Thursday, June 30, 2011
Today was a big day, because we were going to do Genevieve’s #1 request for the trip, a visit to the Fischbach Gallery. When we were planning the trip I asked her what she would like to do and she said to visit the gallery which seemed to come out of left field until she pointed on the wall where we have an Alice Dalton Brown print hanging and on the bottom it says “Fischbach Gallery”. I explained to her that a gallery in this sense wasn’t like a museum but more like a store, and she still wanted to go. Skeptic that I am, I emailed the gallery to ask if it was okay if we went there and brought children. The woman that answered my email, Tiffany, was so nice and friendly that I told Genevieve it was a go. Then the big surprise, Tiffany forwarded my email to Alice herself and the next day there was a message for me saying how touched Alice was that seeing her paintings was a priority for Genevieve and would it be okay if Alice sent her a signed print? Which of course it was, and here is a photo of Genevieve receiving her print, signed “To Genevieve from Alice, Spring 2011”. We got the print nicely framed and it hangs in her bedroom where it will be for years to come I’m sure.
But we still had the morning to fill, so we decided to go to the Empire State Building as early as possible. We walked the few blocks downtown and got there before the crowds, paid for a couple of audio tours, and got up to enjoy the view. The big surprise here was the audio tour, so worth the money. The narrator explained what you were seeing and also gave tips, which is how we found out that the individual boutiques are in Nolita (North of Little Italy) not SoHo, which as we had already discovered and the narrator confirmed, is populated with chain stores and pricey cafes.
After the Empire State Building (and waiting an inordinately long time for a smashed penny because the people in front of us thought it would be a good idea to make 10 of them) we headed out to find a place for lunch on our way to Highline park. This was a crosstown attraction so the subway wouldn’t really help so we were walking. We had our first lunch at one of the pasta/pizza/salad places that are so popular in New York right now, and what an excellent choice. Genevieve had pasta, Charlotte had pizza, and Mark and I had salads. Everyone was happy and it was fast and relatively inexpensive. Then we kept walking towards the park. Charlotte was starting to complain a bit, which I can understand and Genevieve and I were a bit worried because we had reservations to the Tenement House Museum at 3:00 and it was already 1:15. But we made it to High Line Park, and walked a few blocks along the expanse.According to Wikipedia, “The High Line is a 1-mile New York City park built on a 1.45-mile section of theformer elevated freight railroad spur called the West Side Line, which runs along the lower west side of Manhattan; it has been redesigned and planted as an aerial greenway.” Next time we go to New York, we are going to take the time to walk the entire length of the park. On the way to the gallery, wepassed the Cedarlake Ballet company, which is notable because it’s the ballet company the main female lead in The Adjustment Bureau danced for, and we had just seen the movie on the airplane and I was surprised to find it was not fictional!
Finally we made it to the building where the gallery was and it wasn’t quite what we were expecting. We had been to galleries in places like Carmel and La Jolla, where they front the street and have big windows, etc. This was in a slightly run down office building thing. But once we took the elevator to the gallery itself, we saw it was flooded with natural light with a great view of the river. We told them who we were and Tiffany was there and very graciously greeted us and encouraged us to look around. The Alice Dalton Brown painting on exhibit was HUGE and $100,000, so far out of our price range, even if we could find a place to put it. I guess if you can afford paintings like that you also have a big house in which to display them! Tiffany showed us some smaller originals and studies and we would up purchasing a book of all of the prints as well as a biography of the artist. Then they showed us where and how they store the paintings in the gallery behind this huge moveable wall. They kind of slide out for display. Very cool. The gallery staff also gave us a recommendation for a good place to get a burger, the Shake Shack.
And off we went to the Tenement Museum. We had to walk a ways to a subway station but then it was a quick few minutes to a stop right next to the museum, so we made it in plenty of time for our tour. I just love the New York Subway. It’s not too hard to navigate (especially with an app like Hopstop) and it’s so quick. The first day we had gotten $10.00 metrocards but after that we got the one week unlimited which of course we should have done from the get go but we didn’t know how much we’d be taking the subway (a lot as it happens). The museum tour was very interesting, and afterwards Mark and Charlotte were tired so they chose to head back to the hotel while Genevieve and I went in search of Nolita to shop.
We had to walk through a little dicey of an area to get there, not real bad but I was watching my surroundings a bit more. Then we got to Nolita and indeed this was just what we were looking for. We walked around a bit and found lots of boutiques for adults (I had to remind myself I had enough dresses so many times, there was really a lot of cute stuff here) but not much for kids to Genevieve’s disappointment. We bought some lemonade from two girls who looked to be about 13, if I’d have been thinking I would have asked them! We did find this fun little rice pudding place called Rice to Riches that was very edgy and trendy that we had to try even though neither one of us was very hungry. And the pudding was indeed good. Then we tried to use Hopstop to get us home but it was confused about where we were I think because it tried to put us on a train and said it would take over an hour to get to our hotel. So we used the subway map and hopped on the orange line right to the Bryant Park subway station and I even navigated to the correct exit closest to the Marriot. For a directionally challenged person such as myself this was a major feat.
We made it back to the hotel, where Charlotte was playing happily with her American Girl loot and Mark was enjoying the free WiFi at the hotel. We rested a bit and then went to Ruby Foo’s for dinner, notable because it was a chinese restaurant with a kids’ menu. We got seated at the sushi bar which turned out to be not the greatest because they weren’t actually making the sushias far down as we were sitting, but the food was really good and it was so loud we couldn’t hear the kids shenanigans. After dinner we stopped at the Hershey store (no biggie) and then went to Toys R Us so the girls could ride the ferris wheel there. Then we headed back for the night through a very lively Times Square – what a full day!