Month: July 2009

Out of the fire and into the Frying Pan.

Today we were back in the subcellar at work, finishing cataloging the Buckminster Fuller prints.  Which I want.  In my apartment.  Right now.  We also had a group intern luncheon.  They fed us sandwiches and cookies from the City Bakery; the sandwiches were fairly average, I enjoyed my tomato and mozzarella and had a bite of some sort of chicken and cilantro thing that was a little weird.  The cookies were awesome: rich and buttery, though the chocolate chip was a little thinner than I like.  Cookies should have a little thickness and heft. The luncheon was presided over by a panel of former Whitney interns who are now Whitney employees which, I mean, great for them that they were at the museum during a non-recessionary time period where their respective departments were hiring, but their stories of luck and good timing just don’t apply to my current situation.  While it is encouraging to see people who are doing what they want to do and enjoying their jobs, particularly in the arts, the current economic realities just don’t allow for the opportunities the panel employees had when they worked at the Whitney three, four, or five years ago.  Anyhow, hopefully their situation will be my situation at some point in the future.  Fingers crossed, etc.

Anyhow, in more interesting less work related news a group of us from Documentation left work a little early today to pilgrammage down to this really unusual bar in Chelsea called the Frying Pan. The Frying Pan is actually a boat which is docked at Pier 66 on the Hudson River, which, I mean, awesome.  The bar is composed of the boat itself, which sank twice (I believe) before being resurrected in its current incarnation, and a larger slightly more stable barge area with food and tables.

The Frying Pan
The Frying Pan
The Barge
The Barge

Luckily we sat on the barge side of the establishment, as the boat was rock-rock-rocking and I tend to get dizzy when placed on rocking boat-like objects.  The barge was a little rocky but I managed to ignore it if I was sitting.  The table got a bucket of Coronas (so Florida, or at least it felt so Florida to me). I ordered a diet coke and some much raved about Old Bay Garlic Fries.  Said garlic fries were generally seasoned with Old Bay and, more importantly, studded with whole cloves of roasted garlic.  Which I consumed, copiously immediately, I will be sweating garlic for days.

I was supposed to take a picture before I ate half the fries, but the fries called to me, and I forgot to take a picture, hence the half-eaten fries.
I was supposed to take a picture before I ate half the fries, but the fries called to me, and I forgot to take a picture, hence the half-eaten fries.
Seriously this makes me think of Florida.
Seriously this makes me think of Florida.

Anyhow, it was a beautiful summer night, and the boat was on the river, and Jersey was across the river and Manhattan was behind me, and I was with some of my favorite people/interns at the Whitney, and all was well.  I will miss the people in this department when I leave on Monday, and hopefully we will stay in touch, they are solid human beings.

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So after a few hours of enjoying the lovely company and lovely evening it was decided that the boat proper needed exploring.  I decided to brave the unhappily rocking waves and enter the Frying Pan.  Which is amazing: a big rusted mazey interior of old-fashioned boaty goodness.  Everything is old and rusted and dangerous and you can just sort of wander and evidently at night it turns into a ridiculous drunken rocking party, which, awesome.

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I can imagine how creepy/fantastic this boat is when it is night time.  Also, evidently, there was a geocache hidden somewhere on said boat, so if you iPhone folks have geocache, get searching.

All the rocking of the boat sort of drained me of life, so I headed out fairly shortly after exploration and fun.  I decided that I wasn’t yet ready to climb back onto a moving object so I decided to walk from the Hudson and Riverside Drive all the way to the Park Avenue and 23rd street stop of the 6 Line.  Which is far, yes, but I stopped for some yogurt on the way to the subway and the walk enabled my head to calm down.  Also, the walk brought me to Madison Square Park where I saw an odd but charming solar-powered wifi floral set up installed by Prius.

Flower Power
Flower Power

A good night.  Only a few days left.  Ridiculous.  Go to the Frying Pan!  One of the coolest bar-type places I’ve experienced in this wonderful, charming, infuriating city.

Back at the Museum + Extreme Monday Sugar Rush: Two Little Red Hens

Back to work today!  Theresa and I will be downstairs in the subcellar this week cataloging works.  Today we worked on a series of really fabulous oversized Buckminster Fuller prints.  I love getting to see and handle the art, and today we were extremely up close and personal.  My only real coplaint about the subcellar is that it can be a little inefficient, especially when handling large works.  We need art handlers to deal with large prints, so sometimes it can be a little slow if the art handlers are busy.  Still, I really love the prints with which we are working.  Later this week we’ll get to sit in on a curatorial meeting where the curators approve new works–we get to watch said approval and then curate said works.

After work I decided I needed cupcakes, stat.  I trekked across the Upper East Side to Two Little Red Hens and was caught in a monsoon-style rainstorm right when I hit 2nd and 80th.  I battled the rain to the cupcake shop and ordered several cupcakes to go as well as two mini-cupcakes (red velvet and yellow cake with vanilla frosting) to keep me company while I waited out the rain.

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The monsoon eventually reduced to a drizzle and I headed back to my apartment to meet up with Mara, who had to collect her bag before heading back to Chapel Hill;  I’ll be following her in a week.  Yay.

I decided to have some of one of my cupcakes as a pre-dinner snack.

Brooklyn Black Out, Yellow cake with chocolate frosting, red velvet cake
Brooklyn Black Out, Yellow cake with chocolate frosting, red velvet cake

Since I’d never had Brooklyn Blackout I decided to try some of that cupcake first.  The Brooklyn Blackout is a lot of chocolate: fudgey cake, chocolate topping, etc.

Brooklyn Blackout
Brooklyn Blackout

Also, a little something extra on the inside: CHOCOLATE. PUDDING.  Chocolate pudding, in a cupcake!  Genius!

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I love pudding and I love cupcakes so this really was an all-around win.  However I only had a few bites, because I wanted to a) eat dinner and b) go to the gym.  Also c) don’t want to get fat.  I had a few bites of the red velvet for dessert post-dinner (the red velvet at Two Little Red Hens is to die for, lovely and light and fluffy and the cream cheese frosting is amazing).  I’ll nosh on the cupcakes through the week as little snacks.  If I ate all three at once it’d be delicious but also a failure in terms of common sense.

I spent the rest of the evening post-gym cleaning house and beginning to pack.  I have a busy week ahead so I wanted to ensure domesticity while I had the time.  We’re in the home stretch, y’all!

Second to last Sunday in New York City

With Chapel Hill visitors.

Mara, Diane, and I went to the Frick today.  Yes, I finally got to the Frick, which is five blocks down from me so I really have no excuse.  Except that I have been twice before and it is a fairly static museum but whatever.  The Frick is treasure of a collection: every work is stellar (Vermeers! Titians!  Bronzino! Rembrandt! Etc.!) and it is housed amongst the beautiful stately decorative arts furnitures owned by the Frick family.  So basically you are wandering around a dead white man’s mansion, starring at this dead white man’s treasures.  And such treasures.  Along with the aforementioned names there are also many lovely Gainsboroughs and several rooms worth of Bouchers complete with the lovely cherubic dolls faces.  Also, many Whistlers.  Oh and even a Duccio.  The mansion is structured around a beautiful interior courtyard that has a fountain decorated with little bronze frogs.  Frogs people.  Since I’d been to the Frick several times, and since the art presented at the Frick isn’t really my art of choice (beautiful art, yes, but I still prefer my 20th century and contemporary art) I spent a lovely twenty-thirty minutes in said fountained courtyard reading my book.  Very happy.

After our visit to the Frick we parted ways–Mara and Diane to the Met, and myself back home to do some domestic activities and to catch up on my blog.  The Met on weekends scares me because it is so crowded, and I plan on trying to get back there this week for one more visit before I leave New York.

Diane returned around 4:00 to collect her things and head off to catch the train to Saratoga, where her family lives.  Mara and I met up around 5:30 and headed to dinner at Zucchero e Pomodori, this Italian place adjacent to my gym that I have been dying to try.  Every time I walk by this restaurant I see really wonderful plates of pasta and bread baskets filled with delicious looking foccacia.  We timed dinner perfectly: right when we got inside it began to pour and storm torrentially, and the rain let up as soon as we were leaving.  Perfect.

I ordered eggplant parmigan, and Mara ordered a seafood studded pasta.  We were both pleased with our dishes, and I was especially pleased by how light and sweet my eggplant were.  I could’ve used a bit more of the mozzarella with which they’d studded the eggplant, however.

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After dinner Mara headed to Lincoln Center to see one of the films being shown by the Film Society and I headed to the gym for some much needed cardio.  Sometimes you just need to zone out.  I then ran errands, came home, prepped for the week, etc.  Last week people!  I can hardly believe it.  And I am most ready to get back to the Whitney tomorrow and resume my work.

Chapel Hill Visitors

Mara and Diane came to visit on Saturday morning, which resulted in me being an extremely groggy hostess due to the previous night’s visit to Santos Party House.  Oddly I found myself reenacting the iternary I’d stuck to when Jon visited; we walked through Central Park to the Upper West Side, grabbed lunch at the Shake Shack (yes the Shroomburger was as amazing as I remembered, and yes I got some custard, against my better instincts) and then Mara and I trekked around the Natural History Museum.  Diane left us after lunch to meet up with a high school friend who lives in new York City.

Mara and I checked out the rocks and the marine life and the evolutionary tree trunk with the dinosaur bones and generally wore ourselves out, because the Natural History Museum is vast and labyrinthine.

Another view of the giant blue whale.
Another view of the giant blue whale.
Mara and the whale.
Mara and the whale.
Section of a giant red wood tree.
Section of a giant red wood tree.

Diane met up with us so we could all catch the new Whoopi Goldberg narrated show at the Rose Center Planetarium, which was about stars and the creation of stars and the destruction of stars and other things involving stellar astral bodies.  I mean, planetariums are cool y’all, so is space, so are stars, so is Whoopi Goldberg.

We trekked back across the park to clean up and then trekked to Hell’s Kitchen to get some thai food at Wondee Siam.  Dumplings and a salad–you’ve seen pictures of this before.  Saturday was a repeat food day y’all, sorry I cannot provide you with any new food porn.  On our way downtown I led us on a brief detour to the park to find my great aunt and uncle’s bench, which has a really beautiful, lovely inscription dedicated to them by their children and grandchildren.  Another lovely, and personal, treasure, in this city full of wonders.

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We had tickets to an 8:00 show of Mary Stuart, hence the Hell’s Kitchen excursion.  Mary Stuart was written in 1800 by Friedrich Schiller, and features the showdown between Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland.  Literally, a showdown–the two women have a divalicious scene at the beginning of the first act, which is definitely fabricated because Mary and Elizabeth never actually met in person.  Elizabeth I is played by Harriet Walter and Mary Stuart is played by Janet McTeer.  I didn’t realize that the play was written in 1800s; much of the dialogue seemed really sharp and modern.  My knowledge of Mary Stuary is pretty limited, mainly to the second Elizabeth movie, but I know it involves a clash of queens and a loss of heads.  The play also threw together a bunch of men in business suits, conniving and climbing and fighting and basically being men.  The women, in contrast, were dressed in appropriate period garb, perhaps to more strongly emphasize how apart they really stood in such a male-dominated world.  Anyhow, I give major thumbs up to the this play, especially to the two leads, and to how the director really emphasized the similarities between the two women.  Perhaps in another life they could have been friends.  A neat trick of costumes brings the two women full circle–one begins where the other ends, and vice versa.  Also there is a wonderful bit of stage magic which involves rain.  Really spectacular.

Mary Stuart

The show also provided an example of the odd behavior of American audiences; namely, the tendency to laugh at scenarios that are not funny.  I first witnessed this when I saw the latest revival of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, when Philip Seymore Hoffmann drunkenly rails at Robert Sean Leonard.  Not a funny scene, not a funny play, but the audience was laughing as though it were slapstick.  The audience behaved similarly in this play, especially during the second act scenes involving the discussion of Mary Stuary’s execution.  Not funny people!  I suppose audiences laugh because they are uncomfortable but still–beheadings are not funny.  The end.

After the play, and a bit of necessary Red Mango (it does not exist in North Carolina, people, I am trying to get it while i still can) we headed down to the East Village to meet up with Phil and find some sangria.  Because we had a hankering for sangria.  We stumbled into this really adorable little cafe/hookah bar with a lovely outdoor patio called the Cloister Cafe.  I guess it is so-called because of the really odd stained glass in the cafe’s interior.

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Yay friends!

Anyhow, we sated our sangria craving and enjoyed the warm summer night before heading home for much needed sleep–neither Diane, Mara, nor I had gotten much sleep Friday night.

Santos Party House

Was surprisingly disappointing.

We’re still on Friday, folks.  Yes, after Governors Island I cleaned myself up and hauled myself back into the world.  More specifically, I hauled myself down to Canal and Lafayette in Chinatown to check out Andrew W.K.’s club, Santos Party House, with a small gathering of Pine View people.

I’d been curious about Santos Party House since reading this New York Magazine article a few months ago.  Well this sounds fun, I thought to myself.  I love Andrew W.K.  I enjoy dancing.  I like the idea of a laid-back, unpretentious dance space, imbued with Andrew W.K.’s quirky-awesome all-inclusive joyful philosophy of fun for all and all for fun.

I think the publicity etc. has sort of spoiled Santos’ vibe.  We went on a Friday night, which is one of the more popular nights because Q-Tip is the DJ.  Or at least he’s supposed to be, I don’t know if he DJed after I left (which was a little bit before 2:00) but he certainly didn’t spin while I was there, he just sort of flitted about in a green shirt.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So there was initial confusion in terms of entering Santos because the club schedule works via shows, called “parties” in Santos-speak, and there was a mess because the earlier show was overlapping.  Initially they wouldn’t let us in to even just hang out but after a bit of persuasion they let us stand at the bar for the end of the first “party.”  We were then kicked back out into the street for the later, Q-Tip party.  We re-entered the club, paid the cover, etc.  The club is split into two rooms: a downstairs lounge type area which is dark and groovy, and a really great upstairs performance area with a large stage, video monitors with installations, and a giant disco ball.

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We hung out in the downstairs area, which was playing questionable R&B music, until a little before midnight (I think) where when we wandered back upstairs to see the live show which preceded supposed Q-Tip spinnage.  The first band was awful and nondescript.  The second performer, a soul singer with great hair and a better voice named Melanie Fiona, was second, and she was much loved by the crowd.  Probably because she was hot.

Q-Tip and Va$htie
Q-Tip and Va$htie
Melanie Fiona
Melanie Fiona

After Melanie Fiona actual music/dancing started.  And for the first half an hour or so the music was good.  Dancing was good.  Fun was had.  I could understand the vibe of Santos–despite the surly and unfriendly bouncers and the expensive drinks (although reasonable in terms of New York City prices) and high cover–as being super-fun and all-inclusive and in the vein of the neon-colored signs Andrew W.K. posts around the club encouraging dance and joy and drinking and fun.  For a brief period of time, all was well.

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A break-dance circle even happened, which was more fun than it sounds. We also did the Apache, which was definitely was more fun than it sounds.

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It was all downhill from there, alas.  The club got too crowded, to the point where I couldn’t even dance because I kept getting jostled by pushy hipster girls with horrible hair cuts and large men with questionable intentions.  The music got repetitive and boring, and became entirely not-danceable.  Also, it got hot.  And crowded.  And boring.  Really, more than anything, it was boring.  Which, you never want a club to be boring.  So a little before 2:00 I left.  There was a line outside the club, a long line, and it would probably just get longer.  Maybe Q-Tip started spinning after I left?  Maybe that made it better?  Either way, I’d be willing to check out Santos on another night (not-Fridays have rotational “parties,” including less-known artists and even performance pieces) but I think Friday night at Santos + Lindsay = Failure.

Or maybe I’m just getting old and boring myself.  Who knows.