Posts Tagged ‘Metropolitan Museum’

Letter From New York 01 20 15 After Viewing El Greco…

January 20, 2015

Waking to the sounds of the city this morning, I sipped coffee while listening to the beep beep beep of trucks backing up on the street outside the apartment. After the quiet of the countryside, it was interesting to be surrounded by the urban roar.

This is the closing week for the El Greco exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and I met my friend David Wolf there just as the museum opened so that we could explore without the midday crowds. Once we knew where to go to find El Greco, we found ourselves waylaid by the wonders of the museum.

Eventually we reached the exhibit, not monumental but incredibly impressive. Gathered in the R H Macy Gallery were perhaps forty of the master’s works, each one demanding time to process.

It is easy to see why El Greco is considered a major influence on modern painters. Picasso, Monet, the German impressionists, all claimed he inspired them. His work seems out of sync with the times in which he painted, his works bolder, brighter and more dynamic than those of his contemporaries. At least that is how it seemed to me.

We tarried a good long time and then went our separate ways, David to his lawyering, me to an inbox chock a block with emails.

While I was taking in the works of El Greco, the Mayor of New York, Bill DeBlasio, was in Paris, paying respects to the victims of the recent terrorist attack there. He laid flowers at a memorial.

And while I was perusing El Greco, the Mayor of Paris announced that she was going to sue Fox News for defaming her city by declaring there were “No Go” zones in the city, off limits to anyone who was not Muslim.

Fox has apologized at least four times for the inaccuracy of its statements. Apparently it is not enough to placate Madame Hidalgo. One of Fox’s terrorism “experts” declared that Birmingham in England was also a “No Go” zone. That nearly caused Prime Minister Cameron to choke on his porridge.

As I sit writing this the residence of the President of Yemen appears to be under attack, causing fears of a coup in that country. The brothers who carried out the Charlie Hebdo attack proclaimed their allegiance to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen.

I doubt anyone wants more instability there.

Tonight, President Obama goes in front of the nation to deliver his sixth State of the Union address. He will be going back to his theme of raising taxes on the wealthy and increasing fees on banks. I doubt he thinks he will get this accomplished with a Republican Congress and Senate but I am sure he is framing the conversation for the Post Obama era, which is rapidly approaching.

I hope no ones boos him this year. Remember that?

Usually, I don’t watch the State of the Union address because I have unwittingly made a social engagement for the same evening, as I have done this year. As President Obama outlines his plans for the coming year, I will be sitting at dinner with a friend who works for Fordham. I will catch up later, when I get home and all the dissection is happening.

Out in space the Dawn spacecraft is closing in on the dwarf planet, Ceres, and soon we’ll get a look at the largest chunk in the asteroid belt. Scientists are all a titter over their first close look at this celestial body.

And in Herculaneum there is a villa destroyed in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius some 1900 years ago. In its library there is a treasure trove of manuscripts, which were scorched and have been unreadable. With technology, it looks as if they will be able to be read again without damaging them.

It is nice to think that we may recover more knowledge from the ancients after all this time. It should be a good library; the villa was owned by Julius Caesar’s father-in-law.

Letter From New York 12 16 14 Life goes on…

December 16, 2014

My life has a certain rhythm these days. I wake. I have coffee. I read the NY Times headlines on my phone. Today, I woke up in the city and did the same.

Last night was a pleasant evening, dinner with my friend Robert at one of our favorite haunts, Thai Market at 107 and Amsterdam. We exchanged Christmas presents. And talked about what was happening in the world.

All day Robert had been wrestling with new computer systems at his office and had not really kept up with what was happening in the world. He knew there was a hostage situation in Sydney but did not know the details and wanted to so I filled him in on what I knew from following events during the day.

We laughed and joked with Cathy, the bartender, who usually only works on Saturday nights now that she is a full time teacher. She is off to Christmas in the Turks and Caicos.

Life goes on, despite any terrible events around us, near at home or far away, we keep on living our lives. As were the people in the Lindt Café in Sydney, just living their lives when Man Haron Morsi came in with a shotgun and held them hostage.

As Robert said last night, you don’t know when something will happen. Life is fragile and tenuous and we are surrounded by a myriad of things that could go fatally wrong on any given day. But we go on living our lives.

While tragedies happened, the State Legislature in New York, made yogurt the “Official State Snack.” I missed that until this morning; it was one of the items in the daily New York briefing that is digitally delivered by the Times. Apparently, it made the State the butt of jokes by David Letterman and others.

Apparently there was a ban on ferrets in New York City. Mayor DeBlasio has taken care of that one.

We have now a law prohibiting people from having their picture taken with big cats. What defines a big cat I wonder?

And I’m delighted to know that sparklers have been legalized in New York State though not in New York City.

While world events were taking place, important laws were being passed here in New York State, including a prohibition on piercing or tattooing your pet. Didn’t even occur to me that anyone would do it but apparently there are those who did. They are now banned.

And while I am sipping my morning coffee in Manhattan, the Taliban has killed over a hundred people, mostly young children, in a raid on a school in Pakistan. The ruble continues to fall, the market is making a bit of a recovery from its swoon over tumbling oil prices, traffic continues to roll through the streets of Manhattan and we’ll have rain this afternoon with temperatures scrapping 50 degrees.

Life moves on.

Rather than hide out in the apartment, I am going to tempt the fates and mosey over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for an afternoon in their galleries. Then I will have dinner with my old friend, Mona Tropeano, before rumbling back north to the little cottage on the creek to finish my Christmas cards.

Life goes on.