Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In the Big Apple: Reflections on Hanging Out

So.... Blogger is having a moment (more like a dozen) and I can't upload any pics, nor link to any web images, so this update is going to be rather bland visually. I'll try again tomorrow but, for now, a quick update...

I've been enjoying just hanging out in the city. For the most part, it has been a lot cooler than when I first got here, and it's been way more pleasant. Here's some stuff I've been doing:

Got together with my friend "Lisa Ch" whom I met in Spain and lives just north of NYC - we had fun, starting off with salads for lunch, splitting a monster cupcake in a park, then ending up in a cute little bar for a beer. We were both at Pueblo Ingles and had something else in common... we both took off to Europe for a long stretch, 6 months for her, 7 months for me. We had fun chatting about how we have found ourselves changed upon returning home. Great fun, and nice to reconnect.

I have made two trips to The Strand Bookstore. Wow. It is SO cool! Here are some highlights:

  • I almost fainted when I saw how many Picasso books they had, mostly used, but a few new. It's a fun store... there are dozens of racks of $1 books outside to scour through, then just mountains of books inside. The art section was amaaaaaazing! There's also a bathroom in the store, handy to know if you are ever visiting.
  • While there, I did find out that there is book called Picasso's 347 (the series I mentioned in my post the other day) and they had a copy... for $250! Gasp! It was in their rare books section, but I told the guy I wouldn't bother them to dig it out for me, as no way was I able to afford that. But he was really nice, and he encouraged me to go look at it, and just have fun doing so. I did, and it was pretty amazing. And I managed not to have any disasters that would require me to buy it, heh. Oh, and that's a good deal... I checked on Abe Books and there is a copy available for $500.
  • My headiest moment came when I was looking at another big Picasso book, Art Can Only Be Erotic, written by his granddaughter, Diane Widmaier... It was marked at $30 and was the hard cover edition. But it had a big gouge on the front cover. When they same guy noticed it, he immediately marked it down to $7.50 for me. I was giddy. And, of course, I bought it. It weighs about 50 pounds. Lol. Naw, more like 5, but it will need a sturdy coffee table to hold it.Just looked on Abe Books and they range from $30 - $80. Mine has no resale value with that gouge, but that's fine, as I want it for me, me me! Yippee!!
  • They also had thousands of old auction catalogs from Christies, Sothebeys, etc. for $2 each. I guess if someone is going to spend $20,000 or $200,000 for a painting, you want a pretty picture of it in the catalog. And if it's a big piece, a fold out. They are great fun to leaf through. I bought 3 and have a whole bunch of Picasso, Miro, Warhol, and Kandinsky pics to inspire me. And not too painful if you want to cut something out to put it where it can smile down on you. SPENT: $6.00
  • Also got a book from the Guggenheim containing pics of it's regular collection for a whole buck. SPENT: $1.00
  • Found a neat little book called Artwalks in New York. It's a bit dated, as it includes art in the World Trade Centre towers (which I actually found fascinating, to realize what was lost, including a Miro tapestry)... but most of it is timeless, as public art doesn't often change. Plus they list art on display in restaurants and office buildings. I have a mission to head out to find 3 Picassos. There are also works by Miro, Chagall, and more. Will give me something to plan to see next time I'm here...
  • Also picked up a new copy of a novel set in NYC for about $5.
  • That's a lot of books for under $20.
  • Though now getting a suitcase to go home with is not an option (I'd only come with a carry on). But I know where to get one for about $15.

Other stuff and reflections:

  • I stumbled across a section of The Berlin Wall on 53rd, between 5th and Madisson, only a few blocks from where I am staying. It was tucked into an area between two office buildings, by a cafe, and noticed it out of the corner of my eye as I was walking by, and it stopped me in my tracks. Once you've seen the sections in Berlin, you'd recognize it anywhere. Very cool. More info here.
  • Had a pleasant afternoon one day re-exploring Rockefeller Centre and taking lots of pics of the Art Deco art and architectural details.
  • I managed to score a room upgrade at my hotel, and am now in a room with my very own bathroom! Feels like luxury.

OK, I'm out of steam, so will wrap up this post now... more soon.

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