A busy week. I feel uncomfortable about not supporting the Green Party candidates but am voting for Biden for obvious reasons. I’m not a fan of the two major parties and was relieved that I can vote Biden/Harris on the Working Families Party Line.( Row D in NYC.)
Adm. William McRaven endorsed Biden.
Adm. McRaven: “I am a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, small-government, strong-defense and a national-anthem-standing conservative … But, I also believe that black lives matter, that the Dreamers deserve a path to citizenship, that diversity and inclusion are essential to our national success, that education is the great equalizer, that climate change is real.”
I’d like to shake his hand across several aisles.
On to a glorious photo by Molly Heron.
A friend and I went to the Museum of the City of New York. Aside from two other people we were the only guests. Recently, we have also been to other quasi-deserted museums. Imagine being alone with THE blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History.
The Museum of the City of New York photos document the city’s beginnings from 1609 to the present. The museum asks, What makes NYC NYC? The answer: money, diversity, density, creativity. We went from exhibit to exhibit, from the opulent, genteel Stettheimer dollhouse to the Activist New York exhibit that explores racial issues of today.
We went to the Guggenheim on a very wet, chilly Friday. The current exhibit is a long winded account of the effects of city and country life. The exhibits range from banal to almost interesting to amusing. The art is tucked away in the permanent collections. Once you’ve gazed at Pollack’s Muse, looking at wheat production in several countries in the sixties loses its appeal.I think the most beautiful part of the Guggenheim is the building. Would Frank Lloyd Wright be hired today? I doubt it. I give the owners and administrators full marks for repeatedly repairing major structural defects. Its cylindrical shape dominates the east eighties. The ramp that sweeps from the ground floor to the top floor is a stroke of genius.
Micah Bucey writes tiny prayers. I found this prayer solace after learning about the Michigan governor’s narrow escape, our president’s support of right wing vigilante groups and about cars used as weapons against peace rallies.
Today’s Tiny Prayer (for those who fear that their vote won’t count):
May you stay vigilant about voter suppression, outreach, registration, and turnout, but while you wait and worry about the numbers, may you also think of your own vote as a sacred spiritual offering, not simply one tiny piece within a vast system, but a love-filled representation of the vastness of your own heart, a prayerful symbol of your continuing commitment to nudging this country into transformation, a hope-fueled vessel for the change you wish to see in the world, and as you cast your own vision into the sea of visions, may it open you up to an invigorating understanding of just how necessary your participation always is.
To lift our spirits I’m recalling a recent trip to Coney Island. We went on a weekday. I think it was a Friday. Coney Island by C. I. standards was deserted. Rides were shut down, permanently (?) but we managed to eat a hot dog, take a brisk boardwalk walk and then have an enormous lunch at Nargis Cafe. We were three people. One of us isn’t afraid or self -conscious about ordering everything on the menu. We had Spring salad with Feta cheese, home-made white bread, mixed spread platter, potato dumplings, deep-fried beef dumplings, chicken kebab, lamb kebab. For dessert we had assorted Baklava. The food friendly friend ordered take-out for all the food we had just eaten. We then walked down the street to an enormous supermarket filled with cooked food. The foodie bought a few dozen items. Then we went home to Manhattan.
MOMA is my second home. Since childhood I’ve visited art works that have become old friends. Picasso’s Three Musicians, Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie , the helicopter hanging precariously for many years come to mind. Not to mention the movies or as we say at MOMA the films. This was my first visit since March. Few people, attentive staff and the wonderful, big art work I associate with NYC.
In the afternoon a friend and I went to the Morgan’s jazz from 3 to 5. It’s a casual affair. The BeBimBop Trio played soothing music. People drifted in and out. At the break we went to the David Hockney exhibit. Am I glad we did. Before yesterday I had not appreciated Hockney. That’s changed. His portraits of himself and of friends are revealing. He’s accomplished an enormous amount of work. There’s a video of him leafing through notebook after notebook.
We hiked around the American Museum of Natural History. Most New Yorkers know about the controversy surrounding the Teddy Roosevelt Statue. He’s on a horse and is flanked by a Native American and an African American. The museum has mounted a terrific exhibit explaining the three figures background and the thoughts of many different ethnic groups. Ever since George Floyd’s savage murder, I have been coming to grips with my white privilege. The museum is staggering in its complexity. The dark rooms add to the mystery of the exhibits. If you take the subway and get off at 81 Street and Central Park West, you can feast on the charming wall figures.
We went to the Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park. Who knew Bus #4’s route ends and begins in front of the Cloisters? Instead, we took the A to the Dyckman Street station following the directions posted on the Cloisters website. Image yourself in a forest searching for a castle. Also imagine a forest in which there are no signs and kindly people who give you conflicting directions. Once there, it was glorious; a crisp fall day, a few people, historical, lush gardens and the medieval masterpieces of three monasteries Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Trie-sur-Baise. The Cloisters was funded by Rockefeller and opened to the public in 1938.
We took a Harbor Line sunset cruise on Wednesday. First, a delicious all fried supper with enormous tumblers of strawberry daiquiri. Then, we hopped on the 23 Street crosstown, got off at the last stop, made our way to Pier 62 and boarded a snazzy schooner for a two hour sail around New York Harbor. At the Statue of Liberty we turned back to Pier 62. The New York skyline is magical at night. Part of the magic is listening to the lapping of gentle waves and the silence on the water.
On Friday we hiked around the American Museum of Natural History. Most New Yorkers know about the controversy surrounding the Teddy Roosevelt Statue. He’s on a horse and is flanked by a Native American and an African American. The museum has mounted a terrific exhibit explaining the three figures background and the thoughts of many different ethnic groups. Ever since George Floyd’s savage murder, I have been coming to grips with my white privilege. The museum is staggering in its complexity. The dark rooms add to the mystery of the exhibits. I took many photos which I’ll be sharing in months to come.
We went to the Morgan yesterday. Remember actually, physically being in a museum? We had to sign up and were given a specific time: 11 a.m .sharp! Once there, the staff was pleasant and accomodating. At that hour I counted six other people.
In the East Room: the Library we saw the sculpted bust of Belle De Costa Greene, a member of a prominent African-American family who was secretary to J.P. Morgan and to his son, Jack Morgan. Miss De Costa dropped her father’s surname, Greene, and passed for white. The Library is a sumptuous room: the regal and pious statue of St. Catherine, the rare books, the ceiling paintings and tapestries.
In the West Room: Pierpont Morgan’s Study are the powerful portraits of Pierpont Morgan and J. P. Morgan frowning down at the room.
There are contemporary exhibits. I had seen the Jean-Jacques Le Queu exhibit on an earlier visit and treated it like one of those shows you go to for name dropping. I must have had my eyes shut. This time around I was astounded by LeQueu’s beauty and daring.
The well known photographer, Wally Wentick, took a glorious, impressionist photo of Central Park.
A tale of two Roman Catholics: Well, there’s Cardinal (Prince of the Church) Dolan speaking at the Republican National Convention and there’s Sister Elaine Roulet who helped female inmates bond with their children and created innovative programs for mothers both in prison and after release.
A friend and I took the ferry to Hoboken. We left from the downtown Brookfield Place Terminal. Ever have the happy experience in crowded NYC of being the only one on the subway? No other car on the block except yours? We were the only ones on the ferry. It was a blissful, short trip to the Hoboken Terminal. Remember wood, brass, marble, Tiffany glass? It’s all present in the 1907 terminal. Once again, there were very few people present. We cut through the train station, a look-a-like of London’s Paddington Station, and took the Hudson River walk before heading back toward the terminal. Hoboken has become posh. I’m not kidding. What would Frank Sinatra say?
On Friday, A friend and I clamped on GOVERNORS ISLAND. We took the twelve noon five second ferry from the Maritime Building at the Battery along with ten million bikes and children, landed at Soissons and trotted south around the island. We passed Castle Williams (closed) and Half-Moon Battery (closed). After we walked around the southeast corner near Buttermilk Channel, we came upon Collective Governors tent city !!!! After gawking at the tents and peering at the double bed in the single tent rooms, we looked at one another: Could we, should we, dare we enter these hallowed grounds? The answer is evident. One of us was a native New Yorker and the other was a real estate agent. The employees at the entrance couldn’t have been more welcoming. We decided to have lunch and were escorted to a tent with an open view of New York Harbor. So Laurence of Arabia. Perfect luncheon of Rockefeller oysters, watermelon salad, flatbread and lots of beer. We politely snickered at the thought that our fellow diners (seniors, white and Asian) were paying close to $700 a day for the pleasure of bragging rights that you slept in a tent on Governors Island – or attempted to. The Ladies Rooms were across a gravel yard, past a fence opening, up a ramp and voilà, you had arrived at three little bathroom/shower combos with a sweet little vanity table. After, we circled around to the Soissons land and caught the three p.m. ferry back to Manhattan.