A morning walk, New York

Mexican Liberty, Thompson street, NY. We flew to New York the week-end before Thanksgiving. A strange (COVID-wise) yet wonderful comeback to the great city. This mural by Kobra was one of the first things we saw the day after we landed. (Liberty 1. Liberty series. Yep. A new series.)

New York natives were friendly. Though the dressing codes have changed a bit since our last visit. (Traveller 899. Started a new count for NY Travellers). We did see a few who appeared to have cut and tailored the living-room curtains.

The cat watches…

… the bird. Artist: Mako. At Broome St bar. West Broadway, South of Houston. Our first New York lunch on Saturday. Great hamburgers, but a bit of a scary experience. Though proof of vaccination was perfunctorily asked at the entrance, no patrons wore masks, Saturday brunch crowd in full, everybody having a good time. Wide bar, close tables, I was wondering about the amount of spittle floating in the air… (I kept my hat on, against all my English grandmother’s principles)

Somewhere in Tribeca. Though it won’t show on those posts, I was surprised to find less street art in New York than I expected. Select places only. But good stuff.

Ground Zero. A place and a moment of great emotion.

Kobra again, at the WTC. Must have a signed a huge contract with the city. Hmmm. Eduardo Kobra. Born January in Saõ Paulo, January 1st 1976. (Easy birthday). Much talent. We’ll see more of him.

One of the two pools built instead of the two towers. Very moving. Endless flow of water. The names of the victims engraved all around the perimeter. With small American flags placed by relations or friends on a name or the other.

Canal Street station at Barnes & Noble. Couldn’t go to New York and not buy books, could I? (Don’t know about the artist. G.Keller? Can’t research’em all)

Central Park at the reservoir. Damn Uber took us from Tribeca all the way up to 96th street and back down… Tsss. The reservoir brought back images of Jackie O. Not sure why. And Lennon of course. We didn’t go to Strawberry Fields. Next time.

Matisse. 1941. MOMA. You all know my fondness for Matisse. Though the reservation process has become more complicated with COVID, I was jumping with excitement at the thought of going back to the MOMA… A unique place. Now compare with the following:

Marylin in Chinatown. After a little while one gets one’s bearings. Soho (South of Houston) is further divided between “Soca” (South of Canal. Just made that up.), Chinatown, and “Noca”. (North of Canal Street) i.e. Little Italy. Going back to Marilyn, will the artist ever end up at the MOMA?

Night and…

day. The first one, “Starry night”, is at the MOMA. Both painted in 1889, a year before Van Gogh’s death. The second, “Wheat field with cypresses”, is at the Met. Never before had I realized, how each painting seems to be a mirror image of the other. Can’t “do” MOMA without the Met, right? Guggenheim? Not this time. Just saw it from a distance…

Les demoiselles d’Avignon. MOMA. Picasso, 1907. I always thought Picasso had “gone” to Avignon, France, to paint it, but no. The original title seems to have been “The brothel of Avignon”, named after the street of Avignon in Barcelona. Models were prostitutes in the whorehouses there. (The gallery manager suggested the other title might be an easier sale). Good salesman as Picasso was, he managed to make everyone believe that this was the first Cubist painting, pushing Braque in the shadows.

A bit of skyline “rupture”? Our Airbnb had a good view… The December cold shows in the winter light.

“And then we saw the daughter of the Minotaur.” Leonora Carrington at MOMA. A surprise. I was not expecting her there. Carrington (Lancashire 1917- Mexico city 2011) was a major figure of Surrealism. Escaping from France in WWII, she settled in Mexico in 1942 and stayed there. A major painter, she also was a sculptor. Her sculptures were exhibited on Reforma Avenue in Mexico city a few years back… Amazing artist. (Where are those pix?) 🤔

Anna Zborowska, by Modigliani, 1917. MOMA. Anna Zborowska (1885-1978) was a Polish émigrée whose husband was an art galerist. She became friends with Modigliani (1884-1920) and helped sell his works through her husband’s gallery. Let’s hop to the Met for a sec:

Woman’s head by Modigliani. 1912. Metropolitan Museum of Arts. What a surprise. I didn’t know Modigliani sculpted as well. Of late I have realized that many of those famous artists “crossed” over: painters took to sculpture, sculptors took to painting. All in the name of human representation. Modigliani died in 1920 of tuberculosis at the age of 35. TB was the major killer until antibiotics came in after WWII.

Zig-Zagly-hair-parted Traveller watching a perpendicularly-lined Mondrian. MOMA. Traveller 898. Mondrian is one of a kind.

“No way like the American way”. (“At the time of the Louisville flood”), 1937. By Margaret Bourke-White. Born in 1904, she died in 1971 after 18 years of Parkinson’s disease. Despite her – relatively – short active career she was a pioneer for women in photography. (MOMA)

A former client of mine. Campbell’s. Not Warhol. (I wish). MOMA.

New York, Shanghaï style. I wonder what Iwai whisky tastes like? (Not for me, I don’t like whisky. What? With an English grandmother?) 👵 This Emoji popped up as I wrote “grandmother”. No. My grandmother didn’t look like that. Do you hear me in Cupertino?

Liberty 2 on Broadway and Leonard. (Don’t look for it. I also make up addresses when I forget where the picha was taken.) (Take notes? Nope)

Liberty 3 and the money safe. Met. The liberty statue is a model by Bartholdi as he was working on the final project of the statue France gave to America. Architects were Viollet-le-Duc and Eiffel… (Didn’t make it up. Just read about the architects. Knew abnout Eiffel, didn’t about Viollet-le-Duc who restored Notre-Dame and many other historical buildings in the 19th century). The safe? I don’t know whether it really is a safe, but from afar it does look like Liberty and the Money safe, “don’t it”?)

“Instruments of power”, by Thomas Hart benton, the Met. c.1930. That is part of a series. Very strong paintings. Power indeed in the 30’s was that: trains, planes, combustion engines. Those of power then were Ford, or McDonnel Douglas, or Boeing. Rockfeller? His name is everywhere in Manhattan. I wonder what painting(s) in 2030 will render today’s power? From Gates to Bezos to Elon Musk? What are today’s instruments of power? And will the above mentioned donate their art collections to the Met and/or the MOMA? (Do they have art collections?)

“Cayó Federico con la sangre en la sien…” Federico (García Lorca) fell with blood on his temple. Many years ago a former Spanish Prime Minister was invited to Apostrophes, THE greatest French literary TV programme. Felipe Gonzalez recited those lines in tribute to the Spanish poet born in 1898, executed by Franco during the Spanish Civil war in 1936. This is a wonderful piece of street art, but what is it doing in Little Italy? (Will you stop asking questions?!)

Lawyer in a diner”. Tribeca. (Traveller 897). Good diner. Good breakfast. Perfect for the cold outside. I was concerned the “lawyer” might get catsup on his nice suit.

“I’m not interested in competing with anyone, I hope we all make it.” The bayfaals, by Jordan Casteel (b. 1989), on the High Line. The High Line is a splendid idea, turning an old elevated railroad into a park and a great walk. It runs from Gansevoort St, 3 blocks below 14th up to 35th. West side. Good art along the way. Casteel is another talented young artist. Went to Yale, no less. (Think about the phrase about ‘competing’ for a minute…)

Reach. For. The.

Stars. (Hudson yards, at the end of the High Line.) Artist: Elle Street Art. Young and promising. Again.

Captain and crew thank you as always for taking this long walk with us. Happy December 🎄

111 thoughts on “A morning walk, New York

  1. You packed a lot in to this one post my friend.

    Love the native’s flashy outfit.

    Thanks for the photos of the 9/11 tribute. I haven’t been in a while and I was wondering how different it looked. I had seen the fountain on my last visit and it is pretty. Just wondering when they will make the exterior more pleasant looking.

    The Matisse is lovely.

    MOMA has the starry night eye? Quite a get. Can you imagine what that painting is worth?

    I agree with your sentiment about so many of the great artists doing paintings, drawings, sculpture. I only started realizing that too as I travelled around to museums dedicated only to one artist and saw the breath of their work. Its amazing to me they can be so good at so many things. I suppose that is why they are the greats!

    I feel like I saw a Thomas Hart Benton exhibit at De Young a while back. It was interesting.

    • I was near the meatpacking district. LOL. NY warrants “packing”, right? (And I’ve already preselected half a dozen similarly packed posts).
      Hadn’t been to Ground Zero yet, we tended to stay more uptown or midtown. It is very moving. And the Matisse? NY has good works of his. And yes, the starry night. (I’d seen it before but forgotten about it. Must be worth 80-100 Millions?
      So you did pick that too? bout the scope of what they could do? Now the last artist? Elle at Hudson yards? She can’t be more than 30-35. She did that mural with spray cans mostly. What an eye and a hand…
      De young is a great museum which you recommended to us. I didn’t know about Benton. Very powerful work, particularly in retrospect almost 100 years later with all the changes happening. Think about your own discipline? How much it has changed since you started…
      Take care Jenny. I’m sure we’ll be in touch until them, but… Merry Christmas. Have you put up the tree yet? Little C. Must have. Here, Little G. set up the Xmas crib and lighting the way HE wanted… 🤣

  2. THAT WAS ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!!!! Did I say that loud enough. Amazing street art and such a taste of NY. Wonderful post. Loved all of it (except for picasso…don’t like him). I’ve been reading about Carrington. What a life. Horrible family (not unusual). She’s very interesting an free spirit. This was great. Thank you.

    • Thank you Gigi. I thought you might like it. Never been to Chicago, but I understand they have outstanding museums there.
      Carrington was quite a Lady. Picasso was… what he was, but he did bring something to art. (Basically destroyed it in fact.)
      Take care.

  3. Depuis que j’ai vu le Le Naked Cowboy à Times Square, en plein mois de novembre, la “folie” des new-yorkais ne me surprend plus. Cela dit, je les trouve aimables et serviables. C’est bien le seul endroit où j’ai vu une personne s’arrêter, en me voyant au coin d’une rue, scrutant une carte, pour me demander si j’avais besoin d’aide.

    Merci pour ce voyage qui a réveillé quelques souvenirs.

    • Ravi de réchauffer ta mémoire… C’est un endroit génial. Difficile. It can be cut-throat. But it’s part of the fun. Et effectivement le naked cowboy doit être payé par la ville. Pas vu ce coup-ci, pas eu le temps pour Tines Sq.
      A +

  4. Great to be in NY again, in your cool (the girl and Mondriaan!) pictures Brian. I envy you being able to visit Moma. When I was in the city Moma was closed due to moving back to their own place after being situated in a temporarely site. Bummer. So I missed the beautiful chicas from Carrer Avinyo and Modigliani. Bummer again. But, the earth still tunrns and NY ain’t running away. So Bij leven en welzijn (Deo Volente) I’ll be seeing them one day. Greetings from a not very cold but damp and grey Netherlands.

  5. Depuis que j’ai vu le Naked Cowboy, en plein novembre, à Times Square, je ne suis plus surprise de l’originalité des new yorkais 🙂
    Cela dit, je n’ai jamais rencontré des gens aussi serviables que dans cette ville. (Au coin d’une rue, alors que je cherchais mon chemin sur un plan, une personne est venue me demander si j’avais besoin d’aide. C’est plutôt sympa.)

    Merci pour ce voyage Brieuc. Il a fait remonter quelques souvenirs.

  6. I love them. What a grand and wonderful post. The street art is amazing, I look at them and I wonder how the artist did them so well. Museums were something I loved in my youth. I was lucky to get stationed in Germany in the 1980’s and they had so many wonderful museums. Where I live now in Southwest Florida there are no places like that, but I get to see some grand stuff in your posts.

    How have you and your family been? I hope you are all well. Best wishes. Hugs

    • I remember you were in Germany during the last of the Cold War, when any maniac could push the final button…
      Glad to be of help with “virtual museums”.
      All well thank you. Merry Christmas.

    • Marylin was grand.
      Now, Bourke-White? She was a great photographer. One who can catch the whole scene and its irony in a second and press the button.
      One day we will have a long discussion about “the American way.”
      A+ mon amie,.

  7. Thank you for this banquet of art! It makes me think I might want to stop avoiding NYC like Dantes’ seventh circle of hell. (With the exception of traveler #899; he gave me indigestion.) I particularly like the painting of Anna Zborowska. She looks so elegant and self-assured.

    • Do you now? Avoid NY? It is a crazy place, but so… full of energy. Contrasts… I spent several months there after Grad school. Trying to get a job in the publishing industry. Failed miserably but don’t regret it a minute.
      Traveller 899 was unbelievable. So much so I had to ask him for a photo… 🤣
      Well, Modigliani is Modigliani, right? The lines are so simple, yet so expressive.
      Do try NY one of these days.
      Merry Christmas Liz. All set?

  8. Looks like you had a great trip! I haven’t been back to New York since 9/11 … I don’t think I ever can or will, but maybe some day. Anyway … great pics! I love the guy’s outfit in the 2nd photo! The “No Way Like the American Way” one resonates even today, doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing these cool photos, the great street art and more. Sorry I haven’t been around for a bit … been struggling with serious health issues and just now beginning to regain a small bit of energy. Cheers!

    • We did indeed. Don’t know how many times we can still go bac. Travel seems to be increasingly complicated.
      And yes, that photo caught my eye. Could be today. Kentucky?
      Issues? Sorry about that. Are you and will you be better? health is THE single most important stuff we need to care about. The fact that you are getting some energy back is good. I hope you will be all right. Hugs

      • I haven’t flown since 9/11 and vowed never to again, but I do hear from friends that it is becoming more complicated. Heart issues that have probably been building up for a year or more, but hit hard one night in early September and since then, I have been largely confined to a chair or bed, as being on my feet for more than a minute or two causes me to become dizzy & disoriented. I spent 11 days in the hospital and discovered just how poor healthcare is in the U.S. Since then I have had a variety of tests and ‘procedures’, all of which have failed to solve the problems. However, in the past two weeks I have been feeling just a little stronger … I can now walk all the way into the kitchen and get my own water, though I cannot seem to stand on my feet for more than about 5 minutes. Sigh. I don’t know if I will be any better than this, but I keep hoping. Thanks for your caring & concern. Big Hugs!!!

      • OMG. Those are serious issues. 11 days in any hospital is enough to make anybody worse. And I’m afraid healthcare is deteriorating everywhere. Do you have a diagnostic? The fact that you didn’t go into surgery is maybe a good sign. I understand some of the best treatment for “afterwards” is moderate exercise. fixed bicycle and walking short distances at first then longer. BUt don’t trust me on that. I ain’t no MD, no ma’am… The fact that there is some progress is a good sign. Ask your cardiologist what your next steps are. And I’m sure you will get better. Your daughter (and granddaughter (?) are living with you right?

      • A number of things happened all at once, unfortunately, and what one doc wanted to focus on seemed to downplay the rest of the issues. Still, I am slowly improving and will likely have the Cardioversion process sometime after Christmas. I am refusing to go for any more tests or procedures until after Christmas! I’d trust your judgment more than I trust most of the docs I’ve dealt with over the last 3 months! None … and I do mean NONE of them seem concerned about the patient, about my mental health, depression, etc, only about the one body part they specialize in. Yes, daughter Chris and granddaughter Natasha both live with me and have been my lifesavers, doing the things I’m not able to do, helping me up the stairs at night, fixing my meals and even cutting up my food! I am truly blessed to have them!

      • Cardioversion? So you have arrhythmia? I’ll ask MD daughter later on. She’s not a cardiologist, but she’s very good. If I’m not mistaken, arrhythmia should normally be fixed easily… BUt true, enjoy Xmas, and thumbs up for your “girls” to help you get over this. And you will. Hugs

      • That is only a part of the problem, but the cardiologist is hoping that will help, although not likely solve all the problems. Yep, the girls are my lifeline! Hugs, dear friend!

  9. Thank you for this flight, of fancy. The line about competing is one of my favourites, attributed to Erica Cook (whom I don’t know). Is that the woman in your mural? What a glorious tour, almost like being there. The view from your B&B was indeed excellent.

    • That line did catch my eye. I always told my competitors: “Relax: there is enough to eat for everybody.” The people in the mural are Fallou and her brother, Baay Demba Sow. Probably form Sénégal. Don’t know Erica Cook. There seems to be too many. That quote appears in goodreads…
      Anyway, a splendid sentence.
      Buona notte

  10. Thank you for taking us there I was born 69 years ago in New York in upstate New York and I never left I’m still here at 10 years old was lucky enough to go with my aunt and her new husband to Montreal go over the st. Lawrence bridge go through Montreal and Toronto and Quebec and remembered everything it made a big difference in a little girls lonely said abused life and it’s been with me and inspired me all these years and with your work I can travel anywhere we all can thank you it’s good to be back after two eye surgeries it’s been over three months of not having prescription glasses that I need all the time but hopefully things will start looking up again good to read your stories I’m typing this I have my eyes tightly closed and hoping that I’ll come out and not make an ass of me because that usually puts words in that I haven’t said but take care and thank you

    • Well, well. Upstate is nice too. I lived there a short while. Not too far form Manattan. Can’t remember the name of the place…
      Glad to have you on board for my “crazy” travels”
      But above all, congratulations on your surgery. 3 months is a good length of time to start recovering. And don’t worry your words were fine.
      Merry Christmas.

  11. That was a spendid tour! Thank you. It is great you got to travel again — and share with us. I think the traveler in gold beats Marilyn by far! Extra thanks for the Modigliani.

  12. Great post with art to feast on!
    The street art – museum masterpieces and love the pitcher in traveler 899!
    Also, the Marilyn was superb but her foot was too long – but that might be kinky picking

    And so did the Uber driver charge you more for the long route?

    • Glad you liked it. There were technical issues with the Marilyn painting. The foot? Could be the angle in which I took the picture. I’ll check.
      Of course Uber charged us “more”. They’re now about at par with taxis. Grumpy, overcharge, etc…
      Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones… 🎄

      • yup – we noticed that with Uber and Lyft – they are right up there with taxis
        and we did the math on a trip to south Florida (in 2020) and we would have saved money with a rental car (and paying daily street parking for it) compared to the Lyfts/Ubers we got. go figure.

        thanks again for the culture and the art amigo – this post is worth another view (as usual)

      • well I will do just that – come back and enjoy some travel via blog

        I know – crazy that Christmas is so close – hope yours is a good one

  13. You gotta love NY!!! I am happy to see the city is reviving again, especially after the strict guidelines imposed due to the pandemic. The last time I was in New York was 2019. I went to a Jazz concert and to the MET…the MET is a great place to check out artwork. The collection is so extensive that you need more than a day to view and absorb everything lol…glad you enjoyed yourself!

    • Ahhh! Indeed. After so many years and so many times, the magic never stops.
      899 was… unbelievable. I couldn’t stop my self from asking for a picture. Which of course he gladly accepted. That’s New York.

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