A Different New York City III by Chrissie Robb

The Oldenburg exhibit was boxed, crated and and ready for shipping when we arrived at MOMA the next morning. A great opportunity missed! However, it did mean I could lose myself in one of the wonderful Rothko paintings MOMA has on its walls. I can literally sit contemplating certain Rothko’s for hours on end as he is, by far, my favourite artist.

Luckily the rest of the world had their cell phones constructing a solid wall in front of a very famous Jackson Pollack. I have a sad presentiment that people no longer go to galleries to look at art. They go to photograph it and actually only ever see it through their camera lens. Real life v. mediated experience. I fear that technology wins out!

From 53rd. St. we walked down 8th. Ave to the West Village and then down W4 to the point where it crosses W10. This is the exact spot, with its note of tranquility amidst chaos and its gracious brownstones, where we’d live if we had two or three million dollars. My partner adores Bleeker Street so we moved over a block and walked its length as far as The Bowery. Strange to think that the Lower East Side with its galleries and trendy bistros was full of flophouses and brothels until the mid fifties. A recommended resto on The Bowery displayed a mouth-watering menu but at this time of the day was, sadly, deserted. Luckily, Little Italy, with its packed streets and boisterous crowds, was just a stone’s throw away.

Where to eat? We were determined to avoid all the ‘attrape-touristes’ but this was Mulberry Street and part of the fun is to sit on a terrace and watch the world go by. We made a considered choice by cocking an ear to the buzz at the tables lining the sidewalk and wedged ourselves into seats between two Italian-speaking families… this one had to be good! And it was. An unguent dipping oil laced with Parmesan and herbs coated a fresh and crusty peasant bread. My squid in a white wine sauce with linguini was succulent and my partner’s penne with prosciutto, mushrooms and peas had him smiling all the way to the bottom of his glass of Chianti and, in fact, all the way home, though we stood packed and wedged into the subway train for more than one hundred and forty city blocks.

All good things……
This morning we woke up brain-dead. IQs below 30. It’s official, we’ve OD’d on New York City. Time for the roar of the waves to drown out the noise of city crowds and the smell of seaweed to replace the downtown hotdog stands. So, off to Maine for a day or two.

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