April 10, 2012

Easter Sunday in NYC

This year, I decided to celebrate Easter Sunday by spending the entire day in Manhattan. After taking an early train, I arrived in Penn Station just before 10:00 AM and went directly to an area of 5th Avenue between 49th and 57th Streets that had been roped off for the city's annual Easter Bonnet Festival. With no vehicular traffic to interrupt the flow, the streets were taken over by an informal parade of people dressed in their Sunday best and sporting some very colorful and over-sized hats of all kinds. There were flowers, eggs, rabbits, dragons, tea cups, carrots, zodiac signs, watering cans, and so much more. Even some of the family pets got in on the fun. It was a nice to see so many people showing up to enjoy their holiday by expressing themselves in such a creative way. While St. Patrick's Cathedral was far too crowded to enter, I did observe a moment of reverence at a cross made of Spring blossoms that had been set up in front of one of 5th Avenue's sacred buildings. I said a little inner prayer to God, honoring the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and showing gratitude for the chance that the world has been given. This whole event was a showcase in beauty and grace. I was feeling really good!

After I had strolled the eight blocks that made up the Easter Bonnet Festival, I hopped in a taxi to take me uptown. My library offers passes that give free admission into many of the attractions of NY. For the day, I had checked out two such passes, the first one being for the Museum of the City of New York on 5th Avenue and 103rd Street. As I entered the building, I first came to an exhibition called "The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811 - 2011." Through a series photographs and early maps, this display illustrated the ever-changing landscape that has been New York City for the last two-hundred years. As I love black and white photographs, this was very fascinating for me.

Also of great interest to me: the Carrie Walter Stettheimer Doll House, the stained glass window from the Henry G. Marquand Conservatory, and the works of Cecil Beaton (which include several costumes used by the Metropolitan Opera in a production of Puccini's Turandot.)

The other library pass that I took out was good for the Guggenheim. This spiraling marvel (designed by visionary Frank Lloyd Wright) is about as magnificent and impressive a structure as I have ever seen. As I stepped into the foyer, all I could do was stand with my mouth agape as I stared up at the central skylight. Currently, the museum's main exhibit is "John Chamberlain: Choices," which showcases the artist's sculptures in Abstract Expressionism. Also, on display in the museum's many annexes, I viewed amazing works by many of the art world's great masters. I must say that my visit to the Guggenheim was very inspiring; the only thing that could have possibly made it better would have been a skateboard. :D

"Women's Voices"
 John Chamberlain

"Divine Ricochet"
John Chamberlain

"Woman with Yellow Hair"
Pablo Picasso

"In the Vanilla Grove Me and Horse"
Paul Gauguin

"In the Salon"
Toulouse Lautrec

"Roadway With Underpass"
Vincent Van Gogh

"Einige Kreise"
Wassily Kandinsky

From the Guggenheim, I took another cab back down to 64th Street and 5th Avenue where I paid a visit to the Central Park Zoo. Here, I met animals like the Scarlet Ibis and the Chestnut-breasted Malkoha and well as many other familiar creatures. By this time, the air was warm and afternoon sun was blazing on high; there was nowhere else that I would have rather been.

During my tour of 5th Avenue's Christmas windows last December, I tried to stop off at Serendipity 3 only to find a three-hour wait. It was too long then, but my hope was that the popular eatery would be less crowded in April. So, to round out my Easter Sunday, I returned to 60th Street. This time, I found a one hour wait, though I was actually seated within about 40 minutes. Soon, a world-famous Serendipity Frozen Hot Chocolate was brought to me and I found out exactly why it is worth a three-hour wait. OH YUMMMM!

"For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish
but have eternal life."

~John 3:16