heat, savage beauty, a morning off

July 22, 2011 |  Category:   art + design life nyc

I was waiting for the elevator at the Met Museum and the gentleman that was manning the elevator door that goes up to the roof garden asked me if I was alone. A bit thrown off, I answered “yes”. He then pressed further asking, “you’re not here with friends? Or your husband?”. I said, no. I was here alone, the husband was working and the kids were at camp. He wasn’t being creepy or anything, just making conversation. He then smiled and said, “Oh, you’re having some alone time. Some time off. I hear that.”

I can’t remember the last time I went to a museum alone. Usually it’s been with the family, or with friends, or as a chaperone for one of the kid’s field trip. But I have to say, it was really nice to walk around with no agenda except to be back in Brooklyn to pick up the kids from camp. I even sat in the heat on that rooftop garden and stared out at the hazy city skyline. Yeah, it was hot, unbelievably so, but the heat with that view was surreal, therefore the sensation of sitting there was really strange. And the Alexander McQueen exhibit? Beyond words. I had heard such lofty words things being thrown around like “life changing”, “the most powerful experience”, and I thought, really? But I can’t quite explain how it felt to be in those galleries and feel what I did, and you can’t even get a sense of the experience from photos or text. So I’ll just leave it at that. But I will say that I came away a bit envious and in complete awe at the passion and vision it takes to create such art. I hope to find it someday.

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  • Nancy Moore July 22, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    As far as I’m concerned you have experienced a “life changing” and “most powerful experience”. You’ve already created 2 masterpieces in your beautiful daughters. I bet Alexander McQueen would have given it all up for 2 such marvels.
    I’ve been reading your blog for more than a year and as a native New Yorker, now living in California, its like nirvana seeing your beautiful photos. Thanks

  • Misha July 22, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Yeah, those are the best. Good alone time. Not wasted, but adding back to your soul with edifying things…I <3 the Met

  • Stéphanie July 23, 2011 at 5:42 am

    Waaw! It’s very beautiful and powerful. I’ve seen some of his creations in magazine but here you can see the details and really admire the work. It’s not only fashion. It’s art.

  • Liz July 23, 2011 at 6:29 am

    The McQueen exhibition looks amazing (I bought the book to get a sense of it …but it doesn’t really work…).

    The third picture took me straight back to an exhibition I saw last week of Thomas Struth’s work (see http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/exhibitions/thomas-struth-photographs-1978-2010).

    Your photographs are amazing. Beautiful. (And your words…, well for me, they are the most powerful and visceral writing I can find online.)

  • Quindome July 23, 2011 at 10:00 am

    I’m glad I’m not the only one taken by surprise when strangers are so chatty. I like the he used the phrase “alone time”, which seems hilarious. So excited to see McQueen exhibit because I really can’t imagine all the small details that pictures must miss.

  • Darcy July 23, 2011 at 10:32 am

    This sounds like a wonderful day and as always the pics are beautiful!

  • mickie July 23, 2011 at 11:35 am

    i would LOVE to see any pictures you took of the mcqueen exhibit! you have inspired me to visit a museum alone…maybe today!

  • Meghann July 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    I think your words were chosen well. I haven’t seen the exhibit, personally, but you make me want to, more.
    And the heat? yes, I’ve heard NY has been crazy hot compared to your normal temperatures. Have you had much humidity? Or is it just dry heat?

  • Emily July 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I went to the McQueen exhibit alone on Friday too. I had a half day at work and was able to borrow a membership card from a coworker. I invited one friend who is not working full-time to join me, but she was already booked. As I was walking around in the gallery, I kept thinking how happy I was that I went alone. The exhibit was so haunting and contemplative, the music and lighting absolute perfection, that I think I would have enjoyed it much less had I been keeping track of another person/making chit chat along the way. Despite the crowd of strangers, I was really able to get totally lost in the art and the experience of the gallery. I’m not sure about life changing, but a powerful experience definitely.

  • Claire July 23, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I agree – with both your comments on the McQueen exhibit (so well curated as well) as well as the beauty of experiencing the city alone, even in the heat! I cycled to the Brooklyn Bridge via the Navy Yards yesterday afternoon. Seeing the faces of yard workers, kids outside bodegas I’d never been in and a neighborhood-wide water fight made the aerobic workout in the unrelenting afternoon heat so worth it!

  • strawberry MILK mustache July 23, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    We love museums!We hope we get to visit this one soon.

  • nikkiana July 23, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    I keep telling myself that I ought to go over to the Met and see the Alexander McQueen exhibit… I think you may have inspired me. :)

  • Claire July 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    We were both at the Met this weekend, seeing inspiring things. Time well spent :)

  • maticki July 23, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    oh, just here to add the note that I dicovered your blog the other day when reading http://joannagoddard.blogspot.com/ and I haven’t stopped reading it ever since!

    I have a 9 month old baby that wakes up early in the morning, but I still sit in the livingroom till 2-3 am reading the blog and feeling like shit in the morning….

    I love everything about it, pictures, stories, New York… went to NY for the first time last year and have fallen in love (I am Croatian living in Amsterdam over there in Europe) with the city

    but you give different insight into it

    thx for sharing

  • kimia kline July 24, 2011 at 11:55 am

    ahh. i love going to museums alone. always feels so meditative.

  • diamondkelt July 24, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Did anyone else think Bedknobs and Broomsticks when they saw the knights lined up like that?

  • Seema July 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    You have an absolutely wonderful blog. I don’t remember how I came across it, but I have been reading my way through for a while now – and they way you write is moving. You have a beautiful family – and genuinely just wanted to let you know how much i enjoy reading what you have to write! Please keep them coming.

  • PInk Ronnie July 25, 2011 at 12:14 am

    That first photo should be a postcard. Time off is simply priceless…
    Ronnie xo

  • courtney July 26, 2011 at 12:55 am

    i meant to go to the met last time i was in nyc and didn’t make it. i do think the last time i went to a museum alone it was the met. i listened to my ipod and it was definitely some priceless alone time.

  • bronwyn July 26, 2011 at 9:48 am

    I think it is so important for moms to have a little time to themselves. Every few months I take the day off work and I don’t tell my family. I get up and leave like a normal work day, spend the day any way I wish and come home when I normally would after work. Total sanity saver. Would love to see that exhibit. I wonder if it will travel. I can’t think of a better way to spend some time alone.

  • .amanda. July 26, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I was in DC that day..alone..at the National Portrait Gallery. I had such a pleasant time being with myself. It is good to remember how to be alone.

  • Accidental Euphoria July 27, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I love wandering around museums all alone, getting lost in the beauty and my imagination. I am venturing to the city from Texas in a few weeks and I am aching to see the McQueen exhibit. Also, in all my visits to the Met I never knew they had rooftop garden! I can’t wait to check it out.

  • Jenna August 6, 2011 at 9:54 am

    @Mickie I didn’t take any photos because no photos allowed!

  • CHICKYTHING August 10, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Let me just tell you how beautiful the first photo is! Breathtaking!