Saturday, March 29, 2008

another visitor braves the city

last weekend zach's mom, shannon came to visit. i am starting to think that we are going to develop a reputation at home of torturing our visitors. like my parents, shannon also claimed that we tried to walk her to death! we promise we aren't trying to do this- we really do just walk a lot!

we had a very busy three days, before easter weekend. we visited all of the touristy spots, as shannon had not been to new york before. we are still trying to get a good list of places to take visitors. unfortunately, we only see the city on the weekend, so we're still building our repertoire.

one of the best things we did was visit the top of the rock. zach and i had been to the empire state building before, when we visited the city in eighth grade. so, we wanted to try something different. other than the jerk of an elevator operator, who was unnecessarily rude, the experience was terrific. there was virtually no line at sunset, and the views are terrific. because it is located further uptown than the empire state building, it also has full views of the park. i love to see the city at night too, with all of the lights. we could almost see our apartment, but there was a big, ugly building in the way. oh well.

i think that shannon's favorite thing would probably have been the shopping. century 21 was a big hit, and we didn't even make it past the first floor. we also went to canal street, in search of bargains.

so, come visit us, it will be fun!

to market, to market

we visited chelsea market for sunday brunch, the day after our trip to the guggenheim. this is an interesting place: home of the food network, as well as some interesting specialty stores.

i love to take the bus on the weekend, when there is less traffic. its a great way to see where you are going, instead of just arriving from underground. so, we took the bus straight down ninth avenue to 14th street.

we ate at the ronnybrook dairy- a "milk bar" for some delicious eggs and a great "chocolatte". this wonderful beverage is a latte made with chocolate milk. it took quite a long time to make up our minds that this was where we wanted to eat- there were so many delicious options.
we then visited the manhattan fruit exchange for some delicious fresh produce. this made an excellent addition to dinner on sunday night. i think my new favorite veggie (other than potatoes of course) is carrots. fresh, sweet, steamed carrots cut on an angle, and with just a bit of sugar. mmmmm...

i want to believe

zach and i decided to go to the guggenheim. we were interested in seeing the exhibition there, and have decided that we need to see more museums! the installation was by cai guo-qiang, entitled i want to believe. the pieces were mostly from other installations, and modified for installation in the gugenheim. the center piece is a series of nine cars, that simulate a bombing, exploding vertically and rotating through the center of the space.

we followed the audio with the show, which took you through the space from the bottom, spiraling up the ramp. zach and i were thinking that we remembered that you were "supposed" to take the elevator to the top and then view the art while walking down.
my two favorite pieces were the wolves and his re-interpretation of the rent collection courtyard. Both pieces were very interesting to move through. when we walked along the wolves, you felt as if you were running with them. their over exaggerated forms had so much energy. (you should know that they are not real wolves- i think they said that cai used to be in set design)the rent collection courtyard was a series of sculptures that had been originally exhibited in venice in 1999, which is when this photo is from. he and his team reconstruct the work from 1967, a series of sculptures. his version is shown in process, with some sculptures unfinished, and tools lying around. the series is left to dry and crack throughout the exhibition, which adds to the expressions and postures of suffering.

cai is apparently known for his gunpowder pieces, which filled the upper levels of the exhibit. zach really liked these.

this exhibition has gotten a lot of hype, and was filled with people the day that we visited. we both really enjoyed it. i think it was definitely a good way to spend a saturday morning.

the farnsworth invention

i recently found out that the farnswoth invention was going to end its run on march 2. i had really wanted to see this, and so, on saturday, march 1, i got out of bed early to brave the lines at tkts. i wanted to see the show, but not at full price. fortunately, i was there early, and by 10:15, had my ticket in my hand. zach had to work that day, so i had decided to go by myself.

the show was really good. i can see why it didn't do well- in two hours they managed to pack so much information in about the characters, the multi-layered plot, and all of the scientific information about how to build a television. i actually never thought a play about cathode ray tubes could be so interesting, but it really was.
the one big disappointment, however, was when i sat down and opened my playbill. i don't think i had ever seen that many little white sheets of paper in a playbill. all of the main characters were being played by understudies. that meant that hank azaria, who was really excited about watching, was not going to be in the show today. good thing my tickets were half price. it all turned out okay though, the understudies did a good job- with only a few trips over the amazingly fast string of lines.

the interesting part was the two older couples sitting beside me. apparently (i was listening to their conversation) the man had worked as an engineer for one of these companies, developing the television at this time. he was explaining how he had worked on the cathode ray tube, and was told to copy it from some drawings. the woman, who was his wife was like, "yeah, yeah, we've all heard this story before." i guess all stories get old once you've heard them thirty or forty times!