Another December, another Miami Art Week

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Another Art Basel/Art Miami behind us, well almost, Sunday is the last day of the yearly event. It’s a thing called Miami Art Week where art is all over the city and tourists pour out of the woodwork.

The big thing this year was the $120,000 banana. Surely a publicity gimmick, but supposedly some artists sold a banana that was duct taped to the wall for that amount. It was the talk of the city, at our usual Friday night family night, everyone knew about it. I looked for it at the shows, but it got eaten by the time we arrived!

The one interesting and sad thing is that a couple of the Art Shows – Art Miami and Context are on the former site of The Miami Herald. The Herald moved out to western Miami-Dade County a few years ago and the site is now empty. So they put down pavement platforms and huge tents, larger than football fields, and the art shows go on once a year.

The view out back is spectacular because as was the case years ago, newspapers and factories and such were on the water for easy access by water and they occupied prime land. Now that land is open and spectacular and the Herald is on the other side of the airport somewhere. Long Island City, Queens and Brooklyn New York are like this, the old waterfront which was occupied by factories and such are now open to parks, restaurants and expensive condos. Society is reclaiming the waterfront, which was a dark, spooky place for so many years.

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Pumpkin and apple picking in the Hudson Valley

Earlier this month, I think on October 5, a couple of my cousins and I drove upstate from New York City. We went to Poughkeepsie and Highland, which are on either side of the Hudson River. It was the 10th anniversary of the Walkway Over the Hudson. It was originally a train bridge during World War II and 10 years ago, it was turned into a walking bridge, which spans the Hudson River and connects Highland and Poughkeepsie. The walkway is the world’s longest pedestrian bridge.

It’s an incredible walk, the walk itself, but I mean the view. We had hoped to see fall leaves, which I believe are red and yellow now, but October 5 it was still warm and the leaves hadn’t turned yet. But it was a beautiful day. So nice, so peaceful and it’s gorgeous up there.

We had lunch at a place on the river, drove over the other bridge, the Mid-Hudson Bridge, which takes car traffic, to get there.

The best part, or maybe just as great as the walkway was a stop at DuBois Farms, where we went pumpkin and apple picking. It’s a real farm with animals and so many other features like prepared food and drinks, weekend BBQ’s, a tavern on site and so much more – so beautiful, check them out here: duboisfarms.com.

This was the same week as NY Comic Con, so we went from that hectic scene, to the serene scene of the Hudson Valley. A perfect fall week.

Another wild year at New York Comic Con

I attended the first day of New York Comic Con, which opened today, October 3. It was a bit rainy after a day yesterday, of 91 degree temps, so the drizzle felt good in the cooler, 55 degree weather today.

The crowds were there as usual, it was a mess getting in and getting out. And this weekend of course will bring even more people.

I was disappointed to see that GoComics.com did not have their usual booth where you could meet and greet your favorite cartoonists every year, I always look forward to that and I think that is the reason I started going to comic con years ago. Instead it looked as if they had a promo for The Far Side comic, which seems like it’s coming back in January and I guess Andrews McMeel, the owner of Go Comics, wished to promote that, which was a smart idea, but all the same I miss meeting my favorite cartoonists as in previous years.

NY Starbucks are a sitcom onto themselves

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There’s always something going on at Starbucks in New York. I guess it’s the same in Miami, at my Miami location, which is home, everyone knows everyone else, and sometimes there is one big conversation going on in the whole store, you know, sort of like an Andy Griffith episode. In New York it’s different, there are the regulars, but so many tourists pass through and there are so many stories.

It’s almost as if any Starbucks in New York could be a sitcom, or a comic strip!

The other night I went to Starbucks which is across the street from where I’m staying and I ended up drinking two wrong coffees! Why? Because there were three Toms there at the same time! There were only a handful of people there, so there weren’t many people to get confused with, but apparently there were three of us!

I ordered on the app as I usually do, I walked in and heard my name called so I took the coffee, but after I tasted it, it didn’t taste right, so they gave me another coffee named Tom; still wrong. Two Tom coffees, both wrong. I told the girl behind the counter what I had ordered – a cafe mocha with extra whipped cream, and she said, oh, this is for another Tom.

I said, “Another Tom? There are three Tom’s here ordering at this very moment?” She said, “Yes, we have a lot of Tom’s here tonight!”

This morning I went across the street for breakfast. I usually go to Pret A Manger every morning and get the same thing – coffee or green tea and oatmeal. But I ended up in Starbucks. And it was a madhouse, very crowded and crazy. I didn’t use the app because I don’t usually order green tea and oatmeal on the app so I thought it would be faster to order at the register rather than look for the items on the app. But it was quite confusing. There were three registers open with people yelling in orders from every direction.

I ordered and the lady handed me my tea. I guess I looked confused, but I was just wondering who was going to hand me the oatmeal. I must have really looked confused because a guy next to me waiting for his order said, “The milk and sugar is over there,” and he pointed behind us. I smiled and tapped him on the shoulder, you know, friendly-like, and I said, “I know, I’ve been here before,” meaning Starbucks, any Starbucks. He got a bit embarrassed and laughed but I explained to him I was just waiting for the oatmeal. It was a nice funny experience early in the morning.

I was handed my oatmeal, said goodbye to they guy who was still waiting, and left.

Manhattanhenge

So tonight was Manhattenhenge in NYC. Over the years I would just notice it as I walked down the street or stepped outside a bar or something, there wasn’t really a fuss over it. But now, it’s all over the news, they tell you what streets to go to and the best places to see it so tonight, I found myself among hundreds, if not 1000 people on the corner of 34th Street and Park Avenue.

The best part was the people. We would get into the street when the light turned red and look for it, counting the minutes down and when the light changed green, we ran back to the sidewalks, so that traffic could pass. And then repeat that same thing every time the light changed.

As the sun began to take it’s place in the center of the street, between the buildings, everyone just ran into the middle of the street and no car could get by, it was a standstill. Cars beeped their horns, but what were they going to do, run over 1000 people?

Soon a cop showed up in a little car, I thought that was the end of that. But you know what he did? He stopped the traffic. He just stopped all vehicled where they were, it just stopped in all directions and people took over the intersetion and we took our fill of pictures!

So here’s what I got on my iphone – Manhattanhenge July 2019.

Dominoes are part of a large new concrete landscape

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Photo courtesy Droga

Artist Bo Droga and his volunteer crew have been creating a large row of dominoes along US1, under the Metrorail tracks in Coral Gables, FL. The large columns in the area at the University of Miami along Ponce de Leon Boulevard have been turned from drab cement to black and white domino pieces. Droga’s work is inspired by many things, usually by his immediate surrounding and the local material at hand. “The common thread within my artwork is the simplicity in form, and use of everyday material,” he says.

The volunteers helping him on the dominoes project are all moms, all volunteers and all French.

The “Miami Dominoes” installation will eventually include 46 of the columns when completed, as of now, there are still a few more being worked on. They are up to 18 feet high.

Droga is Australian, who came to Miami by way of Paris. After all these years, he is the one who had the eye to see something that was staring us all in the face all these years.

I must admit when they were building Metrorail in the early 1980s, I would see the pylons/columns which we called “Stonehenge South” at the time and thought they would make great surfaces for advertising. Thank God that never became the case.

The crew uses large metal forms to create the round domino dots. The area will eventually be part of the long Underline project and Droga envisions outdoor tables and people sitting around in the area playing dominoes – a sort of sister to Domino Park that is in Little Havana.

Dorga originally had the domino idea for a project in Australia, but it never got off the ground due to permitting issues and when he moved here and saw the Metrorail pylons, he knew exactly what to do.The Miami-Dade County transportation and public works department helped him get permitted and he was off.

One thing that the local community has noticed – the dominoes are a “double six” set, where in Miami, “double nines” is popular. Droga knows that, but feels that the sixes make for a better look and art installation.

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Enjoying the Beaux Arts Festival

The Beaux Arts Festival is in town this weekend. Starting in January a whole bunch of art festivals take over the South Florida area. It’s a lot of the same artists that make the circuit and go from show to show, so there is not much new art to see, but it’s fun to be out and for my friends and me it’s a lot about the food.

The Beaux Arts Festival is a yearly event benefit for the Lowe Art Museum on the University of Miami campus. This is

the 67th year.