Last Thursday, Rob and Alex roared down to NYC after a ribbon cutting to pick up Kitty and her possessions after being ousted from Alumni House at FIT. She peacefully stayed in the downstairs sewing room, I joined them Friday evening after riding the lovely Cornell Campus to Campus bus leaving Ithaca at 6 and promptly getting into NYC in less than 4.5 hours. No stops…quick as can be. I sketched out possible tattoos I want to sell ( “Until death do us part”, and Lucky 13) on Etsy. It was fun…and a really nice break for me. Rob, Kitty and Alex waited up for me, and we had a late dinner at the River Cafe, NYC.
Rob and Kitty had the weekend on Governors Island with GlassLab. So, Alex and I had two days to ourselves. So, he and I walked up Bowery to the New Museum to see two very thought provoking shows(Ghost in the Machine and Pictures from the Moon: Artists Holograms 1969-2008)that we both really enjoyed seeing and seeing together. The Ghost s how spoke more to me with imagery from paintings from the 20s, to interpretations of literature, music and embroidery, to how people interact with technology to interface with nature (stratosphere suits, cars, bikes, airplanes, diving bells, sailboats, submarines, spacesuits, rockets etc). Lots of kooks and kookery….but challenging none the less. Alex looked at things I blew by…and thanks to him, I really saw the show through his eyes and his total appreciation of the sublimely abstract. Sol Lewitt is a favorite of his. Wall graphics, tattoos and renaissance art top my list…but you know that. I like a lot of stuff. The New Museum is an amazing space with a great shop with very edgy things, a good selection of books and just enough to pick through. Then it was off to a this and that lunch at the Fiat Cafe (which Alex proclaimed as “perfect”). We ordered an antipasto, some fresh mozz, and a few bruschetta. Alex was in heaven.
We did a tea tasting at David’s Tea, a canadian chain that approaches tea the way gourmet food is sold with tastings, smelling, and customer education. Alex and I had fun chatting with the Tea Barista—enjoying his candor and wit. Smart people work for Davids.We bought some green tea that seemed palatable and not like a concoction of grass clippings. We did a walkthrough at Dean and Deluca with my taking pictures of things to bring home to my local foodies. Cupcakes and cookies are the rage…with less focus on fresh produce and more on meat/cheese/ bread and condiments. The funniest thing we saw was a granola called “Hippie Chow”. What a hoot. Low key packaging that is standing on humor to get the buyer to reach for the first package. Then hopefully, they “get em”.
Lots of clear glass or plastic packaging with single color (black or white) screenprinting on the front. The Yogurt to the right is an example of what we saw a lot of (including an heirloom tomatoe sauce, McClure Pickles etc). Lots of food with minimal/kraft paper packaging. Just to keep it in the front of our local food nation packaging. Nothing feels custom (even though much of it is)—but a clean humility is kind of the aesthetic that is presented by the hopelessly hip. There is a celebration of basics too( flour, salt, sugar)—that seems to be new.
Then, we shopped for shoes and nipped into exclusive mens stores for fun and to see what was cool. We got some Birkenstocks for Alex on sale as his were hand me downs from Rob and the bottoms were peeling off them. And then we got back to the hotel to meet the other two and see a little Olympics with my guy.
Sunday was Metropass day with mother and son. I showed him the difference in express and local trains. I pointed out the crosstown buses and how it works. We changed lines from the green to the yellow to the red…piecing together a ride to get from one point to another…helping Alex to realize that this is a skill he will have when he visits NYC from Hofstra. It was good to give him that time and point up. I worry about my kids…and Alex is alway reticent to get “out there” and try new things. Hopefully, the subway will not be one of those scary things he will not try.
Sunday was also another Q and Alex museum experience: The Whitney with see the Yayoi Kusama show. Alex and I waited in line for well over an hour to just get tickets and then scored 2 of the free tickets to see the special installation of Fireflies on the Water. It was interesting as the Kusama show was another styles company sponsored art event (with crossover installations at the Museum and at the Louis Vuitton shop) mirroring the show we saw at the Temporary Contemporary Gallery in LA, the monumental show of the work, product, videos of Takashi Murakami. Kusama is a product of her time—with self sponsored art events in Washington Square—very much in the Yoko Ono mode…with Murakami not riding on top of this style piece but integrating with it…and embracing it in his art. but, it was a big show…and fun to see the work with Alexander.
We also saw a bit of the Whitney collection including a wonderful Walton Ford Turkey, and the Alexander Calder circus. Alex was a great companion—and seemed to take a lot in. From the Whitney to Aldo to get a pair of “real shoes”—something that spans birkenstocks and boat shoes…but isnt too dressy. So we got some dark blue “bucks” which he was delighted with. He must have tried on a dozen pairs of shoes to get to this decision…but we made a choice, and he was and still is charmed. Then, more subway time…to get to Peck Slip for the five o’clock looksee of the Olympics and to wait to meet up with Kitty and Alex.
We met them at the Stone Street Tavern, a big beergarden in lower Manhatten. The area the Stone Street Tavern occupies is shared with a half dozen restaurants and spans a small, wide alley that teams with people eating and drinking under huge umbrellas and european picnic tables. It is so curious the way beergardens have popped up all over NYC and Brooklyn—and how finally, New Yorkers are taking advantage of the big sidewalks and the culture around hanging out, out of doors. This is the kinder and gentler New York that we didnt live in…and welcome the change.
Monday, Kitty, Alex and I shopped for fabrics and trims in the Garment District in the morning. We saw beads and baubles, gold boullion, and embroidery, buttons, and bag trimmings, clasps and zippers, spandex and sparkles, sequins and feathers, mens suiting, and fishnet. We bought yards of spandex printed like a newspaper, a few yards of a lovely printed material with a Mary Blair style border, and a spectacular ombre that is a gradient from mustard to liliac and then back to mustard….with cream as part of the blend. More subway riding…back to the hotel to meet with Rob as we had Hempstead on the schedule to get Alex to his first Hofstra Orientation. And so we did.
We discovered that instead of Hofstra being on the edge of an edgy neighborhood, it turns out that Hofstra is on the edge of a gorgeous perfectly named area, Garden City. We found the Mineola train station and the Hempstead bus station—thanks to Rob knowing that we needed to center Alex in the neighborhood. We found his adorable dorm on campus, and got him registered for the early morning start with new classmates. We discovered a phenomenal restaurant in Garden City, Waterzooi, a belgian restaurant known for mussels, beer and waffles…Boy howdy, we are definintely going back there! It is a soup and shellfish thing…that we all basically took baths in. Alex was on time the next morning—with Hofstra cutting things off at exactly 8:45 a.m. to prevent the helicopter parents from hanging on. Once again, I am always thrilled and happy with the way Hofstra does business along with the really nice and smart people we always meet.
It was chop chop on Tuesday after the drop off. We got in the minivan to get to the Governors Island Ferry to get over to pick up a half dozen totes filled with GlassLab product, sketches and models. We got back on the ferry and high tailed it home.
We are home…for now. Alex is on the noon bus to Ithaca from Hempstead…and he figured it out! I have Farmers Market meeting this p.m. and then the home team for dinner….or at least, that is what I hope.