Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Day in Manhattan: The Cooper Hewitt & Good Food

Yesterday, Jae and I had the day off thanks to our new summer hours (we're closed Mondays and Tuesdays thru August), so we went for an adventure in Manhattan.

Our first stop was the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum to see the show "Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table, 1500-2005." It was an impressive installation of forks, knives, and spoons of every description, along with specialty utensils like itty bitty cherry forks and silver chopsticks connected at one end by a fine chain by Tiffany & Co. My favorite was a set of 18th century English knives and forks with ivory handles stained the most lovely shade of kelly green. I also loved the fascinating video that ran in one gallery showing a craftsman making a spoon and then a fork out of a bar of silver using just a hammer, an anvil, and a file. Incredible. I highly recommend this exhibition.

Upstairs at the museum was another nice show called "Tourism and the American Landscape" featuring wonderful work by 19th century landscape painters Winslow Homer, Thomas Moran, and Frederic Church. The works were grouped by Victorian vacation hotspot--the Catskills, the White Mountains, etc.--and included not only drawings and paintings of people hiking along waterfalls and lounging on porches, but also travel posters, guide books, guest registers, and a great group of stereoscope photos that could be viewed on a large projector. One thing I cannot wrap my head around is how ladies of those days managed to do things like go hiking in corsets and hoop skirts. Maybe they wore special sports corsets or something, I don't know. But it makes me want to faint just looking at illustrations of them!

After a stroll in the lovely garden and a troll through the very Moss-esque gift shop, we left the museum and walked over to Blue Tree, a fabulous boutique on 92nd and Madison that has a very chic and uncommon collection of women's and men's clothing, children's toys, vintage jewelry and decorations, and the like. To my delight, they are having a 50% off sale on men's clothing, so I scored a great button down shirt for Jae that he'd admired there last time we visited. I totally fell for this 3" lucite cube with a whole, real dandelion suspended inside from the 1970s (or was it the 40s?) but passed on it. If I had more money to spend on clothes and stuff, that would be my secret source for fabulous threads. But since I don't, I'm happy to share the secret here!

After that we decided to splurge on the one thing we can always seem to justify: food! (With today being Jae's birthday, even more so.) So we headed to the beautiful art nouveau zinc bar at Orsay for early evening martinis and oysters (though I have to say, despite the delightful atmosphere, the martini was not as good as it should have been).

And then we trained it downtown for dinner at Soba-ya. I don't know what it is about Soba-ya, but they nail it perfectly every time! It's not just because they handmake their noodles from buckwheat imported from Japan, but that helps. The service is also great, and whatever they're doing in the kitchen it's consistently outstanding. It's definitely one of our very favorite spots. I had cold soba noodles with vegetables and Jae had hot soba soup with wild edible plants mixed in. We also shared some deeelicious saki and Jae had a whole little shark-like fish that was somehow cooked and crispy. The fish wasn't to my taste, but when Jae was done the plate was clean, head and tail and all.

Back here at Greenjeans, I've been busy doing back-end stuff today: inventory, jewelry polishing, and the like. Austin-based metalsmith jeweler Lisa Crowder is meant to stop by later today for a visit while she's in town. We've had a few folks come in for a browse, but things are generally quite slow these days with hot weather and vacationing trumping local shopping. I don't mind, though. It gives us time to catch up on stuff and get ourselves ready for the Fall when we anticipate brisk business to return (knock on wood!).

Until then, I'll enjoy my unsweetened iced tea, blessed air conditioning, and my new favorite online radio station, Radio Deliro, from France. A demain!

1 comment:

judy said...

Sounds like you two had such a great time!!! ~ Happy Birthday to Jae!!