Tag Archives: NYC

At MoMA: Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde

Last November, we went to the opening of the Diego Rivera murals exhibit at MoMA.  The line to get into the exhibit was so long that we didn’t even get to see the art – we just stood around, drinking (free) wine and people-watching.  Not so bad, especially considering the people-watching at these MoMA openings is pretty top-notch, but still kind of a let-down.1

Last Tuesday, we went to a MoMA opening and were actually able to see the art.  (This is not to say that we didn’t enjoy the free wine and the people-watching.  The people-watching was especially great: some guy was going around with a fake flower/tree sprouting out of his jacket shoulder.)

We saw  Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde, which opened to the public yesterday.  It’s a collection of some interesting stuff, but the exhibit itself seems too cramped.  Because so many of the pieces are so intense, I would have liked to see more white (or green, as the case may be) space between them – but pictures were stacked atop each other on the walls, and sculptures were crowded onto the same platform.  Case in point: three separate sculptures/mixed media pieces are displayed on the same platform in such a way that we thought they were all part of the same work.

What I consider to be a sloppy presentation aside, there are some interesting pieces there (including something described as molted human skin), and the exhibit is worth a view.

1 We did make a return trip to see the murals!


Do This: Discovering Columbus

At first glance, you might think that scaffolding surrounding the statue of Columbus in Columbus Circle means the statue is under restoration.  Not so!  The statue is in fact the center of an art exhibit called Discovering Columbus.


The artist built a modern living room around the statue.  Before I went to visit, I had thought that the artist had built the Columbus statue its own living room, as though the Columbus statue was living in modern times and needed a living room, but it appears as though the Columbus statue is merely a feature of the living room.  (What gave it away: The statue could never fit into one of those chairs.)

Just because the Columbus statue can’t fit into the chairs, though, doesn’t mean that you can’t – you’re encouraged to relax in the living room and read the magazines and newspapers (but not the books!).  We visited a couple of weeks ago after work, and we found the experience really neat.  It’s pretty crazy being so close to a statue that you usually see from so far away.

Now, my fear of heights is well documented, and I’m sure you realize climbing the equivalent of six stories up some scaffolding was not really my cup of tea.  Once up in the exhibit, I couldn’t quite ever get out of my head enough to totally enjoy myself – which is kind of a shame because the views were amazing, the exhibit is a neat idea, and every detail deserves attention, right down to the pink Americana wallpaper.  Hey, the important part is that I got up there, right?  And now I’m sharing it with you!  Go visit!


This is hardly late-breaking news, but we had some serious weather here this week.  Like most New Yorkers, we didn’t take the impending storm all that seriously.  I mean, we had a hurricane last year.  It was kind of a non-event.

Nonetheless, I woke up on Sunday and realized we should probably prepare at least a little.  We had nothing to eat in our house (almost very literally nothing: one slice of bread, some hummus that had gone off, and a handful of baby carrots), so I ran out to the bodega.  (It was far too early to brave the Pathmark.)  It’s fair to say it was a haphazard shopping trip: bread, dried split peas, apples, chicken broth, bacon, one can of soup, and gum.

We made a real trip to the Pathmark later that afternoon.

And then a follow-up trip that night for ice cream and beer.

hurricane supplies.


And then we were ready for the hurricane.

Neither of us went to work on Monday, but we definitely worked.  At one point I was leading a conference call from the couch, while he was participating in one in the bedroom.  (Good thing we don’t live in a studio anymore.)  The wind was howling outside, but, from where we live, it didn’t seem particularly hurricane-like.

But that crane collapsed, and that facade fell off that building.  And it kept getting worse from there.

We can see the Manhattan skyline from our window, and we were looking out the window when that ConEd substation exploded.  The sky lit up green and flickered, and, if it weren’t for the context, I would have been convinced aliens were descending onto the planet.  We watched as more transformers blew and lower Manhattan fell dark.


This doesn’t look like much. But that’s Manhattan without power.

We were lucky.  Our neighborhood fared the storm well: we didn’t lose power, we didn’t lose water, we didn’t have any flooding.  We have to cram onto shuttle busses to get to Manhattan, but that’s only an inconvenience.  My heart goes out to all the people who lost their homes or loved ones in the storm.

pizza at Sottocasa

Sometimes you just have to have pizza.  That’s how we felt on Saturday evening after we bicycled home from Brooklyn Bridge Park, where we had spent the afternoon hanging out with our friends and their adorable (and energetic!) baby. (Are one-year-olds “babies”?)  It would have felt like defeat to order Domino’s, and I would have been sad that we didn’t have any veggies to supplement the meal, so we Yelped a nearby pizza place (that was not the Luv-N-Oven) and headed out.

After a short detour to Trader Joe’s to replenish our coffee supply (because Sunday mornings aren’t particularly bearable without coffee), we arrived at Sottocasa.  We sat in the backyard, which had picnic tables and herbs growing on the perimeter, and, to my delight, a guy came around offering us a tasting of a sparkling wine and a rosé.  (Rosé is not really my thing, but I’m never one to turn down free wine.)


remnants of the Verdure pizza

We got a tasty (and plentiful) arugula salad to split, and also a Diavola pizza (tomatoes, mozzarella, hot soppressata, black olives, and basil) and a Verdure pizza (tomatoes, mozzarella, eggplant, radichio, mushroom, carmelized onions, and basil).  It was pretty fantastic.

And someone was happy to have leftover pizza for breakfast the next morning.

Hello, 2012!

The first day of January 2012 was unseasonably warm and lovely so, after joining our friends for brunch (where Caitlin made those delicious cinnamon rolls I had been thinking about since last year’s New Year’s Day brunch), we strolled down to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

see the whole set.

Friday night Ethiopian

After meeting a friend for a post-work cocktail on Friday, we headed out into the drizzly rain looking for dinner. We ended up getting Ethiopian at Awash.  I’ve been a delinquent Yelper (and blogger, and tweeter, and social media-er in general …), but I assigned it four stars and wrote it up. Check it out on Yelp, or, you know, below:

We came across Awash on a drizzling, gloomy night when we were planning on Indian food because it sounded warm and comforting. Injera sounded better to us that night than naan, so we changed our plans and had Ethiopian.

We ordered the meat combination, with collard greens, ground chickpeas, and yellow lentils. The yellow lentils were the weak link – and I think that might have only been because they had a milder flavor than everything else. It was the best Ethiopian we had had in a quite a while.

As I see others have mentioned, the waitstaff wasn’t the most attentive, but, at least in our case, I could understand why: the restaurant was busy (including a large party with possibly the loudest, shrillest girl in Manhattan).

Four solid stars.

I think the last time we had Ethiopian was with Johanna and CJ in DC, and it was a welcome change.

hurricane weekend

In case you somehow missed the extensive (read: non-stop) coverage of the weather,1 a hurricane made its way up the East Coast this weekend.


I imagine it goes without saying, but this was my first hurricane.  I’m from central Illinois; a hurricane would have to travel almost 1,000 miles inland to visit my hometown.

New York, while coastal, isn’t usually hit head-on by hurricanes, and, consequently, everyone freaked out. (Well, not everyone. Our waitress at Black Iris on Friday night kept telling me – without solicitation – that it was no big deal.) 370,000 people were evacuated from their homes, the subway shut down – a first for a natural disaster – at noon on Saturday, and there was not a single bottle of water or a D battery to be had in any of the boroughs.

Our apartment wasn’t in any of the potential flood zones and we had both been really busy at work all week, so our preparations were left until the last minute.  While other people were stocking up on canned food, batteries, and bottled water, Marc picked up some vegetables on his way home from work on Friday, I grabbed a couple of bottles of wine on my way home, and we finally got around to looking for our flashlight around 1 a.m. Sunday morning.  Oh, and in lieu of bottled water, we filled up all of our pots with tap water.


hurricane water

And then we waited.

The rain started Saturday evening, but nothing major was happening by the time we went to bed around 2 a.m. We woke around 8 a.m. and listened to the wind howl for a while, but we eventually went back to sleep, and, by the time we woke up again around 11:30 a.m., it was over.

The wind has continued off and on for the rest of the day, but things look pretty much normal around here.  Our neighborhood didn’t suffer any flooding or power outages, and almost all the stores and restaurants were open for business today.  A few trees were down, and a couple of cars had gotten smashed, but, overall, it doesn’t look like somewhere that has weathered a hurricane.

Poor tree

tree down in Fort Greene

I know other neighborhoods suffered more damage and flooding than ours, but, overall, the hurricane didn’t seem to inflict any lasting damage on the city. Of course, the real challenge will be getting to work tomorrow …

1 I’m not sure that there is any possible way for a conscious human being to have been unaware of Hurricane Irene.