Wednesday, July 6, 2016

New York Day Four - Monday

Monday July 4. One of the most important national holidays here, but of course, almost no-one is on holiday in the city that never sleeps. This morning, off to the Met, there just as it opened at 10, in through the south entrance few know about that’s always empty. This is one of the best art museums in the world – I like it much better than the chaotic overpowering jumble of the Louvre, and it has a greater span than the National Gallery in London, since the Met incorporates the kind of antiquities kept in the British Museum. An amazing place.

I went to an exhibition a New York friend had recommended, showing the relationship between high fashion done by hand and done by machine, a celebration of extraordinary design and mostly Parisian craftsmanship – amazing stuff no-one will ever wear and beautiful, handcrafted things – sequins! feathers! - that wealthy women did.
A dress made of straws
Adding this to my fall wardrobe.

Up to the second floor, to the magic room with FIVE Vermeers, the most in one place anywhere, I think. Again, his serenity and empathy, his exquisite detail – I love to sit with those 350 year old women and enjoy their company.  Toured through the Italian renaissance, though I feel I’ve done those geniuses thoroughly with Bruce, as he toured me through the museums and churches of Italy.

A quick lunch, a peek at the Sphinx, at the medieval rooms, and out into the day. From the sublime to the … sale at Bloomingdale’s. I needed a pair of black pants that were neither jeans nor dressy and found exactly that half price, Gerard Darel, a quality French designer. Also tried on bathing suits – definitely not. The salespeople are so attentive and polite, everyone saying hello and smiling as if they mean it – extraordinary when one has spent any time shopping in France.

Subway home, stopping at the Housing Works Thrift Store across the street where I found a $10 t-shirt to wear with my new pants. Resting briefly back at Ted’s now, and then out again to meet Gail, my uncle’s dear friend, at the Guggenheim.

Another sublime day.

9 p.m. It’ll soon be July 4 fireworks time in NYC, and it’s pouring with rain. I’m sorry for all the families out there getting wet. But I am in here with my feet up, because they really really hurt.

Walking up Madison Ave. to the Guggenheim, I could not help but notice – no, really, I could not help it – the Mephisto shoe store, with a Sale sign, right there. I have been wearing a great pair of Mephisto sandals for years, and now they, like their owner, are worn out. There, on sale, a similar pair in my size. This is why one comes to New York.

Well, this, and the museums and the theatre and the amazing everything. Gail and I had coffee in the miraculous Guggenheim, talking about the man we both loved deeply, her friend and bridge mentor and my uncle. Gail, who’s married with four children and 10 grandchildren and runs a huge bridge business, moved in with Edgar to care for him in his last months, as he died of cancer in 1997. “He was like a god to me,” she said. We discussed the intense, to me incomprehensible world of bridge. Gail fell in love with the game in her late teens and has been immersed in it ever since, which is just what happened to my uncle.

We toured the museum, especially the permanent collection with its luminous Kandinskys,
walked up and down the winding path inside, and then I walked Gail along 5th Ave. for some blocks while we talked. She went home, and I walked in the park, where I saw a happy American family on a holiday outing – Mum and Dad so focussed on their phones they didn’t even notice me taking a picture, and two bored daughters with the controls of their sailboats on the pond.
On the way home, I heard a woman behind me admonish her two small children about being too patriotic; “Americans sometimes do bad things.” I turned around to smile at her and we ended up walking some blocks together, while she ranted. Seriously crazy, it turned out. Voting is just supporting the system, which is rigged and corrupt. We are just pawns. THEY want you to vote, and the choices are horrendous, she says. I saw a guy on Bill Maher’s TV show a few weeks ago saying the same thing, urging people “not to vote and support the system.” Jesus. She went on about the Peloponnesian War and the Athenians and how the Greeks invented history, and I thanked her and steered myself down another street. God help us if people who live on the Upper East Side of New York do not vote.

Home to put up my very sore feet, eat leftovers, finish the Pinot, pack. Tomorrow Cousin Ted reclaims his apartment and I’m moving my stuff to Lola’s for one night on her sofa, then lunch with my agent Richard Curtis, then MOMA with Lola and her daughter Patti, my cousin once removed, who knows a great deal about art. Maybe one more Broadway show tomorrow night. Wednesday – home. Full full full full.

9.30 Massive explosions despite the rain – the fireworks. Happy Fourth of July, crazy country. 9.45, still going strong, both rain and booming.

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