Tuesday, March 05, 2013

New York City on a Sunday

This past Sunday the French Tarte and I caught an early bus (Peter Pan no less) to NYC just for the day. The Tarte had registered for the International Restaurant and Foodservice Show at the Javits Center (and signed me up as her "webmaster/assistant") while my goal was to catch the new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: "Impressionism, Fashion & Modernity."

It was still dark when we arrived at the bus terminal and after parking the Mini in the lot next door ($2 for commuters, $8 for everyone else, including us) we walked inside to get warm. Less than 10 minutes later we were on board and tucked into a pair of seats ready to let the world slip by as we cruised down I95 to the Big Apple. I was envious that some who had also gotten up early were able to go back to sleep.

After arriving at the Port Authority at 42nd and 9th (or 8th), I ended up for no particular reason standing in the wrong line.

Susie headed toward the 9th avenue exist and to the Javits while I exited onto 8th avenue and oddly enough found myself face-to-face with. . .

Ralph Kramden. A curiosity to be sure in a city that spawns curios just by exhalation.

As I made my way north to the Met, I scooted through Times Square:



Up Fifth Avenue on the east side of the Park is a memorial to the men who served in the 107th New York Infantry regiment (originally the 7th Regiment) during World War 1. It was designed and sculpted by Karl Illava who served as a sergeant in the regiment during the war:
According to Wikipedia: "The memorial depicts seven men; the one to the far right carrying two Mills bombs, while supporting the wounded soldier next to him. To his right another infantryman (depicting Robert Russell Bennett, a 107 combat veteran who was asked by the artist to model for the statue along with 6 other actual 107 veterans of the Somme) rushes towards the enemy positions, while the helmet less squad leader and another soldier are approaching the enemy with bayonets fixed. To the far left, one soldier is holding a mortally wounded soldier, keeping him on his feet. . . . The monument was first conceived about 1920, was made in 1926–1927 and was placed in the park and unveiled in 1927, near the perimeter wall at Fifth Avenue and 67th Street."
Once I reached the Met -- the 5th Avenue entrance is temporarily closed -- I checked my coat, paid my admission and headed upstairs in search of Berthe, Edouard, Edgar and the rest.

"Impressionism, Fashion & Modernity" is an incredible exhibition of some of the most engaging works of French Impressionism -- and so many pieces brought together in one place with an unusual theme. There are no landscapes here but portraits of average (and not-so-average!) Parisian women and men (mostly the former though), intermingled with fashions from that era; in one case the actual dress being modeled in the painting. And if you ever wanted to know what a corset really looked like, go no further. Fascinating!

Located in the Tisch Galleries, which is right next door to the 19th century European Painting. Ask directions. If you're like me getting around the Met can be a bit daunting if you're looking for something very specific and the map isn't all that helpful.

No photography but there is a special room set up to sell a variety of reproductions as well as several books on Impressionism (I picked up Rey's gorgeous study of Morisot), and of course the catalog itself. Buy it and help the Met.

On my way back from the Met it was simply too beautiful and too peaceful not to stroll in Central Park -- and no traffic made the walk even more stress-free.




Once I exited Central Park onto 7th Avenue I strolled down to 56th then west to 9th and down to 43 over to 10th down to 38th. It was cold and blustery but plenty of sun to help offset the general unpleasant temperature.

Along the way I passed the "Sur la Table" store where they were doing a cooking demo in the back:

Once I reached the Javits I checked in and met up with Susie.

The two of us strolled amidst a packed house, while Susie pointed out some of the show's highlights, like the US Pastry Competition, which wasn't about pastry at all but about sugar artistry. Beautifully inedible and impressively pointless. Oh, and while lots of French was being spoken, the chefs being judged (and judging) were all men.





We also stopped in at the New York Wine Expo, upstairs at the Javits, a crowded but rather unremarkable experience -- and no French wine pavilion?

And there were lots of producers of wholesale baked goods hawking their oversized wares:


From the Javits were strolled a few blocks over to 43rd and 9th for dinner at ESCA, a somewhat unremarkable experience. An all-seafood restaurant, the service was impeccable but the food unimaginative and expensive.

The front of the house treated us with kindness, were attentive and very helpful with the menu and the wines as well. But the lack of imagination of the food presentation was outmatched by the absence of anything creative in the back of the house.

 Oh, and it's expensive, too.


Burrata with sea anchovies:


Monkfish tail:

Clams with pancetta topped by Ritz crackers:



About half-past six we strolled back to the Port Authority and caught the 7pm bus for Providence. The return trip was uneventful and a filling meal washed down by a few glasses of wine helped us doze for most of the way back.

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