Thursday, September 12, 2013

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

A brief thunderstorm has just cleared the air of some of the heat and humidity that clung to this city for most of the day.  The cooler air is so welcome.

It is like a late day gift on this day, my birthday.  Long time readers of my posts already know that the eve of my birthday has a history-marking date. 

We New Yorkers cannot possibly ignore the significance of the eleventh of September, yet I do try to let my own personal day be a time for celebration.

Valerie Greeley, the wonderful artist who posts as acornmoon, recently offered a giveaway ... and I was the winner of a gift certificate from Novica.  I selected a beautiful woven cotton shoulder bag from Thailand.  It arrived last week and I am delighted with this colorful, useful bag.  Thank you again, Valerie! 

Although I would have loved to have had a late beginning to this birthday morning, fate intervened.  My apartment building's management posted an announcement a few days ago that all our water would be be shut off today from 9 to 5.  This would allow the basement boiler that heats the water and radiators to be readied for chilly weather that will arrive in a month.  

I did not take this warning personally, particularly since I had an invitation to a members preview of a wonderful new exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Not only would this invite grant me entry to a beautiful show; it would also grant me access to all the Met's features, including running water, hot and cold.

And so, not long after 9 a.m., I set off on the crosstown bus to East 82nd Street and the Met.

The show is a beauty!  I do love textiles, but would recommend it to folks who truly don't know much about fabrics, warps, wefts, resist printing, ikat, etc.  

The exhibit is titled Interwoven Global, and it attempts to show the visitor how ships sailing around the globe in the 1500's, 1600's, 1700's, and thereafter allowed artists, craftspersons and patrons to experience cross-pollination.  It's a feast!

Ages ago, in a prior professional life, I was an archivist at the Met, and therefore, am still a bit aware of the rules and regs of various bits around the museum.  As I began my slow stroll through this magnificent exhibit, I asked a museum guard if photography was okay...since it seemed that most of the textiles on display were from the Met's own collections.  She said that she'd taken time to check and that yes was the answer.

And that is how I happened to take take these not so wonderful photos in the subdued light of the exhibition's galleries.

How I hope that those of you who do live within reasonable traveling distance from NYC will be able to visit this show.

Do you see the scary face on this warrior's jacket?  Do you also see the completely non-plussed museum viewer under the arm?  It is all in the context.

This is a large show, that begins with textiles from lands far away from the European trading countries that sent their ships across oceans seeking treasures and trading opportunities in faraway lands.

What becomes apparent, little by little is the way that these various cultures began to infiltrate each other, and influence both demand from patrons, and supply via talented weavers, embroiderers, printers, and other artists and artisans.  The traders, of course, were important players in this inter-weaving.

It's quite amusing when viewing some of the textiles to see the iconography of differing cultures appearing intermingled in the designs.

As I was taking my last photo, I was approached by a very gracious museum guard who advised me that in the hour since I'd entered the exhibit, he and his colleagues had been visited by their security supervisor and told that No Photographs Would Be Allowed.  And so, dear readers, the photos you see in the post could not now be taken without breaking the Met's rules.

Timing favored me and my Canon, even if I did not take very good photographs.

Leaving this fine textile show, I took the designated elevator up to the roof of the Met.  Every summer a particular artist is commissioned to create a piece just for the roof space.  The Met is on the eastern edge of Central Park, and so this rooftop space serves not just as a outdoor gallery, but also as a marvelous viewing point for anyone wanting to see the treetops of the Park and the skyscrapers at the Park's edges.

The weather was becoming more and more opaque as humidity and temperature signaled a storm arriving.  A perfect time to visit the roof and see what artist Imran Qureshi had painted on the concrete surface of the space.

To my eye, this mainly monochromatic linear painting had floral motifs.  Chrysanthemums, or dahlias, perhaps.  There was also an echo of the henna hand painting tradition.  The following photo shows an area where the floor painting continues up the side of the surrounding concrete wall.  I think that this photo also reads as a two-dimensional image, with a horizon line.

Here I show you a view of the floor at my feet, indicating how the petals extend across the squares of concrete.  Like a chalk drawing on a sidewalk, perhaps?  You will also see a few white painted accents.

My eye was also drawn to the periphery of the roof garden watching the clouds over the southwestern views change as the forecast storm sped up its arrival.

I could not resist taking this photo featuring a few folks walking about, just to give you an idea of the scale of the commissioned art.

The Met has thoughtfully provided some shady spaces on the roof, and also a refreshment stand offering rather expensive beverages and snacks for art lovers who do not find the views sufficient sustenance.  I could not resist taking a picture of this blossoming vine on a very old-fashioned trellis in the midst of this very au courant exhibit.

After leaving the museum, I boarded a Fifth Avenue bus headed downtown, on my way to meet a friend who treated me to delicious Italian pastry and cappuccino.  Thank goodness that bus ride provided good shelter and a good view of the heavy rain storm that occurred mid-trip.

The pastry was fabulous.  The company was fabulous.  By the time we left the cafe, the sun was out again, and the earlier heat and humidity had abated...just a bit.

It's funny that the Empire State Building does not really feature in the cityscape views from the Met's roof.  And so, I took this photo of that iconic building on my way walking back uptown, as I tried to exercise the departure of some the calories added on to my birthday self.

As always, I thank you all for your visits and comments.


  1. What an enjoyable time you had to
    celebrate your birthday ,the Met
    Museum exhibit seems fascinating.
    Happy Birthday and surely we hope
    to have you enjoy more birthday
    cake soon with us.

    Mike & Kitt

  2. Happy Birthday, dear Frances! What a wonderful day you spent and thanks for sharing those great insights to the Met and the fabrics - how amazing this warrior face is.
    I wish you a year full of fine surprises and that plenty of people will treat you as nicely as on this your birthday. Je t'embrasse bien fort, love from Bayou.

  3. Happy Birthday Frances. I enjoyed my visit here today, especially the exhibit. Andrea x

  4. Happy birthday, Frances, and what a nicely paced day you had. I feel as though I've been around the exhibition in the company of a knowledgeable and gracious guide.

  5. Happy Birthday.
    I love reading your posts. I would so like to pop into that exhibition.

  6. Good morning Frances! I was eager to see your next post, since the last time you left me a comment and I came to visit you, I was intrigued with your background and interests. I love the Met, and having only been there once, I feel in love. My husband and I were in the city many years ago, and had the time of our lives.

    Wishing you a belated birthday, and hopes for a good future as you seek your passions and share them with us! Anita

  7. Happy Birthday, Frances! You seem to have had a productive and memorable one. I too love that warrior's coat, though I think the face looks like a giant fish - a carp perhaps. I wasn't sure whether this was the front or the back. Perhaps there's a face on both! Candles and Pink Sugar and lots of hugs.

  8. Always love the tours you take us on.

  9. Happy birthday, Frances! And wishing you a wonderful year ahead. What a lovely day you had, and thank you for sharing such rare photos! Lovely to hear a little of your history with the Met too.
    Helen x

  10. Dear, lovely Frances,

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you! May this year bring you much joy, culture, and kindness.

    I have been glued to my laptop screen enjoying your words. You wrote so eloquently, Frances, and I almost felt as if I too were there alongside you in your glorious city. The exhibition is EXACTLY my cup of tea; textiles and cross-cultural history! How I wish I could hop on a transatlantic flight and visit the Met.

    Warmest wishes from autumnal France,


  11. Happy Birthday Frances. And what a wonderful birthday you had.
    ox, Gina

  12. Belated Happy Birthday, Frances!
    What a lovely tour you took us on today. The exhibits must have been fascinating. I particularly liked the fabric of the Elizabethan style dress.

  13. Hi Frances! Hope you had a nice Birthday when visiting the Museum...
    I liked to see the pictures of the Shakespeare garden; what a surprise there is one in Central Parc!
    I do like the colorsw of your knitwork! It looks like;Fair Isle Knitting!
    That is is a traditional knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colours. It is named after Fair Isle, a tiny island in the north of Scotland. Google it and you will find beautiful pictures! greetings from Fleur- the netherlands

  14. Happy birthday and what a special day you have...I loved your tour and the view from the rooftop is the best! Lovely greeting

  15. Happy Birthday Frances and thank you for sharing your visit to the gallery with us.I would so love to come back to New York for another visit.It is the favourite place I have ever visited.Maybe -one day.

  16. Happy birthday Frances! Glad you had such a lovely day. Xxx

  17. * van harte gefeliciteerd *
    Wishing you all the best for your new year .
    I feel very blessed I could read all you wrote about your birthday , your life in NY and your wonderful day .
    It's always a surprise and a miracle to be overhere in Holland and be able to visit the museum with you as my guide .
    Thank you !
    Happy weekend


    What a wonderful exhibition which I must see.I always think it would be fun to do a similar one with porcelain and how trade routes etc influenced and cross pollinated motifs etc ( I expect someone already did it!)
    Yes, thank heavens the heat has abated.See you very soon.

  19. Belated happy birthday to you, dear Frances! (I was away in London on RNA business so am only just catching up!) I do love that you were able to take those stunning exhibition photos before they became forbidden. Your post also brought back happy memories of our special day at the Met Museum.

    Many Happy Returns to you from both of us, Chris & Tom xxx

  20. Frances... As always you are the ultimate tour guide for your beloved city. Textiles are a favorite since I grew up among quilters and seamstresses who treasured beautiful fabrics. The photos were perfect. Amazing that you have a personal history with the Met! Just the other evening I "whined" to my husband that I have yet to visit New York City... Perhaps, perhaps and I will use your lovely blog as my guide. Sending you good wishes, albeit a tad late, for your birthday...Susan

  21. dearest frances,

    happy birthday (month!), it sounds like you had a wonderful day, i would have loved to spend it with you (LOVE the Met!) and the exhibit, how fascinating. i once tried to take a photo only of the outside doors at a chic boutique in chelsea and was apprehended immediately! ai yi yi!

    p.s. you do not need to worry about calories, my very slim beautiful friend!

  22. A belated Happy Birthday lovely lady.

    And what a wonderful exhibition ... I would love to see it but New York is a tad too far away I fear.

  23. It sounds as though you had a perfect birthday and that exhibition sounds like one not to miss. I love the artwork on the roof. Belated birthday wishes to you Frances.

  24. Oh wow, that exhibition is right up my street! I'm glad you got the photos for us... Happy belated birthday and thank you for your autumnal wishes on my blog!

  25. I am glad we got to see those photos of the textiles!
    I am sorry I missed your birthday, you of all people I would have wanted to send a happy birthday wish to on the day. Anyway please accept my belated wishes for very many happy returns.

  26. A bit late (I'm catching up after returning from my travels) Happy Birthday! And thank you for the tour of a wonderful exhibition and the roof terrace - I think I was there on the eve of my own birthday - I think it was in 1996 - it was probably my favourite part of our visit.

  27. A belated Happy Birthday to you, Frances. I reckon this is the seventh time I've wished you a Happy Birthday, and that makes me feel a bit like an old friend. Thank you for sharing your day. I'd very much like to have been able to see the exhibit. I don't know a lot about textiles, but whenever there is an exhibit I try to see it - textiles fascinate me.
    Since you are still within your Birthday Week, I hope the days ahead hold a few more treats, that you encounter only kindness, and that most of all, you are kind to yourself! Big hugs, from someone who is not much of a hugger....H.

  28. Hello Frances,
    Happy belated birthday! It sounds like you had a fabulous day - water or no water. Fantastic textile exhibition and I loved the view from the roof terrace. Sounds like the coffee and pastry was just the icing on the cake!
    Have a great week.
    Ingrid xx

  29. What a wonderful birthday tour. I'm sorry I missed the actual day (also my grandmother's birthday) my computer has stopped flagging up new posts for some reason and so I am looking in rather randomly at my favourite people.

  30. Thank you for sharing your met images - and a belated Happy Birthday!

  31. A belated Happy Birthday, dear Frances. And what a perfect way to spend the day. I loved the photos of the textiles -- especially the one with the warrior face and the bemouse gallery goer.

    And the art work on the roof top is wonderful!

  32. Arrgh! Not bemouse -- bemused. (Though I quite like the word bemouse...)

  33. As always, my friend, you arfe an inspiration!

  34. ...and I need to change my glasses, with that sort of typing!

  35. Happy belated birthday to you Frances! I am sorry I did not pop over earlier. Such a good idea to spent your birthday at the museum. The exhibition you visited looks very much worthwhile. I like textile/fashion exhibits very much too!

    Your gift is beautiful! Such a great bag.

    Happy week!

    Madelief x

  36. Oh dear, Frances, I missed this post and have only just seen it for the first time.

    It is a wonderful post, full of yourself and your interest in art and the good life. How fortunate you were to have taken the museum photos just before the curfew; at least you have a reminder of these fabulous pieces.

    I love the roof art too, such an innovative way of giving a concrete space life and beauty.

    You are lucky to be where you are and you are doubly lucky to be the kind of person who appreciates where you are.

    I hope to see you soon. How are your plans progressing?

  37. Happy belated birthday, Frances! How wonderful that because of your early start we were able to enjoy looking at these delightful textile pictures. The pastries and cappuccino with a friend sound like an enjoyable way to celebrate your birthday. Soon the leaves will turn in Central Park and you will be able to have some great autumnal walks. It is always a pleasure to read your posts.

  38. Dear Frances,

    Just popping over to say hi and thank you for your always sweet comments on my blog!

    I heard NY is still enjoying fine weather. Hope it will continue for a little while longer.

    Hope to see one of your posts soon!

    Happy week!

    Madelief xox

  39. Dear Frances, I am a new visitor to your blog and have landed here in the usual accidental way, but I am so happy to see your posts of NYC. We live in CT now, but we did live in the city for several years, ending up in Brooklyn Heights while we worked in the trade center. Tower 2 was my building, although I had already "retired" to raise my children in 2001. It sounds like you had a wonderful birthday at the Met. I have been trying to find a date to see that exhibit and still hope to do so. Thank you for the pictures. I am looking forward to more posts about NYC and your life there. Linda

  40. Hello dear Frances
    belated birthday wishes for your special day!!!
    How could anyone ever forget the horror of 9/11/2001 - in New Zealand we hold a special memorial service each year on the day.

    What a lovely way to celebrate your day - a beautiful textile exhibition at the Met - a feast for the eyes, mind and soul! I can only dream of visiting the Met one day...
    Finishing with an enjoyable lunch with your friend.

    It must be amazing to live and work in a city such as New York which, to me seems to have everything for lovers of culture.

    I've not been to NY but I'm always pleasantly surprised when I see a documentary, at the green spaces in the city - Central Park looks so lovely and I imagine you might walk in the park on occasions.

    Lovely to catch up with you Frances and thank you for popping in to see me and say hello!


  41. Hi Frances!

    A belated happy birthday to you! And a big thank you for all your lovely comments in my blog. They are always a joy to read, and it is always a pleasure to see you have stopped by. Thank you for being such a faithful reader.


  42. Happy Birthday Frances!
    So much better than areal visit to NYC is your day trip. Around town. Though I would have enjoyed the downpour while on the bus ;))
    Xx cg

  43. Please forgive my very late birthday wishes, I think I must have been away when you last posted. The bag looks lovely, I am so pleased you found something special.

    Of course I would have loved to visit that exhibition. I was interested to learn about your associations with the museum too.

  44. Dear Frances,

    Huge apologies for missing your birthday, do hope you had a lovely day. Belated birthday wishes to you Frances.

    The textile Museum sounds interesting, and I love the tapestry coat in the picture.