What the Frick? [April 4]
Walked from the East Village to the United Nations yesterday for a tour of the building. A beautiful but forbidding French woman told us all about the different meeting chambers, and the various Scandinavian countries who had donated and designed them, and somehow the vision and idealism of the UN’s original purpose was convincing, in spite of what we know about the awful compromises and corruption that have been the reality.
Then on to the Frick Museum, an astonishing private collection of paintings, sculptures and decorative arts housed in the mansion of a late American industrialist called Frick. Rooms and rooms of Whistlers and El Grecos and Rembrandts and Vermeers (three out of only 35 that exist!) and Bellinis and Renoirs. I didn’t want to leave. But Greewich Village beckoned – and an eating-and-drinking marathon that began with oysters and rose in Cornelia St, followed by gluten-free pizza in Bleecker St, followed by red wine at the Blue Ribbon bar around the corner.
I’ve also done the Staten Island ferry ride past the Statue of Liberty (where a man standing behind me at the rail told his friend a great story about how his father was rejected the first time he tried to emigrate from Europe to the USA, via immigration authorities on Ellis Island, because his brother, an actor in the Yiddish theatre scene in New York, tried to persuade the authorities he could support the younger brother and the mother – by flashing huge wads of stage money!)
And of course a visit to Macy’s department store, which is filled with flowers at the moment – an indoor, instore garden show – here i bought myelf a big black coat to combat the bitter cold of this freezulating city. Works a treat.