I’ve reverted to what I think is probably my natural state and become a night person here on my vacation. My grandmother says you should always go to bed and get up on the same day so that you don’t lose a day in between, and I have been abiding by that idea while I’ve been in New York City. So today I arose at a leisurely hour and ate up the rest of my yogurt and strawberries and most of the rest of my granola (my first host is a) vegan and b) only stays at her place part of the time, so I was trying to use up the non-vegan and spoilable food), and drank a couple stovetop espresso potfuls of Cafe Bustela and checked up on the internet and daydreamed and thought about my day, and, after a couple of hours, I got up and set out on it. I had to stop just a few yards away, though, to take a picture of a a dog in a window.
My first real stop was one subway stop down and a few blocks walk down to Grand Street and Doughnut Plant. I love doughnuts, so when I hear from multiple sources that there are good doughnuts to be had, I have to check them out. And oh my were they good. Well. I only had one. But it was good. It was a creme brulee doughnut — a small, deliciously flakey glazed pastry with a creamy center. So good. I would have bought every other flavor they had, except a) they are expensive and b) I try not to eat a lot of doughnuts. But this one was definitely worth it. No picture — it was much too yummy to stop and photograph.
After that, I headed back up town to the Museum of Modern Art. I managed to graduate from Vassar without ever taking art history, but I love art in general, and I love modern art in particular, and I have not been to MoMA since it was renovated. I was last there for a Jackson Pollack retrospective, and though I didn’t see any Pollack this time around, my response was the same. I walked from gallery to gallery with my jaw dropped, and it dropped a little farther each time I saw something that made me look twice, and then look again and again and again. I don’t really know how to explain the sensation, except that it is so wonderful and so overwhelming that I frequently can’t bear the thought of taking in any more, and yet I don’t want to stop. I had to, though, after about an hour. I stopped in one of their cafes and got some coffee and drank it and stared at the wall until I thought I could look at more things, and then I did, and it happened all over again.
MoMA is expensive — it always has been, so that’s not really a surprise — and I wish I could stay there more than a couple of hours, but I truly can’t take in more than that. Nowadays, in addition to their regular audio tour thingies that you can get on a rented device, you can also listen to all of them via their wifi network on your own wireless device, and so I tried listening to some on my iPod Touch. Only some pieces have commentaries, and they are marked with a little symbol on their sign to let you know. While I appreciate the idea of being able to pick and choose which bits you hear, with the iPod it was kind of inconvenient — I had to keep getting it out, waking it up, and typing in the number of the piece in question. And if you make a mistake typing in the number, there is no delete button — you have to reload the page and start over. After awhile, I gave up on the audio. The pieces are valuable and worthwhile, but my raw reactions were so compelling that after awhile I couldn’t be bothered to go through the rigamarole of dialing up the right clip and playing it.
My next stop was at the Barnard Library to see the zine collection that is run by my friend and first New York City host Jenna. I’ll probably write up more about that and about the other libraries I visited on my librariany blog, so here I’ll just say that it was great to see a collection I’ve heard so much about.
My day concluded with many, many subway rides back to Jenna’s place (1 to S to 6 to V), packing up and cleaning up, and a longer ride on the F out to my friend Meg’s place in Brooklyn, where I’ll be staying for the remainder of my trip. More on that, and more, will follow.