I'm a bad retreatant. I just bailed on a one-day retreat to head for New York this morning. The rationalizations are incoming lousy weather and really wanting to study more Hindi. Plus, there's a Piero Della Francesca exhibit at the Frick that I don't want to miss. Tomorrow is the all-day panel at Tibet House and I have this feeling that had I attended the retreat, I would have talked myself out of this. Thus, the trip.
But wait, there's more! My colleague at HMS Kaitlyn Woelfel, had mentioned that a friend of hers took Limoliner down to the city recently. As you can see from the photos, it's pretty slick. Plush leather seats, radio, TV, wi-fi, food service(!), and all for only 89 dollars.
Upon parking and de-bussing, I headed for the Frick Collection to pay homage to Piero Della Francesca and a multitude of others. The following photos are terrible and I apologize in advance, but there are so many treasures in the Frick to relish. One thing I came away with was wanting to delve more into Gainsborough's attitudes toward his subjects. He seemed to have a photographer's eyes for capturing the gaze of the sitter relatively honestly and unguardedly. This speaks to a couple of things.
One, I would like to think his sitters were comfortable enough with him to let their guard down. Two, from what I recall, he didn't really like having to do portraits and I wonder if this honed a discipline such that he could see past the surface and glean a bit more of the person beneath the wig, the powder and the rouge. His obvious love was landscape, but I'm developing a greater appreciation for his portraiture which I frankly have never cared for very much. His portraits of Lady Innes and Frances Duncombe come to mind.
There are so many other joys to be had at the Frick. Two Vermeers, Rembrandt's Polish Rider (not to mention one of his great self-portraits!), a couple of eye-popping Veroneses, El Greco's "Saint Jerome", Bellini's "Saint Francis in the Desert" and others.
After a few peregrinations, I headed to my hotel. Here, another story altogether awaits.
I Spent the Night in a Fleabag!
I opened my handy Booking.com app and found a hotel for $99 (marked down from $199). In the theater district. The New York Inn on 8th which I thought I had stayed at before, but noooo, I had this confused with the New Yorker.
The New York Inn is a remnant of the days before the area was Disneyfied. On the front door was a letter to evacuate the premises from 2010 due to unsafe conditions. The lobby was, well let's just say I've seen worse. The guy at the desk was really nice and I figured that if the place was really uninhabitable, I'd leave; but frankly, I was incredibly tired and hungry and all things considered, I decided that it would be just easier to suck it up as opposed to trying to hunt around for another place.