Trip diaries: New York City 1961-2007
In chronological order. For the complete list of all trips taken, see Jim's Chronology.
See separate files for trips to:
New York: 2008-2012
New York: 2013-now
Link to more fotos on
1961, July 23 - August 10: Civil War sites, NYC, Washington DC, Wisconsin
Recorded in a diary by my father, Jim Watson
• Sunday: Left on our vacation at 8am. Spent the night at Memphis, Tenn (in the original, very first Holiday Inn Hotel Courts, above; named after the Fred Astaire movie and before the word motel - from motor + hotel, was popularized). Played miniature golf. Dad had low score for the day - 35.
• Monday: Drove to Shiloh battlefield and drove along tour route and inspected the area (Grandfather Aaron fought here). Continued on to Chattanooga and went up on Lookout Mt. to see battlefield. Spent the night in Chattanooga (at Albert Pike motel - still there, below).
• Tuesday: Left at 7:30a and drove down to Chickamauga battlefield. Went to Oak Ridge, Tenn and went through Atomic Museum (below). (Drove thru Knoxville? Davy Crockett birthplace) Spent the night in Bristol, VA.
• Wensday: (Drove thru Knoxville) and Roanoke and visited Appomattox Court House. Drove to Richmond - then to Williamsburg. Luckily found motel room, then spent some time in restored area.
• Thursday: Watched movie at 8:45 then spent the morning in the restored area. Drove to Jamestown, crossed on ferry, then went to Petersburg battlefield. Spent the night on north side of Richmond.
• Friday: Drove back into Richmond to see Confederate Museum in Jeff Davis’ old house. Drove to Fredericksburg and saw Marye’s Heights battle area. Went on to Washington and stayed in Holiday Inn. Went in to town to see Wash. Mon. etc.
• Saturday: Spent the day in Washington and the Smithsonian buildings.
• Sunday: Drove to Mt. Vernon and looked over George’s old hangout. Picniced along way back, then went to Arlington cemetery, Lee House. Drove in to see Wash. at night.
• Monday: Visited Capitol and Senate and House buildings. Then Supreme Court. Visited FBI at 4pm.
• Tuesday: Lorraine visited Pan American Union building and the boys and I went to Bureau of Engraving. Took off for New York about noon. Stopped in Verona NJ and had supper with Bob and Helen Shaw after driving up on N.J. Turnpike thru Baltimore. Stayed at Howard Johnson motel in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey (below).
• Wensday: Went over to New York and checked in at New Yorker Hotel. Took boat trip around Manhattan then went to United Nations. Ate dinner at Mama Leone’s. Walked for awhile.
• Thursday: Drizzled all day. Got tickets for TV shows ‘Say When’ (host: Art James) and ‘The Price is Right' (host: Bill Cullen, 1953-1963; announcer: Don Pardo). Took subway to Wall Street area and visited Stock Exchange. Back on bus. Taxi to PiR TV program at 5p. Steve, Jim, and I went to Yankee Stadium to see Yanks and KC.
(Colonial Theater: 1887 Broadway at 62nd. Studio was the first equipped for color production, originated the first color telecast Nov 3, 1953. Demolished 1977).
• Friday: Checked out after going to top of Empire State Bldg. Drove to Battery Park, boys and I went to Statue of Liberty while Lorraine parked car. Left NY at 3pm. Drove out NJ and Penn turnpikes to Gettysburg PA.
• Saturday: Went thru museum, then toured battlefield taking a look at Ike’s farm. Left about noon and drove to Lorain Ohio. Got pretty lousy motel room in rainstorm. Ate at Howard Johnson restaurant.
• Sunday: Drove to Madison.
• Monday: Took a drive around the campus. The boys went swimming at Wingra and looked over the zoo. Lunch at Mother Remmel’s and dinner at University Club.
• Tuesday: Tried to find a boat or canoe to rent. Ate lunch at Union with Chuck, Jean, and Ricky. Went swimming at their pool. Ate dinner at 2116 Fox. Boys played miniature golf.
• Wensday: Left Madison at 7am after 6 o’clock breakfast at 2116 Fox. Compressor busted near Lincoln IL. Got it fixed in Springfield. Drove around St. Louis and spent the night in Rolla MO. Highways 51, 66, 69, 75
• Thursday: Left Rolla at 7am and arrived home at 7pm.
1972, March 25 - April 1: UT Study Tour Paramount Hotel
Dr. Pierce and Dr. Scott (PR), 20 advertising, public relations, journalism, and theater majors
• Saturday: Depart Braniff 9:10a to JFK 2:08; bus to hotel; 46th Street, Century Paramount Hotel, room 529, Times Square; subway to Greenwich Village, ate Greek souvlaki, saw Fantasticks, saw The Bitter End, Folk City; walked home (50 blocks), 5th Ave & Broadway, delicatessen on the way; party in hotel room with Michigan students.
• Sunday: Rockefeller Center, breakfast; Broadway theaters; mass at St. Patrick's; Central Park, Fifth Avenue; lunch: Horn & Hardart, hotel; lobby - 2:45, bus to apt, Fifth @ 15th: Joseph Trum, Rick Houser, Mal Bybee (UT grads), Village, Washington Square; Chinatown, dinner; subway, Empire State observation deck; hotel, Times Square; party in Guy's room - teasers; call Susan, sleep.
• Monday: 10:00 tour Young & Rubicam (3rd largest, 24 floors, 1,500 people): presentation, lunch; 2:00 IBM: international advertising; 5:15 Dolphin: The Computer in Advertising; got ticket for Follies, eat at Flame Steak, bought postcards; hotel, TV, write letters, sleep.
• Tuesday: 10:00 tour CBS: talk with Walter Cronkite in Executive Dining Room; Italian lunch; 2:00 Toured Ted Bates agency (4th largest); ate hot dog, saw the Dick Cavett show; Follies (WinterGarden Theater); dinner: Steak & Brew, hotel.
• Wensday: Breakfast; 9:30 Carl Ally agency presentation and talk; hotel, Greek lunch; 2:45 tour Advertising Age magazine; saw offices of J Walter Thompson (largest), Doyle Dane Bernbach, and Wells, Rich & Greene; Central Park, shot movie; hotel, TV, sleep; eat, walk Times Square, sleep.
• Thursday: Breakfast; 8:00 bus to Stamford Connecticut: Conoco headquarters, presentation, Italian lunch buffet;1:50 bus to Hudson River: Institute for Motivational Research, saw upper Hudson, Harlem, hotel; try ticket to Hair - no, walk around, sleep.
• Friday: Up early, breakfast at automat; 10:00 walk to NBC: presentation on censorship in media; hotel, got phone books; subway to South Ferry, Staten Island Ferry, saw Statue of Liberty, lunch on Staten Island, back to subway; hotel, nap; tried Hair - no, ate hot dog, walked around theater district, hotel, nap; party with Seagram's, Times Square, sleep.
• Saturday: Pack, shop for t-shirts; Central Park; 2:20 bus to airport; 4:10 Braniff to Austin.
1976, March 3-7: BG1
• Wensday: 50 cent cab ride (shared with 2 businessmen), Times Square, Burger King
• Thursday: Call to make appts Friday with Pressman (12noon) and Sybarite (3:00); lunch: sausage house with the Whites; shop & walk with Tom: 5th Ave, FAO Schwarz (bought dice), saw Tom's agent, Central Park; hotel; Brentano's, Schwarz, bought Chicago ticket; hotel; Chicago; hotel, sub and walk to TGI Friday's, Charlie's; hotel, sleep.
• Friday: 12:00: saw Mrs. Pressman; hotel (had Ed cancel the Sybarite appt); lunch at Charlie's with Whites, Toni, and Mark; 2:30 saw James Pressman contract, deal; park with Ed, walk to Madison Square Garden, Penn Station; met April, sub to hotel, told White's of Pressman deal, called home, walked with Whites to Tom's play; Yes, No & Yellow, sat with Windell Edgar; walk home by 42nd & Times Square; party with cast, friends; eat falafel dinner in Greenwich Village; hotel, sleep.
• Saturday: Lunch at Ma Bell's; ran for tickets to Chicago - sold out, split up for shows, Toni, April, and I to Wiz but passed A Chorus Line and bought 2 tickets, Toni and I stay, April to movie; A Chorus Line (original cast); hotel bar, met others; Toni, Mark, and I search for more tickets - saw Pacific Overtures; dinner with Dennis at Sweet Basil, Village, gay bars (Meatpacking); hotel, drink in room, sleep.
• Sunday: Saw the Whites off, pack; meet Dennis in the Village, lunch: Front Porch, saw Dennis' apt; hotel, drop Ed off, to airport.
1976, April 5-12: BG2 McBurney YMCA
• Tuesday, April 6; 23rd St Y: took cab to meet Devlin at LaGuardia, we talk and ride cab to Pressman; 2:30: Met with Pressmans, Jacoby, Devlin: discussed licensing contract; Gramercy bar
• Wensday, April 7: Took train to New Jersey: Met with engineers at the Pressman factory.
Shows: Pippin, Bubbling Brown Sugar, movie: King Kong (Times Square W bar)
• Monday, April 12: Received licensing contract from Devlin and delivered it to Pressman.
1976, August 17-21: BG3 McBurney YMCA
23rd St YMCA with Woody Kane
• Tuesday, August 17: Met with Pressman: finalized design, approved model, decided on name Backgammon in the Round; New Jersey factory; Getting drunk in the village: Christopher St., Sheridan Square. Subway back to 23rd St. Y, passed out in Woody's room. The next day we split up - I had Pressman business; Show: Pippin; train to Boston: Bicentennial walk, Plymouth, Cape, show?; rented car, drove to NYC.
1977, Febuary 16-21: BG4
American Toy Fair: backgammon display; 23rd St Y or East Side Y, Show: Your Arms too Short
1981, March: NYC Study Tours
1983, November 19-27 YMCAs
• Saturday: With Jerry. Bus and taxi from airport to United Nations YMCA; walk around Grand Central, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, see Al Pacino, Tommy Tune, make reservation at Sardi's; seafood dinner at Pier 44.
• Sunday: Church at Marble Collegiate - Norman Vincent Peale, walk, home, change clothes; bus to Washington Square; WTC observation deck day, sunset, and night; subway to 1st Avenue: Maxwell Plum's, Adam's Apple.
• Monday: NBC: line for Letterman tickets; sub to Brooklyn: Pratt Institute; Letterman show; dinner: Gallagher's, watch Doonesbury crowd.
• Tuesday: Parson's, Cooper-Hewitt, national Academy of Design, Met Art; home: work out/jog, UN; met Kathie at 3:00; South Street Seaport, Fulton, Air Terminal: meet Wanda; cab to Frankie & Johnny's; see My One & Only, dinner: Sardi's.
• Wensday: Met at Y, Chrysler Building (up into tower spire), tour library, walk to Trump Tower, Lindy's: cheesecake, see Cats, dinner: Charlie's; walk with Kathie to Dreamgirls, home, check West Side Y, O'Neal's, margaritas.
• Thursday: Lincoln Center: tickets for opera, MoMA and store, AT&T bldg, Guggenheim, walk to deli; home change; Ernani - Metropolitan Opera (Luciano Pavarotti, Leona Mitchell, Sherrill Milnes), saloon by Lincoln Center.
• Friday: Met Art, lunch: Met cafe, Booth (no show), Wall Street: NYSE, Federal Hall, downtown, Statue; cab to Little Italy: Benito II, Chinatown; sub: Tavern on the Green: drinks.
• Saturday: City tour: Harlem, Hudson, St. John cathedral; Park, jogging; dinner: Charlie's, see American Buffalo, Empire State Bldg views.
• Sunday: Walk, check out, cab to Air Terminal: check luggage, lunch: Skyline Cafe on Lexington; Whitney Museum, Met Art, Frick, Plaza Hotel, 5th Avenue; dinner: Lindy's; cab to Air Term, flite, met April at IAH.
1989, March: NYC Study Tours
1991, March: NYC Study Tours
1993, July 20-25 Lincoln Center YMCA
• Tuesday: Flite St. Louis, entire row, flood views, Lambert: walk airport; Flite to LGA, flooded Miss River, Chain of Rocks; Carey van to Lincoln Center YMCA; Check-in, subway to Times Square: TKTS, dinner: salad bar, Hard Rock beer, walk home, rest; Will Roger's Follies Palace Theater, Times Square
• Wensday: Breakfast at Y, bus up CPW, cross Central Park, Lex to Purdy optical (no glasses there), bus to 52nd, Madison: buy glasses, walk Midtown, Citicorp: Conran's, lunch: atrium salad, GE Building, IBM Galleries, FLW Benz showroom, Hamm Schlem, MoMA Store, Subway to Village, walk, Washington Sq, Louis Sullivan building, Cooper Union, dinner: 8th St BBQ & beer, Village, sub to Y; taxi to Broadhurst Kiss of the Spider Woman, stage door, 8th Avenue, sub to Y, muffin at Lincoln Center
• Thursday: Bkfst at Harkness atrium, walk to 59th subway, ride express to Bronx and back, local to Natural History. Walk across park to Met: shop, up 5th to Guggenheim, lunch at Gugg cafe, walk up 5th: see wooden houses, Jewish Museum, Photo Museum, Cooper-Hewitt: Cubist Czech), Museum of City of NY; bus down 5th to 50th, check on glasses lens; walk to MoMA, bookstore, dinner at MoMA Cafe: sandwich & wine, design collection, bookstore; sub to Empire State Observ: sunset; dinner: Sbarro 34th, sub home, muffin at Lincoln Center
• Friday: Bus to Grand Central, bkfst, coffee3, muffin in Grand Hall, Red Grooms exhibit, Chrysler, Daily News, Ford Foundation, Tudor City, UN, ITC Gallery, GE Bldg; Purdy: got glasses; sub to Union Square Market: cider & cookie, NY Art Directors, SVA, WPA PO, Armory, Madison Square, sub to Bowling Green, Glaser's NY Unearthed, Fraunces Tavern, SoStSeaport Pier 17 lunch: salad, coffee, muffin; walk downtown: Deco, Federal Hall, McDonald's, WTC bridge to WFC, Battery Park City: beers, esplanade, courtyard, WTC: Sbarro, sub to 34th, Village, walks, sub to 23, walk Chelsea, Diner, bar for beer, Chelsea Hotel, sub home
• Saturday: Bkfst from Y, walk to 59th sub to Delancey, walk Orchard, shops, tenements; SoHo: Dean & Deluca, Guggenheim: Klee, minimalists, toilet; SoHo: buy socks, crazy ball, candle glass, books; sub to South Ferry, Staten Island Ferry: 2 beers, walk thru Battery Park and BPC to Pipeline (SWNY): dinner, sketch candle holder, talk with waiter, sunset "Very well done with World Financial Center, apts, shops, restaurants, a neat river promenade. Sat outside and watched sun set over Hudson, with views of harbor."; walk thru WinterGarden & WTC, sub to Times Square, walk home up Broadway
• Sunday: Bkfst from Y, walk Central Park: Dairy, rink, volleyball; Plaza Hotel, FAO Schwarz, 57th, Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock: lunch, walk to Y; cab to LGA
1997, March: NYC Study Tours
2000, March: NYC Study Tours
2001, Febuary 22-26: AIGA Design Education Conference Gershwin Hotel
• Thursday: Flite: read Grisham, exit row aisle; LaGuardia cab; Gershwin
• Friday: Cooper Union, NYU, Washington Square, visit Roberta: apt, lunch; Subway, MoMA: Workspheres, model, walk, goodbyes; sub to room, rest; sub 42nd: Internet Cafe: 700 terminals, New Amsterdam: The Lion King, Times Square; sub to 27th, snacks, room
• Saturday: Sub to 59th, Lighthouse: check-in, bkfst, auditorium, presentations, lunch, Conran Shop, more presentations; walk, Crate & Barrel, Plaza Hotel, Carnegie Hall, dinner: Brooklyn Diner, Wellington, sub to Gershwin
• Sunday: McD: egg biscuits, sub to Lighthouse, coffee, presentations, walk 59th, Columbus Circle, sub to 116th, visit with Clint Shore, walk Morningside naberhood, Tom's Restaurant, dinner: Deluxe Diner, Columbia, park, Clint's apt; sub to hotel
• Monday: Bkfst coffee shop on Madison, check out, cab to LGA, delayed flite, exit row empty next seat; DFW, missed connection, but it was delayed so made it, read book, OKC: drive to OU, change clothes in car, walk campus, review notes; class
2002, March: NYC Study Tours
2002, October 30/30 Hotel?
WTC, Jewish Holocaust Museum, The Producers, Union Square, SoHo, Naqoyqatsi.
2003, May: NYC Study Tours
2003, November 26-30 Search for condo, Part 1 Gershwin Hotel
• Wensday: Dogs to vet, drive to WRA: grade tests; flites; LGA, taxi, Gershwin, walk to Container Store, Union Square; dinner: Ranch 1; hotel
• Thursday: Thanksgiving was going to be tough - the first time ever without parents. I was not ready to try to ignore that, recreate the past, or start new traditions. Instead, one brother took his family to Florida and I went to Manhattan. I slept a lot and read a lot. Spent Thanksgiving morning with two designer friends. We had brunch in the Village and then walked around SoHo. We talked about the upcoming study tour in May (both these men are on the itinerary to make presentations to the students) and they educated me about buying an apartment. Later that day, I had a turkey burger at Dallas BBQ on 23rd near Chelsea.
I spent the next two afternoons with brokers who were showing me apartments. It was fun to see the different units and imagine me living in one in New York. I didn't find an apartment this trip, but I resumed the search in January.
• Friday: Look at apts; Grand Central, Hammacher, MoMA, read.
• Saturday: WTC, path trains, memorial exhibits, sub to hotel: read; look at apts; Conran, dinner: Houston's, hotel: read.
• Sunday: Pack, Starbucks, taxi: LGA, flite: grade tests, read; lost luggage, drive home.
2004, January Search for condo, Part 2 Gershwin Hotel
Went back to look at apartments. So far, all the units we had looked at had views of only buildings. Having grown up in North Texas and living in Oklahoma - I wanted a vista. The broker took me to Battery Park City along the Hudson by the World Trade Center site. We looked at apartments for two days. One at the end of a cul-de-sac had promise - a balcony looking through some trees to the Hudson River. The third day I went and walked the neighborhood to see if it 'felt right'. It did. I made an offer.
2004, March Closing on the condo Hilton Millennium
• Sunday: Trains to WTC, walk to Marriott and Hilton Millennium, high room with view of WTC hole, bought shaver, walked by apt, dinner: McD, sleep.
• Monday: Apt, bought toiletries, nap, check out; 1:00 walk-thru inspection of apt, Starbucks, Closing at lawyer's office: John Street; Hilton: get luggage, walk to new apt; J&R: buy TV, cab home; Century 21: buy bedding, bath; apt: airbed.
• Tuesday: Lite snow, Woolworth Starbucks, Staples: office stuff, apt: files; furniture arrives 3p, crates into apt; Apple: buy speakers, dinner; apt: set up stuff, walk, sleep.
• Wensday: Starbucks, Mens Wearhouse: jacket; Union Square: Sleepy's bed, ABC: buy Nelson bed, table, clock; Union Sq, sub to hardware on 8th; J&R: antenna, walk lunch, WFC, apt: nap; Crate & Barrel: dishes, flatware; SoHo hardware store; apt: set up units.
• Thursday: Unpack dishes; sub to Bed Bath: housewares delivery, Conran: Vignelli set; sub home, break down boxes, move with Abel, prep tables, delivery arrives, unpack, set up chairs, rug; sub Container Store: nite stand; Times Square: NYC mugs, dinner: Texas Texas.
• Friday: Downtown Starbucks, lunch: Cosi; apt, bed arrives, settle apt, printer; Chuck & Jenni dinner: Tribeca Indian; apt sleep.
• Saturday: Shoot apt photos, Meatpacking with Frank, lunch: Tequila Jack's; sub Time Warner; apt: settle, write cards; sub Cooper Union: concert, Sbarro; sub, walk Hudson
• Sunday: laundry, coffee, finish Christmas cards, print files, pack; walk WTC, trains to EWR, flite.
Settle apt, install artwork
2004, May: NYC Study Tours
2004, June Washington DC
I took the train from New York's Penn Station to Washington DC to see the UCO dancers perform at the Kennedy Center. It was really neat. They got a great ovation and the whole evening was very exciting. That afternoon, I walked around DC a bit and visited the National Building Museum and the Holocaust Museum. After the students' curtain call at 9:22, I hurried to a taxi to Union Station to catch a 10:00 train back to New York.
I spent the July 4th weekend in New York. The apartment building has a roof deck that overlooks the Hudson and the Statue of Liberty - great vantage point to watch the spectacular fireworks display over the statue. A real hoot. Most buildings in the area have roof decks and there were hundreds of people on them and apartment balconies partying and cheering - a real frat party atmosphere. Hudson Bay was filled with all kinds of boats - incredible large yachts to jet skis. I watched with a NY designer friend who is one of the presenters on our student Study Tour. We went out afterwards to eat and talk about NY design stuff. I had spent the whole day in the neighborhood - earlier in the day, I went to a street festival, took a harbor cruise, watched crowds at the free Lyle Lovett concert in Battery Park, and walked along the Hudson Esplanade. Spending the 4th at the Statue in NYC may become a new holiday tradition.
WTC update: The symbolic cornerstone for the new 'Freedom Tower' at the WTC site was laid on July 4th, 2004, accompanied by speeches from the governor and mayor. While it is planned to be the world's tallest building (1,776 feet) it is currently mired in controversy and legalities and it has yet to sign a major tenant. It will get built but the rest of the WTC complex may take many years. The train I sometimes take from Newark to Manhattan goes under the Hudson River and emerges in the basement of the WTC - now just in the bottom of the pit. World Trade Center 7 (the last building to fall on 9/11) is now topped out at 50 stories tall. One more 40 story building is yet to come down - the structural damage is too much to repair. Another building, an older ornate stone structure, is being renovated. Almost everything else has reopened. City, state, and federal governments are offering hefty enticements for development in Lower Manhattan so there is a lot of activity and new stores, restaurants, and offices. Downtown Manhattan will emerge better than before. The city planners and architects are learning from the mistakes of the WTC in 1972. The WTC complex took up 12 city blocks, closed off streets, and turned its back to the neighborhood thereby sucking street life and pedestrian activity from that part of downtown. The new complex will have street level retail (instead of the underground mall); streets will be put back in; and space is being earmarked for a performing arts center, museums, and a children's centers - in addition to the 9/11 memorial and museum.
2004, August 9-16
Deco exhibit at the Met, Chelsea, LES, Queens: MoMA & Noguchi, Police Museum, SoStSe Museum; Frank, Casey & Cristi, Sean; work on apt.
Spent time with my high school art teacher, Margaret Hudson. We saw the impressive library and galleries of the Hispanic Society of America. Then Liz, her partner, joined us for lunch and coffee. Later, they came down to Battery Park City to see the apartment and the Hudson Esplanade. Also spent time with Beau, a graduate of the UCO design program - he's a web design team leader at American Express. Saw great design shows at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum of Design: Design is not Art and an exhibit about and by Josef and Anna Albers (teacher from the Bauhaus who started the Department of Design at Yale.) Had brunch with good friend Roberta Sloan, a former UCO faculty member who is now in Florida. Saw Wonderful Town with Brooke Shields. Spent most of the time, however, laying carpet tiles in the apartment. All the parquet floor is now covered and the new carpet is laid on the same angled grid as the furniture.
2004, December Christmas week
2005, Febuary: The Gates Complete story and pictures.
2005, March Philadelphia & NYC
Prompted by a desire to see a Dali exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the fact that I had never been to Philly, I took Amtrak from New York's Penn Station - the trip was about an hour and 15 minute. I took puzzles to do on the train but spent the whole trip staring out the window at New Jersey and Pennsylvania towns and scenery. Arrived at a beautiful mammoth Art Deco station on the west side of downtown Philly. Walked all the way to the Art Museum. I wasn't able to get a conveniently timed ticket to the Dali exhibit but still had a great visit in the museum - one of the best collections of work by Marcel Duchamp and other Dadaists. I saw two films by Dali - one I had seen in college (where an eyeball gets sliced open- if you've seen this one, you know of what I write) and another that he did in collaboration with Walt Disney - although it was stopped due to WWII and just completed in 2003. Had lunch in the art museum.
Took the 'trolley' bus to the historic center. This was overwhelming. Every American ought to take a pilgrimage to tour Independence Hall. Phenomenal - the Liberty Bell; the room where the first Supreme Court sat; the Senate room; and the Assembly Room (picture above) where the motion was made for independence, where Jefferson's draft was revised, where the vote was taken and the reps signed the handwritten version. I had a great visit in the American Philosophical Association Museum discussing their authentic typeset Declaration of Independence (the handwritten one that John Hancock and the others signed wasn't prepared until August of 1776). The ones presented to the colonists on July 4th were the ones printed by John Dunlap in his print shop - now the site of a martini bar. Spent a while talking to printers in a reconstructed demonstration 1776 print shop. Had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, saw the restored Redding Railroad depot, and City Hall. Wore myself out with too much walking, but the whole visit was such an upper, I just kept going. Finally able to relax and slow down on the train ride back to Penn Station. I'll go back to Philly - lots of great stuff to see.
2005, April: Prep Study Tour
Gettin' into the flow. There is a fluid energy that permeates the city - there is a beat, a rhythm, that should be tapped into. If not, its easy to bump into people, to be a nuisance, to be like a tourist. But, once the rhythm is established and one gets into that groove, once can navigate tight openings in crowds, cross streets without disrupting traffic.
So many people are plugged in - they've got headphones on - listening to all sorts of input. This headphone culture has developed a new etiquette. Communicating to people on the street (sales people, passersby) must be done non-verbally - a nod, a smile, mouthing 'No, thank you.' Hearing people is possible but one must work a bit harder to decipher what is being said. Talking to people with earphones on (the dangling wire is the clue) requires a bit more patience.
Listening to music on the iPod makes the entire environment seem a bit surreal. Sometimes the music fits the people, the pace, the activity. Sometimes it defies those things. Either way the music puts a unique twist on the reality of the here and now that is going on.
Sitting in the sun in Union Square. Listening to the Favorites playlist on iPod. Watching people. Got surreal. Time was altered, slowed down. Some were reading. Playing music. Sunning. Soliciting. Seeking petition signers. Cell phoning. Conversing.
Everyone seems to have a cell phone stuck to their face.
To slow down, stop, and sit, you have to put it on your to do list and make an effort to make it happen.
People move with a purpose - where are they going.
So many people - where are they coming from. And Why.
Sometimes there is just too much to do.
How many cups of coffee are served in one day.
How many pretzels.
Where is the Wal-Mart?
Music. Sound. Horns. Traffic.
Why does this big city attract people.
What is the draw.
Snapshots of people alone in the crowd.
Smell of fresh coffee, the river, hot 'everything' bagels.
Helicopters overhead overheard.
2005, May: NYC Study Tours
2005, July with Vegas 1
Bowling Green fountain dance show (pic above); the great new fun Pylones store in SoHo, photoed the sidewalk grate where Marilyn Monroe's skirt was blown up in classic promo pic for The Seven Year Itch and the Mercedes showroom designed by Frank Lloyd Wright; neat art exhibit (pic above) at the Lever House on Park Avenue; the funny clever musical, Avenue Q; search SoHo for location of apt in the movie Ghost.
Sunday: Met Frank Nichols for breakfast, drove Riverside Drive, George Washington Bridge, Palisades Parkway, drove up to Deco lookout observation tower, built in 1934, in Bear Mountain park; Garrison (where Yonkers in Hello Dolly was filmed), Cold Spring downtown antique shops; Dia:Beacon, outstanding art museum and collection, avant-garde large-scale work, lunched there; Beacon, Hyde Park: toured Franklin Roosevelt’s estate, library (and room from which some of the fireside chats were broadcast), and museum (saw deer on the grounds by the rear terrace); drove through the large Vanderbilt estate and grounds; Poughkeepsie: drove around Vassar College; Taconic parkway and West Side Hiway past Cloisters, Riverside Church; dinner at Mi Cocina: sat outside in cool weather.
July 4: NoLita neighborhood; walk downtown, Staten Island Ferry; movie: War of the Worlds (summer action flick, poorly crafted film); walk along Esplanade: crowds awaiting fireworks, saw fireworks at park overlooking the Statue.
A bad location for a memorial sign On the left is a foto of the ventilation grates for the Battery Park tunnel that connects West Street to the FDR drive (the orange sign details some upcoming construction in the park). The sign on the fence, however, states 'Korean War Veterans Memorial'. If you look real closely in the right foto, off in the distance among the trees, you can just barely make out the Korean Memorial - a cut-out silhouette of a soldier. The sign clearly suggests that the Korean War memorial is a large ventilation grate in the grass. There has to be a more appropriate and respectful place for the sign that would still grab the attention of tourists walking by but more accurately direct people to the memorial.
Saw a taping of The Late Show with David Letterman. Paul Shafer and the CBS Orchestra were great, Letterman was hilarious, and it was fun to see the behind-the-scenes taping. But I was just as awed and fascinated to be in the very theater where the Beatles first performed in America, Sunday, Febuary 9, 1964, on the Ed Sullivan Show. Beautiful old theater right on Broadway. Saw two good musicals - A Light in the Piazza, a rich, almost operatic love story and the opening night performance of Lennon, about, well, John Lennon. Yoko was there with son Sean, Yoko got up onstage and danced to 'Give Peace a Chance' - really touching to see Yoko Ono up close - we passed each other during intermission. Other celebs there: Paul Shafer and Geraldo Rivera; also (but I didn't see them) Jerry Springer, Ralph Nader, and the actor from the tv show, Ed. Afterwards, while watching the crowd go to the private opening party at Sardi's, I saw Tim Curry and David Hyde-Pierce from Spamalot.
Had lunch before the show at the new Hard Rock Cafe located in the old Paramount Theater on Broadway where the Beatles performed in the sixties. Their guitars and Beatle jackets were on display. The week took on a Beatles theme with the Ed Sullivan Theater, the Paramount, and Lennon.
Also saw the Intrepid aircraft carrier and Concorde museum. Was okay - I felt a bit slimy supporting an awful war machine, but it was interesting to see where lots of history happened - the Intrepid saw action in WWII, Vietnam, Cold War, and was the pickup vehicle for several of the astronauts. Rode a Water Taxi around the southern half of Manhattan. Plus: Serendipity cafe, The Conran Shop, SoHo, West Village, Container Store, and the Staten island Ferry. Made a new recycling cart and a tool cart. Did some serious writing on essays for the website. That was the original intent for having an apartment in NY - inspiration and focus on writing. Plus, the stimulus from this great city. It was very hot, humid, muggy, and sultry. I look forward to coming back in October with near-perfect temperatures.
Felt sorta useless until I started doing some serious writing on essays for the website. That was the original intent for having an apartment in NY - inspiration and focus on writing. Now, its happening. It is such a thrill to wait in a hot subway station, anticipating the air conditioned cars but hoping you won't have to stand in a crowd, then looking into the car as it pulls in and seeing three empty seats - room to sit with one on either side for breathing room. Glorious.
Walked across the river on the Brooklyn Bridge. Many people told me it was a real treat, a highlight. They were right - it was spectacular - the crowds, the bridge cables and stone towers, and the incredible views of Manhattan. About a mile to walk over the East River from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Once there, I lay down on a the base of a statue and rested a bit, then walked through Brooklyn Heights. Later walked up the Hudson River and thru Tribeca. Next day was spent in Queens to see the site of the World's Fairs in 1939 and 1964. There were exhibits in the Queens Museum of Art which was the City of New York Pavilion in 1964 and before that, the temporary home of the United Nations before it moved into its new building on the East River. Also saw the Museum of the Moving Image in part of the former Astoria Studios in Queens, one of the largest and most active movie studios before the industry moved to LA.
Read the Michael Crichton book State of Fear. Replaced Flor tiles on the balcony and refinished the balcony chairs. Phone visits with brothers and their families. Saw the movie Rent (it was great to see a NY movie while in NY). Thanksgiving dinner: salmon fajitas and a cranberry margarita. Went to the newly reopened Top of the Rock observation deck in the Art Deco Rockefeller Center. MoMA: lunch and design stores. NY Public Library: Illuminated Manuscripts, Gutenberg Bible, NY maps, & the elaborate reading room. Framed the Vignelli subway map. Brooklyn: Brooklyn Museum, Grand Army Plaza, Park Slope brownstones, and BAM, Brooklyn Academy of Music. Saw the excellent Tony award-winning play Doubt.
• Friday, December 30, 2005: Fun late dinner with Roberta Sloan, got caught up.
• Saturday, December 31: Snowing, shopped, slept, worked sudoku puzzles, read Stephen King. 9pm: subway to Times Sq. (New Year's Eve) - too much of a madhouse, back to subway, home, read, surf web, watched fireworks over Hudson Bay at midnite at Battery Park.
• Sunday, January 1, 2006: Up late, subway/walk to Met (closed), bus to MoMA, crowded, bought books, maps, puzzle; went home.
• Monday: Subway to Starbux at Park/29th, write, meet Frank Nichols: walk to Armenian church, lunch at great Mexican restaurant on 2nd Avenue, bus to Macy's, walk up Broadway to Times Sq: buy May study tour tickets to Spamalot and Jersey Boys (story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons), after debating with Wicked, sub home, write, surf, watch DVD of the Cybill Shepherd/Bruce Willis TV series Moonlighting, sleep.
• Tuesday: Work on May student trip, subway to Union Square: lunch at Starbux, write. Barnes & Noble, debate/buy Sudoku book, walk to Parson's Gallery: Designing the Taxi, help family from Georgia get luggage into subway, buy Taxi book, walk esplanade & meditate (watching for Queen Mary 2), home, saw ship go by, read.
• Wensday: Saw excellent and awesome exhibit Pixar: 20 Years of Animation at the Museum of Modern Art - short film, models, sketches, demos, etc. Bought the soundtrack to Jersey Boys, SoHo, write, browse at MoMA Design Store and Pylones. Sub home to write, sudoku, and watch UT Longhorns win the National Championship in the Rose Bowl.
• Thursday: Union Sq. Starbux: lunch, write, walk University Place, Wash Sq, LaGuardia, West Broadway, WTC, WFC, home, sub to meet Charles at Union Sq. Got table at Coffee Shop. Dinner with Charles & Jenni: wedding, Hawaii, friends, work. Walk 14th St. to Starbux & subway. South Ferry, watch subway construction, Esplanade, sit on bench watching Hudson River, home.
Easter in New York. I thought St. Patrick's Cathedral might be all decked out, so after my morning coffee at Starbucks in Union Square, I subbed up to Fifth Avenue and the Cathedral. As I approached from a block away I noticed the side street was barricaded. Sup with that? When I got to Fifth, the street was packed with people. An Easter parade (I thought that was just a movie), protests? street fair? alien probing seminar? Nope, just a bunch of people doing New York. Then after I noticed the second and third outlandish hat extravaganzas, I realized people had spent time and money making spectacular Easter Bonnets and they were just parading and showing them off. Others were snapping pictures and touring the various millinery creations. It was a beautiful day. I never did get inside the Cathedral cuz the line was too long for the next service.
• Saturday: Morning coffee/emails, afternoon installing carpeting. Dinner in Village with Beau Wade and drinks in Union Square.
• Sunday: Union Sq Starbux, Easter Bonnet parade, Biennial art exhibit and lunch at the Whitney museum, sub, Border's Bdwy, walk esplanade, dinner outside at SWNY
• Monday: Shop/errands, Starbux, home, lunch at Burger Heaven, MoMA: saw a show of recent architecture in Spain - their inventiveness in organizing spaces and use of materials was very cutting-edge inspirational. I hope many American architects see this exhibit, MoMa store, Museum of Arts & Design, Border's 57th, Container Store 59th, sub, work on puzzle
• Tuesday: Starbux: write, sub to Charles at work, pizza lunch with Frank, sub to SoHo Starbux: write, MoMA store, Apple Store, walk down Greene to Tribeca, salad at Pecan Cafe, sub, laundry, walk/sit esplanade, clean apt.
I was sitting at the Border's Books on 59th and Lexington (I had just come from seeing the Frank Gehry collection of jewelry at Tiffany's on Fifth Avenue). I was watching people meander around the store when one person approached this narrow passage, stood on the floor, and the floor moved. First it moved her forward about two feet (her feet didn't move) and then - and I'm not making this up - the floor she was standing on began to move up at an angle, like a staircase but she didn't have to climb the steps. By golly, she just stood there. What a great invention that is. You stand on the floor, don't move, and the floor takes you up to the next level. You just stand there. Holy cow. What's next - a small room that goes straight up and down?
2006, May: NYC Study Tours
2006, May: HGTV filming
There is a subtle move that people (mainly males) do in New York City - I call it the Pocket Pat. Its to check, when leaving one's apartment, to make sure one has keys and phone in the pockets before the apartment door locks behind you. Its a quick movement to check for the bulges - simple pats on the pockets.
2006, May 30 - August 8 with Vegas 2
• Accomplishments: Secured pocket shelves; Framed signed Glaser poster; Finished 3D/NY puzzle; Made Book Shelves; Concreted Bubu stool; Painted window sills and trim; Installed new blinds; Refinished snack tray; Hid iPod wires; Made rock soap dish; Painted closet wires, dead bolt, doorbell; Organized nabe file folders: brochures/maps; Bought Sudoku puzzle, improved; Purged papers; Switched sides of kitchen sink faucet handle.
• Shows:The Wedding Singer, Altar Boyz, Tarzan, Disney on Broadway, Pilobolus
• Movies: United 93 and Wordplay
• DVDs: History of Violence, 40 Year Old Virgin
• Filming: Spiderman III and Enchanted.
• Museums: MoMA: Dada; MAD: Eames lounge chair; Guggenheim, Frank & Sean: Zaha Hadid; Morgan Library: Guttenberg Bible, building; WTC Gallery: Sauma Finland Design; Brooklyn Museum: Graffiti, Egyptian.
• Activities: Apple Store, Fifth Avenue: iPod/iTunes; Marathon swim, South Cove; Sean/Jamie: WTC, SoHo, Wash Sq, Seaport, NBC Studio Tour, Harbor cruise, drinks; Villages & MeatPacking walks; Downtown with Diane, Lisa, & Susan; East Village, Seth; UES, Gracie Mansion.
• Tours: Federal Reserve gold vault, exhibit; Downtown walking tour; Times Square walking tour.
• Excursions: Staten Island, Seth: walk, SIR train; Brooklyn walk, diner, Hassidic Jews; Jersey City: light rail, Hoboken terminal, mall, waterfront; Coney Island: subway, Aquarium, Nathan’s, Museum, ocean, boardwalk; Park Slope, Seth.
• Drive upstate with Frank: GW bridge, Bear Mtn tower & bridge, Manitoga walk, Garrison, Cold Springs, DIA Beacon, FDR’s Hyde Park, Vanderbilt mansion, Vassar
There is now a serious police presence in downtown Manhattan - and not ordinary police, but these decked-out military style soldiers. There are also National Guard kids stationed throughout the city. Seeing these quasi-soldiers on street corners and in Grand Central reminds me of seeing soldiers in Egypt - a third-world, unstable government. This is the United States of America. What is going on? Is it paranoia? Security precautions? Overreaction? Have we yet acknowledged that terrorists have made a major impact on our culture and lifestyle?
Two interesting conversation phrases - almost everyone in New York City says Good morning instead of hello, hi, ugh, or any other morning greeting.
Also, I rarely ever hear No problem - its almost always You're welcome.
Summer 2006 with no television. Well, there is a television in the apartment but the antenna only picks up a slightly fuzzy educational station from New Jersey. To get good reception you have to subscribe to cable and I have yet to do that. It doesn't make sense for the few weeks that I would use it. But, okay, here's the real reason - I just hate the cables that are stapled along baseboards and over door trim to get to the television. The jack in this apt is on the opposite wall from the TV. I played with a different arrangement to get the TV by the jack but it just did not work as well. Anyway, a summer without television has been sorta nice. I can go down to the club room to watch the big screen as I have done a couple of times to watch Desperate Housewives, Boston Legal, and The Office. I am much more productive without the regimen of television and enjoy my evenings much more walking along the Hudson, talking with people, and interacting with the city instead of with equipment. I will see how much of this carries over when back in Oklahoma. I will try to watch less television. July 8 2006
Update: I subscribed to cable and internet from 2010 to the summer of 2013.
Two months and 5 days, 66 days total - my summer in New York City is coming to a close - for the moment; I will be back. This has been one of the best summers of my life. It ranks right up there with the 4 summers that I worked at Six Flags as a Ride Operator and the summer when I was 8 or 12 and I slept in my underwear so that in the morning I could simply step into my shorts (that were on the floor next to the bed) and a tee-shirt. I was ready to go play with my friends all day. Interrupted only by my mother calling me in for lunch and by my father who, after dark, came outside to tell us that "tomorrow would be another day" and to come in and get ready for bed. This summer, 2006, was as good as that. Even though my mom didn't prepare my lunch and my dad didn't remind me when to go to bed. But still, they are responsible for my being able to enjoy this city so much.
I know that spending time in New York City is a privilege I would never have had if my parents had not sacrificed and saved and given to me and my brothers. I thank them every day.
I often see people looking at maps, looking at street signs, or just looking lost. I will go ask them if I can help them find something. I have yet to be stumped. In my naberhood there are many questions about the World Trade Center and how to get there - I guide them there and tell them about the exhibits and models of the memorial and new office towers that are on display. I guide people to subway lines, Brooklyn, Times Square, Little Italy, etc. Someone pointed out (while waiting on me to help some lost folks) that it is the teacher in me, wanting to help and guide people. I also wonder if it is the training I got for 4 summers while working at Six Flags to help guests. Whatever, I enjoy it. I want these tourists/visitors to have a good experience in New York and to not think all New Yorkers are abrupt and rude (I don't let on that I'm not really a New Yorker) More.
I wonder - are these guys 'undercover' security guards, scoping out the area, or are they on the lookout for a shoe store.
I talked to a woman today in Battery Park and she commented/assumed that I was a New Yorker. I nodded yes. It was the first time I had acknowledged the identity of being a New Yorker. Weird but sorta neat.
Part of the July 4th festivities in NYC was this 'concert' at the pier in Battery Park - it may be the worst attended performance ever. I'm hoping that this is the singer's mom and not just some woman waiting for the ferry. 2: The latest model of the recently begun Freedom Tower.
2006, October: Fall break
Saw Martin Short on Broadway in Fame Becomes Me. I have never laughed harder nor longer in my life and, depressingly, I don't think I will ever laugh this hard again. For me and comedy, its now all downhill. At one point, I was about to leave and go to the lobby to stop laughing - I was making myself ill from laughing so much.
2006-07, December - January with Vegas 3
A Chinese New Year Holiday Spectacular. I saw an ad in the paper and thought it could be cool. So, I went. It was half cool - it was a vaudeville style collection of acts, both western and eastern. About half of the acts allowed me to take a nap while the other half were fascinating, including a Chinese drum dance and a fan dance. Overall, it was fun to experience rituals, music, costumes, and dances from another culture. The narration and the program were bilingual and much of the audience was Chinese. It was sponsored by New Tang Dynasty Television and performed in the 3,000-seat Beacon Theater on Broadway in the Upper West Side. Built as a naberhood vaudeville theater, the Beacon is quite opulent. December 23 2006
The Brooklyn Museum and sculptures by Ron Mueck (rhymes with Buick). A London-based photo-realist artist, he worked in special effects for Jim Henson's Muppet movies and the film Labyrinth. Mueck then made models to be photographed for advertisements. Now he uses resin and fiberglass to create his own artwork. And they are astonishing - the detail, the emotion, the eerie presence. The sleeping head is 3 feet tall, the brooding figure is 7 feet tall. One expects them to breathe, snore, blink - any sign that they are not mere sculptures. The super-realism and the awe at the technique of sculpting and producing such large and detailed figures is what viewing great art is about - it allows us to transcend the norm and the expected into an imaginary realm of possibilities. January 1 2007
Smooth 2-day drives: Vegas in back, iPod/audiobooks; rainy drive home
• Accomplishments: Prepped all spring syllabi, Graphic Design 2 outline, Organized GD2 agenda; Designed JRW products logo; Reconfigured sink faucet, installed paper towel holder, fixed drain; Designed, ordered, and installed door text lettering; Weblished: products, logo book, Hudson Ocean, Tribute.
• Museums: MoMA: Beijing architecture, Cafe 2, design exhibits, stores; MA&D: Droog products exhibit; Metropolitan Museum of Art: Tiffany exhibit, Egyptian, Chinese art; Cooper-Hewitt: Design Life Now Design Triennial, joined, store; Brooklyn Museum: Ron Mueck and Annie Libovitz; Federal Hall.
• DVDs: Superman, DaVinci, Cars, Pirates, WTC, Little Miss Sunshine
• Shows: Drowsy Chaperone and Chinese Holiday Spectacular, Beacon Theater.
• Activities: Inspired at Droog/DIY lecture at MAD; Party at the White's apt; NetFlix movies; Katz's Delicatessen, Lower East Side; Tribute WTC Visitor Center; SoHo; iBook crashes - buy new MacBook; visit with Jonathan, Frank, Seth; Bloomingdale's - shop and eat; Heights Cafe, Brooklyn Heights, walk Brooklyn Bridge, Upper Broadway, Union Square
2007, March 16 - March 25: Spring break
LEFT: Bodies The Exhibition was much better than I expected. Wow, eerie and fascinating. Bodies are immersed in acetone, which eliminates all body water, then placed in a large bath of silicone/polymer and sealed in a vacuum chamber - the acetone leaves the body in the form of gas and the polymer replaces it, entering each cell and body tissue. A catalyst is then applied to the specimen to harden it. It was very educational - seeing how complex the inner workings, billions of cells each doing their specific task, day after day for decades. Makes me tired thinking how much work they do. March 23
RIGHT: Edgar Tafel was one of Frank Lloyd Wright's apprentices at the Taliesin school in Wisconsin. When Wright was commissioned to build Fallingwater in the forested countryside outside of Pittsburgh, he assigned 3 apprentices to oversee the design and construction of the house. Edgar was 24 years old at that time (he was born in 1912.) Well, I went to his 95th birthday celebration at the American Institute of Architects Gallery near SoHo/Village. But not too impressive since I had no idea who Edgar Tafel was until I held the door open for him and his caretaker. I was going to the AIA to see 2 films about Fallingwater, one of which starred Edgar. The birthday party was just a nice surprise - it turned out to be pretty neat. One of the films was a reunion of the three apprentices talking about the building of Fallingwater; the other was about the process of rebuilding the cantilevered terrace that juts out over Bear Run Creek. A fun, educational, and inspiring evening out in the city. March 20
• Thursday eve: AIGA meeting with 4 grads, On the Border
• Friday: Headache; Aldon call advice; dinner Sean; Kaleidoscope dance concert, present scholarship, walk home
• Saturday: Lunch Lon, Bricktown Michael; pack & prep
• Sunday: Up at 5am; drive, easy check-in, flite; trains to WTC, walk apt; Gail & Pam - walk to Gigino’s for lunch, Starbux, Skyscraper Museum, ladies in cab; river, newspapers, apt; write, surf, read, arrange apt.
• Monday: Work out; Borders, shop Broadway, WFC; apt; sub, call Paul SFSU, shoes to 88th/Lex, Starbux, subway, call Ruki; apt; dinner at Pax; sub home, write, read, fix shoes
• Tuesday: Write Ruki recom; sub SoHo: Uniqlo, shirts, Longchamp, Miro lunch, sub; Frank, Cafe 28, Charles, sub to 86th, get/change shoes; sub to Bowling Green: Chipotle, Battery Park, Castle Clinton exhibits, walk home; read/purge, write, watch episodes of The Office
• Wensday: Write; sub to 103rd, pee in rampway, walk to MoCoNY, Moses, film, theater exhibits, sandwich, ‘group shot’ on front steps; walk Central Park, sub to 72nd, walk; Lincoln Center Library: theater exhibit, clips, models, posters; bus 9th to 48th, lunch at Say Cheese, walk to 42nd, sub home; decaf, write, rest; Sub to Times Sq: eat scone, walk, Spring Awakening, walk Bdwy, 42nd-9th Ave, taxi home, read
• Thursday: Write web homepage, work out; bus to Seaport: tkts, Brookstone, lunch at Pier 17, sit bridge deck; Bodies exhibit, walk streets, coffee, shop, walk Chase, apt; write/fotos, walk Esplanade to Rockefeller park, watch Chen dance show, apt; soup, write
• Friday: Write, prep GD2; walk to WTC, eat at Essex Cafe, Century 21 shoe horn, walk (rainy) home, Ruki call re interview; apt, write, read; sub Canal, SoHo map, chips, help European tourists; AIA: FLW films Edgar Tafel’s 95th birthday; walk Houston, sub, Cafe Bravo, apt
• Saturday: Watch The Devil Wears Prada; coffee at Gristede’s, gym, write, coffee Gristede’s: walk Hudson, Battery Park, West St, talk Jenny’s owner; write, walk Beekman Place, MoMA apt, Waldorf-Astoria, Grand Central: dinner; sub, home, Hudson, apt.
• Sunday: Coffee Hudson, laundry, vacuum; walk, lunch Essex, Path train (Spring Awakening on iPod), NJ train, Newark Penn sta, airport check-in, Pres Club, board, flite; read Greyhound mag; write, read; drive home
2007, May 16 - June 17 with Vegas 4
Drives: Wensday & Thursday, May 16 & 17 and Friday-Sunday, June 15-17
July 28 - August 3 Flight: Saturday, July 28 to Friday August 3
The plan was to get a new dog that would be more social than Vegas and then to take both dogs to the big city for the summer. After spring break, I adopted Manhattan, a great greyhound - very social and gregarious. We set out on Monday after spring commencement. Oops, Manhattan was so anxious she pissed in the bedroom right before we were to leave. Then she shit in the car and, a few minutes later, threw up. We were about an hour away from home. I turned around and went back. I got sedative drugs for the dogs and a crate for Manhattan and tried again two days later. The night before, Manhattan pissed again, this time on the bed. I realized she was just not ready for the anxiety of car travel and living in an apartment (I found out later that she had been in a car wreck on the same turnpike where she threw up). I arranged for the adoption people to foster her for a month, shortened the trip to 4 weeks, and set out a week later with just Vegas.
This time, all went well. I drugged Vegas with a sedative - she just buried her head in the blanket in the back and slept until we stopped for the night. This was about an hour past Indianapolis, in Richmond, on the old National Road (later US 40) that ran from coast to coast. I drove a bit of it after walking Vegas and eating dinner. The next morning we drove on into Manhattan. My butt was sore - two days in the car, one for 13 hours and one for 11 hours. On the return trip back to Oklahoma, I took 3 days. I stopped in Columbus Ohio and in St. Robert Missouri, where I drove on old Route 66 thru part of the Ozarks and toured the historic town of Waynesville with its stagecoach inn, Union fort site, and overnight stop along the Trail of Tears - the Cherokee's march to resettlement in Oklahoma.
After 6 weeks back in Oklahoma, I was itching to return to Manhattan so I flew back for a week in July/August before the semester began.
• Accomplishments: Weblishing, NY contents menu, Study Tour; Balcony vase of grass sticks; Decide to continue Study Tours; Bought back-up hard drive
• Shows: Spelling Bee, Tarzan, The Pirate Queen, Legally Blonde, Beauty and the Beast, Xanadu
• Museums: Museum of Modern Art (Helvetica, Richard Serra sculptures), Cooper-Hewitt Museum of Design (The Other 90%), Whitney Museum (Art of Psychedelia), Metropolitan Museum of Art (Greek/Roman, armor, Egyptian), Guggenheim (just for lunch), Liberty Science Museum (Skyscaper, iMax), Grand Central Terminal: New York in Film, WFC: Design from Africa
• DVDs: Boogie Nights, Lucky Number Slevin, The Fountainhead, Night at the Museum, Scary Movie 4 (OMG LOL), The Departed, Into the Woods
• Concerts: Bang on a Can, Joan Armatrading, Steely Dan, and Phoebe Snow
• Activities: Contemporary Furniture Fair; Yankees game against Boston; Wander the back hallways of Grand Central Station ; Tracked down the site of Fillmore East, Bill Graham's 60s concert venue, and CBGB; Hiking around the Historic District on Governors Island; Karim store opening; Hunger Memorial; Central Park: fountain, drums; SoHo, Chinatown, LES, Fifth Avenue; Chelsea galleries; Visits: Michael, Roberta, Seth, Frank, Jeremy & Andrew; Sitting at the Hudson River and watching people and river traffic (almost daily activity).
• Tours: United Nations, Yankee Stadium, East Village, Harbor Cruise on the Zephyr.
Wensday/Thursday, May 16-17: smooth drive, iPod, Ind., drive US40, Holland tunnel
• Friday, May 18: Car to Harlem, sub, Chipotle; clean apt, laundry, talk with Frank.
• Saturday, May 19: ICFF, cab; walk Vegas; MJO’K, subway, Karim store opening, ate Elmo 8th Avenue, subway; groceries, apt.
• Sunday, May 20: Walk Hudson Esplanade, Marina, Hunger Memorial, Michael jog, Jim to dog park, visit with dog owners, home; apt smoothies, Battery Park walk; subway,
Union Square, Taiwan festival, Anti-Bush buttons, sat on steps; subway Grand Central, transit gallery, Starbucks, Fifth Ave, St. Patrick’s Cathedral (mass 300 50th Wedding Anniv), Rockefeller Center, NBC store, walk to MoMA: sit sculpture garden, Helvetica, paintings, graffiti wall, store; eat outside 53rd Street Deli, rain, walk 6th Ave to Central Park: carriages, volleyball, toilet ads, drummers, Bethesda Fountain, freeline skaters, literary walk, rock hill; Apple Store, subway; walk/sit on Hudson, apt, balcony, roof deck.
• Monday, May 21: Web tkts to Stadium tour, rush ready, sub, tour Yankee Stadium: press box, field, dugout; buy game tickets, walk Bronx, lunch McDonald’s; sub KMart buy bed, sub to SoHo: Pylones, Starbucks, MoMA, Uniqlo, Longchamp, Prada, sub; apt: rest, sub: Yankees game, walk streets, stadium, seats, game: A-Rod homer, fights, hot dog & beer, sub home on crowded car; walk Vegas to Hudson.
• Tuesday, May 22: Walk Vegas, sit Promenade; groceries, bus Seaport, tkts, walk WTC, Path, WTC7, WFC sit, Design from Africa, walk to Chambers; sub 23rd, Dallas BBQ, Chelsea: galleries, bus 23rd, sub, apt: rest; rush, sub Times Square: Spelling Bee, Times Square, Bubba Gump’s, sub, walk Vegas to Hudson.
• Wensday, May 23: Walk Vegas, walk Battery Park, Fraunces Tavern, Stone Street, Seaport: tkts, Michael to Bodies exhibit, Pier 17 deck, shops, buy bat, lunch: Trattoria, walk Chinatown: Mott, Canal; sub, rest; sub Times Sq, eat Pax, Tarzan, Times Sq, sub; walk Vegas to Hudson.
• Thursday: 3:50a, up and see Micheal off.
Salvaged beam from the World Trade Center showing the force of the collapse - enough to bend this huge steel beam. Phenomenal landscaping along the new West Street Promenade in my naberhood. A dog trying to eat or bite the fountain jets of water in the new Battery Park bosque.
Joan Armatrading in a free concert. 'Free Joan' sounds like a sixties-era rallying cry and sound bite for a protest march. But, this was just a great concert (with lots of middle-aged former and a few current hippies.) The World Financial Center, in Battery Park City a few blocks from my apartment, has its own entertainment office that produces numerous events throughout the year. This concert was part of the River to River Festival co-sponsored by the city and major corporate sponsors. Often, the events are inside in the WinterGarden. Joan sang out on the plaza overlooking the marina and the Hudson River. A brief rain delayed the start time, but then, she put on a great show. I remember hearing her music on the radio in the seventies. Bio blurb from her website: All the while, no matter the accolade, Joan Armatrading has focused on the music. When first you hear the voice, rich, warm, remarkable, it's a voice that suits a secret sharer, a woman who tells the truth. For 33 years, Joan Armatrading has done just that - in songs crafty, subtle and sublime. Armatrading's songs are in the truest sense soul music; even at their boldest, driven by her passionate guitar, they touch the listener like a whisper to the ear, like confessions from heart to heart.
This summer NY trip had a recurring Sixties theme: the Psychedelia art show at the Whitney Museum; finding the site and facade of the Fillmore East theater; walking St. Mark's Place with its history of clubs, homes, and shops of that era; the East Village and Tompkins Park - site of many protest allies; the Joan Armatrading concert; the aroma of marijuana floating by at Joan's concert and at Steely Dan; and the finale of the Steely Dan concert with the theater full of middle-aged groovers and younger fans.
My views from my table sitting outside at the Seaport Inn having dinner on Sunday evening. Lots of people and street entertainers.
Queen Mary docked in Brooklyn, shot from Governors Island.
Sitting in the WinterGarden, under palm trees, in the World Financial Center - there has been a marathon of music from Bang on a Can, a collection of musicians who share only the connection that they are exploratory, avant garde, and pushing the envelope of what can be defined as music (one piece was just noise). The marathon went on for 24 hours, although I experienced only about 3 hours of it. The sound system is fantastic and it is pure delight to be able to sit in this environment and hear such great experimental music. The left foto below is from the top of the grand stairs looking towards the stage at dusk. Right: a 4-piece drum group.
The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum has a show this summer entitled, Design for the Other 90% (you likely guessed that because of that orange title block to the left). This issue has fascinated me since I was in college in the late 60s - most design, millions of dollars worth, is produced for the top 10% of the planet, for the more well-off and industrialized nations. There is a huge undeserved population that needs great design - great creativity and innovative solutions to problems. Designers are trained to make things better, to address social ills as well as competitive commercialism. Most designers spend their entire career designing new logos, brochures, annual reports, etc. for a highly commercialized and competitive environment. Imagine if designers pent 10% of their time, talent, and resources to help people grow crops more efficiently, to get and keep water that is pure, to communicate to each other over long distances. We, then, truly could and would make a difference.
These fotos show a few of the solutions and exhibits in the garden area of the Cooper-Hewitt museum. A bit weird and ironic since this was the backyard of Andrew Carnegie, one of the wealthiest tycoons in America.
I had read about this comprehensive exhibit of art from the 1960s. I have always enjoyed shows at the Whitney - they do a good ob of curating and including thorough examples. So, this was a must on my to do list. I got to the Whitney at about 2:45 and left at 7:15 - 4.5 hours. I lost track of time, just like we did in the 60s. It was a great show. Artwork, photography, films, and text. I watched several short films - some on psychedelia, some about the war protests (eerily similar to responses to Iraq today). I learned some neat stuff about some of the poster designers. There were, in addition to the main film screening room, 9 small theaters showing light shows, videos, and strobe projections. I thought I was through but noticed on my way out that there was an audioguide with music. Cool. So I checked it out and went back to one of the theaters, the one with the pillows on the floor, and lay down and grooved to classics - Iron Butterfly, Jefferson Airplane, the 13th Floor Elevators, Beatles, etc.
At one point, I was listening to In-A-Gadda-Vida with headphones on and laying on the floor. Whoa. It took me right back to 1969 when I was laying on the floor of my dorm room in Prather Hall at the University of Texas, with headphones on, listening to In-A-Gadda-Vida. True flashback - without drugs.
The fotos above were the only ones I could take since no photography of any kind was allowed in the exhibit (which just means one must be more creative and more cautious). Above (I didn't shoot this one) is an installation of a colorful padded room. Guests had to remove their shoes and only a few could go in at one time. I lay down, rested, reminisced, and watched others enjoy the environment. On the right is the ceiling of this room. On the lower left is a wall of posters by Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, Wes Wilson, and others. On the lower right is a graffiti art version of the baby-changing table in the men's room at the Whitney Museum.
The United Nations is housed in some great 1950s era buildings with biomorphic shapes and 'Scandinavian style' furnishings; designed by a consortium of architects including Le Corbusier. The land was donated by the Rockefellers. The UN was formed in San Francisco and first met in a former World's Fair pavilion in Queens. The UN is an interesting place. An entire complex created because our species can't get along. But, good things have come from the UN. 192 countries out of 195 have chosen to become members and pay their dues (based on a percentage of the country's GNP - Gross National Product). Of the 3 that aren't members, one is Vatican City and the other 2 are small island nations with almost no resources to spend. I learned that it was the UN that decided that all pilots and air traffic controllers on the planet would use English as their language of operation, that the color red means stop in all countries, and what is the healthiest determined expiration time for milk. The UN has no peacekeeping forces but solicits volunteer nations to volunteer troops. Those soldiers wear their own uniform but paint their helmet UN Blue as a symbol of solidarity. Our family had toured the UN in 1961 and much of it looked exactly the same.
Andy Goldsworthy is a phenomenal artist who works on site changing the way we see nature and creations. His only permanent installation in Manhattan is this one, Garden of Stones, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage at the tip of Battery Park City (about 2 buildings south of my apartment building). Garden of Stones is an eloquent garden plan of trees growing from stone, a contemplative space dedicated to the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust and honoring those who survived. Goldsworthy worked with nature's most elemental materials - stone, trees, and soil - to create a garden that is the artist's metaphor for the tenacity and fragility of life. An oak sapling emerges from the top of each of 18 boulders, growing out from the stone. As the trees mature, each will become a part of the stone, its trunk widening and fusing to the base. It demonstrates how elements of nature can survive in seemingly impossible places. In Jewish tradition, stones are often placed on graves as a sign of remembrance. Goldsworthy brings stone and trees together as a representation of life cycles intertwined. He included 18 boulders because of the number's symbolic significance: Chai, number value 18, is the Hebrew word for life, and is in the traditional toast "L'chaim" - to life! Andy Goldsworthy is best known for his outdoor sculptural interventions and indoor installations that transform nature's most familiar elements into graceful designs. More on Goldsworthy.
The paving stones within the yellow marks look darker than those outside, but they are the same grey color - the dark marks and the yellow aura outline create an illusion that makes those appear darker by contrast.
Design Made in Africa was a gallery show of crafts and design, some very innovative, some very organic and natural, but all of it very well-crafted and produced with a meticulous eye for heritage and respect. It was in the gallery in the World Financial Center in my naberhood so I went twice. Some of the neat stuff: A stool, made from a solid piece of tree trunk, with carved slots to hold books or magazines; exquisite weavings of native and synthetic materials forming furniture seats and backs, wall hangings, and decorative pieces. At least that heavy duty lock is still intact. It is probably now worth more than the bike. I also wonder why someone didn't take that nice rear reflector. Red and shiny. From the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
2007, October 18-23
A herd of tired art lovers at the Museum of Modern Art.
• Thursday: flite, taxi, shop, walk Hudson
• Friday: Meet Londons: NBC, apt, WFC/WTC, downtown, Times Sq; apt; Farnsworth Invention
• Saturday: Wicked backstage tour, lottery ticket wait, MoMA, Chelsea gallery, Boston Mkt; apt; Beau: Brooklyn Grimaldi’s pizza
• Sunday: Union Square, B&N, SoHo, Uniqlo; apt write; brgr, 34th street
• Monday: apt; Frank visit, lunch; apt; car svc, flite delayed, Memphis airport run, Tulsa flite, ride from Tulsa to OKC airport, drive home
2007-08, December 22 - January 2: Christmas and New Years
Winter break: MoMA: Cafe 2, design exhibits, stores; MA&D: Droog products exhibit; party at the White's apt; NetFlix movies; Cooper-Hewitt: Design Life Now Design Triennial, joined, store; Chinese Holiday Spectacular, Beacon Theater; Katz's Delicatessen, walk the Lower East Side; Tribute WTC Visitor Center; SoHo; iBook crashes - buy new MacBook; visit with Jonathan, Frank, Seth; Bloomingdale's - shop and eat; design, order, and install door text lettering; reconfigure sink faucet, fix drain plumbing; buy new sheets; Brooklyn Museum: Ron Mueck and Annie Libovitz, Heights Cafe, Brooklyn Heights, walk Brooklyn Bridge; Federal Hall; Metropolitan Museum of Art: Tiffany exhibit, Egyptian, Chinese art; Droog/DIY lecture at MoA&D.
Christmas was always a great family time filled with the decorations, aromas, foods, and good times of the holiday. My mother was great at decorating the house, cooking our favorite meals, and having a warm welcoming house for friends and family. I have many fond memories of the Christmas season at the Watson house. Mother even baked a birthday cake for Jesus and had us sing Happy Birthday. However, once my parents died in 2003, there was no way to recreate those traditions so I began some new ones in my second hometown of New York City. Christmas now is quite different, but still memorable. I have a playlist of carols on my iPod, I have a couple of decorative trees for the apartment, and the big city is just glorious at Christmas - the lights, sounds, and holiday activities. Of course, its also crammed full of tourists.
12 days were spent with Sean and Jamie Cobb. We did about as much as we could:
• Walkin': Museum of Modern Art, Bryant Park, Public Library, Rockefeller Center tree, St. Patrick's, NY Historic Society, Natural History Museum (briefly - it was so crowded), Grand Central, IBM building, the Charmin bathroom in Times Square
Holiday windows: Macy's and Saks (tied for 1st place), Lord & Taylor, Bergdorf Goodman, Barney's, and Bloomingdales
• Shows: Rockettes' Christmas Spectacular, Cirque du Soleil's Wintuk, The Color Purple with Fantasia
• Shoppin': Moss, Apple Store, Hammacher Schlemmer, Tourneau, Sony Store, Taschen, Wired, Longchamp, UniGlo, Muji, Macy's
• Eatin' and drinkin': Chevy's (our favorite), Dave & Buster's, Applebees, brgr, Cosi, Hawaiian Tropic Zone, Katz's Deli, 72nd St deli, Brooklyn Diner, Chipotle
• Saturday: Delayed flite to NYC, car, apt, shop
• Sunday: Cab, meet Sean Ferguson at MoMA, burger at BenAsh deli, Times Sq; sub, B&N, downtown; apt, write, PushPull; Chipotle dinner
• Monday: Join Cobbs, Pax, Bryant Park, Library: Kerouac & Construct, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s pretzel; sub WTC, Hudson, apt rest/change; sub Grand Central, sub Lex, walk across park; Tavern on the Green, park, Apple Store, Bergdorf, Bloomies; sub Times Sq, ESPN, Applebee’s; sub apt
• Tuesday: Apt; xmas calls, sub, Times Sq, Junior’s lunch Shubert Alley; hotel, Radio City; Rockettes show, tree, Sak’s, St. Patricks, seek dinner; Chevy’s margaritas, sub, Apple Store, Barney’s windows, walk Madison Ave, 42nd, sub
• Wensday: Apt; hotel, walk Cosi, Strbx, MSG; Wintuk, walk, brgr, Museum of Sex, Gershwin, Madison Sq; sub, Dave&Busters, 42nd, sub, apt
• Thursday: Apt, hotel, sub 72nd, deli lunch, Dakota, NY Hist Soc: 9/11 fotos, Natural History; Sub Times Sq: buy tkts: Wicked & Spring Awakening, walk NYPublic Library: Kerouac book, exhibit, Strbx, mail pkg, Grand Central; sub Times Sq, hotel, sub 57th: Hammacher, Tourneau, IBM, Sony store, TSq, Famiglia dinner; Grey Line nite tour, Hawaiian Tropic Zone: soup, drinks, dessert; Charmin bathroom, sub; apt
• Friday: Meet at Prince/SoHo: Moss, Taschen, Longchamp, Wired, Muji, Uniqlo; NoLIta, Katz’s Deli, 1st Ave, St. Marks Place, bank, Strbx, Bdwy; Gray Line; 49th, walk, Chevy’s, sub, apt, laundry
• Saturday: Poor sleep, sick, shop, cereal; sub hotel, walk 8th/Times Sq; The Color Purple; Brooklyn Diner; sub home
• Sunday: Bed, shop, paper, sudoku
• Monday: Bed, paper, sudoku; shop, Hudson
• Tuesday: Bed, paper, sudoku; WFC shop, pizza, Hudson
• Wensday: Clean apt, pay monthly; cab, Hammacher, Java Cortez snack; cab LGA; snacks, security, flites; explore DFW airlink, Term D (yuk), earlier flite; drive home
• Thursday: Get girls, sleep.
Katz's Deli in the Lower East Side. We had beef, pastrami, and corned beef sandwiches, fries, and a potato knish. The place was jam packed and hectic but we had to eat at Katz for the experience. It has been a staple of the naberhood since 1888.
Jim & Jamie at some decorated tree somewhere (there were hundreds of trees all over town). Jim & Jamie at Chevy's in Times Square. Macy's on Christmas Eve.
Rockefeller Center and its big tree.
We saw three great shows. The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall was the ultimate Christmas show - almost flawless. Wintuk was a new seasonal show from Cirque du Soleil. The Color Purple - an excellent musical starring Fantasia (of American idol fame).
Christmas Eve dinner was at Tavern on the Green on the edge of Central Park with the Cobbs. The ornament wreath was above our table next to a window overlooking the trees.
New York trips: 2008-2012 2013-Now