Friday, September 14, 2012

Summer 2012: Island Hopping, Governors Island 2

As I previously mentioned, there is so much to do on any given day on Governors Island. Here's just a partial sampling of some of the things that we did. (This is in multiple parts, past - and future.)

When we got off the ferry and through the Cooper Hewitt exhibition, we came across this informational board outlining some of our other options. So much to choose from, however, what you see here is Christine, and then me, deciding to take the advice of the wise man Neil Gaiman:

We made Good Art*. I added the blue musical note (of course), while Christine released her inner Pollack. I just hope that these dream catchers didn't catch all my dreams. It's more than welcome to catch all my nightmares. There are a lot of those.

As we wandered around, I was trying to figure out where to leave a new installment of a Toy Society drop. I had this crazy hare-brained idea that somewhere on this Island would be a perfectly innocuous place to leave a present for a visitor.

However, it is a part of the National Park Service, and way too close to Lower Manhattan to not potentially cause a kerfuffle, so I wasn't sure what to do -- until I came across the Library.

(And of course I found a library. There is a homing beacon installed in everysinglelibrarian as part of our indoctrination, I mean, accreditation process.)

To be honest, I'm still not completely sure what all this installation is, but I added the bunny to the collection and appropriately logged it in the book. It's now part of the collection and I'll let their curators deal with it later. If it gets taken home, great. If it stays with part of the library lending program, great. It's out of my attic! (I should probably "check in" my object, as per the signage. But please; what patron of any library EVER reads the signage?)

After we left the library and made our contribution to "good art," we got to play around on some much larger installations gracing the Parade Grounds. We skipped the mini-golf, as there were too many family groups that wouldn't appreciate our athletic prowess and/or editorial pejorative-filled play. (Amelia has a mouth like a sailor, thanks to her brother in the merchant marines! And not just her - but I will say nothing more about that! Nope, not me.) As it was, there was a great deal of poop flying around - due to the resident flocks of Canadian flying poop machines - I mean geese. SO MUCH POOP! If you go and traipse through the Grounds, DO NOT WEAR OPEN TOED SHOES OR SANDALS!

Some of the installations, giving you a sense of scale and the skyline. On the right, you can see that the chairs in the foreground are not for sitting, while the baseball players are in the mid-ground, with the fortifications of Fort Jay in the background. More on those baseball players below.

More of the installations: Christine is readying for her close-up, and on the right kids are rambling all over the face of liberty. I'm such a geek, in my head, I kept calling this the Face of Boe.

Live! From New York - It's Amelia and Christine!

In one of the outtakes from the Liberty shot, Christine knelt down and started to pretend to pick the nose. The family group queued up behind us had kids, and I started to tease her that she shouldn't have done that, as there were impressionable "utes" around. The kids had probably missed the whole thing, but once I started teasing Christine, the dad immediately turned to his kids and told them to pretend to pick Lady Liberty's nose. *head slap*

As we were roaming around, we came across one of the many houses of worship on the island.

Is there anything sadder than an empty, deserted church? I don't know. If you listen though, and look, sometimes you can still sense the Spirit lingering around the holy places.

You just have to open a window and let the Light in.

After culture, arts, frolicking and fun, it was time to think about some food. We were closest to the food trucks/stall set up on King Avenue, and looked at the various options, including Mr. Softee (no thank you EW), and set-ups like Pete's ("a wide variety of hot sandwiches, beverages, and delicious snacks") or Pyramid Coffee ("a variety of fresh sandwiches, salads, drinks, chips, snacks and ice cream"). Also intriguing was Veronica's Kitchen ("Veronica's Kitchen, a former Vendy award winner, cooks up West Indian favorites such as Jerk Chicken and Curry Goat. Veronica's has a variety of homemade beverages and delicious sides"), but nothing beat the advertising and the set-up of a Perfect Picnic.

So cute. So very French country-side with the picket fence and baskets and decor. And the prices were just right: $10, for my chips, ginger ale, and my mozzarella, tomato, and basil baguettini -- just light enough for a hot summer day. (It just wasn't the day to try stomaching curry goat, if you know what I mean.)

We were entertained by the music piped in from one of the stalls, and amused by the antics of the kids next too us -- especially as they moved on to their dessert and ended up with bright blue faces from their cones of Monster Cookie Crunch ice cream from Pyramid Coffee. (Due to trademark infringement concerns, they probably couldn't call this Cookie Monster blue, but it's that shade - and that's the color his entire face and tongue were from that ice cream.)

Ever since we had seen the sign listing the days options, and since she had caught a glimpse of young-ish looking men playing sports, Amelia was clamoring for us to head to the baseball game.

It wasn't just any old baseball game, it was an old-fashioned baseball game, c. 1864 rules, pitting the New York Gothams against the Brooklyn Atlantics Base Ball Club.

Don't you love the juxtaposition of vintage baseball against a modern sculpture?

The "old-timers" were good about spending time with the "moderns" to explain the game, the differences in rules, and some of the intricacies in uniforms, equipment, etc. I think that the guy on the left is trying to interest the 21st century Little Leaguer in eventually signing on, and we're not quite sure why "Pigtail" from the Atlantics spent so much time with us, but I suspect pretty girls paying attention had something to do with it. I think Amelia was trying to signal an "out" so she could get a new, "fresher" batter up on the bases, but the coaches weren't responding to her signals.

After we settled in for some more action, we got some more information about 1864 Base Ball, and how it relates to modern games like softball. The Atlantics continue to honor one of their founders, "Old Dutch" by playing the game, passing on his love of the vintage sport, and by spreading word about his life. On their website, it says this about "Old Dutch" and Base Ball:
playing the game was the important part, and if you enjoyed the game, and had fun playing it, then you won. It shall never be "Win one for Old Dutch", but rather "Enjoy one for Old Dutch". There is no doubt that he is smiling down on us from that great base ball field in the sky. "Old Dutch" will be missed, and remembered, for all he did for our re-creation of vintage base ball.
I think that sums it up this part of our trip, and we thoroughly enjoyed the whole day. So Old Dutch? You aren't forgotten. Play on.

Unfortunately, for you reader ... there is still more to be posted about our day on Governors Island. All kinds of good stuff, art, shopping, and beauty in unexpected places.

* You should really read the entire transcript of this 2012 Commencement address. It's one of the better ones out there from recent years, and so much better than some I've had to listen to at an arts institution!

Best bits - Emphasis my own:
Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.

Make good art.

I'm serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it's all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn't matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.

Make it on the good days too. ~ Neil Gaiman

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