Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lincoln In New York: Day 2: Lincoln Does Lincoln Center

My morning didn't exactly get off to the best start when I looked out the hotel room window and saw plenty of snowflakes flying. I then proceeded to search the hotel for the Starbucks that is suposedly somewhere on premise (and that I have three free "breakfast" vouchers for) before giving up.

I then hopped on the 6 train at 51st & Lex -- conveniently adjacent to the hotel with no exact destination in mind. Of all of the various lines I rode today, the 6 train was certainly the most technologically advanced. Unlike BART (and as it turns out the 1, C, N, and S trains-- though none of those were anywhere near as bad as BART), PA announcements were clearly intelligible, though I kept expecting to hear "Pardner" after the "Please stand clear of the closing door" announcements -- sounded very much like a Disney ride.

I'm amazed at how incredibly efficient New York City Transit is... my longest wait for a train was maybe 5 minutes, and my 6/S/1 and 1/S/6 routings to and from Lincoln Center were painless, though it did take some elbowing to fit on. (I will say that both Gand Central and 42nd/Times Square could use some better signage regarding locating the S train).

So anyway I took the 6 train to City Hall, wandered around in the still-falling snow for all of about 5 minutes and found my way to the N train to 5th Av/59th St. From there I walked through Central Park, until I arrived at...

The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
For as gigantic a collection as they have, I was supprised by how relatively little art really caught my eye. I also found the layout a little confusing -- though this is not unique to The Met. One of the things I love about the "new" Cleveland Museum of Art is that it's fairly easy to make your way through galleries such that you see every gallery once without backtracking (for example, in a clockwise fashion).

The Atrium on the American Wing gave me a glimpse of what can be expected when (if?) the Cleveland Museum's renovation/expansion is complete... it seems like an exciting space.

I had a hotdog on the steps of the Met, and when finished continued walking North until I arrived at

The Cooper-Hewitt Museum of Design
Industrial Design (along with Human Factors) is one of the areas of art/design that I really dig. Unfortunately, most of the Museum is closed for renovation/expansion but the special exhibition [and the fact that they offer privileges for CMA members] made it worth the visit. The museum had a cool twist on the audio tour -- using iPod Touches loaded with video, slide shows, and interviews instead of the standard monotone stuff.

One of the designers featured in the exhibition is Milton Glaset. Mr. Glaset is a man who's work I've admired without ever knowing the man (among others the "I {heart} New York" design was his creation. In his interview he made some points that really resonated (The quote may not be exact, but it should be close enough):
If you like Mozart and I like Mozart, we already have something in common and are less likely to want to hill each other. Art is about keeping us from killing each other.
and, even more so,
A great thing about being in the arts is that the possibility for learning never disappears. You have to admit that you've never learned everything.
Another of the honorees featured in the exhibit was the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis which you may recall I visited just a few months ago.

Central Park
After leaving Cooper-Hewitt I walked to the north end of Central Park, hung a left, got to Central Park Left, and hopped on the C train headed downtown...somehow (don't push me for details) I would up on the 1 train and at

Lincoln Center (the first time).
I wandered around a bit, found some of the Juliard School buildings, and the theatre where the New York City Ballet was performing. Picked up my ticket from Will Call, then hopped back on the 1 train, and the short ride to Columbus Circle.

Lunch and Carnegie Hall
From Columbus Circle I made my way to Carnegie Hall where I purchased tickets for a the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Saturday Evening Performance and then on to Burger Joint, a well hidden, very casual, um, burger joint, in the lobby of Le Parker Meridian. After lunch I needed to be off my feet for a little while, so I came back to the hotel and got ready for

New York City Ballet's performance of Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty
At Lincoln Center. Took the 6 train from 51st/Lex to Grand Central, S from Grand Central to 42nd/times square, and 1 from Times Square to 66th/Lincoln Center. It really couldn't have been easier. Driving from my house to any of the theaters in Cleveland is more stressful and probably takes as long if not longer.

I was in the front row of the First Tier, just about 10' off center. I really don't think there were many seats with a better view. The theater was much more intimate than the seating chart made it appear and I was far enough back to see "everything" without being so far back as to not be able to see detail.

I've said it before and will say it again... I'm not qualified to comment on ballet. All I can say is that there was nothing that I thought distracted from an enjoyable experience. The dancing was well executed, the orchestra was a pleasure to listen to, etc., etc.

So then I did the 1 train to the S train to the 6 train and am back here at the hotel for the night. There are more pictures over at Flickr.

Tomorrow I'm tempted to try to get into the Met Opera to see their show, if for no other reason than to see how their surtitling system works... but I'm also tempted to try to see another show on Broadway. Ugh. Decisions, decisions. It will probably come down to if any of the shows TKTS has catch my fancy.


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