I started walking on the High Line down in the Meatpacking District. The weather has been great this year, November was the warmest on record and today in the first week of December the temperatures made it into the low 50s. No complaints from me. I think of this as ideal walking weather, especially if you’re in the sun.
People were everywhere, enjoying the day outside. Most of them were wearing black, black coats and sweaters and gloves and hats. I guess that’s New York’s color.
As I walked I came across this miniature model of Manhattan.
It looked like it was made out of salt but it was actually made of marble. It was made by a guy named Yutaka Stone, which sort of makes sense considering.
Down below the High Line on the corner there was a little tiny ice skating rink that’s connected to the Standard Hotel.
Up in the hotel I saw a maid changing the sheets on a bed, and I thought to myself that somebody might have made love in that bed with someone else or by themselves or maybe just slept as recently as last night.
And then I thought about Yutaka Stone’s marble model of New York and how many little tiny people must be making love there right this very minute, and how some of those tiny people would become pregnant as a result of their lovemaking and how they would give birth to even tinier people and how generations upon generations of these miniature people would be born and die in any number of countless ways. I always think about this in New York.
And then I saw all these other miniature people standing on the balcony at the Whitney museum so I decided to go in and see what they were doing.
I paid $22 for a ticket to get inside which seemed pretty reasonable by New York standards. They could charge fifty bucks and the place would still be packed probably. I took the elevator to the eight floor which is where the nice lady who sold me a ticket suggested I should start out. The elevator was enormous. If it was an apartment it would rent for $4000 a month with its high ceilings and fancy metal work.
When I got out on the balcony where I had seen the people before I felt sort of thrilling queasiness from a fear of heights like someone was tickling my insides.
I imaged how the scaffolding I was standing on might collapse and how I would dangle over the edge like it was a movie. The railing really didn’t too safe to me. It had a little give to it.
Archibald Motley had possession of the eight floor with his jazz-age portraits, which were pretty good although not my favorite. I like this self-portrait of him painting a nude girl.
Artists have always run a pretty good hustle to see a woman with her clothes off. Especially in the old days when it wasn’t so easy to see a naked girl or a nude one either. If you’re wondering what the difference between naked and nude is, the answer is that “naked” implies a certain vulnerability, whereas “nude” just means having no clothes on. There’s an ease to being nude. The girl in the picture is nude.
Archibald Motley, it seems, painted all sorts of nude women. He painted them every chance he could. He painted his wife nude and some of the neighbors too.
On the seventh floor I glommed onto a guided tour and the tour guide was filled with all sorts of interesting information about Lee Krasner, who was the lover of Jackson Pollack, who was an alcoholic, as well as a bunch of other folks.
Here’s a picture I liked of a woman walking through the subway station. It’s by an artist named George Tooker.
And here’s another one I like called Sailors and Floosies by Paul Cadmus.
I like that word “floosie,” you don’t hear it much anymore, and you don’t usually see it spelled the way it is in the title of the painting either. Usually it’s floozies with a “z”. Merriam Webster says a floozy is “a usually young woman whose behavior is not morally correct or proper” so there you have it.
This was an occupancy sign that said no more than 302 people could be on this floor at one time, although it might just as easily have been a piece of art. With some of the stuff it’s hard to tell.
And then I wondered how they came up with 302 and not 303 or some other number. I wondered if somewhere in the city there were a bunch of people, thousands of them maybe, waiting in a giant room on call to venture out and determine the suitability of some public space, squashing into art galleries and restaurants and movie theaters while somebody else counted them all. 302 that’s it. Not one more will fit. But what if the room fillers are exceptionally large, all former NFL linemen, or waifishly thin, all former ballerinas? How does it work? How do they know how many people can fit in the room? And of course the answer must be they have some mathematical formula they apply to the square footage. I guess that’s it. If you know any different please let me know.
I descended another staircase and popped out on another floor of the museum. There was a retrospective of Frank Stella‘s work. I like some of his stuff. Some of it not so much.
I walked out of the Whitney and over to the Gansevoort Market, which is named after Peter Gansevoort, who was a Colonel in the Revolutionary War. He’s been dead a long time.
There were people in there eating all sorts of stuff. Everyone in this city is eating constantly.
I had a macaroon.
And a cup of coffee.
And then I walked and walked. And it got dark and the lights outside of Lord and Taylors were twinkly and bright.
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