Philly – A Weekend

There was a part of me that assumed I couldn’t travel on my own, and it was that part of me that I wanted to challenge. Travelling with friends is fun – as long as you and the friends are compatible travelling companions, and I’m lucky to have some good friends that are great travel buddies. Still, I wondered what it would be like to set my own pace, to wake up at 11 am and spend three hours wandering a museum or sitting in a park reading a newly purchased book from the local bookstore, simply because I fancied doing so at the time. So, when I was started feeling a deep desire to spend time alone, I took a random weekend trip to Philadelphia.

I had to set goals, I wanted to see two places of interest, the Liberty Bell and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and I wanted to visit at least one local bookstore – if I purchase something, that would be a plus!

After arriving by Amtrak on Friday afternoon, making my way to my Airbnb for the weekend (in the heart of the city!) and finding some cheesesteak at Reading Terminal Market, I decided to map out my weekend. The next day I’d try to visit the Liberty Bell and take a walk across town to the museum, then the following day it would be bookstores and shops. Continue reading

Advertisements

So, I ran into JT …

He didn’t look pleased, the paparazzi were all over the place and we had to run to escape them. Luckily, we ran into George who was kind enough to offer us a place to stay.

All was well until George popped the question – Lemonade? Or Iced Tea? JT wasn’t pleased.

Robin said he was more of a coffee person, and went out to look for a Starbucks.

When he returned and we were all caffeinated (one way or another) we threw ourselves a little concert. That JT sure can sing!

His song was like the siren’s, every super hero within earshot came to celebrate.

More photos from Madame Tussauds’ can be found on Flickr. It was a wonderful and fun experience, definitely worth the trip!

Random Art of the Month

Have you seen the art in the 14th Street ACE subway station*? I was so inspired by the wonder that I stepped off the train one stop early to admire their beauty.

No, I wasn’t reading a book and thought I had to exit the train because I reached my stop. Nor did I almost walk up the stairs from the platform before realising I was at the wrong station. None of that happened. I just wanted to take a look at the art.

And no, I did not stand there, taking photos of subway art while waiting on the next train – even though I had time to rush back into the car – so people on the platform and in the car won’t think I’m strange.

Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time I wanted to check out the art.

* The installation is called Life Underground and it’s by Tom Otterness

Harry Potter: The Exhibit

As a Harry Potter fan, I had to go to the exhibit on its last American leg of the tour – Discovery Time Square. So, Anna and I set out to see the exhibit. It was a lot of fun!

While I’m a Harry Potter fan, I am not necessarily a fan of the movies. Movie 6 really disappointed me and I thought that 5 and 2 could have been done … well .. differently. Of course, they did the best they could with the story. The books are rich with imagery, so I didn’t expect them to take everything and regurgitate it on film, but some of the things that were cut or changed, it made me cringe.

  

That aside, one of my favourite things about the movies was the world they created. From the Yule Ball costumes – I thought Ginny’s was cute in the movie – to the Death Eater’s costume, to the horn-tail dragon model and different parts of the set – including Hagrid’s hut – there was so much to see and take in.

The Exhibit: Hagrid's Hut (via antenna mag)

Hagrid’s Hut featured a chair that you could sit in, it was rather large. I felt like a child sitting in it.

The Exhibit: Gryffindor's Dorm (via antenna mag)

I especially love the details in the Gryffindor dorm rooms, the bed hangings that were found – by chance – in a fabric store, that turned out to be perfect for the set.

The Exhibit: Marauder's Map (via nycsinglemom)

The work that went into making these sets, especially the items on the set, is amazing. However, the best prop – in my opinion – was the Marauder’s Map!

  

They didn’t have costumes from the wedding scene, but Fleur’s dress is awe-inspiring! I wish they had it in the exhibit.

Hogwarts Express (via NYT)

Overall it was a ton of fun! It made me excited for my trip to Hogwarts at the end of September. I only wished there was a Hogwarts Express to Universal.

If you missed the exhibit you can check out this New York Times slideshow of some of the pieces.

Museum Mile 2011

It's fun to walk - and take photos - in the middle of 5th Avenue

Yesterday was the 33rd Annual Museum Mile Festival in New York City.

Last year I visited the Guggenhiem Museum which is known for it’s spiral shape and was also the most expensive Museum. It was crowded! We took about 30 minutes to get into the museum itself and spent another hour or two browsing the collection. Afterwards I ran into my Aunts and mom … what are the odds?

This year, I decided that it was time to visit museums I wouldn’t usually visit, so we visited the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and the Museum of the City of New York.

While waiting in line to enter Cooper-Hewitt we bumped into one of my aunts! I suppose the odds aren’t that slim.

The Cooper-Hewitt had two large exhibits. The second floor held the Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay exhibit. There were a lot of patterns and prints done by Sonia Delaunay that was made into fabric and the fascinating thing was its similarity to the prints in today’s fashion.

The first floor of the Cooper-Hewitt held the Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels exhibit and this was a hit, mostly amongst the ladies. I love jewelry as much as the next woman, but I found a lot of the pieces too grandiose – which, I suppose, was the point. I did enjoy the butterflies though and the jewel-encrusted dancers.

The Museum of the City of New York had a Joel Grey/A New York Life exhibit on the second floor. In this exhibit I realised that Academy and Golden Globe awards aren’t large, even though they seem large on the television; that sometimes pictures of rusty chain links on a pink, flaky wall can look extremely artistic. Also, that I should have married a wealthy man in the 1800s if I wanted to have a fancy drawing room, complete with picture table and decorative fireplace.

The first floor contained a dollhouse which was exquisitely decorated. Which I wanted to take home. Which in turn reminded me of this – Grace White also has an Etsy shop, which I plan on browsing often. I think this was my favourite thing of the night!

The first floor also contained the The American Style: Colonial Revival and the Modern Metropolis exhibit, which is wonderful to view. It’s fun to imagine society in colonial times.

We must have walked at least three miles, so we ended the night with Shake Shack burgers and fries (yummy). Now I’ve visited four museums in the Museum Mile, just 6 more to go.

[photos courtesy of Cate!]

The Whitney Museum and Foursquare

The Whitney Museum of American Art partnered with Foursquare back in February. Their partnership offered a badge to users – after checking in to certain places – so that the cost of admission for anyone with the badge would be $5 (as opposed to the usual $18). I visited the museum this past weekend, using the discounted price, and took a stroll through the exhibits.

A few of the exhibitions stood out to me. The Glenn Ligon exhibit was pretty heavy. It is available until June 5th and has a number of prints, photos, drawing and even some neon lights. It’s not light hearted and whimsical, it practically reaches out and punches you in the gut. I’ve never thought about my minority status in society as much as I did while walking through this exhibit.

I’ve been lucky to be unaffected by racism or prejudice when it comes to my colour and womanhood — or, if I have been subjected to any prejudice I haven’t noticed. However, while walking through this exhibit one thing struck me, that thing is, at a young age I never knew colour. I never looked at my brown hands and thought, oh, I’m brown and that person is white or black. I just saw people. Even now all I see are faces and humans and I’m glad for that bit of colourblindness.  However, it was only when another person voiced it that I realised that we were all different. I appreciate the differences and can understand the need to cling to your own “group” so to say, but I still don’t quite grasp it as I never feel comfortable with only one race or one social class.

One of the things that stood out to me about this exhibit wasn’t just colour, but also the need to be a part of a group, or to have an identity. It’s a longing inside everyone to be a part of something greater. That’s what grasped me most of all.

One of my favourite pieces was on the fifth floor. It was the Walk, Don’t Walk sculpture by George Segal, made to represent pedestrians in New York who move along in a zombie-like state as they carry on with their day.

I can understand this piece. Sometimes I feel the same way. When I walk down the streets it’s usually to get from one place to the next. Many times I have my ipod in my ears and I hardly pay attention to the people around me. No smiles, no chatting with strangers, just pure focus on getting to my destination. It amazes me that I could stand so close to someone on the sidewalk, waiting for the light to change and not even realise that they are there. How robotic it seems. Then there are times when I make an attempt to be aware and to see what’s going on around me. During these times I get a glimpse of beauty of the city I live and work in, or snatches of conversations that reveal a lot about the people around me. For example, there was a time when a woman on her phone was arguing with her significant other. I felt sorry for her, I wanted to give her a tissue so that she could wipe the tears that she was holding back. Couldn’t the other person wait until she was home to have this conversation? I thought. I didn’t act on my impulse, because if I did I would be breaking that unspoken rule, you do not listen to other people’s conversations, even if it’s happening right next to you. You just pretend that you don’t hear and you carry on your life.

The Breaking Ground: The Whitney’s Founding Collection was perhaps my favourite exhibition. According to their website:

At the turn of the twentieth century, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, an heiress and sculptor born to one of America’s wealthiest families, began to assemble a rich and highly diverse collection of modern American art. This group of objects, combined with a trove of new works purchased around the time of the Whitney Museum’s opening in 1931, came together to form the founding collection.

The portrait of Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney was my favourite in this exhibit, I’m not sure why, it just caught my eye and reminded me of another time and another society. Then of course my imagination took over. What happened in that time? What happened right before, or after, or even during this painting? What was the world like?

I’m really glad that Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney decided to follow her dream as a sculptor and open a museum for American Art. I think it’s important to see our culture captured through art of all forms. The expression of an artist – what they are going through, how they view the world – is very important for others to experience. I think that once we can see the world through another’s eyes, it becomes difficult to ignore others and to stay in our little bubble. I was glad to have experienced a bit of the past, a bit of another person’s point of view and also to understand a bit more of myself through the art I saw.

The partnership and lower admission cost goes on until May 31st, I would highly recommend foursquare-ers to take advantage of it! Also, all images here were from the Whitney Museum website. I couldn’t take photos while inside, which is sad, but understandable. I’m just glad the website had the images that I wanted to keep in memory.

Commuter Art

No really sure what exactly this is called, as I don’t recall seeing a plaque, so I’ll call is the Commuter Sculpture.

I saw it while at the Hempstead Long Island Railroad Station and I really enjoyed the detail of the train at the bottom. (Did you notice the laptop in the stack?)

They also had these artwork benches … I suppose it brings new meaning to the phrase, “sit on the luggage”. Does anyone say that?

Anyway, there is a book-bag just sitting on the bench, should I say something?