30 October 2013

The FDR Four Freedoms Park

I first heard about the design for this monument while watching "My Architect: A Son's Journey" a few years ago.  It is a documentary about Louis Kahn, the architect, and his designs that are famous around the world but I was intrigued about the monument he designed for FDR to be placed on Roosevelt Island in NYC.  I was sad to hear that it was never built because Kahn died and the city did not have the funds for it.

38 years later it opened and it is one of my favorite spots in the city.

I took the tram to the island and then remembered how disconcerting it is to be on a tram above the East River.

Once off the tram, I walked south and stopped to admire the view of midtown.  I learned how to use the panoramic camera feature on my phone.

I kept walking until I saw this sign.

When I first entered the monument, I couldn't figure it out.

I started walking closer to the end of the island and saw a head in the distance.  I loved being there when the trees were changing colors.

The inscription behind FDR's head.  I appreciate that the park is about the Four Freedoms which is also a focus of the FDR Memorial in DC.  I believe they are the freedoms that are taken for granted by those who enjoy them and forgotten that they are not enjoyed by all the peoples of the world.

I also think it's cool that there is a view of the United Nations building which is an organization trying to make sure that those freedoms are given to people everywhere.

The view of Brooklyn from the island.

Please enlarge the above photo.  This is the view of the monument that you cannot see when you first enter.

29 October 2013

The Oldest House in Manhattan

I've been trying to visit the Morris-Jumel Mansion for years but I always made excuses not to travel way up to the Upper West Side.  It helps though that I was starting my journey from the Upper West Side and it was open during the government shut down.

The Morris-Jumel mansion was George Washington's headquarters during the Revolutionary War.  It is also where Aaron Burr, the man who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, lived with his wife, Eliza Jumel.

There was an odd art exhibit showing when I visited wherein the art took over much of the rooms.  I tried not to include them in the photos but it proved difficult.

A street running perpendicular to the Mansion.  It's always surprising to find these kind of streets with the uniform homes still existing in NYC.

The very back bedroom on the 2nd floor where George Washington slept.

Aaron Burr's bedroom.  I don't believe any of the furniture is original to the home.

I walked a few blocks to Trinity Cemetery which is related to the one in the south of Manhattan via Trinity church. There are quite a few notable individuals buried here including John James Audubon and John Jacob Astor.  It was also the site of a fierce battle during the Revolutionary War.

It is the only remaining active cemetery in Manhattan and it's gorgeous to walk around.  I may be macabre but I love walking through cemeteries.

27 October 2013

Wes Anderson Perfect

Walking in Sunshine

I was in NYC during one of the most gorgeous weeks.  It was cool enough to wear a coat but sunny enough to still want to walk for miles throughout the city. 

I said goodbye to Jess on Monday and traveled to The Armory Show at the New York Historical Society.  It had opened that weekend and I was so happy that it was not crowded.  I've heard so much about the influence of the Armory show for years and I was excited to see it with 100 of the works originally shown in 1913.  This was the exhibit that introduced so many Americans to what the European and American artists were doing in Europe, including van Gogh, Picasso, Duchamp, Degas, Matisse, and Rodin.  It's incredible to think of a time when "Nude Descending a Staircase" by Duchamp was controversial.  I wanted to see that emotion of controversy still happening 100 years after the fact but now these works are popular and understood.  I wish I could travel back to the actual time and really hear people talking about the exhibit with shock and awe.

I walked through the park to get to the MOMA.  I explored unknown paths and found my way to Bethesda Fountain.  None of my photos do the place justice but I liked seeing the mom trying to pose her son in the below photo.

I made it to the MOMA before it closed and headed straight to the Magritte exhibit.  I forgot how much I like his paintings.  I went to an exhibit of his works at the SFMOMA in 2000 but it was a fuller retrospective whereas this one covers a set number of his working years.   I enjoyed the art more in the later years and really liked the below piece "The Lovers".  It's worth working through the crowds to see it.

I walked through more of the city the next day when I met up with Ty for lunch including Washington Square Park.  This image still makes me really happy.  I was even happier when people kept asking Ty to take their photos because they unknowingly got a professional photographer to do it for them.  And the people watching in this area is incomparable.  We saw it all including a woman who called for the squirrels with strange verbal noises, used their names and fed them food.  She confidently told all of us in the area that she was a witch.  I wish we had more of these personalities in DC but this is not their environment.

25 October 2013

More Reasons to Love the East Village

I ate some incredible meals while I was in NYC.  And all of these new restaurants were within a few blocks from where I used to live.  It makes me that much more sad to no longer be living there.

Mighty Quinn's Barbecue on 2nd Ave has the most delicious brisket and pulled pork.  The last place I ate brisket was in Austin and this was still good when I thought back to that brisket.  We also ate the sweet potato side which was like the best pie I've had without the crust.

It's not a new place but it's a favorite.  I introduced Buvette to Ty.  This place always makes me happy.  I'm excited to return in a few weeks now that the weather is very much cooler to drink hot chocolate.

I ate Thai food with Chris at Somtum Der.  It just opened and they have a branch in Bangkok.  It's really good Isan food.  It reminded me of Thai food in Thailand which says so much.  I didn't take any photos but I was happy.

I then headed to Williamsburg to eat ice cream at Odd Fellows which has only been opened for a few months but I've read about it on many sites.  It is well worth the trek to Williamsburg.  I had a scoop of olive oil ice cream with the chorizo caramel swirl.  It has the essence of chorizo and you cannot knock it until you try it.  It is incredible and I'm hoping they'll have something pumpkin-y the next time I go.

Brigham and I met for lunch at Han Dynasty, another new place in East Village.  I was so excited to eat good Chinese food and the dan dan noodles (below) are incredible.  Unfortunately, the rest of our dishes never arrived because the health inspectors decided to visit at that time.  We were both so sad because those noodles could only portend more good things.

And my last meal was at the Madison Eats where I had to eat Roberta's pizza. I didn't have time to go to Bushwick and I was so happy to see them on the island.  

I tried the bee sting and it was as good as it sounds (mozzarella, pepperoni, chili flakes and honey).  I always eat really well when I'm in NYC. 

24 October 2013

There Is Nothing Better Than A Friend

A few months ago Jess told me that she was flying into NYC for a short visit.  She asked when she should visit DC but I told her I would come to her.  Brig and I walked to Union Station together on Sunday afternoon and I caught a train to NYC to arrive in time for dinner at Suvi and Paul's home in Brooklyn. 

I can't believe I didn't take a photo of Suvi as she is on the cusp of giving birth.  But I did see her along with these folks. There really is very little that I enjoy more than a dinner party with some of my favorite people. 

Brigham made it in time on the bus for the pumpkin lasagna (we were skeptical but it is delicious).

I was able to stick around a few more days than expected and ate salty pimps with Ty and bbq with Jess.  I also saw Chris, Ben, Brooke and spent more time with Brig and Trish.  I'm returning to NYC in a few weeks and I can't wait to see even more of my favorite people.

More NYC posts coming soon.

23 October 2013

A Conversation with Ottolenghi and Tamimi

I don't even remember on what site I first read about it last week but I count it as one of those internet miracles.  The restauranteurs/chefs/authors of Jerusalem, Plenty and Ottolenghi - Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi - spoke at the Sixth & I Synagogue Monday night in an event sponsored by Politics & Prose.

The event sold out and the synagogue was packed.  I even had that uncomfortable situation where the person sitting next to me in the pew sat in a space far too small for him and was touching me all night.  I like my space. 

This is the new cookbook and I cannot wait to start cooking from it.

Sami and Yotam were absolutely charming and it was a pleasure to listen to them speak about growing up in Israel, opening their restaurants, writing the books together, and cooking.  The moderator, Joan Nathan, asked questions for 40 minutes and then they opened it up to questions from the audience.

They said the most versatile ingredient is sesame because of the many uses for tahini and sesame oil.  They recommended eating tahini and date syrup on bread.  The least versatile are turnips but that is because Sami had a lot of problems trying to stuff them as they would fall apart every time he would try it.

Other advice -

If you don't like lemons and garlic, then don't try to cook their recipes, and the most important tools in a kitchen are a lemon squeezer and a garlic press.

22 October 2013

Just Play LCD and Ms. Jackson

I will travel to a party that Brig is dj'ing.  In some instances, I will ask Brig to travel to dj. And he'll come.

But first we will all stand in a parking lot eating tacos. Really good Korean tacos.

I will also witness a beautiful friendship forming over the discussion of video games.

And then the night comes and Brig will work his magic.  None of these people knew how good it would be.  They danced all night.