Art and the Upper East Side

Is there anything more satisfying than when circumstances line up nicely? Since we moved away from the area the Upper East Side hasn’t exactly been on our must-visit list, but last Thursday night the stars aligned, and I found myself breaking my journey to meet some friends for dinner by dropping into the opening reception of an art exhibition. This show was of particular interest as it featured an installation by an artist friend of ours. (And I must say that popping into a gallery opening en route to dinner felt like a very New York thing to be doing!)

Entitled Food for Thought, the exhibition was small but interesting, although as a keen reader of exhibit text I was a little sad that the labels were minimal. However, Gwyneth’s installation looked fantastic, which was the main thing!

cup installation at Marymount Manhattan by Gwyneth Leech

Sunday found us heading back to the UES yet again, this time for a visit to some of the special exhibitions at the Met. It being a beautiful day we walked up through Central Park, admiring the fall colours and being amused by the wildlife. We were particularly taken with a flock of grackles, which were busily rootling through a large patch of fallen leaves – we had no idea what they were up to but they were great fun to watch.

Then it was on to the museum, where we spent rather longer than originally intended. Initially we went our separate ways as I wanted to see exhibits of Cubist art and Victorian mourning dress, neither of which appealed to Tom. Rather sadly, I wasn’t quite as taken with the cubism as I expected to be – the show is actually a private collection which has been promised to the Met, and it will undoubtedly be a splendid addition to their holdings, but in this current configuration the first few galleries were dark and cramped, and it seems that a little cubism goes a long way, even for such a fan as myself.

The Victorian dresses were much better, as the gallery was beautifully put together (Faure’s Requiem playing in the background was an inspired touch) and it was fascinating to learn about how the customs for mourning were expressed through clothing. The gallery also had one of the nicest entrance-way decorations I’ve seen in ages:

Death Becomes Her signage

We regrouped in El Greco (in another neat piece of happenstance Tom had been looking at some of the Greek stuff), then found our way to Yosemite by way of Imperial Prague, and stumbled across some treasures from India whilst trying to find the exit, as you do. After all that it was high time for some lunch, and here things almost fell apart as there was a long queue for tables at our old favourite diner. Thankfully Tom remembered our new favourite diner and, although it was another 15 or so blocks to walk, once we arrived we were seated immediately and sustenance followed shortly thereafter.

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