After finding out about the NY Print Fair from Annie B. last week, I decided to hop a bus to the Big Apple on Saturday and check it out. Galleries of woodcuts, linocuts and etchings? Hooray! It was a 5 1/2 hour ride down, and almost 6 hours back, but Mom happily agreed to check on the dogs for me, so it made a do-able (but LONG) day trip. Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera, but that's okay.
The morning didn't start off so well. Okay, I got up at 4 AM, had the dogs fed and gave them some pampering to tide them over until Mom came for dinner feeding. The day was going to be clear but very cold (low 40's at the most), so I decided to wear jeans, my spring jacket (which is lined) with a sweater underneath, plus bring gloves. Unfortunately I realized that my jeans were all in the hamper, but I didn't want to wear work pants (uncomfortable-yuck), so I just grabbed the pair of jeans off the top of the hamper, figuring they were pretty clean. I had only worn them once or twice and its not like I work out in them or anything. So it wasn't until 6:30 AM, when I'm sitting on the bus in the Syracuse terminal ready to begin the long haul south, when I realize there is dried diarrhea down the front of my jacket and down the leg of one of the jeans. WTH!!! Apparently, one of my poop bags must have had a hole in it yesterday on Cliff and Jack's walk, and the diarrhea leaked out all over me!!! OMG I was so embarrassed!! Once the bus went dark and started on the road, I furtively tried chipping off as much as I could, but I couldn't get it all. Sigh. I can't believe I didn't notice that before I left the house!! Talk about walking humiliation.
Having only 8 hours to cover everything in New York, I decided to start out at the NYC Public Library (which had a GLORIOUS exhibit of early Manhattan lithographs... if you are a NY or map buff, it is a must-see.). This was probably the highlight of my trip. Seeing the streets, fields and forests of Manhattan mapped out in the 1700's and 1800's was really amazing... how much things change. Since I lived in Queens and Brooklyn at one point (or two points, I should say) I was really fascinated to see how those burroughs developed, street by street, through the decades. And how things changed when the island was handed off by the Dutch to the English.
Upon leaving the library, I was pleased to see a naked man, wearing only a navy-blue thong and navy-blue knee socks, hopping up and down the library steps in a theatrical display. He had "NY Yanks" written across his back and chest, and was making quite a scene for the tourists. He looked EXACTLY like Freddy Mercury, so I joined the crowd staring at him, too- I mean, the resemblence was REALLY uncanny. Not only was his dance strange, but it was 35 degrees out! I mean, FREEZING COLD, wind snapping, and the guy was dancing around in only a thong and knee socks. This is what I miss about living in NYC. We have Whackadoodles that live up here in northern NY, but our Whackadoodles are no where near as amusing as City whackadoodles (and I say that with a heart full of affection).
Well, onto the galleries. There were maybe 10-15 galleries highlighting printmaker artists, but I have to say I was rather disappointed. The art was really modern and abstract... not my thing at all. I did see a wonderful moku-hanga print by Annie on exhibit which totally blew me away, and one other landscape that was so intricately beautiful I couldn't believe it, but everything else was abstract squares, lines, splotches, etc. For the life of me I still cannot "get" modern art. I went into these galleries trying my best to understand what made a woodcut of a rectangle so awesome, or the etching of 2 vertical lines, but... man. I just don't, don't get it. To take a break from the abstract prints I kept seeing, I went up to the Fuller Building in Midtown, which is chock-full of galleries... I seem to remember hearing that Midtown art was more traditional/conservative than the art exhibited in Chelsea...lol. Nope, not at this building. Out of the 10 or so galleries I visited, only two were representative art... one of portraits, one of landscapes. The rest were splotches, lines, etc. Meh.
After the disappointment of not seeing any real shows that inspired me, I went to a few art stores to hopefully buy some GC ink and maybe some linoleum. I only found Speedball inks (ick) and the linoleum seemed really hard. I was hoping all the big art stores in NYC would have a good variety of printmaking materials but not so much. :o( New York Central had a fabulous paper department, but it was so hot and crowded in there that I couldn't even look at the samples- wall to wall art students shopping- it must have been 90 degrees and I was bundled in a sweater and [poopy] jacket. Way too hot and crowded- Didn't stay long.
I then stopped at a place near Macy's and gave my ears a second set of holes- I have wanted to do that for awhile. I can't remember when I got my first set of holes, but it was 6th or 7th grade. As I was sitting in the chair and the earring woman was loading the gun, I started to think, "Hmmm. Maybe getting my ears pierced before a 6 hour bus ride isn't the smartest thing," but I persevered and did it anyway. It hurt, but in a very exciting sort of way. I actually wanted her to keep shooting my ears with it. I don't know what that says about me?!? Lol.
Subway fare is up to $2.50 a ride!! It was $1.50 when I lived in the city, and it wasn't that long ago- late '90's, early aughts. Boy oh boy. Because of that, I walked most of the day (and have the calluses to prove it) instead of bus and subway-ing it. I did treat myself to one cross-town ride on the L, but that was it.
At 7:30, I made my way back to Port Authority to catch my bus. The bus down had been a Trailways, and the bus home would be a Greyhound. I was kind of surprised that on our Greyhound bus, the driver has this plexi-glass (bullet proof glass?) partition that he folded out and used to cage all the passengers in the back! I guess it was to protect himself from hijacking or something, but if he had a heart attack and died... there would have been no way for the passengers to get out once he closed and locked the door. Has anyone ever seen this on a bus before?? (Many thanks to Trace, who just sent me this lovely Greyhound bus story and warns about the dangers of being partitioned in back with the other passengers, who may be a BAD sort of whackadoodle. Thanks Trace!).
We got back to the Syracuse bus station at 1:30 AM, and then I had another 40 minute trip home from there. Finally got home, horsed with Clifford and Jack for a bit (Lucy was fast asleep and never heard me come in, poor thing). By 3 AM, we were all sound asleep, with poopy jeans and poopy jacket headed straight for the wash!! And all's well that end's well in the Zalewski household- at least for this trip. :o)