Day: July 13, 2009

Cooper Hewitt Design Museum

Sunday, after sleeping in to recover from the Williamsburg adventure, I walked up to 5th and 90th to visit the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum.  The museum, a branch of the Smithsonian, is located in one of those grand old 5th Avenue mansions.  The museum is in the process of a renovation, but there were a few excellent exhibits.

Fashioning Felt displayed the various uses of felt, including processes of making felt and new ways of using felt, such as in haute couture or for furniture.  The exhibit included a fascinating recreation of a royal yurt, all beautiful drapings and floral abstractions with layers of felt.  Videos in the last room were accompanied by swaths of fabric, which helped satisfy my five-year old’s need to touch everything.  Felt isn’t a fabric to which I had given much thought, so it was intriguing to see an arts-and-crafts staple transformed into high art.

Design for a Living World was really fascinating: the Cooper Hewitt commissioned ten designers (some well-known, such as Isaac Mizrahi, a representative from Kate Spade, and Maya Lin) to journey to diverse habitats and create works of furniture, jewelry, clothing, and other usable items from sustainable materials found in those areas.  For instance, Isaac Mizrahi made a dress out of salmon skin leather, a renewable resource found in Alaska.  A separate website for the exhibit provides further information on the various projects of each designer.  The most amazing piece, in my opinion, was jewelry carved from the beautiful, ivory-like innards of a seed found in the islands of Micronesia, made by the designer Ted Muehling.

There was also a small exhibit curated by the artist Shahzia Sikander, drawn from the Cooper Hewitt’s permanent collection.  She focused on a lot of small, detailed illustrations: books, illuminated manuscripts, decorative scrolls and the like.

After browsing the museum I decided to take my nerdy book outside and sit in the really gorgeous Cooper Hewitt gardens. The gardens are lush and well tended, and provide a lovely oasis on the Upper East Side.  Evidently it is also a hang out for older individuals: I saw several older couples with portable watercolor sets, painting flowers and other scenes in the garden.  I also took a seat near an older couple who, I think, just started dating.  They were flirty and giggly and generally adorable, so I made up a narrative in my head that they were both widowed and had found romance again after extreme loss.  I hope that they are happy.

Visitors cannot take any pictures inside the museum, but I was able to take some of the outside of the house and the garden.






Anyhow.  Reading in the garden was a pleasant interlude.  The rest of Sunday was spent running errands, going to the gym, and watching some of the Harry Potter marathon on ABC family to prep for Wednesday’s release of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Glee!


Picking up where we left off!  Yes, Saturday was a long day.

As you may recall, Phil and I had inadvertantly witnessed a fish catching/potential mercury poisoning on the 5th street docks in Williamsburg.  We retreated from the docks and back to Bedford Avenue, where we met up with Chris and his bandmates in Morningbell at the Charleston, a bar near the Bedford Avenue L stop.


Yay Chris!  I only see Chris one or two times a year tops, so it was excellent to see him.  He is another one of my massively multi-talented friends: musician, photographer, comedian, and an excellent satirical writer.  Also he is sartorially hip.  An all around winner, in my opinion.

We hung around outside the bar for a bit, and were joined by Ashley–yes, a veritable Pine View reunion was on our hands.  Eventually we grew antsy with standing on the sidewalk and so took a walk around Williamsburg.  Because New York always has ridiculous happenings we stumbled upon a street carnival and, oddly enough, a photo shoot taking place at said street carnival.


We decided this was a real photo shoot because she model was so skinny.
We decided this was a real photo shoot because she model was so skinny.

We also (well, minus Chris because he had to set up his drums, and plus Santosh because he finally joined us) got yogurt at a Pinkberry/Red Mango rip off.  Ashley made me take a picture because she is aware of my need to document food.

Thanks Ashley.

Post yogurt we went back to the Charleston to hear the sweet tunes of Morningbell.  Additionally, with some cell phone fumbling, I met up with a friend from undergrad who was scoping out NYC apartments (Hi Laura! It was awesome seeing you, if only briefly!)

Morningbell is awesome and I am not just saying that because I am friends with them.  I really think the music is unusual and textured while still being extremely listenable and fun.  The music pulls from Prince and the Flaming Lips and Beck and Radiohead and lots of other bands I really love but it sort of mashes them all together and spits out something new–with a lot of falsetto and groovy guitar and theramin.  I am not doing the band justice.  Check out their myspace page and listen to their music for yourself!  Also, they had a guest friend from Gainesville play some trumpet, which brought a nice brassy (get it?) effect to the last few songs.





Post concert we stumbled out of the underground performance area, ears throbbing and thoroughly pleased by the performance.  We spent the next few hours Pine View/Sarasota/University of Florida (really, so many Gainesville people there; the guy who booked Morningbell was wearing a Satchel’s shirt) reunionizing and taking pictures in these weird red-lit alcoves and eating the free pizza the bar provided with the purchase of a beer.  Good times with good people.





This is what happens when you get an iPhone.

Once Chris had repacked his drums we made a mass exodus to the L-Train and headed back to Manhattan.  Santosh, Ashley, and I weren’t quite ready to call it a night, so we decided to head to Artichoke Pizza and try one of their fabled slices.  Well, Santosh had been, Ashley had never been, and I’d read enough about Artichoke to want to try a slice.  Santosh got the artichoke slice (pizza with some sort of odd goopy salty artichoke slice), Ashley got a regular magherita slice and I got a Sicilian slice.



This was the messiest pizza I have ever eaten y’all.  I tried a bite of Santosh’s pizza and I think, should I ever return to Artichoke, I might try that slice.  The Sicilian slice just didn’t maintain its shape–the sauce and cheese was sliding around everywhere and I couldn’t even pick the pizza up to eat it.  I wish I could speak more on the taste but honestly I had such a hard time eating it I can’t even report back–I assume it tasted good, it was certainly bold, and I can understand how it is awesome after a long night of drinking but still, really messy y’all.

And that was my Saturday–finished, finally!  I’ll let y’all decide what time I finally stumbled home.  I’ll update Sunday tonight–probably today (Monday) too, just to keep on track.  Only three weeks left in the city, I can hardly believe it!