Days 1-2: If I can’t make it here, I’ll make it… in SF!?!

On a cold, crisp, early, snowless morning, we landed in EWaRk–oops Newark. Land of the plenty, as hubby Gee Kin tells me. Joisey’s not only the second wealthiest state (per capita) in the US of A and higher than that of California, but the most densely populated (@470 sq. m/pp). In fact, almost as dense as the Netherlands (@409 sq. m/pp)! That’s a two-upper to lowly San Francisco Priders, who can claim neither for California.

Despite our early arrival from the red-eye, we managed to entertain ourselves with a brisk, let’s-avoid-chills-in-our-flimsy-made-for-California-jackets-walk in NYC to the Soho area where Balthazar, a great Frenchy breakfast institution, is located. I indulged in a rare Bloody Mary (no, I didn’t have a Vodka preference) with a salmon tartine and a first-time ever decaf coffee at 10am in the morning.

Our intriguing waitress was Korean-Irish and grew up in Japan. She validated my question about her origins after she told me that many people ask her if she was from one of the Stans. I guessed she might have been Uzbeki. For centuries the Central Asians have mixed their European and Asian roots into beautiful minds and bodies. It’s always exciting to find them in far-flung America.

On the way back to our Lower East Side hotel, we passed the New Museum. I couldn’t resist a quick peek. I learned from my personal guide, an Italian Art History major, about the museum’s genesis. As a spinoff from the Whitney, this museum collects work of living artists but has no permanent collection. That poses some challenges where there is a perpetual installation on half of the building’s several floors. Nevertheless, the portion that was open for Raymond Pettibon proved to be a worthwhile stop. While most of his work is focused on American iconic figures and political messages, his foray out of his graphic work into the SoCal surfing world was refreshing. See a few curly waves below.

After a break in the hotel to de-jetlag, we made it to the Pig and Khao around the corner for an early dinner. The diverse gathering of patrons and staff made the environment feel very friendly and comfortable. It reminded me about a comment from my German teacher. After she had visited New York for a week, she returned to San Francisco and was struck by how lacking in diversity San Francisco was. We were just starting to catch a whiff of the contrast between cities already.

The hotel is a new-age, suite hotel in the middle of the Lower East Side neighborhood. The narrow streets give this area an immediate neighborhoody feel. Despite the questionable gentrification, the owners made an attempt to link the hotel to the community by offering yoga classes and volunteering in the neighborhood. We actually went to the pop-up free food service to the neighborhood to help serve meals in the morning. It’s a great way to discover another part of NYC and a departure from our usual Midtown Manhattan Pod Hotel.

4 thoughts on “Days 1-2: If I can’t make it here, I’ll make it… in SF!?!”

  1. WOW!!! just catching up on your adventure…and doing it backwards! No surprise there ;-D.
    Sounds like heaven…Loved the art from the museum. Makes me want to visit the ocean again soon!

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    1. Here’s the bio on the artist: Raymond Pettibon was born in 1957 in Tucson, Arizona. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1977. His work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at institutions around the world, including the Renaissance Society, Chicago (1998); the Drawing Center, New York (1999); the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1999); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1999); Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2002); Museion, Bolzano, Italy (2003); the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2005); Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain (2006); Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne, Switzerland (2012); Kumu Kunstimuuseum, Tallinn, Estonia (2015); Deichtorhallen Hamburg – Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg (2016); and Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Austria (2016). Pettibon has also participated in a number of important group exhibitions such as the Whitney Biennial (1991, 1993, 1997, and 2004), the Venice Biennale (1997 and 2003), Documenta XI (2002), and SITE Santa Fe (2004 and 2010). He currently lives and works in New York.

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