Rooftop Views from the Met Museum

Many visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art don’t realize that there’s a hidden gem on the roof of the museum – the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden. The Roof Garden is open from May through October each year, and there is a special rooftop exhibition each season. This year’s exhibition is a single, large sculpture by British artist Cornelia Parker titled Transitional Object (PsychoBarn).

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The sculpture reminded me of a haunted house, which made a lot of sense once I read the museum’s description of it:

“A large-scale sculpture by acclaimed British artist Cornelia Parker, inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper and by two emblems of American architecture—the classic red barn and the Bates family’s sinister mansion from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho—comprises the fourth annual installation of site-specific works commissioned for The Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden.

Nearly 30 feet high, the sculpture is fabricated from a deconstructed red barn and seems at first to be a genuine house, but is in fact a scaled-down structure consisting of two facades propped up from behind with scaffolding. Simultaneously authentic and illusory, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) evokes the psychological associations embedded in architectural spaces.”

When I turned around and looked the other direction, I captured this reflection of the sculpture in the museum’s windows.

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Beyond the sculpture, the Roof Garden offers some amazing views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline. If you look northwest across Central Park, you can capture a glimpse of the Eldorado’s double towers. The Eldorado, with its art deco architectural details, was constructed as a luxury apartment building in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Some of the Eldorado’s residents over the years have included author Sinclair Lewis; actors Alec Baldwin, Faye Dunaway, and Michael J. Fox; radio personality Garrison Keillor; and musician Moby.

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The lush green of Central Park is even more evident as you look south from the roof, and you will have even more city skyline views. (It was a bit hazy when I took this photo, but still beautiful views.)

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And then to the southeast there are the luxury apartment buildings that line Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side.

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The rooftop is open in the evenings on Fridays and Saturdays (until 8:00 pm), like the rest of the museum (although the rest of the museum is open until 9:00 pm on those days). On those evenings, the Roof Garden even offers a bar where visitors can purchase a variety of alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks.

As a reminder, the best way to get to the Metropolitan Museum of Art is by public transportation. If traveling by subway, take the 4, 5, or 6 train to 86th Street, and then walk west to Fifth Avenue. You can also reach the museum by bus on the M1, M2, M3, or M4 routes. If taking one of these routes going north, you will travel up Madison Avenue to the 83rd Street stop. If coming from points further north, take one of these bus routes south along Fifth Avenue to the 82nd Street stop, right next to the museum.

Fashion at the Jewish Museum: Isaac Mizrahi Exhibition

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute has some pretty amazing exhibitions, and as a result most people who decide to go to a museum to explore fashion design immediately think of the Met. But there are other great options in the city as well, including the Fashion Institute of Technology’s museum and a wonderful temporary exhibition at the Jewish Museum. The Jewish Museum’s exhibition, on view through August 7, 2016, is titled Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History, and includes numerous beautiful designs, as well as some behind-the-scenes exhibits about his design process.

Here are a few photos showing some of the designs in the exhibition.

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I particularly liked this dress from 1994, made of hand-created aluminum “sequins” cut from Coca-Cola cans. I thought the design was innovative and resourceful. The dress has an interesting story behind it as well. According to the exhibition description next to this dress, a charity called “We Can” paid homeless New Yorkers to collect and flatten the Coca-Cola cans, before the cans were then sent to Paris to be turned into sequins for the dress.

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I also enjoyed these costumes designed for opera and theater productions.

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And here’s one shot of a few of Mizhari’s design sketches. I found this part of the exhibition very interesting.

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How can you get to the Jewish Museum? The museum is located at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The closest subway stop is the 96th Street station, accessible from the 6 train. You can also take the M1, M2, M3, or M4 bus to the Madison Ave./E. 91st St. stop if heading uptown, or the 5th Ave./E. 92nd St. stop if heading downtown. Note: The Jewish Museum is free to the public on Saturdays, although its cafe is closed on Saturdays in observation of the Jewish Sabbath.

Discovering the German-American Steuben Parade

If you’ve been in New York City for any length of time, you’ve figured out that New Yorkers throw parades for pretty much anything. They’re always a lot of fun, and you never know what you will see when you attend. Last Saturday, I decided to head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the Upper East Side. As I approached Fifth Avenue near the Met, I stumbled upon the annual German-American Steuben Parade.

Despite some German heritage far back in my family tree, I’ve never attended the Steuben Parade before. It was a great experience, with parade participants and bystanders equally getting into the festive spirit! As you might expect, there was a lot of lederhosen and other traditional German clothing to be seen at the parade, as well as marching bands and various German cultural institutions participating. While I watched the parade, I took numerous photographs. Here is a sampling of what the parade included:

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DSC00534The parade participants showed that age was no boundary:

DSC00530 DSC00519There were some beautiful banners and flags:

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Somehow a German-American parade needs to have some representative Volkswagen beetles–here’s one from this parade. I particularly like the vintage suitcases on top.

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Of course, every parade needs at least one fire truck, so here it is:

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Finally, in the spirit of New York City, not everything in this parade was German. What would a NYC parade be without some bagpipers?

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Every parade has a background story, and I was curious about this one. From my research, I’ve learned that the first German-American parade was held in Ridgewood, Queens, in 1956. That parade was so successful that the following year the German-American Steuben Parade was organized in Manhattan, and it’s been held each year since. Wondering about the parade’s name? Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben was a Prussian general who served with George Washington during the American Revolution and helped to train American troops to fight against the British. If you are interested in learning more about the parade, including next year’s dates, you should check out the parade organization’s website.

I enjoyed the Steuben Parade so much that I’m inspired to find some other parades to watch. Maybe I will see you there!

One place to find out about parades, as well as the road closures associated with them, is on the City of New York’s event website. In addition, the New York City Department of Transportation website lists all road closures in the city each week, including weekends, and there is a specific part of the list for parades and festivals.