Back home with a suitcase a little heavier from some new clothes, but also new books, including a stack of fresh Elevator Alleys, all beautiful and shiny. New York City was good to us, and it was nice to be there and not feel so harried to do everything. We had time to walk blocks and blocks, to go to some museums and galleries, to sometimes choose to spend a night in so that we could order take-out and gossip with a dearly missed friend, to fit in more meals in general.
I love the Met. I haven’t been to all of the major museums in NYC, but of the ones I’ve been to, the Met is my favourite. It’s so sprawling and sumptuous, marble statues and amazing furniture, paintings I’ve seen in books and photographs too. And it’s pay by donation, which is appreciated in an expensive city. This time around my favourite things were Stieglitz’s weird photos of Georgia O’Keefe’s hands and the Paul Strand’s portrait of Steiglitz when he’s old and bitter. We took wrong turns trying to leave until a guard directed us past the gigantic Christmas tree. Afterwards we bought coffee and a cupcake and ate it on the steps, and then walked back to Hell’s Kitchen, cutting through Central Park, and once we made it out the other side, it was dark, and all the windows in Bergdorf Goodman were lit up and there were blinding Christmas lights all the way down Fifth Avenue. (I’m still impressed by all the stereotypical New York City stuff, I admit. I probably always will be.)
I thought I would limit myself to 3 books, but that didn’t quite work out. (From The Strand and McNally Jackson).
NYC is good for enabling whatever kind of food preference you have because there is such a sheer volume of restaurants and diners and food trucks and greenmarkets and specialty shops. I like a lot of bad foods, but you can get such good bad food in NYC that I find it hard to say no to anything. Bready bagels, which are not as a good as Montreal bagels, but I do concede that they’re better vessels for that magic combination of egg/cheese/bacon. Even better was a fresh buttermilk biscuit, split in half. I had fried chicken that was made from chickens that ran free in Amish country in Pennsylvania before meeting their demise. BBQ, including the creamiest creamed corn, studded with hot peppers. One night we ordered in milkshakes from the diner down the street, partially because I liked the novelty of ordering in milkshakes and partially because I just really wanted that milkshake.
The most important reason for being in New York was for Andrew and Michael’s book launch on Tuesday night. Third Ward is a great space in a fittingly industrial area of Brooklyn. We drank book-launch-red-wine and then watched the presentations, first Jean Kahler and Jessica Rowe for their book, The End of New York, about Staten Island, and then Andrew and Michael for Elevator Alley. Michael gave the room information about this unique/important part of Buffalo and Andrew talked to us about his motivations for his photos. When the room finally emptied out, we took the subway back into Manhattan and ate late night Italian food. The books are beautiful, the colours just right. Electric Lit wrote about the night as well.
So, thanks NYC. That was fun. I hope to see you again sometime soon.