museum mile

In ALL, LIFE OBSERVATIONSby Stephanie Klein36 Comments

Today I miss the Museum.  Any of ‘em really.  The Guggenheim especially, and I never fancied myself as a museum kind of girl.  But now I really miss long days of tea and umbrellas and spending an afternoon reading and ignoring gray paragraphs written on white walls.  When I lived on the Upper West Side, I’d walk through the park to the MET, in running clothes, then pay the suggested fee and spend a few hours walking around, always finishing up in the statue garden.  I felt like I was breaking some dress code.  I was raised to wear a dress coat into Manhattan.  Usually for Lincoln Center performances.  For the theater, we always dressed.  Museums were "smart casual" before there was such a term.  The same rule went for airplanes.  Just in case… I don’t know.  But we weren’t to travel looking like "ragamuffins."  So once I lived in the city and found myself traipsing into a museum in less than my Sunday best, I thought I was doing something wrong.  I think one of the things I loved most about the museums in New York were all the European tourists, all dressed in camel-colored leather shoes, with shirts tucked behind sweaters, walking mannequins with too many layers. 

The museum felt like home, in a way, perhaps because of all the field trips growing up. In high school (dork warning), I was president of the science club.  On a Friday night (big dork), I scheduled a field trip to the Museum of Natural History, but really, to the Hayden Planetarium for a Pink Floyd laser light show.  I just liked the idea of being in the dark with boys, I think.   I also liked the mineral room, with all the glowing rocks.  I liked to imagine it was my private collection, and if I wanted, I could ask a guard to turn any of the stones into a piece of jewelry for me to wear.

In college I took a Drawing In The Museum class, where we’d grab charcoals, pastels, pads, and brown drawing boards, then spend four hours drawing.  I miss that time in my life, and it’s not age related.  I still have the time to do those things, but instead I lie in bed reading blogs or playing Sudoku.  I think I’m going to shower now, then make my way to a museum in my new fall clothes.  I wish it were raining, but crispy fall air beats rain by a mile. 

…Or maybe I should get some actual writing done. I spent all of yesterday combing through the diary I kept when I was nine years old.  Then I re-read all the camp letters I received.  Research.  The museum, though, has a way of inspiring me to look at things differently, or of extracting memories.  Though it’s hard to stay in summer with noctober here now.  All I can think about is wearing knee-high boots and a blazer with suede elbow patches.  Tights.  Maybe I’ll head to the bookstore for a caramel apple cider and a stack of fall fashion magazines.  Just as educational, no?

Comments

  1. I think that's a good definition of a museum-forcing you to look at things differently.

  2. I need to get to the Natural History museum. Everyone I know is obsessed with it, and that was where the field trips from schools on Long Island really came from!

    I really need to get out and do that. I think you may have inspired me ms. klein.
    thanks.

  3. "…long days of tea and umbrellas and spending an afternoon reading…"

    I am away from home this month. And this is exactly the sort of thing I miss. (Who knew I'd long for that blasted rain!)

    I also miss proper fall. Where's it at???

  4. I too like the idea of being alone with boys in the dark.

    I'm relating to this post a bit too much right now. I too have writing to get done (grad school apps). I also have a job to do. Instead I'm browsing blogs and sitting around in my underwear. In the last three days I've left my bed for a total of about 6 hours. And even though it's 5 years out of style I have an overwhelming urge to wear knee high boots with with a plaid knee length kilt. How about you get dressed and go out to the bookstore and I will live vicariously through you.

  5. For my 16th birthday (instead of a sweet 16 party) I chose to take a handful of friends, by limosine into the city. We went to the Hayden Planetarium for the Pink Floyd laser light show. It was such a great experience. Anyway, Fall is my favorite season…sweaters, my tall j.crew boots, cashmere turtlenecks…the leaves changing and the crisp air. The best fall drink is the spiced pumpkin latte at starbucks..I'm sorry that you miss it so much.

  6. Hi Stephanie,
    This blog sets such a great mood. 'Autumn in New York', autumn anywhere as long as there is cooler air, falling leaves and wood smoke in air.
    Speaking of Pink Floyd, I just saw Roger Waters from Pink Floyd in Montreal. A great show, for the eyes as well as the ears! I would love a museum visit soon. Sounds like you are feeling really good & such a promising day planned.
    Take care,
    Jane

  7. It still sounds like so much of your heart is in NY…it must be a huge adjustment to be living in Texas, while I know you have alot to do there, it seems like alot of your choices aren't there, or you are having different ones to choose from, but still lacking something. Being a northern girl and now living in the south I still long for all those feelings and experiences I had, especially in the autumn. I still get incredibly homesick.

  8. You're sounding a bit restless in your new environment…not the mother to be environment…the Austin environment. So, since you are haunting blogs and other online fun, I am sending you the link to my favorite travel website!
    Snoop the forums and find your next adventure :)
    And on a side note, your book, completely entertaining! Thanks!

  9. If it makes you feel better, it is a gorgeous sunny day here in NYC,I live about three blocks from the Met, and often swing by there… there is an AMAZING impressionist exhibit there now, up on the second floor. Anyone reading this — make sure you go!

    I am on deadline, and must get back to it now…

    Nice post.

  10. You sound bored and homesick.
    Get used to it.
    I moved to Chicago, what I like to refer to as Chicockgo b/c of all the hot men, and it took a lot of adjustment.

    You'll be glad for the peace and quiet when the babies get here but you'll always miss your former life…always.

  11. I just made the move from NYC to Atlanta a few months ago, so I can totally relate to the nostalgia you are feeling right now. I lived on the UES and since I worked at Sotheby's, I was pretty much able to visit all the major museums for free.

    I'm the type that likes to go by myself and linger as long or as little as I like… The Guggenheim was always my favorite because somehow it always had just the "right amount" of art for my attention span. I'd walk over to the Neue Gallerie after and have some sort of sweet at Cafe Sabarsky. It was always such a great place to go and linger when it was cold out. The dark panneled walls always did it for me. :)
    As for the hot chocolate, the best was always at City Bakery, but they had no ambiance. And I'm also a sucker for ambiance.

    Like you, I often worry about falling into a life of "suburbia", having been super-active and all about town in NYC. Somehow in cities like Austin and Atlanta, the action/culture is just isn't quite as available; like you have to work rather hard to find it. And NYC has spoiled us, so it's hard not to compare it.

    Go out there and check out a gallery or an exhibition. There's a lot of good stuff to see in Austin. You'll feel better for doing it!!

  12. Don't you live in a gated community with a rather stunning pool? According to wunderground.com, it's 89 degrees and sunny in Austin. Go swimming!! You'll never be this bouyant again.

  13. Going to the Museum of Natural History was one of my favorite things to do when I used to visit my sister at Barnard. I'd come down from Boston when I was homesick for her. We'd walk over to the museum. There was a homeless guy we used to see a lot. He would run up and down the street with a frame around his neck yelling, "It wasn't me, I've been framed." It's probably one of the most comical things I have ever witnessed.

  14. "?" re: things i've never found the answer to since i've been checking out your blog…
    1. why the move to Austin?
    2. is the move temp or perm?
    3. if temp, will you be moving back to NYC?

    Been away for a bit…so some of my comments are tardy. . . Great dress for the wedding. . . scrumptious menu. . . I have to say. . . you didn't look pregnant (with twins, no less) at all…wow. I hope I look as good as you if I'm ever blessed with a baby(ies).

    As for the Fall…well, it dredges up all kinds of memories and feelings. Some good; some not so good. . . such is life. . .Yet, i'm def. in a "mood" right now. Ugh.

  15. There is nothing wrong with missing and nostalgia. It happens all the time and is not a sign of discontent or unease. Not to mention, there is nothing wrong with wanting to sit inside with 5 different fashion magazines on a perfectly sunny day. It really is one of the better feelings, plus you gotta love the AC.

  16. As a New Yorker living in Miami, I know how it feels when the seasons change on the calendar but its still 90 degrees. I have to remind myself every day its one step closer to "Miami-Fall" – when NY is buried in blak-grey snowbanks, the weather is perfect here – and you can wear a sweater in the morning and swim in the afternoon straight through to the Spring. The long hot summer is nearly over!

  17. I'm taking a sicky from work, and after reading this I kind of want to hit the Guggenheim this afternoon if I'm feeling better. It's just a short walk from my apartment :-).

  18. Mmm… absolutely love autumn. My favorite season of the year! Your blog just inspired me to bake cinnamon oatmeal cookies and leave the window open for my neighbors to smell them…

  19. I moved to San Francisco 2.5 years ago after living in the Northeast for the first 28 years of my life. This is my third Fall here, and this is the first time I don't find myself feeling homesick this time of year. It took me a while to adjust to only having two seasons (dry and rainy), but I think I'm finally a full-fledged Californian. I wouldn't trade snowless, iceless, relatively warm "winters" for anything! And if I ever feel the urge to walk among trees changing colors or spend the day in snow, Tahoe is only 3 hours away.

    If you stay in Austin, you will likely grow accustomed to the climate as well. It just might take a few years. And in that time, I bet you'll come to appreciate many things Austin offers that you won't be able to imagine living without.

  20. Ahhhh…the change of seasons. Crisp fall air and falling leaves. Knee-high boots and corduroy…oh I would love that. I'm here in hot ass Orlando, the humidity capital of the planet! It was about 95 degrees today and ALL the stores are full of winter coats and boots. Makes me hot to even think about it. Can someone just mail me a leaf w/ some orange and red in it?!

  21. Dear Stephanie,
    Hi! I've been reading your blog for a couple months now, (my aunt recommended it to my mom) and it is beautiful. I love how you put things in and out of perspective. I've just started my own blog and I was wondering if you might want to visit it, just tell me if I'm a good writer at all.
    Thank you so much! If you're too busy, I understand. S.E.S
    By the way, Congratulations on everything!

  22. as someone in Boston I have seen a good deal of blazers with elbow patches already. i'm excited.

    and i'm saddened that in a moment of 'cleaning' a few years ago i threw away old diaries. shame on me

  23. while living in austin, fall was the one thing i missed horribly. it just never comes. however, since living in new york, come january, i'm craving austin's winter!

  24. NOWHERE have I ever said I'm 1/4 JEWISH. How can you be 1/4 of a religion? My nationality is 1/4 Russian, 1/4 Austrian, 1/4 Puerto Rican, and 1/4 Greek. I was RAISED JEWISH! I went to Hebrew school for years upon years, had a bat mitzvah, can read HEBREW, and continued going to Hebrew school even after my bat mitzvah.

    That said, my entire life, my family also celebrated Christmas. My mother was raised Greek Orthodox, and we celebrated her traditions with her. Greek Easter and Christmas, mostly. I got the best of both worlds (and foods), and while we never went to church, we celebrated in a secular way. I plan to carry on these traditions, as they're part of me, too. They're a link to my past, to my grandparents on her side of the family. So while my religion is Jewish, I still acknowledge and celebrate my full history. Which is why I will continue to celebrate both Hannukah and Christmas, just as I have for all of my life.

    Philip is Jewish as well, and he has no problem celebrating my traditions (both Jewish and otherwise).

  25. did someone have some comments on this about Stephanie being 1/4 jewish? I don't see that anywhere… I'm sorry- where did this come from?

    I am 1/2 orthodox christian and 1/2 Catholic. I split my religions, but they are so close its not a big deal.
    If someone is Jewish by both sides of parents (because isn't it the Mother's being Jewish that matters most?)- and then they marry a person whose father is all Jewish and mother is all Christian, doesn't that make them 1/4 Christian?
    Just wondering…..

    FROM STEPHANIE: Sorry, I posted that here, but it belonged in the WHERE THE JEWS ARE… NOT post. It is there that this topic is being discussed. I'm not a religious expert, and quite frankly, I don't care what the conservative or orthodox jews have to say about my religion. I'm happy with my upbringing: Jewish, with a non-Jew mother. Hardly orthodox.

  26. Although I love going to museums and seeing new things, I’ve never quite understood a lot of the art that’s displayed at the MOMA. Eccentric, trendy men in turtlenecks staring at a framed painting of a round dot; almost as if they were getting some sort of hidden meaning from it.

    I really never thought about the ‘dress code’ of a museum, I really never knew there was one. I guess that’s just a preference. But, the one thing I have to say when my partner and I go to museums is, the best work is sitting outside by the local artists.

    Maybe I’m a rookie at art—but “I like what I like”.

  27. Hi, Stephanie:
    …am laughing at myself as my computer ate still another of my comments before I got to post it (hmmmm…maybe there are corporate spies afoot???…wanting me to get back to proofreading…) ANYWAY: hope all is well with you & yours…Loved this post from you today; your comment about "looking at things differently" made me think of my cousin. Saw her recently in NYC (she is an expat. NYer, living in Innbruck, Austria) … she teaches English As A Second Language at the University … One of her favorite assignments is to take the students to a museum and have them pick out something and describe their thoughts. (in writing, in English!) … She said precisely what you commented: "it gets them to look at things in a different way." Many of her students grumble about the outing at first … but she is always delighted when they come up to her and tell her that they are now "hooked" on museum visits and will continue to do so on their own… My cousin always stays at a hotel on West 76th … so your post resonates with me on many levels…Very fascinating woman; she spent her Junior Year abroad; married an Austrian artist — and never returned to Long Island — except to marry at a church in Manhasset and then back to Austria. BTW: I sent you a link from work yesterday…a website of all things Austin…events of the cultural sort and local bloggers; so I thought you would enjoy it. (Let me know if you did not get it…will resend today.)
    Be well and enjoy your day; as always, wishing you the best, K.

  28. That's what I miss most about NY is the museaums and of course the food. No museaum where I live. I'd have to drive about 2 hours to Ft. Worth. I know there are some in Austin though. I loved the Natural History and MOMA. I had made plenty of trips on my own and I remember taking my daughter when she was around 8 or so to the Natural History Museaum. Walking around and looking at all the stuffed animals in their glass cases. Then I got the awful question. "Mommy, those animals aren't real are they? They didn't kill them, did they?" Of course they were real, I said, like an idiot. Do you know how loud a crying child sounds in the Museaum of Natural History. VERY loud. So I had to think quick. I said they found them dead and then stuffed them. That they died of old age. We made a quick trip to the gift shop for some books. Ugh. Needless to say my daughter is still an animal lover. She doesn't like to see anything stuffed, unless its a quail with a jalapino up its ass. She's a chef now and its made her a little tougher, but not much.

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