Friday, April 11, 2008

sunrise on brooklyn

"I think I can, I think I can" the little engine said - and this little mouse says today we will finish our tour of new york and my time away! time to be here now.

thursday, 3 april: the day dawned sunny and bright. in the morning k, another friend, and I set off for harlem's schomburg center. the nyc commission on human rights was sponsoring a forum featuring political scientist and best selling author robert d. putnam. the fact that the talk was being held on the eve of the 40th anniversary of dr. martin luther's king assassination added another layer of power and poignancy to the event. dr. putnam's presentation focused on the concept of 'social capital' and the pressing need we have as a nation to create a more encompassing sense of "we" - putnam's lecture was riveting. I would be doing him a disservice to try and summarize his talk in the space of a sentence or two. for those interested, I suggest you read this excellent article which provides a brief biography of dr. putnam and a very accessible summation of some of putnam's previous research interests and findings (unfortunately the article does not include this book which was the basis of the schomburg lecture). of course, the best thing would be to read one of his books or some of his many articles.

I would have enjoyed a walking tour of harlem, but that will have to wait until another visit. at the tenement museum bookstore I purchased a book entitled "radical walking tours of new york city" by bruce kayton (with a foreward by none other than pete seeger, as many mouse readers know, pete is one of my personal heros). for now I'll have to be satisfied with the armchair walking tour I conducted when I read the harlem chapter.

right after checking out a saint in the city exhibit in the schomberg, k and I headed down to the city hall area to meet p for lunch. although k had to go to work in the afternoon, p took the afternoon off work. we had a quick lunch at a wonderful vietnamese restaurant (unfortunately I didn't pay attention to the name - but the food was inexpensive and delicious. if anyone really wants the name, post a comment and I'll follow up with k as the restaurant is very close to her office and she goes there often) the walk to the restaurant took us through a city park which had recently undergone a major renovation. the park was filled with people playing games, getting exercise, or just enjoying conversation and the beautiful spring day.

after lunch p and I jumped on a subway and headed to the brooklyn museum to experience (yes, it is an experience!) judy chicago's the dinner party. this amazing piece of art and history is now installed in it's permanent home. what a gift to all of us. the brooklyn museum is very lucky to have ms. elizabeth sackler as a major patron of the museum and force behind establishing a brilliant center for feminist art.

p & I literally had to be kicked out of the museum. come 5 to 5 we were still in the herstory gallery (a room adjacent to the table room and part this amazing installation). the staff was most anxious (but not obnoxious) to clear the museum as that night they were hosting the opening party for a major exhibition of japanenese artist takashi murakami.

the day's explorations weren't over. after the museum we called k and let her know where we'd be, as we planned to go off on a wander around k's old neighborhood of cobble hill. a very neat neighborhood indeed!

friday, 4 april: the day dawned wet and rainy. I had no clean clothes and still a few more days away from home. I spent most of friday laying low - I did my laundry (conveniently the sister building of p&k's building has coin operated washers and dryers in it's basement); I did a bit of reading; and I ate some of the wonderful leftover food we brought home from sahadi's market; and worked a bit on the quilt I brought along - up until friday, I did very little stitching-as I was too busy being a cultural explorer!

by mid afternoon the rain stopped and I headed out. only thing scheduled for the day was to meet p at the center for international photography (icp) at 5. a few museums in nyc are free friday evening and the icp is one of those. there are two exhibits at icp - both are quite compelling(btw, both close on may 4th). the 'collections of barbara bloom' particularly tickled our fancy and until I got back that night and googled barbara bloom I thought it was fantastic. then I read this review and learned that the exhibit only provided the smallest taste of the delights that barbara cooks up.

after getting in our dose of culture and art for the day, p and I wandered over to 10th avenue to meet k for dinner at tulcingo restaurant (another inexpensive and delicious place to eat!). in my everlasting search for the absolute best chiles rellenos, I must say the offering at tulcingo did not disappoint and is actually worthy to be ranked! while glancing out the window k noticed the address on the building across the street. look closely the devil is in the detail!

this concludes the mouse's travelogue - saturday morning I boarded a nj transit train to princeton junction and spent the next two and a half days in the greater philly area, comfortably ensconced within the bosom of some of my family and enjoying various cousins' company and hospitality.

photos: top- play in the park (unfortunately I didn't notice the name of the park; all I can say is it's adjacent to chinatown); insert - robert putnam; bottom - hell's kitchen neighborhood, 10th avenue, nyc april, 2008

to hear black 47 play "sunrise on brooklyn" click here


Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

this was great, mouse! thanks for pointing out the "slight detail" of Hell's Dental - definitely not the best spot for root canal work. Frankly, I wouldn't even consider it for having my teeth cleaned :-)
The photos were fabulous as usual - I particularly enjoyed the park scene.

Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

you notice I did not give away the slight detail - don't want to be a plot spoiler :-)

jenclair said...

What a busy mouse you have been. Love the photos. Wow! The Judy Chicago dinner party! Lucky you to have the opportunity to view the place settings in person. Not that I didn't enjoy the slide show!

TheElementary said...

When I found your blog first I knew I'd be learning a lot of things. You seem quite devoted to arts and cultures and making changes, and this looks like it was a super-productive trip.
I'll check out that link you have to Putnam.

lettuce said...

i've so enjoyed this travelogue! you did so much!!!

i wouldn't mind the details of the vieitnamese restaurant please, if not a nuisance.

and judy chicago - i'd love to see some of her work, might try and fit that into my itinerary!


Steve said...

Wow! I love Takashi Murakami and the Judy Chicago work looks amazing! I gotta go to the Brooklyn Museum pronto!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

hey peter - quit posting ads to sell pharmaceuticals on the mouse!