New York, New York August 2009

a section of the Mosaic at Grant's Tomb

a section of the Mosaic at Grant's Tomb

I managed to pull it together to get to New York a bit for part of my vacation.  Took the overnight hound in (my usual M.O. or “method of travel” though I sometimes train in or fly or get a ride).

Day one, Tuesday,  August 25th:

A nice day (warm to hot),  in the NY late Summer.  I got by the Guggenheim museum and saw selections from the “Sweeney decade.”  These included works by COBRA painters Karel Appel and Pierre Alechinsky.  Other favorites were paintings by William Baziotes, Willem De Kooning,  Jackson Pollock, Jimmy Ernst and Antoni Tapies. 

There was also a small expressionist show.   The “regular collection” included some strong Van Gogh and Picasso work.  They’re in the process of dismantling the Frank Lloyd Wright show to make room for Kandinsky.

at the Guggenheim Museum

at the Guggenheim Museum

I got by Central Park a bit.  I noticed that Cecil Taylor was performing last night at the Highline Ballroom.  I finally got there (after a lot of walking in the heat) only to find the show had been postponed until Monday next week!

He’s one of my favorites so that was a big let-down.  I’ve had similar experiences here (most recently when I tried to go see the late Blossom Dearie, a unique jazz singer).  I guess I should phone first, or check the website.

It was too late to go to a movie or something so I just wandered the streets, a shoulder bag on each shoulder, not too heavy, luckily.  I got by Union Square.  14th street is still an interesting walk, with it’s own lively flavors.

There’s a sense around town of the Summer ending and University students preparing to start new studies.  I just love going around the city, keeping my eyes and ears wide open.  Just seeing over a thousand people in one day, can help “recharge my batteries.”  New York has a lot of human energy.

I’d liked to have shot some video, but the store I was using for cheap video cameras seems to have discontinued the product.  They sold a one-time use video camera give it back to you on a DVD after “developing” it.  I also didn’t bring an audio recorder so I’m limited to “stills.”

I took the subway to Brooklyn and caught up with my old friends Bill and Margie.  They’re great people and excellent hosts.  Thanks for giving my hat a home here, now and then.

Of course, I slept like a rock and am about to head out for day two, Wednesday, August 26:

I went by a used bookstore and food a 1970’s book on the visual art of Victor Hugo.  Stopped by a French-style cafe for coffee and breakfast, very good.

I took the subway to Times Square and 42nd Street.  With a few breaks, I walked all the way to Grant’s Tomb in Riverside Park.  This is around 122nd Street, so a good walk.  Much of it was through Central Park.  It was a beautiful day with golden sunlight and not too hot.

There I caught most of a set by Frank Wess.  He played tenor sax and flute.  He’s an interesting figure in jazz.  I think he started playing in the 1940’s.  He knew Ben Webster and Lester Young.  He was in the Count Basie Orchestra in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Last night, he had a quintet, bass, drums, guitar and baritone sax.  It sounded great.

I got his 2008 CD, Once Is Not Enough, met him briefly and got it signed.

I went back to Brooklyn and got by Freddy’s Bar in Brooklyn.  I visited with Bill and some of his friends, got back and slept. 

Now, I’m about to head out for day three, Thursday, August 27:

I saw my friend Bill Carney off, on his bike ride to work. Then,I caught up with my friend Patrick Dodd.  I got to visit and tour his place in Brooklyn.  That was good.
Then I went down to MOMA, found out they were open late so I decided to go do other things andcome back.  I walked around the Village, Lower East Side, Tompkins Park neighborhoods (never got to Chinatown, Wall Street etc.).  I ended up at “new museum” on Bowery, some good shows there especially “Black Panther artist” Emory Douglas.
On the Stoop

On the Stoop

After that, I walked around some more and got back to MOMA for an hour or two.  The highlight was the James Ensor exhibit, just amazing.   He’s one of my favorite painters.  He’s a real wild man: colorful, satirical, vulgar, funny, experimental (what a show).   He worked from the 1870’s to the 1940’s.  I’ll write more on him, eventually.
I also got through parts of the regular collection, a”music exhibit”  and an amazing accumulation of “junk” from China.  They had a small wooden house.  Everything that was once inside of it was all spread out, on display.

Then I walked around that neighborhood, made my way to Port authority and my bus.  Had worse luck on the return trip/ they over booked the buses so I was stranded 4 or 5 hours in Cleveland.  I got a lot of reading & drawing done.  I can always find something to “entertain myself.” 

The next day, back in Detroit, I got to sing and play music at the People’s Arts Festival.   Both the Don’t Look Now Jug Band and Space Band gigs went  well. 
World Famous Fun City

World Famous Fun City

Musician, Frank Wess:
Artist, James Ensor:
Related to my “Magical Recycling” Post?
Artist, Emory Douglas:
Grand Central Station, Tuesday

Grand Central Station, Tuesday


3 Responses to “New York, New York August 2009”

  1. Gary Freeman Says:

    Sounds like a great trip. Too bad no vid this time.

  2. Robert Hyde Says:

    Who is buried in Grant’s tomb?

  3. New York, August 2010 « Adventures and Resources Says:

    […] […]

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