July 4, 2016
July 4, 2016 TFW


When left to my own devices I will naturally migrate towards Manhattan – meander around its parks and cobbled streets, whilst inevitably ending up at a vegan eatery (or two).  It was no surprise therefore that yesterday I found myself in Union Square before heading uptown to see some of the incredible museums that Manhattan has to offer.

First up was Union Square and 5th Avenue for a little fitness shopping.  With the best will in the world there was no way I was able to pack all the necessaries to train in NYC so I needed to pick up some trainers and clothes.  Having now crossed the somewhat dangerous and enabling Lululemon threshold, I have no excuse not to work out – a realisation that is something of a double edged sword given that I have yet to master jet lag (hello 4am starts).  Indeed as I type am trying to muster up the energy for a spin class.  Repeat after me ‘fitness is a choice, fitness is a choice…’

Having put in a ‘hard’ morning shopping, I found myself mysteriously navigating towards Candle Cafe, one of my favourite places to eat and, frankly, I’m surprised it took me until day two to get there.  I will post a separate review on this place but the original location is situated on the upper East side, has a great history and an even greater menu.  Eating at the bar, it was lovely just to be surrounded by the hustle and bustle of people coming and going, whilst feeling virtuous for ordering the salad … until I saw that there was a peanut butter/cookie/chocolate cake/maple ice cream extravaganza as an option for dessert. Whoops…

Cc phdAs amazing as all that was, where the day really came into its own was walking further uptown to the Guggenheim. En route, you walk past the Met which is just breathtaking – a huge building surrounded by fountains with its famous sweeping stairs up to the main entrance.  It really was an imposing sight and, whilst a visit was not on the cards for today, I couldn’t help but just take a moment to sit outside and take it all in.  Perhaps making a wish in the fountain as I did so…

After the Met I headed to the Guggenheim and words cannot express how awe inspiring it is.  From the Met’s architecture of the 1890s, you are transported to the 1940’s and 50s with Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic design for the Guggenheim.  The gallery has published a brief history of the building’s architecture here and it is worth a visit just to stand in the gallery’s cavernous atrium soaking in the art that spirals up above you.  Currently, the Guggenheim is showing an exhibition of Moholy-Nagy’s work, a pioneering artist of his time who integrated art and technology, with a passionate belief in the ability of art to facilitate social transformation.  Heavily involved in the Bauhaus movement, his modern pieces sit amongst the gallery’s Degas and Seurat’s – their bright and bold lines offering a striking contrast to the fluidity of the building itself.

Gig 5

Gig 4

Gig 1

Gug 2

That said, it isn’t just the Met’s and Guggenheim’s of the city offering artistic respite.  There is a notable increase in art being constructed in public spaces across Manhattan and these beautiful (and ginormous) bronze heads can be found in Union Square.  I actually don’t think the photographs do them justice, they are incredibly beautiful and in the short time that I was there a number of people were stopped in their tracks to look at them.  Designed by Lionel Smit, and entitled Morphous, they are part of an exploration of hybrid identity (more information on which can be found here).

Union park 2

Union park lady

After a thoroughly lovely afternoon I felt it was time to make like a local and hit the nail bar.  One insane massage chair later (seriously I thought it was about to take off) I left feeling like true local as the realisation dawned that I really could handle the weekly mani/pedi habit that people acquire here…

The day was topped off with an evening at St Mazie, a great Jazz bar in Williamsburg where a band played amidst candlelight.  A few songs in, all of a sudden other patrons started to move and we were treated to an impressive display of swing dancing, transporting you back to times gone by.

St Maxie

We finished the night at an early 4 July party, meeting new friends and sitting outside under a canopy of lights and lanterns as a few early fireworks started to light up the sky.   It was a wonderful end to a great day and today and an ideal dress rehearsal for today’s celebrations …

Party lights

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Comments (2)

  1. John

    Guggenheim is the best. I love it. Could be a good place for training, running up and down that spiral!

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