Monday, April 30, 2012

A Trip to Miami South Beach

(click on photos to enlarge)
TD and I last week took a fun five-day trip down to Miami South Beach for some much needed r and r. We have been down several times before, and we always enjoy wide sandy beach and the surf of the Atlantic Ocean while being close to a lot of great restaurants and stores. It's an easy getaway. The flight is less than three hours and once we get there we don't need to rent a car because everything is within walking distance. We were on a 7am flight out of LaGuardia and swimming in the warm ocean by 11:30.
We checked into the charming Villa Paradiso which in one block from the beach, and were looked after by the helpful Anna.

At night we strolled around in shorts. A colorful Cadillac was parked in front of the Marlin Hotel; the car and the building go back in time.

South Beach was developed in the 1930's, and claims to have the largest collection of buildings featuring Streamline Moderne Art Deco architecture. I love the pastel colors and cubic lines of the apartment houses. It looks to me like Old Hollywood. I said to TD, "Can we move here?"

Voluptuous bougainvillea smothered a dusty pink apartment building at dusk.

At night we walked along Lincoln Road, a long pedestrian row lined with stores, restaurants, galleries and bars. In the 1960's Miami Beach architect Morris Lapidus designed Lincoln Road as it appears today, and I think it must be one of the great public spaces in the world. It is always crowded with visitors from all over the world, and offers great people-watching when you sit down to eat dinner. One night we had authentic Northern Italian pizza at Spris, and another night we ate at the lively Sushi Samba. On Collins Avenue we had a delicious Italian dinner at Spiga (sit on the porch) but the best dinner we had was at the newish Yardbird Southern Table and Bar (thanks Beth). Oh, I can still taste that fried chicken.

But mostly in Miami, we sit on the sandy beach and swim in the warm water. It feels like a relief to the body and spirit to be enveloped by tropical nature after a winter in the city. Even the clouds cooperate.

At the beach I am happy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Steins Collect at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

With Jane in a cab going down Fifth Avenue
I went with my fourteen-year-old niece and godchild Jane up to the Metropolitan Museum on Sunday for a serious infusion of art. We saw the new American Wing (beautiful, don't miss it) and the new Galleries for Arab Lands (daunting and worth a visit) but the centerpiece of the trip was the current exhibition called The Steins Collect which is about the Stein siblings who were important collectors of modern art in Paris in the early part of the twentieth century.
The Steins – Leo, Michael and his wife Sarah, and Gertrude the writer who made an appearance in Woody Allen's movie Midnight in Paris – were Americans from Pittsburgh who lived in Paris and befriended unknown artists including Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. They bought paintings inexpensively and amassed a spectacular collection of modern art which is now on view at the Met. The exhibit states that artists, writers and musicians convened at the Steins' Saturday salons. "By opening their houses and making art accessible the Steins did more to support art than any other collector or institution during the first decades of the twentieth century."
The art is colorful and ravishing, including Matisse's Portrait of a Woman from 1908

and his joyful Landscape at Collioure from 1905.

Here are the Steins at home – with Matisse seated in the center, and his paintings hung high on the wall. What a fantastic time to live in Paris.

Afterward Jane and I headed downtown and sat in Union Square for a bit while she had an ice cream cone. I said, "What was your favorite thing today?" She said, "The self portrait by Matisse."

Jane has a good eye.
I said one of my favorite things were the photographs that showed the Steins' homes. Here is a picture by Man Ray of Alice B. Toklas standing and Gertrude Stein seated in their apartment at 27, Rue de Fleuris from 1922. I love the art covering the walls and the simple heavy wooden furniture and the light coming through the interior windows.

What a wonderful way to live.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

20th Century Art and Design at Lincoln Center

Sheer banners decorate the front of the The Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center. (click on photos to enlarge)
TD and I were invited this week to the opening of the inaugural New York 20th Century Art and Design Fair organized by 1stdibs up in the tent at Lincoln Center. I haven't been up to Lincoln Center in a while – don't ask me why, time flies! Lincoln Center looked great, all spiffed up and polished. It was nice to be there again on its wide quiet plaza.
Mounted in a spacious, comfortable tent adjacent to the The Metropolitan Opera , the show includes 36 dealers from 1stdibs offering 20th century furniture, art, design, clothing and jewelry. It's up this weekend and admission is $20 – check it out if you can.
I liked this chic combination of furnishings, framed art and very dark walls at Dragonette Ltd. from Los Angeles.

Vintage and estate jewelry dealer Neil Marrs offered some enticing baubles. Elizabeth Taylor-worthy.

Dealer Jayne Baum and Good Design teamed up to present a combination of furniture and art. TD knows Jayne from Bailey House where they have both been involved for many years with the annual auction. I liked this big photograph of a water glass by Amanda Means – very Mad Men.
An art work by John Noestheden featuring Swarovksi crystals was hung next to his acrylic painting.

You know how I like a little sparkle.

There were good things to eat and drink in the tent as dusk fell.

Outside, it was a nice spring night as TD exited the tent.

We walked through the plaza and passed the central fountain.

Here is a view of Lincoln Center as we left.

It was a civilized and congenial night in New York, as it should be.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter

Flowers ablaze at the Union Square Farmer's Market (click on photos to enlarge)
It's Easter Weekend here in NYC and the weather is beautiful. I am a person who is definitely affected by the lack of light in the winter time, and I can feel myself "wake up" around this time in the spring when the sunlight returns and flowers are blooming in NYC.
A magnolia tree blossoms against a brick wall on Hudson Street -

Waves of tulips in Abingdon Square which used to be covered in asphalt -

A deli on Sixth Avenue offers a spring selection -

On West 20th Street, forsythia, lilacs and wisteria co-mingle -

At the Union Square Farmer's Market, Cyclamen $5 -

Flowering branches at the Durr's truck at the Farmer's Market -
Parrot tulips in a metal firehouse bucket at the Upper Rust, one of my favorite shops, on East 9th Street -

A pale hydrangrea and tulips from the Farmer's Market in the living room -

I hope you are enjoying flowers too and the spring season and having a lovely holiday weekend.