Saturday, March 21, 2009

Well-Read Weekend #4

Well this weekend I'm in New York, and doing more social things like hanging out at a friend's house and making mac and cheese for them and playing Wii instead of reading.  I love traveling, but I've been on the road for a week now and sometimes, even when in an exciting place like NYC, you just want to turn on the television and east some mac and cheese.  I once spent an entire weekend in Paris and the only museum I went to was the Catacombs.  My friend and I spent the day cooking a big dinner for her 6 room mates and then played Risk in French.

And it was great.  Today I'm resolving to get out of the house and with my current budget I'm going to be limited to doing  as much free stuff as possible.  I'll make an exception for Veselka, my old Ukranian diner I used to wait the graveyard shift at freshman year.  Then I'm off to dance in Grand Central Station.  But there's one thing you definitely need to catch when in NYC: art.  Here's a new edition of a book I loved back when I lived in NYC, was poor and looking for culture:
Public Art New York by Jenifer Phifer

Some of the best art in New York is not hanging on the walls in the Met--it's in the streets (and bars and lobbies) of New York.  I picked up an older version of this book in the library and spent a week wandering through the nooks and crannies of NYC to find great art.  

Bank and hotel owners were once great patrons of the art.  Architects of apartment buildings were fans of surrealism.  This book is a great way to find about 2 centuries of art that are mosaics laid into the hotel lobbies and paintings hanging in bars.  It also has some great background and history on how the art got there.   You'll feel a little funny staring up at an Alexander Calder mobile in the Chase Bank as business people rush around you, but you'll also feel a little like you know a secret they don't know.  

Some of my favorites:

A Picasso sculpture in an apartment complex in NoHo

A Maxfield Parish in the St. Regis Hotel Bar

  Framing Union Station in the 14th St. Subway

All absolutely free!  Enjoy!

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