Words With Friends and Scrabble and looking for some stuff I want to find on Ebay.  It was lovely not getting dressed and just sitting around.  However, I had promised myself that either Saturday or Sunday would be devoted to getting the income tax in order to ship off to the accountant and also to do some cleaning.  Really the level of dust in the apartment was appalling.  Anyone who knows us, knows that to dust this apartment is a MAJOR event.  Actually I was more washing down and wiping down than dusting – that’s how bad things had gotten.  Me and my Windex and paper towels;  Cleaning the vintage radios, wiping off the hood ornaments, washing the grime off vases, lamps and every tchotcha on the living room shelves. And I polished all the wood furniture with lemon oil because everything looks dried out to me after this everlasting hot-air-heated winter!  All of this industriousness was certainly causing a riff in the household;  Well one of us seems to have endless tasks and the other person is kind of whining that there’s no time when we can be together BECAUSE I’m always working!!! REALLY now!  I managed to do a couple of shelves in bedroom, none in the den and the day was pretty much gone.  It had been a lovely sunny day and I understood why my spouse wanted to leave the house and get outside but when he said let’s walk up to Madison Avenue and go into some galleries, I couldn’t imagine doing that at all.  First of all I didn’t want to be dress up much to be on Madison so to appease my poor neglected spouse  I suggested we head off to the Met to see some exhibits we wanted to catch before they closed.  That put a smile on his face.  It was good to get out although it was ridiculously windy and my knees and ankles hurt – not the best foot forward to go to a museum.

But off we did go and although every step hurt in some place or another, we managed to see the Metropolitan Vanities,  the French Marville photography exhibition of the Paris that used to be.  I was unaware that the Paris of the 1920’s was destroyed and the Paris that we know today with its wide boulevards and beautiful buildings was designed by Hauseman and built.  We should have looked at the map as to where the exhibitions we wanted to see, were because the way we did it, we managed to crisscross the museum twice. If you’ve never been to the Met, let me tell you that’s a lot of walking.  I wanted to see the Western Bronzes in the new American Wing so spent some time looking at the great sculptures of Remington and Solomon Borglum.

That was as much walking as I wanted to do especially since those 2 Extra Strength Tylenols had not done their job!  We stopped at Fairway on the way home and picked up a roast chicken and a baguette for supper and some ingredients for Sunday’s dinner.  Knowing I had work to do, I had planned ahead and defrosted a quart of pea soup I had made a couple of weeks ago.  Pea soup, chicken, bread and salad was the perfect Saturday night supper.

Although I went to bed early and fell asleep during Angels in the Outfield, when I woke up this morning, I still didn’t feel really refreshed and dreaded putting the income taxes together. Oy what a horrible task.  Seriously I spent most of the afternoon calculating  dinners, taxis, memberships and charitable deductions.  In fact I spent so much time making notes and adjustments that all of sudden it 4:45pm and I had to shower and change AND COOK for my dinner guest who was due to arrive at 6:30pm.

Well, when I started this blog it was during the time I was awaiting the arrival of my dinner guest.  Peter assured me she would be at least 15 minutes late; By the time it was 7:25pm I wondered if she thought I had said 7:30pm.  THEN the light bulb went off and I said to Peter, “I wonder where she is, she hasn’t called, God, I hope she didn’t email me”  I looked at my phone and there was an email from 11:15am from her asking me what my address was.  Of course I didn’t see that one or hear it come in as I was knee deep in receipts.  There was another one at 6:15pm saying she was walking out the door and by the way, what is my address?  OH BOY! I was cooking like  a madwoman at 6:15pm!  GENERATION GAP!  We’re wondering why we haven’t heard from her and she’s sitting home because she can’t find any emails from me, can’t find my business card and of course since she’s under 40, the idea of calling information and assuming we might be one of the few relics that still have a land line, never entered her mind!  So we called her and Peter scolded her because he just doesn’t get that they communicate almost solely through electronic messaging and hardly ever use their phones to actually talk!

But since she showed up bearing flowers and is as much fun to be with as ever, all was well within minutes.  It turned out to a witty conversational evening and the food wasn’t too bad either!  Just for the record, I made Chicken Paprikash, Steamed Asparagus and my new favorite salad of Arugula, Farro, Tomatoes and Olives.  The recipe for this great dinner party salad is in my blog post; https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/farro-and-arugula-salad-tasty-tidbits-tuesday/.

We had a lovely evening playing with the old Edison phonograph and showing off the portable record player we’ve taken to Central Park picnics and talking about old movies and new!  AW is a kindred spirit, we hope to see her again soon…maybe we’ll catch her stand-up comedy act!


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When my daughter and her husband moved to Florida at the beginning of this year, I was devastated.  Well actually I still am because I miss my little Finny so much.  I enjoyed having them nearby even though I didn’t see all that much of them, they were still close , and often I would pick Finley up from school or take her there.  

My husband and I took her to the Metropolitan Museum and were looking forward to immersing this bright little girl into the culture that’s so readily available in The City. Alas, she’s gone to Florida and is now taking tennis lessons and learning Spanish.  She was just getting to the age where the adventures were about to begin.  Finley is intelligent and curious and very observant so any little outing with her was exciting. 

Her parents certainly exposed her to the theater while in NYC and took her to the many child-centered events held in Manhattan.  She went to see Mary Poppins, Annie and shows like Pinkalicious and some show where the performer created monster bubbles.  There were more too. We went to the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show together every year since she was two!  I even made her a hat to wear in the Easter Parade! Her other grandparents took her to the Empire State building and other wonderful sites in the City.

I knew that if we went to the Village she would find it fascinating or Chinatown….so many places, so much to see and now she’s gone.  I’m hoping we can bring her to New York for a week sometime soon and keep the City alive for her and not have it become a distant childhood memory.

And where is all this leading up to?  Well actually I didn’t sit down to write a lament about how much I miss Finley Ray, it sort of just came out on the keys.  Chiara, my daughter, sent me a photo yesterday and it prompted me to want to muse about life after New York City – See for yourself!!!


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Now that there’s less than two weeks to Christmas, I hope it’s safe to assume that your home is decorated for the holiday!  With only 12 days to go, you still have time to shop, make and find the PERFECT GIFT for your husband, child, best friend, sister, boyfriend, teenager, grandparents, mom and dad. This is my blog and if you’ve been reading it, you must know there’s going to be NO MALL shopping here!!   When you want to find a special and interesting unique kind of present, look to the Museum’s gift shop.  Of course we are lucky here in New York City because we have so many museums to go to and many are within walking distance to one another. BUT you can order online and have items shipped to you AND of course your own local museum might just the treasure trove  you’re looking for.

1.I love this one! Have you ever sat on the subway or a bus and seen two teens sitting next to one another, each with one ear plug listening to one iPod.  This is the answer.  A Branch Earphone Splitter.  You can plug in 4 sets of earphones.  Available at MOMA Item #91785.  Priced at $10.00
2. Palette Tissue Box:  A SUPER gift for your office mate or anyone with a home office.  Space is always a premium and this is a great space saver.  Available at MOMA Item #96731.  Priced at $15.00

Super Space Saver

Super Space Saver

3.  Etch A Sketch:A perennial favorite.  A gift that encourages your child’s creativity as well as coordination and keeps them busy.  Good for car trips.  Recent renewed popularity due to the past presidential election. Available through MOMA or Amazon or ToysRUs. Priced around $15.00

4. Note Cards:  Tired of receiving birthday greetings and well wishes from your kids or best friend.  A thoughtful gift which might give the recipient some thought. Every museum has an assortment of note cards and stationery, many with reproduction art from the museum.  Prices vary.

5. Flash Drive: On the other hand, if you have a techie on your list, this gift will be appreciated. One can always use another flash drive and why not one with personality?  The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers some very unique flash drives priced at $29.95.  You can get an Egyptian mummy, William, the blue hippopotamus or a guitar. I wanted to keep these gift ideas under $25.oo so for a flash drive you might want to go to your local Staples.  Look what I found!  Priced at $14.99

Let's play Angry Birds

Let’s play Angry Birds

6. Picasso Poster Art:  Picasso Exhibition Poster from The Guggenheim Museum.  Sure to please any art lover on your list, this black and white poster #14550 is available for $25.00.  Suitable for framing.

7. P-51 Mustang EZBuild Model:   A hands-on gift.  The Museum of The City of New York has several model kits available.  They snap together, no glue needed.  What young person on your list would love this project?

8. Free Form Magnet Board:  This is a gift that will bring out the artist in your child.  It’s a wonderful take-along toy for a long car ride.  No mess, no fuss.  No pens, paper, crayons or pencils. Use a stylus to draw and erase with your finger. Fun along the way. Available at The Whitney Museum Item# 70487. Priced at $24.00

Free Form Magnet Board

Free Form Magnet Board

9. 1939 New York World’s Fair Umbrella: You can always use another umbrella!  This item is available at The New York Historical Society, Item # 29468.  It is a pretty sky blue with illustrations of many of the exhibitions from that fair.  Priced at $19.95

10. Beatrix Potter plush Jemima Puddle-Duck Beatrix Potter has given several generations stories and tales of Peter Rabbit and his friends. Jemima Puddle-Duck is available at The Morgan Library,  # x6061.  Priced at $16.95.  Isn’t there someone on your list who would like to cuddle with one of these soft and cuddly characters.  Also available:  Mr. Jeremy Fishter and Peter Rabbit, priced at $12.95/$13.95

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She (Georgia) made a fortune painting scenes which she referred to as “A View From My Window” and her husband, Alfred Stieglitz also cashed in on the same views…except he photographed them.  If my friend Trish is reading this, she would know this is just how the 80/20 rule works!!  For those curious readers who would like to see some of Stieglitz’s work, it is on exhibit now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art along with Edward Steichen and Paul Strand.  The exhibit is huge and encompasses several rooms – definitely worth the trip.  Ahhh but I have digressed a bit!

Back to the view from my window which is a) not my view, b) not my window but c) a generous contribution from my friend, Gail.   So for your viewing pleasure, although other than your envious friends in Florida or California,  I’m not sure how much pleasure you can take in YET ANOTHER BLOODY SNOW STORM!!!  Snow doesn’t paralyze the City BUT this one did a good job because with the 19 inches that fell Wednesday night, bus service was suspended, cars were buried completely, the streets were not plowed very well if at all and generally the only people who really enjoyed it were the kids!  Mothers and kids everywhere on Thursday were toting saucers, snow boards, sleds and toboggans of all sizes heading to the parks around the City to enjoy YET another snow day.


East 89th St. snow storm

View From My Window


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Sundays in the Park with Murray could be a whole photo series unto itself…but for today I selected a few that make up a Fourth of July celebration in the middle of January.  Central Park, as you know, is a photographer’s canvas for all seasons.  Well if you read this blog, of course you know because I publish Murray’s photos depicting Central Park and its flora and fauna all through the year.  Our most recent snow fall provided a great backdrop and an integral component of this RED WHITE and BLUE  series.

Central Park, NYC, Murray Head, cardinal, snow storm

Knee Deep in Snow

photo by Murray Head

Central Park, New York City,

Blue on White Quite a Site

Photo by Murray Head

snowy branch, Central Park, New YOrk City, Murray Head

Cardinal Contemplating the Snow Situation

photo by Murray Head

Central Park New York city, Murray Head, snow storm,

Struggling Through the Snow

photo by Murray Head

bull dog, snow storm Central Park New York city, Murray head, snow saucer

Look Ma No Hands!

photo by Murray Head

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Temple de Dendur, Metropolitan Museum of Art, ...

Image via Wikipedia

New York City has been called many things; The Big Apple, The Capitol of the World and is described in the most eloquent of terms, AND I call it a Cultural Cafeteria – a phrase that came to me a couple of weeks ago after we saw two movies that hadn’t been released yet and went to a Judy Collins Concert held in the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art all in one week. And that’s only an itsy-bitsy smidgen of what goes on every night in Manhattan.  It is really mind-boggling!

Here’s a random sampling:  The opera, Das Rheingold opened at The Metropolitan Opera.  The play, Brief Encounters, a British-born production played at Studio 54, The Joyce Theater featured the Batsheva Dance Company, The New York City Ballet Company performed Barber Violin Concerto and Opus 19/The Dreamer.

Angels in America, first American revival of Tony Kushner‘s masterpiece is in previews at The Signature Theater, the Film Forum is showing The Bridge Over the River Kwai and it doesn’t end there.  Well anyway, you get the picture!

First we saw You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, the latest Woody Allen film – it was good, I liked it and I haven’t cared for some of his more recent movies.  I think it was good that he wasn’t in it and it was very different from his earlier movies which were all about Jewish angst and Manhattan.

Then the next night we saw Jack Goes Boating and this WAS shot in real-time, I swear.  Very very slow.  It had its poignant moments and I always like to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman although this character was particularly sloppy, fat and very unkempt.  I wish he would lose some weight.

The next night it was Judy Collins in Concert – the venue was the Temple of Dendur in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. What a place! What a voice! What a body! Judy is a wonder, she is 71 years old!!! Her range of octaves is phenomenal, her figure slim and her voice beautiful.  We were crying when she sang Both Sides Now– the nostalgia swept thru the mostly baby boomer-semi-hippie crowd.  We all had memories associated with that lush love song.  Her show was full of glorious praise for her now-hometown, New York City and peppered with quips, anecdotes and self-deprecating remarks-she was really funny.  She ended her show (which ran over in time) with a heart-wrenching rendition of Bring in the Clowns which brought the 200+ audience to its feet clapping and clapping and clapping.

Special for me was the fact that I, an adopted New Yorker,  was sitting in the Temple of Dendur attending an evening concert.  So many nights as Peter and I drove through the Central Park transverse we would see crowds in the Temple and wonder what was going on there after hours and how come we never knew!

What a night! What a week! I LOVE NEW YORK!

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