nyc 2_15

Ooh yesss, the Upper East Side—I’ve watched too many episodes of “Selling New York” to remain ignorant of this insanely affluent neighborhood. The land of Pilates-toned ladies-who-don’t-eat-anything-at-lunch. The enclave of grand limestone buildings and snobby, super-selective co-op boards.

Well, the Upper East Side beckoned Andrew and me with its promise of prime real estate too—its famed Museum Mile!

So here’s a recap of our art binge on Day Two:

Ticket to Ride

We took the subway uptown. It was great—we never had to wait more than a few minutes for a train, and the cars were mightily air-conditioned. (DC metro, please take note!)

The Supermodel

While crossing Fifth Avenue to get to the Met, I spotted supermodel, Helena Christensen, hailing a cab. Wearing slingback heels and a slouchy knee-length navy dress with her black lace bra exposed in the back, she’s just as otherworldly-gorgeous in person as she was in the 1989 “Wicked Game” music video. (She’s 44 years old, people! Must be the Danish genes?) Andrew was brave enough to snap this quick photo as her taxi was pulling away:

She acknowledged that it was okay for Andrew to take her picture and then cracked a smile.

Whew! We had to take a moment to recover from the Helena sighting. It’s not everyday that a creature strides in front of you who looks like this:

Photo from Elle Spain, May 2013.

“PUNK: Chaos to Couture” at the Met

We arrived at the Met shortly after the doors opened at 9:30 am.

Banners lining Museum Mile.

After paying the suggested donation (skimping on art brings bad karma), we made a beeline to the exhibition “PUNK: Chaos to Couture.” No photography was allowed in the galleries, and I didn’t want to test the surveillance skills of the security guards. Overall, although the New Yorker had written a scathing review, I thought it was a fun and frivolous spectacle—good summertime fare. I liked its focus “on the relationship between the punk concept of ‘do-it-yourself’ and the couture concept of ‘made-to-measure.'” And I loved the pieces by Comme des Garçons, Versace and Viktor & Rolf, among others:

Members of the press had been granted a sneak peak in early May and obviously were allowed to take photos. So here’s a shot via Women’s Wear Daily ( From the left, looks by Yohji Yamamoto, Viktor & Rolf and Chanel.

No, it wasn’t a sweeping tour de force like the Alexander McQueen retrospective in 2011. Then again, I wasn’t expecting it to be.

A couple of sidenotes:

1) On our way to the Punk galleries, I walked passed the daughter of “Real Housewife of New York” Jill Zarin. (How did I recognize her? I may have watched an episode or ten—and lost a million brain cells in the process. Definitely not worth scrambling to get her photo.)

In case you’re wondering who I’m talking about: RHoNY Jill Zarin on the left, her daughter Ally Shapiro on the right. (photo via

2) Andrew, as is his wont, struck up a conversation with a bubbly, petite twenty-something girl who turned out to be a writer for Elle Poland. She had moved to New York a year ago and works part-time at the Antiques Garage. All of the city’s vibrant energy was channeled through this one beaming, fresh-faced girl whose words tumbled out about everything from Polish model Anja Rubik to taking the BoltBus to DC. She was amazing!

The Petrie European Sculpture Court at the Met

We stopped for a respite in one of my favorite spaces in any museum anywhere:

Breathing room.

I like how the perspective in this shot looks really exaggerated. #NoFilter

Boys Will Be Boys

Andrew was entertained by the punk exhibit (especially since he had been to CBGB when he was a lot younger), but what he really wanted to see was armor, swords and guns. (This may or may not have induced some major eye-rolling on my part.)

What the hell is up with all the male fascination about this stuff?

Andrew Get Your Gun.

Upon exiting the Met, we threw our light-blue metal admission tags into the designated recycling box. Had I known that only six days later the Met was going to do away with them altogether, I would have saved them as keepsakes!

How the 0.001% Live

On our way to Sarabeth’s for lunch (where I had the most delicious seafood salad and Andrew was the only straight man in a sea of social x-rays), this gorgeous house on East 92nd Street was preening and begging me to take its photo:

Look at the lush tidiness. It reeks of Birkin bags and Damien Hirst paintings inside.

The Guggenheim

After lunch, we were off to the Guggenheim, mainly to see the James Turrell installation that I had been hearing and reading so much about.

View of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “temple of the spirit” on Fifth Avenue.

I won’t even attempt to describe the site-specific installation better than someone like the New York Times’ Roberta Smith. You just need to know these two things: 1) “the ravishing ‘Aten Reign’ [is] an immense, elliptical, nearly hallucinatory play of light and color that makes brilliant use of the museum’s famed rotunda and ocular skylight.” 2) you must go and experience it for yourself.

Artist Chuck Close has described Turrell as an “orchestrator of experience.” I love that quote, and it’s so true!

I snapped this photo looking towards the skylight before realizing that photography is forbidden. I was chided by the security guard and hung my head in Asian shame. (Sorry, not sorry.)

 Maurice Sendak

The final stage of our art-filled day was perhaps the most rewarding and unexpected. I had read somewhere about a Maurice Sendak exhibit at an obscure little museum located not far from our hotel. Thank goodness we ventured there because it turned out to be an extraordinary collection of more than “two hundred never-before-seen Sendak originals…[including] rare studies, sketches, photographs, and ephemera, [plus] previously unpublished artwork from Where the Wild Things Are.” It was beyond delightful.

Meticulous drawings and warm memories.

Master of his craft.

Dinner at Tao

Our friend Rachel suggested nearby Tao as our dinner destination. It was a loud and fun atmosphere filled with tacky young women dressed to the nines in short spandex dresses accompanied by cologne-dipped, greasy older men. (Trust me, it wasn’t a brothel!) I ordered pad thai, Andrew ordered Singapore fried rice, and Rachel ordered sushi. And there wasn’t an ounce of Lycra or Drakkar Noir among us.

The dining room was one ginormous double-height space featuring this imposing statue.

Since match boxes are becoming increasingly rare at restaurants, I was pleased that Tao still offered them.

P.S. The Loot

Shockingly, I didn’t build in a lot of time during this NYC trip to do major shopping but still managed to pick up a few mementos. I think postcards make some of the best souvenirs—they’re inexpensive, lightweight and packable.

These two beauties are from the Museum of American Illustration.The one on the left is by Steven Stipelman. The one on the right is by Yuko Shimizu.

Punk rocks. I can’t wait to pin these up in my office.

At the Met, I also splurged on this t-shirt because it’s the only piece of clothing by Rodarte I’ll ever be able to afford. I plan on pairing it with my spiky necklace by Fallon. #PunkforLightweights

Mad for punk plaid.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art | 1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street) | New York, NY 10028 | 212.535.7710 |

Sarabeth’s East | 1295 Madison Avenue (at 92nd Street) | New York, NY | 10128 | 212.410.7335 | | Yelp review

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | 1071 Fifth Avenue (at 89th Street)| New York, NY  10128| 212.423.3500 |

Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators | 128 East 63rd Street (between Park and Lexington Avenues) | New York, NY 10065 | 212.838.2560 |

Tao Asian Bistro | 42 East 58th Street (between Park & Madison Avenues) | New York, NY | 10022 | 212.888.2288 | | Yelp review


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