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Thursday, September 27, 2012

My NYC Cultural Weekend

So it may not be from just the last week due to the plethora of Los Angeles and Croatia-based blogs these past few weeks but I'm finally back on track with new activities, restaurants and bars in NYC.

This particular blog outlines some of the top summer activities that I managed to squeeze in RIGHT before they ended for the summer.  However they come back every year so check out their websites next summer for more information on how you can participate!

PS1: Warm Up
First up is PS1 which is an extension of MoMA that occurs every summer.  Here is a quick excerpt from their website explaining the event:

"MoMA PS1 presents Warm Up 2012, beginning July 7 and taking place every Saturday this summer through September 8. Now celebrating its 15th year, the museum's highly anticipated outdoor series will continue its tradition of introducing audiences to the best in experimental live music, sound, performance, and DJs. The annual series is held in MoMA PS1's courtyard, which this year will feature a temporary urban landscape by HWKN called Wendy, the winning design of MoMA PS1's 13th annual Young Architects Program. M. Wells will be cooking in the courtyard all summer long."

In a nutshell, it's a huge outside dance party within the walls of the MoMA extension building which also features a bunch of art exhibits inside the building itself.  Additionally each year a new installation is erected outside built by the winner of the Young Architects Program initiative.  This year was a giant blue star while past years have featured everything from bounce balls to light displays. 


My favorite indoor exhibit was an installation series called "Just Knocked Out" by Lara Favaretto whose works echo the ways in which things decay over time only to be rebirthed as pieces of new exhibits.

Overall I really liked the art exhibits and the general concept however the music that day and the outdoor sculpture weren't all that interesting to me.  However, I definitely plan on coming back next year if only to see what new things they've created in my absence.

Every Saturday through November 18th, Smorgasburg pops up on the "shore" of the East River in Williamsburg to delight the taste buds of New York foodies (one of two locations) from 11am to 6pm, rain or shine.  We happened to pick a very "shine" day (aka hot as hell) so I think I mostly selected places selling interesting drinks that I could continue to gulp down while standing in the shade.

This method meant that I started my foodie journey at La Casa de Camba where I selected one of their four soda-based drinks, the Marcuya-Lemonade which from what I could tell was a mixture of lemonade, passion fruit and soda.  It was sadly gone far too quickly.  Also in a gametime decision I ordered salteñas because, well, everyone else was and I came down with a bad case of food envy.  The salteñas was okay...I felt like the dough around the meat was too thick and rubbery and the pocket was mostly filled with sauce instead of meat.  It tasted fine - maybe it just wasn't what I expected a Bolivian "empanada" to taste like.  However, I'm glad I was adventurous and tried it!  Chuck Norris on the other hand is a HUGE fan (see photo below).

Somewhat full, I then passed Brooklyn Piggies and had no choice but to try them (pigs in a blanket rank as one of my top favorite foods).  Each order is three "piggies" and you can choose from original, spicy, chicken and tofu.  I really wanted spicy but couldn't be bothered to wait 15 minutes for the new batch so I just went with original.  They were SO good.  The dough around the hotdog was light and crispy and they were piping hot.  I'm salivating a little just thinking about it. 

At this point all the dough and meat and sun had made me a little wobbly so it was time to retire to SmorgasBar where I tried the Brooklyn Soda Works’ grapefruit-jalapeno-honey soda with Kings County’s Moonshine mixed in.  Let me say that for approximately $11 it seems like a pricey drink until you realize it's about 2/3 whiskey.  Talk about 5:00 somewhere... it was about 2pm and I was definitely enjoying myself!


The Whitney
So embarrassingly of all the museums in New York I've only yet made it to the Met and now PS1 (if it can count as a museum).  So when I found out that Yayoi Kusama was going to be at the Whitney my roommate and I jumped at the chance to go and see her.  I had already seen her exhibit in Madrid last summer so I was eager to see how this new exhibit might be different.  Turns out it was MUCH bigger and featured a lot of her sketches, letters, and other "side" art outside of the popular stuff that she is most known for.  The other exhibits in the building were pretty lame but I highly recommend going to see hers!  Also her most famous installation "Fireflies on Water" is separate from the regular entry fee - you have to get there early the day of to grab one of the finite number they give out each day.  The cool thing I didn't realize is that each museum's "Fireflies on Water" is unique so this one is completely different then the version I saw in Madrid.  Had I known I would've gotten a ticket!

Beekman Beer Garden
So the last event of my weekend was probably the least "cultural" but one of my favorites and still involved music so I felt like it counted.  I went to a DJ event at the Beekman Beer Garden on the East River.  The beer garden is also a "beach club" in the sense that outside the DJ tent it was all sand and picnic tables.  I have NEVER heard of this place until this night and it is SO cool.  I plan on coming here a ton at least until winter sets in.  I wish I'd heard of it earlier in the summer so I could've taken advantage more!  Not sure what it's like when there isn't an event going on but the views of the river and the bridges are amazing at night.

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