Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Manolo Valdès & Broadway

Well, it was yonks ago that I posted the first pictures of this Spanish sculptor's amazing brass sculptures of abstract female heads carrying elaborate headdresses. Since Fall is fast approaching and the sun is sinking lower and lower in a chilly sky, myself and a friend decided to wander up Broadway with our cameras to capture their amazing graphic lines.

103rd Street & Broadway

137th Street & Broadway

148th Street & Broadway

Friday, October 1, 2010

my secret life

Okay, so now I have a confession to make.

Since I’ve been living in New York, I haven’t only been swanning around visiting museums, art galleries, movie theatres and yoga studios. To be true, my career as a writer and editor has foundered in a city suffering from a modern-style Great Depression and the revolutionising of print media by electronic readers, iPhones, Apple’s iPad and the Web … So I had to find something to keep me from going quietly and steadily insane – in spite of NYC’s attractions. A girl can only look at art and drool in SoHo’s high fashion stores for so long, y’know?

My only alternative was to start studying something. Now up to this point I’ve kept it all a great big secret because … well, because I didn’t want to be viewed as a flake. But, oh, what the hell, I’ve always been considered a little off the wall, and I suppose in this case it’s not gonna be that much different. So, I’ve committed myself. I’m going to have to tell you…

… For 18 months now I’ve been studying … okay, I’ll just say it right out loud.

Astrology. Yes, you heard right. And I have to confess I’ve been absolutely loving it. The joke is, I always used to say that in my next life I’d take up astrology. But somehow it’s come about that I’m delving into it in this life. To be frank, it’s been daunting, the glut of complex information quite overwhelming, and the maths and science much, much harder than I ever imagined. But I’m still here … 1½ years into a 4-year process. Don’t roll your eyes, that’s how long it takes to become a fully qualified astrologer. It’s not peanuts.

But instead of going into it all here, I’ll redirect you instead to my new astrology website where, for those who are as intrigued by it as I am, I take you on my exploratory journey through astronomy, science, mythology, mysticism, the planets and the zodiac signs.

And I leave you with a quotation from psychological astrologer Melanie Reinhart:

Astrology is an ancient and highly sophisticated map of the psyche that has survived translation into many different cultures over time.

Mario Batali and Eataly

New Yorkers LOVE their food. They consider themselves to be experts in the art of good eating, and perhaps they’re not far wrong considering the cosmopolitan nature of this city and the fusion of so many diverse ethnicities. It takes a lot to blow a New Yorker’s hair back, yet the latest foodie happening that has the Big Apple shaken and stirred is a 50,000-sq-ft space called Eataly. (Yes, of course it’s a play on Eat and Italy…)

The inspiration of a trio of well-known and much-loved Italian-American food personalities, Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich and her son Joe, Eataly has the most perfect location in a very compelling area – the Flatiron district. Situated on Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street, opposite one of my top five favourite buildings in New York, the thrilling triangular-shaped Flatiron, this giant complex is food nirvana. (Just as a little background info, Seattle-native Batali once worked under London’s legendary chef Marco Pierre White. Among his revered restaurants, established together with the Bastianich team, are Babbo in Greenwich Village, The Spotted Pig in the West Village with chef April Bloomfield, and the five-star Del Posto in west Chelsea.)

But back to Eataly. Claimed as the largest artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace in the world, I, to be honest, expected an enormous food hall – a cross between a deli and a well-stocked supermarket. I was so very, very wrong. This place is a sense-ation.

It’s visual, tactile, clamorous and noisy, and your nostrils are filled with aromas of freshly baked bread, aged Italian cheeses, prosciutto, bresaola and salami – the supreme richness cut through by a whiff of aromatic, freshly brewed espresso. It’s a wide-aisled, high-ceilinged, brightly lit warren whose every turn delivers a surprise. There are cheese counters, cured ham and roast meat counters, a coffee bar, fresh-rolled pasta, mozzarella hand-made before your very eyes, crumbly sticky sweet pastries. The bakery is piled high with floury, domed, flat, nutty, olivey, seeded, rye or sourdough loaves baked on the premises. There are shelves loaded with imported Italian fare, from wines to balsamic vinegar and olive oil to pickles and preserves to pasta.

Casual, open eating spaces have you drooling over the lucky individuals who’ve found a seat and are wolfing down pizza, pesto-coated pasta, mama's fresh soup, bruschetta and fish, or a platter of antipasto chased with a glass of spumante.

I haven’t even mentioned the fresh fruits and vegetables. Fat, shiny heirloom tomatoes bursting with vitamin C, apples so polished you can see your reflection, intriguing Brussels sprout trees (I didn’t know that’s how they came and I'm a farmer’s daughter?!), bunches of pungent basil, a tumble of orange and green and speckled pumpkins. Halloween is not so far away…

But be warned … when you do get your feet through the front entrance, be prepared for lots of pushing and shoving. It’s mighty crowded in there.