Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Museum of the City of New York

Storms today, so we grasp a tiny umbrella and head first for brunch at Johny's Luncheonette on W25th Street, a recommended New York Diner. Third time lucky, there are seats at the counter - the diner is tiny and seats about eight - and order from the menu.

There's a range of meat-and-cheese sandwiches and the usual breakfast fare, I go with "The Munchie" - roast beef, onion rings and cheese in a roll. Filling, and we're out of there for $10 a head.

Across town to the Flatiron district and some classic NY scenes,

Our destination today is the Museum of the City of New York, at the top end of 5th Avenue next to Central Park. The Museum is full of the struggles and charms of the city, with a focus on architecture and music,

The first exhibition is "Everything is Design: The Work of Paul Rand". legendary graphic designer for Westinghouse, IBM and others,

Next is a display around the Landmark law, introduced in the early sixties and responsible for preservation of many US landmarks including Grand Central Station. Alas, the Singer building wasn't deemed worthy of preservation.

However, a number of buildings and whole areas of Greenwich Village were saved from development, with the thesis advanced that this helped heal and rebuild NYC after the urban blight of the 1970s.

Conservation protest buttons
There's a tribute to activists and campaigners for religious tolerance, the vote for women, equal rights for blacks and gays, and modern eco-warriors and gender diversity campaigns.

Next is a display of Gilded New York - the end of the 19th century when income disparity in NYC was at its height and conspicuous consumption reigned.

There are a few historic paintings of the city, and some remarkable hi-resolution photographs.

A display on the history of the New York folk scene was quite touching - many of the protagonists are now dead, and the persecution of Pete Seeger by the House Committee on Unamerican Activities still rankles as an injustice.

Woody Guthrie - "This Machine Kills Fascists"

Leadbelly's guitar

The storm died down, so we got back on the 6th line to visit famous department store Bloomingdale's.

I'm in the market for a new suit, but the offerings were unimpressive. Most of the business suits were ordinary and over-priced, and few of the sale items were in my size. I noted with some regret that Yves Saint Laurent sells little other than pricey shirts and coats, and Ted Baker now has a shop uptown specialising in tight jackets.

On the way back we stop at a Cevich store for .. ceviche. It's citrus-cured seafood, fresh and appealing.

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