Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Big Apple

Sunday August 29 – New York hotel central, simple and generally satisfactory apart from the army style breakfast plastic cutlery and a slop bucket for leftovers.
Walked most of the length of Central Park to the fabulous Metropolitan Museum which was, as always a wonderful experience – one could have a week’s holiday in the place and still miss most of the exhibits. 

Too many special pleasures to start naming them here. However, the ‘Big Bambu’ installation by Doug and Mike Starn on the Roof was fantastic. Resisted the temptation to go climbing though this was permitted under supeervision by grown ups.
Some then joined a guided walk around Central Park to admire the designs of Frederick Law Olmstead and Englishman Calvert Vaux before gathering at the apartment of private art collector Jeanne Frank – a delightful experience, welcome drink and a fascinating collection. 

An intrepid few set off in search of the famed Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station only to find it closed. Dined nonetheless under the star studded roof of the great concourse of this extraordinary building.
Monday August 30 – A workout in the form of a guided walk led by architect Kyle Johnson to look at Midtown modern architecture. Icons aplenty with the stars of the show being the Mies Seagram Building on Park Avenue completed in 1958 and boasting some surprisingly subtle restaurant designs by Philip Johnson
and the extraordinary 1931 General Electric building by Cross and Cross – Gothic Art deco extravagance in terracotta and a great treat. (see detail below )
Many other wonders of different periods. Lunch and the afternoon at the much lauded Museum of Modern Art - MOMA. Despite the criticism that the most recent extension destroyed too much of the earlier work, this was a great place to look at rather too much art much of which was most exciting.

To Crowne House for a visit to the Nohra Haime Gallery – dealers in modern art - where we were well looked after by director Ana Maria Ossa.

The day was rounded off by a visit to a Paul Rudolph Townhouse (below) built over a retail outlet and show room for Rudolph designed light fittings on 58th Street which displayed a wonderful control of space and packed much into a small area. Great fun.
Tuesday August 31 – another marathon walkabout with Kyle Johnson – this time around the financial district. Some good and great historic buildings (including a selection of lobby spaces) and much not so wonderful modern. Even a stripped down Gehry near City Hall (shown below).

The highlight of the day (for those who lasted the distance) was probably the walk along the High Line – a length of old elevated freight railway line which has been wonderfully (hard and soft) landscaped giving great views of both the water and the city. Various buildings to wonder at and about on the way there including recent offerings on the 2007 IAC Building by Frank Gehry (him again but looking – detail-wise at least – rather like John Nouvel’s City of London building at New Change) and, on the opposite corner of 19th Street, a residential tower by Jean Nouvel looking, perhaps, a bit Gehryish.(Gehry's IAC Building below left and detail from the Novvel competition right)

1 comment:

  1. Dear D C-A,
    A bit better; but cleaning it up this way is hard work. Better to make sure you do not paste in clashing formatting instructions from the MS word document in the first place. ps I have centred the photos simply to make the editing task easier.