Friday, October 9, 2009

Jane Comes to New York

Recently my eleven-year-old niece and godchild Jane came to visit for a sleep over. I immediately whisked her off to Dumbo in Brooklyn to visit our friends April and Matt. Jane had become friendly with April when they lived in our building in Chelsea.

I also wanted to see the Dumbo Art Fair. We were a little late for the fair, but it was fun to walk around Dumbo. Love Dumbo – perched on the edge of the East River between the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Then Jane and I met up with TD for dinner in a Dumbo restaurant called Superfine. We sat at a table near a small stage which was decorated with a red velvet curtain, hanging gold stars and artificial grass beach umbrellas. Looked promising. Soon enough a girl blue grass band came out to entertain. What more could you ask for on a Sunday night?

Jane and I share an interest in art and fashion. When we got home she watched on the dvr two episodes of the "Rachel Zoe Project," which she had not seen before. Her parents are going to kill me I thought, because now she will want to stay up late and watch the travails of a Hollywood stylist. The Rachel Zoe show is not for everyone, but I get a kick out of it. Jane enjoyed the show too. "What do you like about it Jane?" I asked. "The clothes," she said. She's right – the clothes are good.

Jane was wearing a black cotton blazer she said was from H&M. It fit her perfectly, I couldn't believe it. The jacket looked like it was tailored to her body. Sleeves were the ideal length, and buttons at the cuff actually unbuttoned. Jane peered down thoughtfully at her shoulder. "But the jacket shoulder could be a little wider," she said making a space of about a half an inch with her thumb and index finger at her shoulder. Eleven years old. Girl after my own heart.

It reminds me of a story about my grandmother who had great style and taste. When relatives talk about my grandmother they use the word "stunning" which is not a word you hear much anymore. Born and raised in Herkimer, she grew to have a very elegant demeanor and her clothes were always perfect. We were wonderful friends and very close. Here we are together when I turned seven:

At the end of her life she resided in an assisted living home on a hill outside of Albany and I often took the train up to visit her. On one trip I was very happy to be wearing a green flannel blazer by Thomas Oatman who had a store in Soho called New Republic. (Here is an online article I wrote about Thomas in 1997.) Instead of a traditional navy wool blazer, this one was green, and it had tortoiseshell buttons instead of gold. I thought it looked great as I presented myself to my grandmother in the residence on the hill in Albany. She took one look at me and she said, "You do know that one sleeve is longer than the other."

The next day Jane and I went to the Museum of Modern Art. I personally prefer the Met but Jane likes the Modern and it's easier to get to in midtown. I was delighted to see that Monet's "Water Lilies" were all installed together in one room. Hanging with the water lilies was this six foot painting called "Aganthus" – an engrossing swirl of flowers, leaves and grass (click on for better view).

The "Water Lilies" triptych is completely entrancing. Pinks, lavenders, blues and greens lure you into a meditative state.

Lights move into darks. Loops of color float over deep recesses. There is something magical about these masterpieces. How can a subject so simple be so beautiful? I could have looked at them all day.

Then we went outside to the Sculpture Garden. Even though it's in the center of midtown the Sculpture Garden is quiet and peaceful.
A jumble of city architecture including the Trump Tower and the AT&T Building crowd the view

but all you hear is the sound of water.

It's a very pleasant place to sit indeed.


french-treasures said...

What a lovely story! I often take my nephew (age 13) on excursions or trips. Those young eyes and brains open a new window on the world.

Pigtown*Design said...

you're both darling!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

that sounds like a perfect weekend! I can't wait to have a neice or nephew of my own someday :-)