New York, Washington and Philly!
Our Communications Manager just got back from a whirlwind trip through New York, Washington DC and Philidelphia. Check out her top tips.
A city like New York is a tricky thing to imagine or describe, thankfully there is a wealth of fantastic music, books and movies that perepared me for my travels. My personal favourites are The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and local modern classic The Shark Party. These books along with countless songs, movies and even Grand Theft Auto made me feel like I’ve been preparing for this visit my whole life.
On arrival it was utterly overwhelming, as is expected after 36 hours in transit. After a swift visit to Popeyes for fried chicken and a good nights sleep, I was revived and ready to take on the world (FYI this Popeyes used to be The Big Apple a a historic jazz rumoured to be the birthplace of the Big Apple nickname).
That day I walked south through Strivers Row, along Malcolm X Boulevard, into Central Park, past baseball diamonds, The Gugenheim and Baltho’s statue. With my eyes on stilts the whole way I was equal parts deja vu and amazement. But I was also officialy in New York.
There’s way too much to see on any trip to the Big Apple, especially if you add in Washington DC and Philadelphia, with those apologies made here are my top five tips for future travellers.
1. Good shoes and a subway pass
There is nothing like stumbling upon the surprinsingly humble Wall Street and seeing Fearless Girl by Kristen Visbal. But, being tired and grumpy can stop you from noticing and appreciating the fantastic sights of the big city. Yes, Manhattan is a small place, but it still takes a long time to walk 100 blocks so make sure you're prepared.
Pro tip: If you get the chance to take a morning jog around Central Park – do it! You’ll see amazing bronze sculptures, beautiful people, gorgeous dogs and some of the world’s best architecture.
2. Find wonder in crowds
Sure the The Starry Night is one of the most important works by Van Gough you’ll ever see. Yes you’ve studied his work, but so have a whole lot of others.
Make a plan before you go in and stick to it. If you are a “sprint/selfie” explorer then great, make sure you get in the frame of every pic you take. For others you’ll need to add a in a pinch of self restraint and a sprinkling of patience to your morning bagel (do try the street vendors!). In anycase, go early, and take your time. People drift by artworks at light speeds in these big institutions. If you wait a moment you will be able to see the work unobstructed by other’s heads.
Pro tip: Pick a fav and hunt our thier works. There’s nothing better than rounding a corner and greeting an old friend like my man, Lichenstein!
3. See it ALL!
New York wouldn’t be the city it is without sports, delis, theatre, subway, parks, fried food...
Even if you aren’t a fan at home I reccomend being one abroad. I made a point to go to a New York Giants American football game, and a New York Yankees baseball game (the first we sat surrounded by jocks, the second we sat with Puerto Ricans and Idahoians, Idahites?). Back home I’ve never been accused of being a sport fan, I’ve never seen the All Black live. But I’m not ashamed to tell you how much I loved the being surrounded by Odell Beckham Junior jerseys and jumping for joy when Aaron Judge steped up to the pitch. And, the snacks are outrageous. I HAD to try the Grub Tub (you can hold a large soda, fried chicken and hot chips in one hand!!). As an arts lover I find snacks help me appreciate sports intracies.
Pro tip: Tailgating is no joke. Go early to the game and enjoy the crowds. Americans know how to host a tourist.
4. Get about
Use your sensible shoes and subway pass to get out into the bouroughs – there is gold out there. Manhattan is a glittering attractive place full of pop culture references and chockablock with amazing art but there’s fewer crowds and equally impressive art just a 30 min train ride away.
Pro tip: Prospect Park has a 5km (ish) running track that takes you past Brooklyn Museum. Lace up your runners, take your wallet and enjoy the sights on your morning constitutional and reward your efforts with with a visit to Brooklym Museum. They are absolutely killing it and you’ll appreciate the quiet time after the rush of Manhattan.
5. Washington is unmissable, but Philly is where its at!
Washington has the Smithsonian and what feels like half the world’s knowledge all wrapped up in a single National Mall. From my man Lichenstein’s sculptures, to rockets, butterflies and Fonzie’s jacket, a trip to the Mall is mindblowing. The monument park is unmissable as well. Over there they manage to capture heartbraking history and extraordinary leadership in a way that never fells sanitised or manufactured.
But Philladelphia, you had me at hello - or possibly the roast beef sandwich with provelone and boccoli rob. Smaller, equally rich with history and somehow relaxed about life I’d come back in a heartbeat.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is where it’s at. From buddhist temples to Miro and Man Ray I’m pretty sure I could live in that museum my whole life and still need more time to explore.
Pro tip: Make time to wander. Philly is not messing about when it comes to delight. From an outdoor Rodin museum, to underground Lobster Roll joints, I can assure you that one day is not nearly enough!
While it’s hard saying goodbye to such wonderful places I couldn’t be more proud of the work we do at The Dowse and the fantastic artists we work with. Even after all I saw I can still honestly say that home is with the heART is!