It’s Sunday. An unseasonably warm morning in December. And, regrettably, you’ve neglected to make reservations for brunch. Suddenly, the grim specter of laundry, errands and preparations for the upcoming workweek threaten to hasten the conclusion of your weekend. What to do? Sure, it’s not quite an existential crisis but it’s a serious dilemma, nonetheless. Fortunately, you have New York City at your disposal, with its staggering abundance of cultural institutions and historical sites. With a quick search, you note that one such institution, Cooper Hewitt, the nation’s preeminent design museum, offers an intriguing lineup of programs and exhibitions. And, voila, you have something on your Sunday agenda.
“The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art.” – John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Animation Studios
Being the proud owners of lush gardens and beautifully landscaped backyards, our parents probably have ten green thumbs between them. But apparently that’s a recessive gene. Because the two of us? We’ve killed cacti. (Yes, plural. More than one cactus, on more than one occasion.) So instead of putting a sad ficus in the corner of our cramped apartment, to get our green fix we make our way out to the New York Botanical Garden and enjoy the Best Pretend Backyard Ever.
There’s risk everywhere in New York City—everywhere. That’s a fact. The promise of success and the threat of failure lurk equally around every corner. And those who live and work and thrive here embrace that risk unconditionally, drawing strength and inspiration from it. Fearlessness, ingenuity, persistence, perseverance—for artist and entrepreneur alike, these are the tenuous threads that stitch together their dreams. And it’s this frenetic sense of potential that can lead to truly astonishing results—from distinction to disaster to something altogether less interesting (albeit still quite worthwhile) somewhere in-between.
You weave through the throngs of people, the red, blinking hand taunting you in the distance. When you finally make it to the street corner, the red hand is stationary and the cabs are leaping out of their lanes towards you. You jump back onto the sidewalk to safety, barely avoiding the murky puddle at your feet, when some unidentifiable cloud of smoke wafts up from the sewer grate and hits you in the face. Maybe it’s time for a getaway.
To leave the city without actually leaving the city, make your way to the North Woods of Central Park, where it’s so tranquil you’ll believe the subway tunnel was a portal to another world.
“Hey, hey, easy kids. Everybody in the car. Boat leaves in two minutes… or perhaps you don’t want to see the second largest ball of twine on the face of the earth, which is only four short hours away?”
New York City can really get its holiday game on. We are home to the 80-foot tree at Rockefeller Center as well as the world’s largest menorah. And for those of us who pray to the Gods of Retail, we have the holiday display windows. It’s seasonal art at its best, and often involves collaborations with designers from far and wide. For a greatest-hits walking tour that most everyone should be able to manage (or tolerate, depending on who you’re with), we recommend the following route:
I’ll confess: I’m a planner. I download maps and menus. I read reviews. But you know that Yiddish proverb, “You plan, God laughs”? That’s what this city does too. You’ll be walking through Central Park on your way somewhere and be mesmerized by a group of a cappella singers. Or you’ll be heading to a favorite dinner spot and be pulled into a small little cafe you’d never noticed before. This city seduces you with its endless possibilities. And Moth StorySLAMs very much embody this sensibility.
For those of you who may not be familiar, The Moth is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art of storytelling. They host competitions all over the country where, similar to an open-mic night, people get on a stage and tell a story. Each event is assigned a generic theme (for example, “betrayal” or “joy”), and the stories are tied to the theme. The stories have to be true, and they have to be yours. And boy, some of them are fantastic.
The 2015 movie Woman In Gold starring the magnificent Dame Helen Mirren is based on the true story of a woman who takes on the Austrian government in an effort to recover family paintings seized by the Nazis. Meet the movie’s other leading lady: Adele Bloch-Bauer.
Ask any English Lit major if they have a take on Authorial Intention/Authority, and they’re bound to have a well-articulated and robust opinion. They may say the author or the author’s experiences or both are immaterial, or they may say they are absolutely essential to the understanding and enjoyment of a literary work. Even if you have an opinion, and regardless of what that opinion happens to be, you’ll likely find the collaboration between the Morgan Library & Museum and the John F Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum – the first major exhibition devoted entirely to Ernest Hemingway – fascinating. Spanning the author’s life, but primarily focused on the periods of the first and second World Wars, the exhibit beautifully articulates the connection between the author and his experiences, both as inspiration for his writing and detriment to his sanity. Among the treasure trove included in the exhibit are manuscripts and transcripts of his major novels, as well as correspondence from such notable literary figures as Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Steinbeck. There’s even wartime correspondence from none other than J. D. Salinger, in which he begins his missive with the cheeky salutation, “Dear Papa”.