Art & Food: New York

by anneMoore on July 1, 2009

I had three days in New York and did what I always do in a great world city: eat well and see art.

First stop: John’s Pizzeria (278 Bleeker St.) Baked in a coal-fired brick oven, it really is the world’s best thin crust. John’s is two small rooms; a line trails down Bleeker Street most evenings. Go for lunch.

Next: The Morgan Library & Museum (225 Madison Ave.) for “Pages of Gold,” art cut from medieval msm619v_21manuscripts (through Sept. 13). Exquisitely illustrated scenes from the lives of the saints, often in gold. Many look like intricately woven tapestries. Also at the Morgan: “Acquisitions Since 2004,” a thrilling hodgepodge of letters, manuscripts, drawings, watercolors (through Oct. 18). Among the treasures: a handwritten manuscript of Oscar Wilde’s “The Selfish Giant,” a Beethoven score (messy!), an Arthur Getz inked-up notebook opened to ideas for Fourth of July cover art.

During a short film about the Morgan’s history, this question was raised: Why collect, preserve, display original works on paper? Because they’ve been touched by the artist’s hand. (

The next day we dined on croissants from City Bakery, (3 West 18th St.) Who says New Yorkers are rude? The clerk made sure our croissants were hot from the oven, instead of the ones already cooled.

vu_srgm2_crop_205More art, though not what I’d planned. I wanted my 10-year-old daughter to experience the Guggenheim Museum (1071 Fifth Ave.) inside and out. (

She did, sort of: a show devoted to Frank Lloyd Wright’s work — mostly architectural renderings, on paper — hogged the curlicue hallway and many adjoining galleries (through Aug. 23). As Alex said later in the day: “It’s better to go see the Robie House, or one of his other buildings, because then you’re in it and you understand why he built it that way.”

Day three (prosciutto and fresh mozzarella panini, ingredients from Zabar’s, 2245 Broadway) trumped all others: my sister insisted we go to the Neue Galerie (1048 Fifth Ave.) to see its collection of German and Austrian art and crafts, and its prized possession: Gustav Klimt’s “Adele Bloch-Bauer 1” (1907).

imagesRegardless of the work’s rich backstory, standing in front of this portrait gave me the chills. A daring composition, I was awed by its scale, kaleidoscopic imagery, and beauty. It’s the Mona Lisa of its time. See it. (

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