the whitney

After years of preparation…The Whitney now has a new home in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan allowing more exhibition spaces, classrooms, restaurants…and a-m-a-z-i-n-g views from multiple terraces and windows.  Since this is the fourth home in their 84 year history…I’m always interested in learning more behind the scenes kinda stuff…and somehow it always ends up fascinating.

In a nutshell, the original gallery was founded by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney…the aunt of Gloria Vanderbilt who happens to be the mom of Anderson Cooper.  Well anyway, Gertrude accumulated such a huge collection of arts that she offered it to the Met Museum who turned it down.  So she decided to open her own museum in 1931 with the focus exclusively on the art of American artists. Fast forward to the 1950’s and to handle the growth another move was made directly behind the Museum of Modern Art.  In ten years more space was needed and another move was made to the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  And now, almost 50 years later another move to the Meatpacking District in the area of Manhattan bordered by the West Village and Chelsea.  I’m wondering if the Met Museum ever had remorse over not pursuing her collection!

So here we are…in an area known for its nightlife and restaurants, as well as The High Line…(the park on the elevated section of an old railroad track)…an area exploding with growth.

What I liked the most?  The size of the rooms…large enough to accommodate huge pieces of art as well as enough room to not feel crowded…the unexpected performance artists that would just appear out of nowhere…and the views…oh the views.

The Whitney Museum NYC

Now how could I not take this shot!

I guess it is all about getting up close and personal with a Lutz Bacher (artist) titled Playboys.

I guess boys will be boys!

The Whitney Museum NYC

 

The Whitney NYC

The Whitney gives us art inside and out!

So many levels…so open and spacious…

The cost of admission ($22) is worth it just to see so much of Manhattan, the Hudson River and beyond…

The Whitney Museum NYC

Views from the Whitney Museum NYC

The Standard Hotel and The High Line

Views from the Whitney NYC

The Whitney Museum NYC

And now I’m off to Peru!  It’s been 16 years since I’ve visited…so hard to believe.  Why does everything seem like yesterday?  This was the most challenging trip (or really anything that I’ve ever done) in my entire life so far.  The physical stamina to hike for four days reaching altitudes of 13,000 took months of preparation.  I can still visualize in my mind the effort that it took on a couple of days just to put one foot in front of the other.  But this time will be totally different.  It’s a week to learn and support the non-profit Esperanca as they kick off the new surgical program (similar to Nicaragua) as well as new agricultural projects.  So there’ll be a little adobe making, home painting and of course…taking part in a potato harvest as Peru raises thousands of varieties of potatoes in the Andean mountains!  So stay tuned!

Peru in 1999

on the Inca Trail in Peru in 1999

 

See you in a week or so!  gg

 

my hood…most livable

The Beacon on Broadway

The Beacon on Broadway

It’s interesting because all during my corporate career whenever I travelled to New York City, I never spent any amount of time in the Upper West Side neighborhood.  But it was six years ago this month, when I went looking for a place to spend my year (ha ha) in NYC…that I walked the streets and fell in love with this part of Manhattan.

gotham girl

2009…six years ago…seems like yesterday!

Why the Upper West Side?  It had such a family atmosphere and a sense of community…not to mention a safe feeling to it.  So it was no surprise when I read an article this week that the Upper West Side was named the second most livable neighborhood in the country for people 50-plus.  “Despite its expensive housing, the Upper West Side offers a multi-generational and walkable community with great restaurants, world-class culture, cheap and convenient mass transit, as well as easy access to gyms and Central Park jogging paths.”

Eleanor Roosevelt statue in Riverside Park

Not only do we have Central Park, but Riverside Park…with Eleanor Roosevelt at the entrance…

So let’s focus on world-class culture…just a week ago it was a performance at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.  I’m so fortunate to have this 16 acre complex only ten blocks from the apartment.  An evening with The New York City Ballet was exceptional…compliments of a great gal I met a couple of years ago while we were both photographing…thank you Darial!  I’ve never been one for ballet…even though I took ballet myself for many many years as a child. Could it be age? Don’t know, but I think it also had something to do with the amazing talent of Amar Ramasar who just took my breath away!  No doubt…this Bronx born dancer is going places and fast.  You can witness it yourself it you have time for a three minute video here.  (Believe me, after watching that first video, you’ll understand why!)

72nd Subway Station

72nd Subway Station…five minute walk to an express subway!

Then along came an opportunity this past week to see an off-Broadway play in a small, intimate theatre – The McGinn/Cazale Theatre – just two blocks from the apartment.  I mean really…two blocks – a three minute walk! The play titled “The Other Thing” is about a journalist gathering information about ghost hunters in rural Virginia. Written by Emily Schwend…”It’s about storytelling and fathers and sons and mothers and daughters. “It’s about the rage I feel sometimes as a lady navigating her way through a world that caters to men.”  Trust me…the story and the acting kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.  A great performance by John Doman, James Kautz, Bhavesh Patel and Samantha Soule. The organization responsible for it all…Second Stage Theatre Uptown.  Their mission is to help develop and provide exposure for the voices of a new generation of theatre artists…so for more than three decades they have launched the successful careers of numerous directors, actors, playwrights and artists.  Wonderful!

Riverside Drive in the Upper West Side

Riverside Drive in the Upper West Side

And then last night an event at Symphony Space…just a short subway ride north on Broadway… a reading by Sally Mann, one of America’s most renowned photographers.  Her latest book – just released this week – Hold Still is a revealing memoir…and what better way to be introduced to it but to hear parts of it directly from Mann herself.  Down to earth…articulate…funny…and obviously one heck of a writer based on her reading, not to mention this is her ninth published book.  Oh, and a MA in creative writing doesn’t hurt either.  Her photography has been exhibited in the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney, the Museum of Modern Art and many others. It’s those black and white images filled with drama and moodiness from her 8×10 view camera and unique printing style that just woos me.  If her name sounds familiar you may recall all the controversy and negative criticism when Mann published a number of nude photos of her children while growing up on their farm in Virginia.  Regardless of how you feel about that…there’s no doubt she is one talented lady.

So I’d say the publisher of the article (AARP) was right on…however, perhaps I’m biased…but in my eyes…my hood is definitely number one! I ❤️ the Upper West Side!

~~~

Coming up?  A visit to the new Whitney Museum and where I’m off to next!

 gg

 

bursting in bloom!

New York Botanical Garden

New York City is just bursting in spring color right now…so what a treat to get out to a few of the gardens…from Central Park…to Wave Hill…to the New York Botanical Garden…color is everywhere!  Not to mention a day trip to Wayne, Pennsylvania to visit friends!

As I write this post…the cherry blossoms are barely holding…so it’s snowing petals big time in Central Park

cherry blossoms in central park

A rare opportunity to visit Wave Hill at dusk…an estate gifted to the city of New York exactly fifty years ago…and celebrated with an art installation consisting of three sculptures that provided various reflections through mirrored and colored plexiglass. Not overly impressed with that part, but loved being able to walk through the 21 acres and take in those magical twilight moments…

Wave Hill, NYC

Art installation reflection…

Wave Hill, NYC The Lightening

And there was a short trip to Wayne, PA to visit friends, as well as to celebrate their second boutique opening!

Congrats to the Mushmina gals!

Thanks for the inspiration from your store window…

now I know another use for my tea pot purchased on my last visit to Morocco!

Mushmina in Wayne, PA

 Just walking around in the neighborhood of Wayne…soaking in the color was an added bonus!

Wayne, PA

And then there was the New York Botanical Garden…oh my…oh my….

spring at the New York Botanical Gardens

Peony garden NY Botanical Garden

and the amazing peony garden…some with a bloom span of seven inches!

Peony Garden at NY Botanical Garden

 and the azalea garden?  A-M-A-Z-I-N-G….

NY Botanical Garden

New York Botanical Garden

So much beauty in our world!  And if you happen to be wondering about the softness around the corners of some of the images?  Well…for all you photographers…play with a touch of vaseline on a cheap filter…so much fun!

Hope you’re all finding color in your week!  gg

the museum mile…

spring in New York City

So remember a week or so ago when I visited the Cooper Hewitt Museum?  Well just a block or so away a sign caught my eye…Self: Portraits of Artists in Their Absence.  Hmm…interesting…so once again I found myself in this amazing mansion from the early 1900’s.

From self-portraiture in the 15th century…to the selfie today…it was all part of the exhibition at the National Academy (part museum/part school) in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. This exhibit explored the relationship artists have with their own image and the evolution over the past 200 years. Well the National Academy didn’t have to look far to find a collection…it’s been collecting its own since 1825.  Seems each associate of the Academy is required to donate a portrait of themselves.  So today it boasts one of the largest collections of American painting, sculpture and works on paper in the country.  The exhibit variety was excellent…photography, paintings, sculptures, printmaking, mixed media, and video…and creativity?  Oh my yes.

And speaking of creativity…since I’m still in the process of my impressionist photography class…when I came across this wonderful wooden self-sculpture…well…I just had to play a little!  Wonder what the artist would think if he saw this?

National Academy SELF exhibit NYC

Moving throughout the three floors…

it was the stairwell that intrigued me so and where I spent most of my time.

I ❤️ round windows…

stairwell of National Academy Museum & School NYC

Looks like the students made this their own personal area!

One of the best quotes I found written on the wall…

Sing with all the voices of the mountain…paint with all the colors of the wind!

 Isn’t that a song?

stairwell at the National Academy Museum in NYC

So after all that…I continued to make my way back home and found myself surrounded with way too many hot dog vendors in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  So I thought the circus atmosphere was a place to use a little impressionist magic on all that craziness.  On a side note..that’s what I love about Museum Mile…within just a few blocks along Fifth Avenue you have access to eight museums!

NYC hot dog car in front of the MET Museum

And as I made my way across Central Park…I just had to take a peek to see how the cherry blossoms were coming along…and sure enough they were only a day or so away from exploding!

cherry blossoms in Central Park

But a week later and there’s no doubt…spring has sprung here in my city!

cherry trees in central park

Hope you’re having a great week!
gg

it’s the details for me…

jinotega, nicaragua

I’ve always been a person deep into the details…as a child, during my corporate career and especially in my photography.  Case in point…while visiting Jinotega in Nicaragua a month or so ago, a morning was spent in a local community to better understand the process of bringing clean water to the villages in the area.  It was here that I made a conscious effort to capture the bigger picture with my camera, but inevitably…I always ended up enveloped in the details.

There was the overall image of the countryside…but let’s face it…it was the softness of the spanish moss, the colors of the lichen, the details in the tree bark that really spoke to me…

in the hills of Jinotega, Nicaragua

 

spanish moss in nicaragu

 

spanish moss in Nicaragua

 

spanish moss in nicaragua

 

tree bark in nicaragua

 

tree bark in nicaragua

 

Then there was the water storage tank…but really…it was the patterns and the textures of the worn and aging paint that could’ve keep me photographing for hours…

water storage tank Jinotega Nicaragua

 

Abstract from Nicaragua

 

abstract nicaragua

 

And the cowboy and his horse?  Well…it was really the worn silver, the aging of the leather saddle and the corse hair of the horse’s mane that whispered…photograph me!

cowboy in nicaragua

 

cowboy in nicaragua

 

horse in nicaragua

 

But, when I came across a local farmer who happened to be taking a break from clearing brush?  Well that’s a totally different story!  Oh…the love of photographing people… even though I really loved his hair and his knife!

Jinotega, Nicaragua

 

(I can guarantee he never expected to come across me!)

I’ve really come to accept the fact that the big picture doesn’t interest me…I like the tight close-up shots…honing in on the details…an area that many never pay attention to.  That’s the fun part of this journey…figuring it all out…what works for me and what doesn’t.

Do you have a preference?  Do you like big picture or the details?  Would love to know!

gg

inspiration for any age…

Iris documentary

 

If you would see Iris Apfel on the street, you’d definitely take note.  Most likely you’d be first drawn to her signature thick, round glasses…hmmm…or perhaps it would be her huge high-end costume jewelry…or maybe her handcrafted and exotic pieces of clothing from all over the world…it’s hard to say.  Regardless, you’ll know her when you see her.  To me Iris is a walking installation of art and fashion.  I’ve seen her once…it was my first year in New York City and way before the photography bug…

Anyway, then along came Easter in 2011 and that’s where I had the pleasure of meeting (and photographing) Albert Maysles, the great American filmmaker.  Even as Maysles entered his mid eighties he was going strong filming the cast of characters who were all dressed up for the Easter parade on Fifth Avenue.  Maysles was known for “putting the camera at a very close distance and letting the subject unfurl itself” and certainly made a name for himself with the productions of Grey Gardens and Gimme Shelter.  

Unfortunately Maysles passed away a couple months ago at the age of 88, but not before he completed the documentary on Iris…and I went to the opening this week and it was awesome.  A film that captures creativity, glamour and spirit…I mean really…here you have two people – eighty and ninety some years old – and doing what they love…and will continue to inspire all generations…a real treat!

 

albert maysles

 

 

Albert Maysles

 

 Rest in peace Albert…you made a fabulous film!

 gg

 

 

that face

children of nicaragua

From the moment I heard Trysette’s music, I fell in love with her voice.  It immediately made me think of Emmylou Harris…Sarah McLachlan…a touch of Adele…a little raspy and oh so heartfelt.  So appreciative of her allowing me to use one of her songs with my collection of children’s faces of Nicaragua.  From her album…Le Cafe Ancien…the song, That Face.

As the taoist proverb says…the journey is the reward…

The Rio Coco was definitely a journey….

and oh what a reward to be able to photograph and share these adorable faces!

xo, gg
P.S.  I’m not thrilled with the video quality…
it doesn’t do justice to the images captured…
but you’ll get the idea!

finding inspiration

So what does one do when it’s spring, but the temperatures are beyond chilly and the winds are whipping the little blooms right off the trees?  You go to a museum for inspiration. It’s interesting, I’ve never been a museum person until I found my passion for photography.  Somewhere along this journey of mine I heard someone say…museums will give you inspiration, and it doesn’t have to be just a photography exhibit.  How true I’ve found that to be.

Ever since a couple of years ago when I walked by an amazing mansion on the Upper East Side here in Manhattan and learned that it was being transformed into a 21st-century museum, I’ve eagerly awaited the opening of…The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

Cooper Hewitt Design Museum NYC

But in full disclosure, it wasn’t the museum per se that I was eagerly waiting for…but just the opportunity to see inside of this home…as the beautiful copper and glass canopy at the main entrance certainly had me at hello.

Cooper Hewitt Design Museum

Just imagine back in 1898 when the owner, Andrew Carnegie, decided to purchase property way north of where his peers were living.  There he built this 64 room mansion for him and his wife to raise their daughter along with their 20 servants.  Not to paint him as someone who flaunted his wealth…from what I’ve read he purposely moved to this area to escape the highfuluting behavior of the people living along Millionaire Row in the Upper East Side.   Carnegie also bequeathed considerable amounts of money to his staff as well, as he considered them members of his family…not to mention what he did with his fortune by establishing over 2,500 public libraries and other institutions of higher learning.

I’d read up a little on the mansion prior to my visit.  Articles that mentioned Carnegie’s insistence on modern technology…the first private residence with a structural steel frame…one of the first to a have a residential Otis passenger elevator…a sub-basement that housed a minature railroad track for a miner’s cart to get coal to the boilers to heat the house…one of the first to have air conditioning…the list goes on. Now imagine what Carnegie would think if he knew his home had turned into one of the most technologically advanced museums in the country!

Cooper Hewitt Design museum in niece

Upon arrival you’re given an interactive pen to use on various touchscreen tables throughout the museum…making the museum experience much more interactive.  As an example…the Immersion Room.  Oh my…one can play designer and explore an amazing collection of wallpapers.  By using the pen and touchscreen you can explore patterns and color, mix and match borders while projecting it all on the walls of the room.  Who thinks of this stuff??   There’s so much…the Process Lab where you can design solutions through both hands-on and digital activities.  Wow.  Not only a museum, but it’s own on-site, degree granting master’s program making it the authority for the study of design in the United States.

Even the stairwells have design!

stairwell in Cooper Hewitt in NYC

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and happy to be a member…and can’t wait to return to spend more time playing designer and learning more about the mansion transformation.  Then not a block away…I came across the National Academy Museum & School that just happened to have an exhibit…self-portraiture…or as we know today…selfies!  More on that visit another day.  It was equally as awesome.  You gotta love New York!

Hope you’re enjoying your weekend!  gg

 

 

enchantments

Enchantments in the East Village NYC

An aura of mystery…an Addams Family kinda feel…(assuming you’re old enough to remember that show)…and a whole lot of grunge…just the way I like it!  Welcome to Enchantments in the East Village of NYC…filled with friendly witches…personable cats…and lots and lots of incense, candles, essential oils, resins and herbs. Oh, and a great selection of books (occult themed) and cards…think divination and tarot. Oh, oh, oh…and then there’s magical tools…witches brewing pots and such. But if you’re looking to cast a spell on someone…you’ve come to the wrong place…no black magic…only good intentions are promoted here.

It’s obvious from the constant movement of customers to the back of this tiny little store that people are interested in their custom-carved candles. After you belly up to the candle bar, you explain your scenario and the candle witches go to work by customizing a candle and a ritual for you to take home. Perhaps you’re trying to bring clarity to a situation, improve your relationships, or clear away obstacles…whatever…there’s a candle to help you with that.

What really got my attention was the huge collection of pewter talismans hanging above the checkout counter. Now you have to understand…I have an evil eye from Turkey, a hamsa from Morocco and Turkey, a bronze four leaf clover over the entry of both homes, the feng shui mystic knot from Chinatown, a buddha amulet from Thailand and of course numerous buddha statues purchased locally or from travels. So….of course a talisman was a must to add to my growing collection. So I looked and looked and came across the travel talisman. Of course! It was perfect…as the travel talisman is designed to bring good luck, unexpected adventures and protection from accidents, theft and illnesses.

My travel talisman is about an inch in diameter and interestingly enough…handmade in Connecticut right here in the states. If you’re interested, Enchantments has an on-line store within their website if you can’t make it to the city.

pewter travel talisman

I know it all sounds crazy…but I just love these bits and pieces of cultures from throughout the world. And hey…every little bit of good karma helps, right?

Anyway, if you’re into this kind of stuff…Enchantments on E. 9th in the East Village is a must the next time you’re in the area!  Just to poke your head in and look around is a real treat!

~~~

p.s. this isn’t a paid advertisement…
I just enjoy sharing unique and interesting businesses when I come across them…
have a great day!  gg

weekend menagerie…

A gorgeous weekend in my city…just meandering around…no agenda…

 let’s see…I came across Earth Day celebrations in Union Square

Union Square Earth Day 2015

Union Square Earth Day 2015

 and PETA was there promoting their Ride the Horseless eCarriage…

(to replace the horse carriages in Central Park…boo)

PETA eCarriage in NYC

and down on the lower east side

a work in progress…

BIG CITY OF DREAMS…

Lower East Side NYC

and then out the blue…<smile>

out of the blue in niece

and to finish the day…a stop in New York City’s oldest occult store…

But that’s for another post on another day…so stay tuned! gg