American Psycho

British artist, Cornelia Parker, recently installed a commissioned piece of art called Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) on the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Two American icons inspired this piece: an old red barn and the eerie house featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller, Psycho. The house, which appears to be a full building dropped in place on the rooftop, is actually just a façade like one that might be found on a movie set. Ms. Parker built the house out of reclaimed wood from a one hundred year old barn that was slated for demolition in upstate New York. The juxtaposition of this Victorian-style house against the backdrop of the New York City skyline is highly unexpected. The exhibit runs through the end of October.  

Disclaimer: I don’t know the woman in the picture, but she was wearing  a very theatrical outfit/costume, so I thought she would liven up my photograph.

A Day At The Races

Photos courtesy of the Kentucky Derby

 Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr., who was the grandson of American explorer William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame, founded the Kentucky Derby in 1873 after attending the Epsom Derby in England. He returned to Louisville, KY determined to build a similar venue for thoroughbred horse racing, stateside. He obtained land from his maternal uncles, the Churchill brothers, and built Churchill Downs, which he fashioned after Epsom Downs. The dress code at Churchill Downs is similar to its English counterpart with women and men, smartly and elegantly attired with hats complimenting their ensembles.The tradition of donning elegant millinery has continued to this day, with some women wearing elaborate creations festooned with feathers, ribbons, and/or bows.  

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to the mother-of-all-mothers, my mother! I don’t always acknowledge all of the things that she does for me, which is why this day exists — to remind people like me to celebrate their moms.  My mother provides me with sage advice, unconditional love, and unlimited support.  While she is my greatest cheerleader, she also tells it to me straight.  She doesn’t always tell me that I am right when I am wrong or that I look great when I don’t or that I deserve something that I don’t and I appreciate her for her candor. I love you, Mom!  Happy Mother’s Day!

Derby Day

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press

The Kentucky Derby is not simply a race to determine the fastest three-year old thoroughbred horse in the country. It is an event steeped in tradition and pageantry for both the horses and the spectators. People come dressed to impress, sip Mint Juleps, and wager bets on the outcome of the race. Women wear beautiful dresses complimented by elaborate millinery (hats) and men wear coats, ties, and fedoras. Held in Louisville, Kentucky at the Churchill Downs racetrack since 1875, the Kentucky Derby otherwise known as the Running for the Roses attracts an enormous crowd with over 167,000 spectators in attendance this year and more than 16 million tuning in at home. The track is 1 1/4 miles long or, in horseracing parlance, 10 furlongs.  It may take only 2 minutes to run the race, but for breeders, owners, trainers, jockeys, spectators, and bettors, it is the most exciting couple of minutes of their lives. The winner takes home a purse of $2 million, gets draped in a garland of red roses, and has the chance to win the Triple Crown if it goes on to win the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes in the following weeks. Nyquist, jockeyed by Mario Guiterrez was the horse favored to win, and he did not disappoint. He posted a time of 2:01.31 minutes, which was the 14th fastest time in the race’s 140 year history. Congratulations to Nyquist and good luck to him as he seeks the Triple Crown.

Sweet Sixteen

Photograph Courtesy of The New York Times

The phenomenon known as Hamilton has added another feather in its cap with the unprecedented number of Tony Award nominations that it received.  It was nominated for sixteen awards in all, which no other production has ever received, including Best Musical, Best Book, Best Original Score, Best Direction, etc.   It cannot win as many awards as it was nominated for because there were multiple nominations in the Best Actor and Best Actor in a Featured Role categories and only one person can win. Nevertheless, it was a huge honor for the Hamilton writers, actors, composers, directors and other people associated with the production to receive such widespread recognition for their groundbreaking work. There were a lot of other worthy nominees from productions such as Waitress, Shuffle Along, The Crucible, Noises Off, The Color Purple, The Humans, King Charles III, School of Rock, Blackbird, and many others.  Tune in to the Tony Award Presentation on June12, at 8 PM on CBS to see who won in what categories, but more importantly make a plan to attend a Broadway show soon.  It is immensely gratifying to see great live theater.

What’s the Scoop?

 

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately because it is May 4th and I am still walking around in a winter coat and I haven’t seen sun in a few weeks. It is a well known fact that the lack of sun (and I would argue cold weather) can cause melancholy*. Since I have no control over the weather, I thought about what could perk me up.  A trip to a tropical island or an amusement park weren’t options, so I decided upon the next best thing: a big, heaping scoop of ice cream.  There is a new ice cream parlor in town called Cool Mess.  It is isn’t a traditional ice cream parlor — you can actually make your own ice cream if you choose to or you can order the typical ice cream options.  I chose the easy route this time and ordered a cone, but if you have the time and the inclination you can make your own ice cream. They have machines on each table and you can choose a base flavor of vanilla or chocolate and then mix in other goodies.  I’ll save that for another time.  Check out Cool Mess on East 62nd Street between Lexington and Park Avenues, 2nd floor.  It’s a happy place!

*The lack of sun can cause seasonal affective disorder , which can lead to depression. If you feel like you have a true psychological or emotional problem that ice cream cannot solve, you must consult a professional. 

First Monday in May

Photos courtesy of Vogue and the Daily News

Every year on the first Monday in May, the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art holds its annual gala. The glitterati, lucky enough to receive invitations, often come dressed according to theme.  This year, the theme was Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology, which refers to hand-made couture versus machine made read-to-wear clothing.  Some of the guests wore couture attire that looked high tech in style, while others wore garments made of high tech fabrics. I loved many of the styles on the red carpet, but I included the ones that I thought were especially on point.  I hope to see the exhibit soon and I will report on it once I do. 

The Importance of Zzzzzz’s

Arianna Huffington, the very busy author and founder of the Huffington Post has just released a new tome about sleep.  Entitled, “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time” (Harmony), Ms. Huffington makes the case for the importance of getting adequate quality sleep and the steps that she takes to create an environment that is conducive to achieving her sleep goals.  She has a routine that she follows which includes time to wind down after a busy day.  She also recommends removing any distractions such as the blinking lights of computer chargers and electronic equipment,  relegating her phone and computers to another room.  She extols the virtues of a beautiful, comfortable bed and proper sleep clothing.  As a severely sleep-deprived person, I plan on reading her book and implementing some of her strategies — that is when I find the time to do so.  I will try to say good-bye to late-night Netflix sessions and texting until all hours of the night, but I fear that it may lead to withdrawal.

Bright Lights, Big City

The LED lighting trend is gaining momentum as more and more New York City buildings are adding computerized lighting systems to the exteriors of their buildings. The Empire State Building, the Helmsley Building, the Bloomberg Building, and Madison Square Garden are just a few that have LED systems that are capable of displaying intricate lighting designs. Department stores are getting in on the action.  At Christmas time, Saks Fifth Avenue had a seasonal light show that it broadcast on the facade it’s building.  I passed Bloomingdale’s this evening and noticed, for the first time, a changing rainbow of lights on its facade. What was once a novelty is becoming more common.  The novelty may wear off, though, if too many buildings implement LED lighting displays, but for now it is still a welcome sight in the dark of night.

Tip Toe Through The Tulips

S

Imagine a time when Park Avenue, previously known as Fourth Avenue, had a train line passing down it at street level. That must have been quite an eyesore and a nuisance! It was relocated below ground long ago, leaving a wide covered area above it. A name-change to the more prestigious ‘Park Avenue’, along with the creation of the planted areas, which are managed by The Fund for Park Avenue, has resulted in an elegant, beautiful avenue. At this time of year, the tulips are in full bloom and the cherry trees still have vibrant pink blossoms on them. Look for an ever-changing streetscape — Christmas tress in winter, mums in fall, sculpture exhibits occasionally — but for now enjoy this breathtaking beauty.