Undoubtedly one of the treasures of NYC is West 53rd and 54th Streets’ Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Its November 2004 makeover and grand re-opening put this vital landmark back onto my radar after many years, and today, I’m consistently making excuses to drag Deborah over to see some new exhibits. If she wants me to trek down to Manhattan to be with her, all she needs to do is wave tickets in front of me to the latest artist’s opening. She’ll try to convince everyone it’s the cocktail hour in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden (and not the actual exhibits) that gets my city-bound feet in gear. Between you and me, that’s not far from the truth.
The aforementioned sculpture garden is an iconic NYC scene for sure. Adorned with massive outdoor sculptures, bridged fountain pools, quaint slate pathways, and manicured shrub plots planted to white birch trees, all enclosed by dramatic midtown architecture, it is a disapora of the New York bohemian mindset, wherein you should expect the unexpected. Deb spent a week there one morning in October, and witnessed an undeniable example of this irony in full effect, as a photographer and lighting man were running a shoot with a fashion model, but instead of utilizing the funky abstractions of the garden, they posed her against the ordinary backdrop of a monolithic concrete wall.
Normally reserved for members, day ticket holders and attendees of exhibit openings, the space is now open to the public daily, for free, between 9am and 10:15am. As Deborah’s experiences prove, quite a bit can unfold there in just 75 minutes. Coffee is sold, which will add an appropriate cerebral jolt to the current outdoor exhibit “The Modern Monument”— one that brings together an unlikely collection of larger-than-life figures from high-profile 20th century artists around the globe. If you are not entirely driven to distraction, I would confidently recommend the space as a change-of-pace setting for business meetings— a pleasing alternative to the predictable Starbucking that we’re all guilty of. Once you acquaint yourself with this unique, introspective nook during “Sculpture Garden Mornings”, you’ll likely become a regular, and might even be tempted to become a museum member.