Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Columbus Day! St. Patrick's, The Cloisters and a Big Ol' Parade


My second full day in New York, my niece Elizabeth and I headed over to 5th Avenue. It was a gorgeous day in the city!  Unfortunately, Rachel (her younger sister) had a pile of homework and a paper to write, so she wasn't able to join us.

Not sure what church this is, below, but I end up photographing it, every time!

It's a tradition that the one thing I always do, in New York, is visit Saint Patrick's Cathedral. It threads all the visits together, and I remember it from my first visit to New York, in 6th grade! At 12, I'd never seen anything like it.

When we got to 5th Avenue, there was quite the controlled chaos! Barriers … police … then we saw a band and some fire engines. I asked the couple next to us, "What's going on?" 

They looked at us, like we must have been dropped from another planet, and said to us in a questioning voice, "The Columbus Day Parade?"

"Oh, yeah!" We'd obviously forgotten it was Columbus Day, and sure enough, we were standing right there at New York's big Columbus Day Parade.

Columbus Day Parade

After watching the parade for awhile, taking pictures, and popping into Uniqlo to get fleese jackets for under twenty bucks, we tried to find our way across 5th Ave. to St. Patricks, which was covered in scaffolding.

It was a strange and different Saint Patrick's inside, as well. Weirdly apocalyptic but fun to photograph!


My mission was complete. I'd made it to Saint Patrick's. Back on the street the parade continued. I love the juxtaposition of the Saints and Juicy Couture!

Heading up the street we saw the beautiful windows of Dolce and Gabbana and decided we had to go in to check it out. We'd both seen photographs of the Fall/Winter collection, inspired by Sicily and byzantine icons … we had to see it in person.

The gal who worked in there was so nice, and brought us back to see the one of a kind pieces in the back. Everything was exquisite and the pieces from the collection were really wearable works of art.

This is the video of their runway show, which had music from Fellini's La Stada, one of my favorite films! (And apparently the favorite film of Pope Francis, as it turns out.)

Elizabeth came up with the idea to go up to north Manhattan, to the Cloisters Museum. A branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but at a different location. I hadn't been since I was 12, and all I could really remember were the tapestries, so I was excited to go up there. Plus, she told me there were gardens, and it was a beautiful day, so it was a perfect place to go!

The Cloisters Museum
Fort Tryon Park, Washington Heights

The room of the famous Unicorn Tapestries (or Hunt of the Unicorn,) that I had remembered. They are Flemish, from around 1500. 

The museum was built in the 1930s, with architectural elements from various Medieval abbeys. It's such a beautiful space, perfect for housing centuries of beautiful Medieval art.

This video gives a quick overview of the museum,with a bit of its collection, and gardens.

This, below, is a more in depth video, produced by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Lamentation 
Spanish Altarpiece
1480, carved walnut

The "cloister" garden of The Cloisters, reconstructed from a damaged abbey in, the Piranees in France

Janet Cardiff - 40 Part Motet
In the reconstructed Apse
1200, Spain

One of the reasons Elizabeth wanted to come to the Cloisters, was because of a sound installation, by Janet Cardiff. It was amazing. 

The 500 year old piece of music Spem in Alum was recorded in 40 parts. Each speaker, a different voice. As you walk around … you are standing next to various singers … it was incredible. InCREDible. Like you are part of the choir. At one point I was so moved, I had to old back the tears.

The original piece, is said to have been written for the birthday of Queen Elizabeth I.

Below, is a great little video of when the installation was at the Howard Assembly Room, in 2010. It gives you a much better idea of it than I can, of what it was like! I am happy I was able to experience it, in a reconstructed Spanish apse though!

Here is a different recording of the same piece, that they had for sale, at the museum. Take a listen while you continue your tour! :)

The Medieval medicinal and edible garden

People pretend not to like grapes
when the vines are too high 
for them to reach.
~Margherite de Navarre

View across the Hudson from the gardens

The eye through which I see God
is the same eye 
through which God see me;
my eye and God's eye are one eye,
one seeing, 
one knowing,
one love.
~Meister Eckhard, Sermons of Meister Eckhart

Leaving the museum and walking through Fort Tryon Park ...

Thanks Elizabeth for a great day! 
It couldn't have been any better!

God is in all things, but in so far as God is Divine
and in so far as God is rational,
he exists more properly in the should and in angels,
that is in the innermost 
and highest part of the soul, 
than he does anywhere else.

~Meister Eckhart (1260-1327)
sermon 4,
DW 30, W 18

To visit The Cloisters, click here for the Metropolitan Museum website
For additional information on the Cloisters, and its history, click here

Blessings and light!!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

East Coast Autumn ~ New York City!

Since the last time I was in NYC, in January 2010, both of my nieces have ended up living there. Rachel, is a sophomore at NYU and Elizabeth just graduated from there, in June. I've been wanting to visit them there ever since, as well as wanting to see my East Coast friends. Well, an opportunity arose (my mom had miles expiring!) and I took it! 

I love the East Coast in Autumn!

View from my dear friend Larry's place, where I stayed, in the city ...

Larry's 16 year old cat, Molly.

I arrived on Saturday night (October 12th) and Sunday woke up to a beautiful fall day in New York.

Life finds a way …

I headed to the Lower East Side/Chinatown, to meet up with my nieces for brunch. This fruit and veggie market is a block from Rachel.

Then the girls showed me around their hood ...

Elizabeth in a little flea market ...

My Nieces Rachel and Elizabeth, in NYC

Art (below) by JR … heading into Soho

52 Prince Street


I like the books on the light fixtures. Elizabeth made a good point though. "I wonder if anyone wanted to read those." It's difficult to tell in the photo, but those are pages of books on the wall. It was a very cool bookstore with this cute cafe, where we stopped to have iced teas.

 One of my favorite shops to explore (and take pictures) is Pear River Market, at 477 Broadway in Soho. They have all sorts of Asian goods, from all over. Downstairs, they have all kinds of fun cookware and dim sum and bento boxes.

I had such a great time hanging out with the girls and seeing their places and where they are spending there time! For dinner that night we met Elizabeth's friend and all went to pizza near Soho. It was delicious! 

Emporio, at 231 Mott St.

On the street in front of the restaurant in Nolita (North little Italy)

More New York to come! Central Park, The Met, the High Line and the 9/11 Memorial. After New York, I headed up to Boston and went all over Massachusetts, including Salem and the Cape. It was all incredible and I can't wait to share it all with you! I was so lucky with the weather, is was crazy!

I have a lot more Italy posts to come, as well, but since they will be on the Christmasy side, we'll go with the autumnal colors of New York and New England, for a bit!

Here is Billy Joel from 1978 (!) … I'd forgotten how awesome he is on the piano! The man can play. You'll want to keep listening around 4:30 on ...

They were talking on the radio yesterday, about some big new study. It was on how connecting with other people, and spending time with loved ones, is important to being happy, productive and living a long life … and they were saying it, like it was big news! All they had to do is ask all of us, right?

My trip was the perfect example of spending time with people you care about, and how it makes you happy, and boosts all the happiness juices in the brain and body. I came back feeling like the luckiest person on the planet!

I do believe we're all connected.
I do believe in positive energy.
I do believe in the power of prayer.
I do believe in putting good out into the world.
And I believe in taking care of each other.
~Harvey Fierstein

Blessings and light!