Friday, November 09, 2012

Get Outta Town

Originally Written 9/15

We got up early to go to the Cloisters, which is situated at the very top of Manhattan and the furthest from our hotel we've gone on this trip. We also took the A-train to get there, which made Duke Ellington's classic play in my head. The A-train was pretty fun as it shot up the west side of Central Park, skipping many local stops.

We got out on another planet. One of peace and calm and greet trees. Walking along Fort Tryon I got more of a sense of what the original settlers might have seen when they arrived.

After a short walk we reached the Cloisters themselves. I'm not big on Medieval Art or Ancient Art, and walking through the Cloisters I finally realized why: It's not possible to know much about the artists. We do know a little about some of the medieval artists, but not a lot. Mostly we know about the cultures based on their art they produce. And I'm much more interested in the individual, their personalities, the hardships they faced, their passions and hates, their lives, their growth and bodies of work. Tech Support by comparison is far more interested.

That said, I still quite enjoyed the art and peace of the Cloisters. The gardens were also beautiful, except for the one near the tiny little 'cafe' where they were reseeding. The square area was just dirt being worked over by industrious sparrows. Smart sparrows too, while Tech Support and I snacked on breakfast Pound Cake and Cookies, they hopped up to within a few feet of us waiting to take advantage of the situation. A sign on the table clearly said 'do not feed the birds' and they were so fat off seeds and tourist leavings that we didn't feel bad about denying them. They were smart suckers too, when I dropped a bit of pound cake in my lap they went scrambling around on the ground, thinking that's where it had gone.

After spending an idyllic few hours in the calm of the Cloisters we headed back into the denseness of the city, via the subway, and down to the Guggenheim. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at The Wright, a fancy restaurant right next to the museum. There I managed to fling my glasses into my food, and enjoy it a lot.

Unfortunately the Guggenheim was mostly closed, the main spiral area was inaccessible. Even though that was the main reason for visiting the Guggenheim we went ahead and got the reduced price tickets alway. We were still able to enjoy the few modern paintings they still had out, Picasso, Pissaro, Degas, etc. There was also an exhibit on Rineke Djikstra, a photographer, that I found very interesting.

All arted out again, we got on the subway once more and headed down to Fifth Avenue for a little retail therapy. I picked up some cute stuff from Uni Qlo, and we walked together through Saint Patrick's church. Then we went to Saks Fifth Avenue, but more to look at it like it were art in a museum than to buy. The dresses were all gorgeous and the sales people over eager (I wanted a pin that said 'just looking'). I wanted them all, but since I don't have the money to purchase them I don't have a reason to wear them either. Still, it was fun to admire them.

We went back to the hotel to rest a bit before heading out for our second viewing of Sleep No More. We were meeting Catherine there, whose boyfriend was stuck in Libya and therefor had some free time. Tech Support had rigged up some sticky tape and make-up foam so that when we got our masks we'd be able to wear them with our glasses.

It was just as good as the first time, though the magic of discovery had waned the confidence of moving from room to room allowed me to explore more and see more. I hung out in different areas and watched different characters, trying to get a better feel for the story. At one point I was following the Tailor around and suddenly Tech Support was there -- and the Tailor grabbed his arm and pulled him into his shop! I found a hidden shower room, and spent way too much time watching the Taxidermist wash bones and the Tailor sew a shirt.

The time passed way too fast again and before I knew it I saw the Black Masks standing ominously in the stairway -- herding us toward the bottom floor for the final scene. As I stood up top I felt someone's hands on my back. They didn't feel like Tech  Support's so I peered over my shoulder and caught a glimpse of someone short. Confused, I looked again. 

It was a nurse!

She kept her hands on me the whole time, squeezing and pressing to add to the drama. Then when it was over she led me through the hotel to the front door. I saw others being led too and we were brought to the Mandarley bar. She took my mask off and gave me a kiss on the cheek. It was so cool.

Tech Support was standing there, but we took a while to find Catherine. She'd had her own adventures, getting pulled into the Nurse Room, seeing Lady Macbeth naked multiple times and getting kissed on the neck by one of the witches. The Mandarly was busy, so we headed down the street to a bar and each went over our experiences in more depth.

I understand why people in New York go see this half a dozen times. It'd be a drain on the wallet, but I'm not sure I wouldn't just go hungry to keep doing it.

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