Tuesday, 23 August 2005

We awoke, showered in Katie's tiny bathroom (separately, not together … even if we'd wanted to, there's no room!), dressed, & got ready to go. Our first goal for the day was MoMA, the Musuem of Modern Art, a world-famous spot. David had a good friend from college named Christina who was now living in NYC, & he arranged for her to meet us there. We took the subway to MoMA—David's first subway ride in New York (I was just glad they were air conditioned—when we were here last time, we rode in one that wasn't, & it was hellish)—& arrived a few blocks away.

We saw a tourist shop, so David had to rush in & look around. Denise bought a popup map of New York, while David & I looked at the t-shirts available for purchase. I'm not going to say anything about them, other than they're very appropriate for NY, & I found them hilarious in their rudeness.


Sometime later in the day, I'm not sure when, we stopped & David snapped this picture. I'm holding the map, & Denise, as you can see, is VERY happy about it!


We walked the rest of the short way to the Museum, only to find out that MoMA is closed on Tuesdays! Dang it! David called Christina to let her know, while we walked inside MoMA to wander about the lobby, which was open. 5 minutes later, as we waited in the lobby, looking at the Lichtenstein & the Warhol on display, we saw Christina outside. David ran out to greet her, & a minute later we were shaking her hand. She's lived in NY for 3 years, & had a lot to show us.

I noticed that the Museum of TV & Radio was nearby, & suggested that we might want to check it out. When we arrived, it looked interesting, but none of us really wanted to sit around watching TV while it was so freakin' beautiful outside. Last time we were here, it—was—so—HOT! Now, near the end of August, in was in the 80s, with a slight breeze. You couldn't ask for anything better.

Since TV & Radio was out, I suggested the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That sounded good to everyone, & Christina knew the way there, so off we headed. I'd been to the Museum a long time ago, & it is one of the finest in the US. We were allowed to take photos in the Museum, so you're going to see a lot, but we weren't supposed to take movies of any kind. We found that out when a guard started screaming at David to not take any videos. That was one thing we all noticed about the guards at the Met: by & large, they're incredibly rude bastards. The Museum is great; but the guards need to be bounced out on their keisters.

Let's start with the modern art, shall we? How about some O'Keeffe, from her southwest period:


Stuart Davis'Report from Rockport (1940):


Denise said, upon seeing the painting, "I've been to Rockport!" "Did it look like that?", I asked her.

Christina posed in front of a statue of the artist's wife, which I cannot remember.


Modigliani's Boy in a Striped Sweater (1918):


He easily has the most fun name to say. Try it. Let it roll off your tongue: "Moooodiiiigliiiani". Fun, ain't it?

Brancusi's Bird in Space (1923), which I totally dug:


Number 5, by … aaaaghh! I can't remember! Sorry. I'm embarassed, as I know this. Just can't recall right now.


One of my favorite paintings, Miro's Color of my Dreams (1925):


Now let's look at armor. The Met has an extensive collection of arms & armor from all over the world, & from a variety of time periods. It's really amazing, looking at this stuff, to think that people actually wore it & then tried to batter, stab, or bash each other to death. Here's Henry VIII's personal armor, worn late in life (around 1544) when he was fat & running through wives like they were desserts.


Here are several knights in armor. Notice that the horses are armored as well. This would have made an impressive parade to have seen!


Here's a helmet. Unfortunately, I didn't write down the time or location, because I am a dork. But it's a very nice helmet nonetheless.


I did write down info on this one. It's an Ostrogothic (as in, enemies of the Romans during the end of the Empire) helmet made of bronze & iron. I'm impressed that it's survived at all this long. Even though it's pretty torn up, it still looks cool.


Tiffany glass is some of the finest ever made. I didn't know this, but Tiffany actually worked in a variety of media. But first the glass! A chandelier, which is dark & hard to see, but you can still pick out some of the beauty.


Some Tiffany vases. Gorgeous.


Finally, a fountain that Tiffany designed. This was really stunning to see, & the picture only does it justice in a fragmentary way.


Ancient Greek art? Oh, you bet the Met has it. Too many items to count, in fact. Let's start with some mythology. Here's a ceremonial vase portraying Theseus slaying the Minotaur.


The famous Kritios Boy, some of the very first Greek statuary art. Notice how rigid & crude it is. This was the style for quite some time, but once Greek art broke free of this convention, it flowered in some amazing ways.


David took a cool panoramic movie of one of the Greek rooms. You can see his other 3 companions: first me, & then Denise (love the open mouth!), & lastly Christina. Very cool, but shhhhhh! Don't tell the bitchy guards!

2005-0823-met-greek-panorama.mp4 (2.5 MB MP4)

About halfway through our journey around the 1st floor of the Met (& we only saw the 1st floor, & we were there for about 4 hours!), we realized we were all hungry. The Met has several cafes, so we chose one & ate a really tasty lunch there. Once that was over, we trooped back up. We stopped in a kind of Atrium area for a while, where huge windows let in light & there are statues all about the room, statues such as this one:


This gives you an idea of the room as a whole. It was peaceful, a perfect place to take a little break, read, or just contemplate.


David & Christina posed for this one. They were very glad to see each other again, as it had been years since they had last been face to face.


David was very wicked once again (someone spank him!) & took another movie as he panned around the Atrium area. Take that, guards!

2005-0823-met-atrium.mp4 (2.6 MB MP4)

Ancient Egypt was at the Met in bulk, lemme tell ya. You want some Canopic Jars, for your mummy's organs? No problem.


Hieroglyphics? Please. That's so 2000 BCE. Of course the Met has hieroglypics.


Heck, the Met even has a whole Egyptian temple, named Denfur, that was donated by the Egyptian government. It's not huge, but it's big enough. Here's one little part of it, a wall with hieroglyphics on it (toldja the Met had hieroglyphics!).


Here's a more complete shot from pretty far away in this very big room that allows you to see the whole thing. Pretty cool, huh?


David, in an act of evil that will probably result in his death from an enraged mummy who rises from the dead to avenge broken rules at the Met, took this movie of the Temple of Denfur, which I present to you here.

2005-0823-met-temple-denfur.mp4 (1.5 MB MP4)

Speaking of mummies rising from their tombs, this is one of my favorite pix from the entire trip. Denise & Christina were in Denfur or another Egyptian pseudo-crypt, & the lighting & their facial expressions make them look like they've just discovered something terrible, something that will unleash a plague of horror upon humanity, stoppable only by the combined brains & bravery of the intrepid explorer Scott & his comic-relief-providing porter, David.


Medieval! Get your Medieval! Right over here! Medieval art, right this way! First, an ivory diptych from France, dated around 1350, that depicts scenes from the passion of Christ.


You know how medieval folks used to love to venerate saints, & especially relics, such as a toenail of Jesus, or a lock of back hair from Saint Hirsutesus of Grossia, or the butt crack of Saint John of Gluteus Maximus? Well, here are some silver arms that contained … you guessed it! … the actual arms of certain saints!


I can't remember if this gate was medieval or not, but I'm going to say it was. It was a huge gate, but I only took a small picture of it, because I wanted to focus on the detail.


I've saved what I think is the most unique for last. The Met has lots of rooms that are … rooms. That is, they have actually transplanted rooms from famous or historic buildings—the paneling, wallpaper, furniture, flooring, lighting, everything—& recreated those rooms at the Met. It's pretty stunning to walk into a room & find yourself 200 years in the past. I've only got two examples, but I hope you like them. First is the living room from a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Man, it was awesome. I'd live in that in a second.


Finally, once we made sure we were out of sight of one of the demon guards from hell, David filmed—briefly!—this room. How ornate!

2005-0823-met-room.mp4 (1.5 MB MP4)

Our time at the Met was over, since it was closing, & since we were "museumed out"—you know that feeling, when you've been in a museum too long & your brain is starting to turn into cheese? We were there. We walked outside, past the legion of zombie smokers sitting on the steps of the Met taking 7 minutes off of their lifespans, & walked down the street to an entrance to that jewel of New York, Central Park. To get to Katie's apartment, we had to get on the other side of Central Park, & it's not too hard to walk across it, so walk we did. Shortly into the Park—& remember, it was a great day for walking—we saw this archway that we walked under. Central Park is full of little details like this. Olmstead, the man who designed it, should be commended through the ages for his work.


The day was beautiful, & the Park was full of people running, walking, sunning, reading, looking, talking, & enjoying themselves. That Park definitely helps keep people in New York sane, that's for sure. Finally, after a bit, we reached the Reservoir, a beautiful spot in the midst of a beautiful park.


Every way you looked, you saw trees, water, & buildings, melded together in a kind of urban harmony. It was even pretty quiet here … for New York.


David whipped out the ole camera & took a movie. Makes me want to go back & stand there again.

2005-0823-central-park-reservoir.mp4 (1.8 MB MP4)

We left the Reservoir & walked on. We exited the Park & hailed a cab to take us up to Katie's place. Along the way, I snapped Denise & David in the cab.


We arrived at Katie's. Time to walk the dog! Denise & I climbed the 70 steps of pain, breathed, leashed Libby, & walked her back down. We toured around for a couple of blocks until Libby did her thing, & then walked back. Right in front of the bodega by Katie's, the owners had stacked up & bound, presumably for recycling, all of the cardboard boxes they'd received & unpacked that day. It was kind of a stunning sight, all that cardboard, bound & sitting next to the street.


Back up the 70 steps of agony now, we entered Katie's place & immediately walked onto the balcony for some wine & relaxation. The plan: hang out for a short while, then off to meet my buddy Rob Beil & his partner Roberto at Rob's new favorite restaurant, Mercadito Grove, in Greenwich Village, close to where Rob & Roberto live. I wasn't able to use Katie's Net connection, since she had WEP encryption enabled (good, Katie!) but I didn't know the key (stupid, Scott!) & didn't feel like cracking it, so I ended up using the very very very very faint signal I managed to find from a neighbor's. I could download, but I couldn't upload anything, so this journal was out of commission for a few days.

Soon enough, it was time to go. David finished his wine off.


We cabbed it over to Mercadito Grove. It was dark by now, so along the way, I snapped this pic of the busy New York streets.


We reached the restaurant, & there sat Rob & Roberto. Man, it was great seeing those guys again! We'd last seen them back in 2002, when Denise & I were in New York (read about in our trip journal!), & it was just like that had been yesterday. After greeting both guys, I sat down & we began filling each other in on mutual friends, jobs, travails, & fun. A few minutes later, my brother Gus arrived. Yes, Gus is finally, after over a decade, starting to go into the City every once in a while. You go, Gus! I was glad he joined us for dinner, & I was a happy man: on one side, Rob, on the other, Gus.

We were also joined by another one of David & Christina's friends, Kelly. Here are the 3 of them, together.


Dinner was excellent, & Rob was correct: this was a great restaurant. It was like a tapas place, so everything was designed to share. We ordered a lot of food, purchased many many many drinks, & had great conversations. The bill came. You guess: 8 people, lots of food & booze, in the Village. Rob guessed $400. Sounded good to me. Ah, but he had gone a bit too high. It was only $346! A bargain! Sadly for the Granneman boys, the two of us had eaten $200 of that, so we had to reach far into our wallets. Oh come on! Not even Gus & I could eat $200 of food! Well, we could, but not that night.

During dinner, Rob told me that I had inadvertantly outed him thanks to my last trip journal. I had written back in 2002 about Rob & Roberto, & due to my strong Google Juice, when some of Rob's friends from high school happened to Google him, my page mentioning Rob came up first, & they found out that he was g-g-g-g-gay. Rob wasn't upset—he was already out—& actually found it kind of funny that I was the agent of his outing. Now I've written about writing about Rob, & this page discusses another page of mine that outed Rob, so this journal is a meta-outing of Rob. I'm outing my own outing of Rob, so let's hope that keeps the professors busy for a while.

After dinner, Rob took us to get some amazing ice cream. Holy mackeral, but it was good. It was $5 for two small scoops, but it was soooooo taaaaasty. Rob had promised us the best ice cream in the world, & he was right. The best part, though, was the proprietor, who had some accent I couldnt' place. You'd say, "I'd like a taste of vanilla, please."

Owner: You get two! What do you want for the other one?

You: Uhhhhh …

Owner: You get two! What do you want?!

You: I only want one …

Owner: You get two! You pick one! If you don't, I pick for you! OK, you get coffee ice cream!

And he would! It was like the Soup Nazi, but with Ice Cream instead. Dammit, you're going to taste two! You get two!

While we stood outside the ice cream spot, David & his buds left to go back to Christina's place to spend the night (instead of ice cream, they bought more booze!), while my group walked on towards Rob's place. We reached their building, & Gus said his goodbyes, since he had to be up at 5:30 in the morning. I said goodbye to my brother, & watched him walk away. Roberto retrieved Bobbie the doggie from inside, & we all walked towards the pier nearby Rob's house, chatting the whole way.

It was a fine night & I couldn't think of better company. The waves lapped quietly against the pier, & latino & black gay kids walked around, holding hands, talking, laughing, safe. We reached the end of the pier, & the 2 R's showed us where one of the Olsen twins lived, & Monica Lewinsky, & other celebs that we all laughed about ironically. We stopped for a picture, but it was dark & my cameraphone sucks in the dark, but oh well. When Denise's camera gets developed, maybe I'll replace the pic.


Finally it was time to say goodbye. We parted, Denise & I climbed in a cab, & soon enough we were back at Katie the Good's. We spent a few minutes on the balcony, but it was no use—we couldn't stave off sleep any longer. We slid between the sheets, said goodnight, & were out almost immediately.

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