Sunday, July 6, 2008

Happenings: Fourth of July Weekend in the City

This was my fifth Fourth of July since moving to NYC. For the first three, we were out of town and for two of those, in foreign countries. Last year, we were in crazy wedding planning mode, so this was the first Fourth of July weekend we spent in town enjoying the festivities. As tradition dictates, we ate lots of bad food, watched fireworks, battled crowds and watched a bunch of movies (on Netflix actually--Lust, Caution (great), 27 Dresses (forgettable) and August Rush (screenwriting 101--horrible). The weather was overcast, hazy and humid all weekend, by the way.

On Thursday night, we kicked off the weekend by having dinner at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill. Maybe we didn't order the right things, but we weren't impressed. The lamb chops I ordered were burnt and flavorless. City Guy's strip loin was nothing special.

On the Fourth, we went to Shake Shack, b/c City Guy had never been. The last few times I'd been to Shake Shack, I got lucky. Not this time. Check out the line. But it was well worth it. Sorry no pictures of the legendary food--ate it all before I remembered to take a picture!

The line in front of us:
Line behind us:
Jackpot!!
In the evening, we walked down to the South Street Seaport area and tried to find a spot where there weren't already a hundred people in front of us to see the Macy's Fireworks Show. We waited for a bit with the crowds along the East River. This was actually one of the less crowded spots. I brought a blanket and snacks, thinking there would be room for a picnic, but I should have known--this is New York. People stand.
This was our first view--totally blocked by the Brooklyn Bridge. We were hoping the fireworks would clear the bridge, but nope...
After a while, we scooched south to get a better view, which yielded this:


Here's a little video:
video
Here are the Waterfalls at night:
It started raining during the show. Here's the crowd of umbrellas after the show.
On Saturday, we finally went to the Brooklyn Museum to see the Takashi Murakami exhibit, which closes next week. I'd never been to this museum before. It was smaller and less impressive than the Manhattan museums and a couple of exhibits, including the European paintings, were closed. I kept wondering how they were going to get people to come here after the Murakami exhibit closes. Decorative Arts, Asian Art and Antiquities are all better at the MET. The feminist art galleries and the crowd-curated photo exhibit were actually my favorites, but are they enough of a draw?

Anyhow, I'd been putting this trip off b/c of the bad reviews the exhibit got when it first opened. I also really loved the "Superflat" exhibit I saw in LA at the MOCA in 2000 (which was Murakami's first big exhibition in the US), as well as the "Little Boy" exhibit, which covered Superflat artists, at the Japan Society so I was bound to be underwhelmed this time.

There were also some presentation choices I didn't like. The wall panels were written for children, and my cell phone was out of juice, so I couldn't follow along with the phone-in guided tour. The merchandising push at the two gift shops was pretty blatant--these plush versions of my favorite character (frazzled DOB) were $35 a pop. They're very cute, but only about 6 inches tall and I figured I could get my cute fix by taking some pictures--I bought a book called "dr0p dead cute" about Murakami's female contemporaries instead. At least I'll learn something. I also felt there should have been more pieces like Tan Tan Barfing, which is complex and really shows off Murakami's skills and intelligence and fewer simplistic DOB pieces (which I know are crowd-pleasers, but aren't much more than graphic design).
A replica of the statue of liberty stood in the parking lot. Thought that was funny, considering it was the 4th of July weekend.This display in the lobby was pretty darn cute. Here are two of the four creatures:
All in all, an enjoyable weekend. Just wish the weather had been nicer.

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