Street art in the form of crochet trees

tree8I was walking down Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, NYC on July 4 and noticed these cool tree cozies. They are sort of vigilante art, where they just appear in the middle of the night.

Most were on Christopher at Bedford. The first one I noticed was the barber pole made from the crocheted yarn, but then I noticed the barber pole, which is usually red and white, had blue in it, then realized it was a perfect red, white and blue for July 4th.

I particularly like the tree with the crocheted roses on it. So cool.

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Governors Island; a trip back through history

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Governors Island, where do I start?

I thought I knew all of New York City. I’m amazed that I am often finding myself in areas that I had never been before and this past weekend was no exception. A few of us went on an adventure, to another land, which was only 800 yards from downtown Manhattan. It’s so close, yet is its own world.

Governors Island was settled briefly by the Dutch in 1624 but its main claim to fame is being a military base from 1794 to 1996, when it closed. It was home to the US Army and then the US Coast Guard. In 2001, President Clinton established the 22-acre as a national park and in 2003, President Bush transferred the remaining 150 acres to the people of New York.

From being used as a base in the American Revolutionary War to a National Park today, is some transformation, yet so much of it is like going back in time. It remains like it has for 200 years or so.

The island is open from May 1 to October 1 each year and it’s a pity because Governors Island would be a perfect place for a pumpkin patch and Christmas village. It’s a bit Williamsburg, VA and a bit of old Boston. There’s a meadow you come upon and you swear you are in “Little House on the Prairie,” as you see no surrounding buildings. All at once, you come upon an old movie theater where you think you are on the back lot of “The Waltons,” and the houses – the colonial houses which surround a sort of green square takes you back to a simpler time – all this mere feet from Brooklyn.

And the fantasy of the whole thing is that you have to arrive by ferry! There are ferries from different areas of the city, so hop on one and head over. The ferry ride itself is a beautiful experience as you glide by New York’s skyscrapers and cruise under its many bridges.

Once you get to the island, there is more than enough to do. Take in the greenery and quaintness and history. This is real history all surrounded by nature.

There is free kayaking and picnic lunches and biking and food trucks and hammocks and mini golf and so much more; and the best part has to be what they call “The Hills.” There is one hill, which seems like a mini-mountain, it is 70 feet above sea level. It is sort of like climbing a pyramid. There are large pyramid-style rocks piled up and you climb to the top – the only way to get there. Once at the top the first thing you see is the Statue of Liberty right in front of you in the harbor, you feel as if you can reach out and touch her.

Turn around and there, sparkling in the distance is downtown Manhattan and Jersey City. The view is spectacular. I sat there on a large rock and just watched people’s reactions as they turned and saw the view for the first time. Amazing.

There are events throughout the summer like the Poetry Festival and the Scavenger Hunt, there are art exhibits and so much more.

You can spend each weekend there during the season and find something new to do each weekend. For more info, check out their website at: https://govisland.com

Free subway library

subwayI noticed on the New York subways that they have a Free Subway Library which is provided by the New York Public Library system along with the Brooklyn Library and Queens Library. It started in June. The MTA and Transit Wireless provide riders with access to hundreds of e-books and short stories.

Basically only the first chapters are available, enough to read on a train ride and then you can download the whole book at the library’s app.

Now when you’re on the trains you see so many people staring down at their phones either reading or playing games. I usually go through the photos I took during the day.

It’s a far cry from the days, not too long ago (10, 12 years?) where everyone seemed to have their heads buried in a newspaper or paperback book. Tabloid sized newspapers were created for subways and buses, their smaller size than the broadsheet made it easier to manage.

I’m not such a fan of MoMA anymore

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I wondered how families and poor people enjoyed museums in New York City as the entry fees are so expensive.  I had written a story in April about New York museums taking donations, rather than the marked price at the door. But MoMA wasn’t having it last Friday.

I told the bearded hipster at the front desk that I wanted to pay $10. He told me that was not possible, that I had to pay the $25 fee. Now I could have probably gotten a free press pass but I just wanted to see if this donation bit was true. I guess not. I paid the full fee and entered and wondered how a single mother of three could do that.

I had been to two other museums in New York City earlier in the week and they both suggested donations at the door, but I paid the regular entrance fees because I do want to support the institutions and I didn’t have the courage yet to try to get in with just a donation.

It does get pricey visiting museums and going to the theater in New York City. It’s a shame that not everyone can afford it. I think the world would be a better place if more people had more and easy access to the arts.

But here is the rub – if you want to imagine being in the New York City subway or CitiField or Yankee Stadium when the game is over and everyone is storming in one direction, that is how you get free access to MoMA! They offer a Free Friday Nights for everyone. And trust me, everyone comes out. Check out my video below. This was 6:00 pm on Friday, inside MoMA. Free Fridays are from 4 to 8 pm. It’s like ants!

I sort of don’t appreciate the attitude at MoMA. When I entered at about 3 pm and tried to pay $10; the hipster with the beard at the front desk gave me a hard time. Rather than explain, “Sir, if you wait one hour, it is free.” But no, he had me pay the full $25 and then witness this mess where the rest of the city entered free. Not cool. I may not be back for a long time (like they care). I’ll miss Starry Night.

Ballerina looms over New York

I try to mostly write about art in this blog and when I’m in New York City, there is no absence of inspiration for that. My favorite thing this summer is the Jeff Koons “Sitting Ballerina” sculpture right outside 30 Rock. It’s impressive day and night. The light shimmers off of her. Amazing.

She is such a large scale. As you turn the corner, boom, there she is!  She is 45 feet high, made of nylon.

The last time I was here at 30 Rock, there was a hug Christmas tree there. Now in the same space is this elegant ballerina. She almost looks like a shiny Christmas ornament.

The ballarina was to be there until June 2, 2017, but she is still there.

Visiting the Hoboken Train Terminal

Every time I am in New York, I find myself hopping over to Hoboken, New Jersey. There is something about Hoboken that I love. I think it is the New England fee of this mile square city. You can get there by ferry or by PATH train, I usually take the train and I exit through the 100 year old Hoboken Terminal (built in 1907), before the terminal was built the property was used as a ferry point since colonial times.

I visited Hoboken today, had lunch and strolled around. It was beautiful. Sunny and 72 degrees.

Here are some pictures I took of the Hoboken Terminal and area nearby, showing Manhattan in the background, one train stop under the Hudson River.

This is the PATH train entering the station.

This is above the PATH trains where the New Jersey Transit enters and exits the Terminal.

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I didn’t know the New York City museum entrance fees were optional

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Temple of Dendur at Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

I read an article yesterday about the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC charging mandatory entrance fees. I never knew the $25 entrance fee was a suggestion.

I’m in NY often and I’ve been to so many of the museums. I’ve paid full price all the time – at the MET, MOMA, the History Museums and so on. I never knew the entrance fee was a suggestion and the way they corral you in and “force” you to pay, who knew it was a suggestion. When I think of all the money I have spent over the years, it burns me up. Sure, I am in favor of supporting the arts, but I don’t like the feeling of being forced, when I didn’t have to be forced. I challenge anyone to try and enter without paying, see how that goes. Try to get around the velvet ropes at all the museum entrances. Even at the Museum of the City of New York, one of my favorites on 103rd and Fifth, they are standing at a podium, mere feet from the entrance, expecting to be paid.

Now they plan on possibly making it mandatory for out of city residents, but even though I live outside of NYC, I daresay I visit more museums there than locals do. But I guess it doesn’t matter now, all these years I’ve paid full price when I possibly could have gotten in for less or for nothing.

Not too long ago at MOMA, I think, I saw a sign at the entrance that said there was a flat fee for a one day NY Pass for New York attractions, it was $109.00. This is for one day, which is great if you’re planning on racing through the city, but it really makes no sense if you plan on visiting three or four museums. Three museums at $25 each is $75 and four is $100, so the $109 is more than you would pay if you went to each place and paid one at a time.

I found a site that sells the passes – the one day for $109, two days for $189, three days are $199 and so on. But again, unless you plan on racing through the city and fitting in many museum or other tourist locations, it makes no sense.

They’re selling ice in the winter.

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Van Gogh’s Starry Night at Museum of Modern Art, NYC

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A Jackson Pollock at Museum of Modern Art, NYC

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It’s art. At Guggenheim Museum, NYC