It’s my last night in NYC and I’m exhausted. Pathetic I know. But the idea of taking the A train downtown is the last thing I feel like doing after a full on day walking. But there’s one more thing I want to do. I set off slightly unenthused but I have to get to The Whitney Museum of American Art. I’ve been told that it’s the place to go since its move to the trendy Meat Packing District and I know I’ll only be cross with myself come tomorrow if I don’t make it. Despite its promise however, I’m having mixed feelings following my jaunt to MOMA yesterday which I found to be decidedly underwhelming. This coupled with my tiredness and I’m somewhat grumpy as I trudge to Chelsea early evening.
I get there however and instantly perk right up. The neighbourhood is buzzing and the museum building is breathtaking. It has outdoor terraces on each level-and following the lead of the sophisticated meandering people, I decide to start up top to take in the views and work my way down.
The 8th floor houses a beautiful outdoor restaurant space and I pitch up and order a glass of wine. The views across the city and the river as the sun disappears are postcard perfect, and I’m glad I made the effort to visit.
A couple of old darlings approach me and offer to take my photograph as I’m sat here. They love my accent-(which has somehow taken a turn for the worst and landed squarely in Russell Brand territory) and we chat a while. See, everyone here is so nice! A few minutes later a mismatched couple approach me and ask if they can sit with me. Sure, I say, please join me.
She is from Geneva and is in town for an art auction; he is a Cuban director filming a documentary on human trafficking. I’m from England, unemployed, and drinking wine. Despite this fact they seem to find me fascinating (go figure) and once again business cards are exchanged. The film director muses that maybe he could get me a job and that I should definitely email him. After an hour of so, she has to leave for drinks elsewhere and he has to go too-as apparently he is doing some night time filming which requires bullet proof attire.
As we part ways they take the elevator and I head off to take a look at the art (it really would be rude not to). It’s after 9 now so the gallery is pretty quiet giving me room to explore at my own leisure. The debut collection of the new building is titled ‘America is hard to see’; taken from the poem of the same name by my all time favourite Robert Frost (thank you A-level English class!). It explores the artistic struggle in America since the beginning on the twentieth century; and taps into the changing political and social landscapes throughout this time.
I like a fair few of the pieces, in particular some of the black and White photography documenting early 60’s America, and pieces produced in response to racial apartheid in America.
Feeling decidedly happier with this gallery than yesterday’s, I head out into the night pleased I made the effort to attend-and bump into the two darlings from earlier. They bid me good luck on the rest of my travels and I thank them and wave goodbye.
It is only on my walk back to 14th street that I spy the film director outside a hip bar talking to an over animated Andy Warhol lookalike. He is decidedly sans Kevlar vest, and I smile and chuckle to myself. NYC you’re fucking crazy.