“When this old world starts getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face
I climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space”
– Up on the Roof, The Drifters, 1962
There are very few things New Yorkers love more than the following (in no particular order of appreciation): soaking in the sun, lounging on rooftops and imbibing a few cocktails. Offer any of these things, or all of them at once, and you’ll find hoards of the city’s faithful congregated.
The Met’s Cantor Roof and its incredible ongoing series of installations is, perhaps, a nonpareil example of this. Most recently, Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas was honored with reimagining the space, and let’s just say he made the absolute most of it.
Villar Rojas added a new pergola, a grand tiled floor, a bar, public benches and augmented Botanical arrangements. Set within this and atop the black and white chessboard pattern of the tiles, were introduced sculpted replicas, in black and white, of nearly 100 objects from The Met collection, including human figures, furniture, animals, cutlery, and even food.
On our recent visit, it was with little difficulty that I ignored the awe-inspiring views of the city, the long lines at the bar or the security officers scolding those who venture a smidge too close to the sculptures. (Okay, that was us. Photo evidence below.)
Instead, I focused entirely on Villar Rojas’ engrossing creation. It was a doomsday chess match of sorts, or at least that was my initial thought. However, it occurred to me shortly thereafter that the installation also reminded me of something else. It brought to mind images of the archaeological sites depicting the aftermath of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, particularly Pompeii’s The Garden of Fugitives. And upon closer examination, the figures, animals and inanimate objects were fragile, desiccated, dusty, entombed in their final resting positions in remarkably similar fashion. It was at once beautiful and eerie, and it made for an insightful and memorable visit to The Met once again.
Pair it with:
A meal at Blake Lane
It’s no secret we’ve thrown shade on the food options on the Upper East Side on more than one occasion. But we have to admit, recently they’ve been stepping up their game. Blake Lane is a perfect example of that elevated gamesmanship. It’s a simple, casually elegant, California-style restaurant that serves salads, sandwiches and bowls, as well as cocktails, of course! And though the now ubiquitous “bowls” are surely good, we went with their “plates” (read: mains). And boy, were we surprised. Lynn went with a curried trout on black rice that was absolutely delicious, and I dug into a shrimp creole topped with enormous, perfectly cooked shrimp and just the right amount of heat (read: tissue required). Given this latest experience, maybe it’s time to give the fresh, new Upper East Side a whirl.