Date of Trip: April 2008
I’ve written before about my same-day trips to New York from my home in Miami Beach, FL. I made another one on Wednesday, April 9. Isn’t it a bit extravagant, flying from south Florida to NY just for the day? No, not at all. It does, however, take a little work. I’ve put myself on every airline e mail list I can find, as well as numerous travel site lists (including this one!) I work the sales, chart the dates, and move quickly to get my ticket. It’s been three years now since I’ve had to pay over $100 for a roundtrip to NY! And, of course, there’s no hotel bill, and we all know how rates for an NYC hotel room with a private bath have reached astronomical levels.
I always try to get a very early morning flight, and to fly into LaGuardia. And, of course, as late as possible for the return. I reserve a window seat on the left side coming in, well in back of the wing, so that I always get this incomparable view of Manhattan. Leaving the terminal with just a small carryall, I catch the M60 bus to Manhattan’s 125th Street. Regular fare is $2; senior fare is $1; quarters, please; dollar bills are NOT accepted. If you’re not 65, I suggest buying a one day MetroCard from the Hudson news stand on the ground level (those on the concourses don’t sell them) From 125th street, I can transfer to just about any Manhattan bus or subway line.
I’m an art and history museum enthusiast. I usually begin my day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and end it at the NY Historical Society, but not this time. I was anxious to see the exhibit of Renaissance drawings at the Morgan Library at 36th and Madison. I got off the M1 5th Avenue bus at 42nd to have a short walk, as the Morgan doesn’t open until 11. I was surprised to see a modern branch of the NY Public Library on my left, so close to their main library. It was open, so I stopped in, used their free internet service and browsed some travel books. Walking further down 5th, I stopped in at the Kenneth Rendell autograph dealership; I had met Rendell long ago, when we were both teenagers and involved in the rare coin business. He wasn’t in, but a staff member was, and the walls were lined with such framed museum pieces as a long handwritten letter from Thomas Jefferson.
I bypassed the introductory video at the Morgan, having seen it before, and went straight to the drawings. They were amazing! There were dozens of artists represented, all Italian and all from the early to middle 1500s. I attend drawing workshops at home, and I studied the exquisite way in which they portrayed detail and shadings. Afterwards, I stopped to revisit the Sumerian seals. These incredible little stone cylinders, carved four to five thousand years ago, don’t look like anything at all. Roll them on a wax surface and then magnify what results, and you have beautifully composed and intricate figures and symbols, which the Morgan also displays. I’m surprised that no contemporary artist has has not taken up this medium.
Leaving, I bought a copy of the catalog of the drawings exhibit and caught a Madison Avenue bus (oneway, uptown) to 75th street and the Whitney Museum, with its Bienniale. The Whitney emphasizes American art and the modern period. I found the exhibits at the Bienniale to be low key and not especially impressive; I was far more impressed with the permanent collection on the upper floors.
As always, I had carried my food with me, but I couldn’t resist buying a potato knish from a streetside vendor. This New York classic had disappeared from the streets some years ago, but now it’s back. I found a place to sit while I ate one, filled with mustard – try it! – then took another Madison Avenue bus to 92nd street and walked back to 5th and the Jewish Museum, where I got a big discount on admission for presenting a printout from their website. They were featuring Andy Warhol’s portraits of famous Jews; I took a tour of that and browsed the rest of the museum, which has a fantastic collection of Jewish ceremonial objects, arks, silver and synagogue items from all over the world and going back centuries. My biggest problem – be advised – is that there is almost no place in the museum where you can sit down.
It was time for my third and final voyage on the Madison avenue bus, back to 125th street, where I transferred to the M60 back to LaGuardia for my evening flight home.
My wife had been getting irritated with me about these frequent cheap same-day NY trips, so I told her that the next time I found a super deal, I was going to buy tickets for both of us. Sure enough, we are both going, and not just on any day but on Sunday, May 25 – Memorial Day weekend! I will keep you posted!