New York City Diary

Words and pictures from my interesting life in New York.

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Noguchi

It's Sunday night, and we're relaxing after a day spent running around the city. After a late start, we took the subway (turned out to be multiple subways, due to construction) up to Astoria, Queens, where we visited the Socrates Sculpture Park and then The Noguchi Museum.

The weather was initially quite warm, and we regretted bringing jackets and not bringing sunglasses, but it soon cooled off and eventually a light rain started to fall. In general the weather was decent all day long, good for running around the city.

We've been to Astoria (the famous Greek neighborhood of New York) a few times but never to the sculpture park or Noguchi museum, so it was a first time for us. The Socrates Sculpture Garden was filled with children flying kites they made for themselves. The wind was kind of fickle so it required a lot of running around. But we walked slowly, first through a field populated with white plaster-looking barnyard animals: chickens, bunnies, a goat, a pig, and a big steer.

The park is along the East River so after we got through the barnyard we walked along the river on a path, and then cut through the main part of the park, which currently has a sculpture theme of "Sport." The main piece was about twenty feet high, with sports gear like catchers mitts and chest guards cemented into the side of a tall tower, and a shiny metallic athlete perched on top.

From the sculpture park we walked to the Isamu Noguchi Museum, which was a real treat. Noguchi was an American-Japanese sculptor who was born in 1904 and died in 1988. His work reflects the relationship between the natural and technological worlds. Many of his stone sculptures have both naturally rough and machine-smoothed surfaces to reflect this.

We had wanted to go to the Noguchi Museum for a long time, and really enjoyed our visit. It includes both indoor exhibition space and an outdoor sculpture garden, the latter of which I'm especially fond of. The outdoor space was quiet and serene, with green trees providing a lush canopy over a Japanese rock garden populated by very carefully placed sculptures, one of which Jenn decided was a cat (and I could sort of see it that way too).

We sat on a bench and appreciated the beauty of the sculpture garden, and then a museum worker told us he was about to begin a museum tour, so we joined the tour, and it was very enlightening. Now I know more about Isamu Noguchi than I ever thought I would. For example, I know he apprenticed with Constantin Brancusi, who is also one of my favorite sculptors (Bird In Space).

With our artistic souls inspired by the Noguchi Museum, Jenn and I took the subway into Manhattan, took a short walk and another subway and ended up at 168th Street and Broadway to visit our friends Mike and Stacie. Stacie just had a little girl and they're at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

The baby is cute and is doing fine, as are mom and dad. We stayed for a while, droppped off some gifts, said ooh and ahh, and then came home to Brooklyn, tired, but the good kind of tired. Tired from a life well-lived.

1 Comments:

Blogger Jenn said...

Just a quick note: The second floor galleries at the Isamu Noguchi Museum are currently closed. But they'll reopen on June 1 with exhibits of his earlier work (1920s-1940s). I can't wait to go back. Maybe Stacie and her new daughter can join. Good to teach her to appreciate art early on.

9:59 PM  

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