The theme for the day was dictated by the recent book club book, The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper…..mansions, 5th Avenue, architecture… and a couple of the places noted in the book. I took the F to the 6 all the way up the east side to 103rd St to check out the Central Park Conservatory Garden. This wasn’t in the book, but I had been meaning to see these gardens and, in my research, saw that the main entrance is The Vanderbilt Gate, so it fit my theme for the day. The Vanderbilt Gate is an intricate wrought iron piece of art made in France that used to be the entrance to the Vanderbilt Mansion on 5th Ave and 58th St…which is now Bergdorf Goodmans. It was donated to the city and moved up to it’s current location.
The Conservatory Garden is so serene…and even though it’s just steps away from 5th Avenue, it is as quiet and tranquil as can be.
The weather was so gorgeous! I continued south through the park, exiting at 91st street, heading over to the East River to check out Gracie Mansion and 10 Gracie Square, where Anderson & Gloria lived at one time (I know, sounds like I’m a stalker…weird!) The first building I come upon on 91st & 5th is the Cooper Hewitt Museum, no relation to Gloria and Anderson, but a gorgeous mansion that used to be the home of Andrew Carnegie. I didn’t go in, but after looking at their exhibits, it’s on my “to do” list for the next trip.
Moving on towards the East River. I’ve seen Gracie Mansion, where the Mayor lives, from the water and it’s beautiful….not so much from the river walk. It’s covered with gorgeous trees that give the Mayor and his family a little privacy (so, no pics). 10 Gracie Square is a cool building architecturally, although my pic doesn’t do justice to the intricacies of the top of the building….and the views must be gorgeous from way up there!
Now, it was time to just enjoy the architecture as I made my way to the MET to meet A&K…
Made it to the MET with some time to spare and have always wanted to check out the American Irish Historical Society, which is right across the street. It’s a cool brick building and I thought I’d take a tour and maybe chat with someone about my unsuccessful attempt at obtaining Irish citizenship a few years back (that’s a whole other blog post!) I knew they had a 1:00 tour…it was 12:45. I headed up to the door and it was locked…I called…OH, they close at 1:00 on Fridays in the summer. Again…next time…ugh!
Austin had some subway delays, so I thought I’d head into the MET and check out the Manus x Machina fashion exhibit. It’s a contrast in machine vs. manual, or haute couture, and the execution in making these high end designs come to fruition. It was fascinating! I took a bunch of pictures, but I’ll spare you. Here are some highlights…
…both of these dresses are made from plastic straws!
After checking out the exhibit I went back down to the entrance and the Great Hall to wait for Austin on one of the many benches. I met an interesting, spry, elderly volunteer who lives on the UES and had a lovely conversation with her. She recommended the book Before the Fall by Noah Hawley that I’ve added to my summer book list! Austin arrived and we headed up to the rooftop for a cocktail, spectacular views of NYC, the treetops of Central Park and the Psycho barn installation that’s on display. It’s very whimsical…and will be on display until October 31st….Halloween…how apropos!
After more subway delays and traffic, Kate made it up to meet us on the rooftop. We stayed a bit and then walked across the park for a quick subway down to west village and dinner at the James Beard House. I’ve been wanting to go to this place for their multi-course meal prepared by visiting guest chefs and the “Return to Venice” menu looked like a good choice. They don’t have dinners every night and there are other events to check out on their website. You can also reserve the 3rd floor room for private events. It was actually James Beard’s home. The evening started with hors d’oeuvres and drinks out on the back patio…followed by dinner in the dining room on the second floor. The meal was delicious and we enjoyed the company of the people we dined with, but we all agreed that the appetizers were the most delish. Just like Eatwith on my previous NY visit, I love sitting with strangers and finding out their story. It’s like a communal table! I didn’t get many pics because I wanted to just enjoy the experience. I guess you’ll just have to go yourself to see what I’m talking about! Another successful and fun day in Manhattan…although, again, I didn’t get to the other four places from the book that I had on my list! It’s probably best…I don’t look so much like a stalker!
I was leaving on Saturday afternoon, so we took a nice walk to Prospect Park (another gorgeous design by Olmsted, who designed Central Park), stopping for coffee at Milk Bar, home of the crack pie, on our way…I had to find out what a bagel bomb was too!
What a delightful walk enjoying the beautiful brownstones and homes of Carroll Gardens and Park Slope before reaching the park.
We noticed that a bunch of police were moving cars and blocking off the street. We decided to investigate and walk off our meal….when we came upon the Knights of Columbus parade…
Carroll Gardens is such a cute, neighborly place…with young families with strollers and kids playing outside…and their apartment is so bright and open. What a great trip visiting Austin, Kate and Prince. It’s just fun hanging out with them and always so sad to leave.
You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!