Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summer 2012: Island Hopping, Part 5

After leaving the Ferry terminal I headed up Broadway to find the second of my "islands" for the day. I felt so welcomed by the open arms of Saint Elizabeth - who apparently was the first American born saint (according to the sign there.)

I don't feel as comfortable below 34th, or 14th, or Canal Street, for that matter - so lower Manhattan is way out of my comfort zone. Added to the fact that the landscape of lower Manhattan was changed irrevocably in 2001, there's the added psychic weight that we all try not to deal with while being downtown. Perhaps regular visitors have built up a level of comfort/coping mechanism, but I haven't been downtown often enough. Now that I know how ridiculously easy it is to do the Ferry, and how much I need to be on the water more often, I'll be down a lot more.

By the time I reached the corner of Broadway near the Museum of the American Indian at Bowling Green, I was ready to be distracted by the bright colors of a street market. After being on the water, peering through the haze, bright colors were good to shock my senses back into a state of awareness.

I was initially drawn to the ruched flowers on the red scarf and that drew me into the other wares. Then I found the hand-crocheted embellished (but made in China) wraps. It's a seriously good thing I only had $12 on me for the whole day - and that was earmarked for the last part of my daytrip - so I had no money to spare. There were so many pretties and this magpie wouldn't have been able to resist.

Ooooooh. Glass. OOOOOOH. Blue baubles!

I am seriously going to have to blow this one up and frame it.

Then I found more scarf stalls. Was I in Manhattan or in India at a bazaar?

There were so many tables and racks just full of stones. I love these hanging displays. I just wanted to brush them like harp strings. I also really liked these stretchy bracelets. I have large wrists, so stretchies are better for me. Not that I would wear them. I have my heirloom that I wear every day without fail, so I don't wear additional bracelets. But don't they look inviting?

I couldn't stare at these too much. I was getting sleepy.

So many colors. So many patterns. So much fun. I think I'll play with these pics and make some new cards and prints. I'm lucky these came out. It was so hazy and bright, I wasn't able to see anything on my little screen, with my shades on or without. I had a headache from the heat, humidity, and haze and all the squinting.

I had to pull myself away from the stalls and head back up the Canyon of Heroes. I'm sure I looked like an idiot, but I was totally reading the inserts into the sidewalk. So many historical names and dates - as well as a familiar name. Why Hello Mr. Cliburn. (Yes, I was one of *those* people. I totally stopped in the middle of the flow of traffic and shot these. I do realize the irony of me acting like a tourist.)

The more north I traveled on Broadway, the more I really remembered why I don't like lower Manhattan. Narrow streets. Wall Street. Traders. Tourists. People doing obscene to the Bronze Bull. Tramps aka the Occupy Wall Street "protesters" hanging out at Trinity Church. The construction vibe due to the rebuilding of the Trade Center areas, not to mention the huge transit project expanding the Fulton Street subway hub. I think I might also have been the teensiest bit claustrophobic. The towers in my area just don't seem to hem me in the same way as the walls of this "canyon."

No matter how beautiful the skyline contrasts are (r: St. Paul's dwarfed by skyscrapers and One World Trade) it was hot and I was sticky. I was also way out of sorts to realize that a) my "island" destination, Cookie Island, had been pushed out by the Fulton Street hub construction and the website didn't tell me that [freakin' Google] -- it's a Payless now and b) I couldn't find the subway entrance because of the scaffolding for the Fulton hub and I walked around the block 3 times until I found it.

All the cheery street art in the world didn't cheer me up, but a long cool subway ride north to "island" number 3 of the day did help. I headed up to another unfamiliar area of NYC, the upper reaches of the East Side, to El Museo del Barrio for the exhibition, Caribbean: Crossroads of the World. Pardon the lack of pictures, but El Museo is wrapped up for reno of its own. They also didn't allow photography in the exhibition (which is a shame because I don't draw).

I'll have to do a review of the exhibition at a later time. It's actually a three-parter, spread out between El Museo, the Queens Museum of Art, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. I have a passport to the other 2 now, since I paid admission to El Museo. I can see getting to Harlem, but I don't know about Queens yet.

1 day trip = series of islands
Staten Island
The "lost" island - I think it's on Long Island now, but I'm not heading out there for a cookie
artistic renderings of the Caribbean Islands - Cuba, Puerto Rico, and all the St.'s etc.

Pretty good for:
unlimited trips on my monthly MetroCard
$5.00 student admission to the Museum, cash
$3.75 beverages, cash
And some plastic money in the Museum Gift Shop for trinkets for the kids and to make-up for saying I was a "student."

Better than airfare and accommodations, right?

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