I grew up in New York, and as a 15-year-old I would go into The City (across the harbor on a ferry ride from Staten Island), and discover what my city had to offer. Bike riding on a Sunday morning in the financial district, watching the birds hover in Washington Square Park, sketching passengers on the subway and ferry, looking up at the tall buildings in Midtown, and saying out loud to myself: This is where I belong.
As we know, my future lay in Georgia, not New York, and I am happy for that, but I am equally happy to be back visiting Brooklyn and Manhattan this week. I saw an old map when I was at the archives last week, spelling out the neighborhood my high school was in, not New Dorp, but Nieuwe Dorp, highlighting its Dutch ancestry. I was intrigued by this alternate spelling, and I love the sense of history the words gave to me.
I went to the Brooklyn Museum of Art tonight and did sketches of Egyptian carvings. They were pretty inspirational – a few that I sketched for further reference are of an oryx, and a fish, from 1539-1292 BC!:
The building is beautiful – they have added a modern entrance to their Beaux-Arts building, which gave a pretty wonderful feel of the new with the old. I loved the way that the piers of the old building were revealed to expose the red brick in the glass and steel lobby. The Brooklyn Museum website states that the :“brick support piers that once housed the five front doors have been ‘excavated,’ restored, and left permanently exposed, showing the foundations of the institution both structurally and symbolically.” Very nice!
As I type this, I am sitting in the Tea Lounge on Union Street in Park Slope. It is a most welcoming tea/coffee shop – with s p a c e – something I have noticed is lacking in most restaurants and coffeeshops I’ve been to since arriving in the northeast. There is a nice buzz to the environment here – music, people talking, espresso machines swooshing – and I feel right at home. We are sharing a pot of Moroccan Mint tea while I work on this blog entry.
I’ll be visiting some more museums and then heading back home to my studio in a few days. I can’t wait to see what artworks come out of my recent adventures!