I 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.
The BBC has an interesting little video. It’s about two minutes long, you can see it here.
See this photo? This is Lewis Powell, the photo was taken in 1865. This guy looks like a model whose photo was taken today! Lewis was involved in Lincon’s assination.
Almost reminds me of that “hot convict” Jeremy Meeks. He’s a good looking bad guy.
Marina Amaral from Brazil, colorizes black and white historical photos which really bring them to life.
So on my quest to see how the New York City museums work, I went to the New York Historical Society museum on the upper West side. I didn’t pay and I was sort of thrown out. A guard stopped me on the top floor and asked for my proof of payment.
I never had this happen before. I usually don’t wear the paper badge or pin at any of the museums after paying and no one ever stopped me.
To be honest, I have gone to the Historical Society Museum without paying in the past, only once, but it’s so easy to do as they don’t accost you at the door like the rest of the museums. The payment desk is far from the entrance, it’s almost hidden. But be sure that you may be accosted by a nosy guard up on the third or fourth floor.
I told him I would go down to pay, but since I didn’t see the Keith Harring work anywhere, I just left, I’ve seen the other stale exhibits 100 times so it wasn’t worthy paying and staying.
Original Spider-man art by John Romita
I went to the Spider-man exhibit at the Society of Illustrators with my cousin Michael. It consisted of the first ever exhibit of original art by John Romita and some pieces by Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-man with Stan Lee. Two floors are dedicated to the collection of art collector Mike Burkey.
Other aritsts presented include Gil Kane, Todd McFarlane, Ross Andru, Ron Frenz, Keith Pollard, John Buscema, Keith Pollard and John Romita Jr.
There are also rare comic strip pages along with the comic book art. Some fun work was where Spider-man mashed with Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” crew. Two comic icons meeting, done by Romita.
The exhibit is at the Upper East Side gallery until August 26, 2017. The Society is in an unassuming townhouse.
I was excited to see this. I had no idea the exhibit was just a few blocks from my hotel but a friend happened to post this on Facebook saying he wished he was in New York. I was! What a lucky break.
These original comic book pages are true works of art; pop art at it’s best. And valuable. Ditko’s Page 4 from the Amazing Spider-man #33 which is on display has an appraised value of $500,000.00!
The best part was having Michael with me, who is an expert in comic art. He does his own and he knows so much about the subject. As we walked from comic page to comic page, he had a story on each image – the technique, the differences in the pencilers working with different inkers and the stories themselves. It was a treat.
The Society of Illustrators is at 128 E. 63rd Street in Manhattan.
I don’t like to put down artists. I just don’t think it’s the thing to do and if you don’t understand the art, well, that is on you, not the artist. But the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in NYC has a large exhibit by Robert Rauschenberg and I really think that we are being punked and maybe have been punked by Rauschenberg for most of his career.
I like his paintings. But the 3D stuff . . . I don’t even want to call it sculpture. It looks like garbage. I mean look at this stuff below. It looks like something he found on the curb and hung it on the wall.
This is untitled. Is it any wonder? It’s cardboard with tape and a rubber hose from 1972
This is “Volon” cardboard, from 1971.
This “Gold Standard” was a collaboration with Alex Hay.
This honestly looks like it fell from the roof. Juxtaposed with the Warhols behind it really is weird. You can see a small moving image of me walking around it at my Instagram account at @tomversation
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.
I was walking by Madison and 50th Street in NYC and there in the window was this amazing Beatles sculpture in the Eden Fine Arts Gallery. I thought it was Romero Britto, but after investigating, I saw it was created by Dorit Levinstein.
It’s big – 82″ x 93″ x 35″. Right in the window.
Dorit is know for her brightly colored sculptures – her work is described as spare and elegant. It is.