Monday, February 18, 2013

A Windy Day

So most of the snow has melted, and the skies were clear and bright today. But the wind!  It was below freezing, and the wind itself was certainly making it feel colder. We had a big agenda today, and did most of it, but it was a struggle, as always, to get up when the alarm rang. Paul had finished an artilce and I had finished the introduction to a special issue of a journal, and we were up late to send them off.

Joel made breakfast with the astonishingly rich and juicy blackberries we are eating in the middle of winter; and we headed out. We rode the subway down to 86th, then walked across Central Park, just south of the Jacqueline Onassis reservoir. Lots of folks running the circuit. I've found it is possible ot run, even when there is snow lining the track, but your hands, ears and face do get very cold. Running in the cold wind would have been pretty nasty on the lungs, I would think.

We were at the Guggenheim by 10.30. I'd seen the name Kandinsky advertised, but in fact this was just a tiny exhibition off the side, of his work between 1911 and 1913. The rest was the work of the post-war Japanese collective, Gutai: some wonderfully inventive works. And what an amazingly beautiful building it is. As you walk down and around, it's amazing to think how much space and light there is around each work. I couldn't help wondering whether the little inner wall would meet modern health and safety standards: it felt just a little low and easy to fall over...  But one of the great things about exhibitions here is that you just go in, start at one end of the spiral and move at your own pace, but in the one direction. So in a group, you don't have to keep checking where the others are: they are either ahead of you or behind...

We then walked back over to Lexington and got the subway down to Astor Place, then walked through Washington Square to the Blue Note jazz cafe for brunch, with a sextet from the Juilliard school. Joel recognised the bass player as having toured Australia with Terence Blanchard last year; and the pianist, Jahann Sweet, is someone he has seen on YouTube. Not a great lunch, but washed down with a mimosa, and some really nice playing, all around the music of Charles Mingus.

After this we headed out into the wind again, and walked quite a few blocks over to Roosevelt Park, where we had read there were some Chinese New Year festivities on; and indeed, we caught the last stages of a procession, complete with long dragons, lions, lots of floats sponsored by community groups, fire twirlers, martial arts demonstrations, and some dancing girls, wearing high heels, very short sparkled blue and silver costumes, long plaits and tassels. Over the parade, people were letting off little crackers, and tossing bunches of little sparkles and streamers. As we walked away, we saw a couple of the dancing girls, their cheerful smiles fading to grimaces and tears as they succumbed to the bitter cold and wind. We also saw a little puddle in the road, filled with coloured tissues, streamers, foils and fragments of colour.

Feeling pretty confident of my navigational skills, even though my phone had run out of battery and we had no map, we wandered back through Little Italy, looking for a decent cup of coffee and a little cafe. Lots of restaurants, but we eventually found a little cafe where we shared a couple of canoli and I had a goodly strong coffee. It takes ages, every time you sit down or get up again, to put on or take off coats, scarves, gloves and hats. But it's worth having all this stuff on when you head off out into the wind again. We were going to head up to the Strand, and again, I was navigating us ok, but then I found the NYU bookshop and I nipped in to pick up Carolyn Dinshaw's How Soon Is Now, which is essential reading for the last chapter of the book I am writing with Tom, who will be here in just over a week. So the writing goes on. 

1 comment:

Rod j said...

HI Steph, yep getting good coffee in New York can become a comsuming occupation. Check out what the aussie barristas are doing over there.

Love Rod j