artNotes from Hyde House: Imagine springing forward

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For a week everywhere I went around town someone reminded me of the time change—that we should make our clocks spring forward. “Don’t forget!” they kept saying. Every year no matter how many kindly encouragements I hear, I get to twirling, and I almost always forget to make the change.

This year I put a reminder prompt on my cell phone. Voilà! Daylight Saving Time began last Sunday, and David and I remembered to set ahead every clock in our house. Thank goodness our digital devices take care of themselves, even my Fitbit.

I recall the wisdom of the comic genius, the sometimes “Captain Marvel”, Stan Lee: “You know, my motto is ‘Excelsior’,” he said.  “That’s an old word that means ‘upward and onward to greater glory.’ It’s on the seal of the State of New York. Keep moving forward….”

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Thinking of the State of New York and moving forward, we’ll soon be heading east to meet our granddaughter Sophie’s new little sister Alexandra. We’ll have four glorious days with the girls and their parents and their Dobie, Trooper, in their new home beside an expansive old horse farm. We’ll get to play, play, play indoors and out and visit their favorite go-to places (playgrounds and pastry shops!). The day Sophie goes back to school we’ll take the train into the city.

One glorious day we’ll have to adventure in this fabulous metropolis I used to call home. Of course there’s the temptation to spend our precious time with my walking David up and down my memory lanes through my old haunts and neighborhoods in Manhattan’s Chelsea and Greenwich Village and in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens. Instead we’re planning our “art and parks” agenda to look something like this:

We’ll start early and be waiting when the doors swing open beneath the grand arched and columned entrance of the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art). Packed with 5,000 years of human history told in art, this place can be overwhelming, so we’ll have to pick and choose. I’ll want to visit one of my favorites —the tinted bronze and tutu-ed (2018 refreshed) fourteen-year-old Little Dancer exquisitely rendered by Edgar Degas. Maybe we’ll take in a major current exhibition or just wander through until we find ourselves in the rooftop sculpture gardens overlooking Central Park with stunning views of the city’s impressive skyline.

In Central Park we’ll weave among the bikers and runners and skaters and puppy walkers. There are plenty of canines to see. The statue of the famed sled dog, Balto, has been a treasure for almost a century. Just one of the park’s touching memorials.

Making our way past the old Dairy and the Carousel to The Pond and the Arcade and the female artist designed Bethesda Fountain, we’ll cross over the Bow Bridge with boaters paddling beneath us. We’ll go past the Sheep Meadow, where I used to play Frisbee, turn cartwheels and practice the Lindy with my kids on our picnic brunch Sundays. This day David and I will stand quietly at New York City’s living memorial to former Beatles member, songwriter, musician, artist and peace activist John Lennon.

Fashioned similarly to the original flowing design of the park, the area is lined with tall elm trees, shrubs, flowers and rocks. This teardrop shaped region was a park favorite of Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono. They lived in the Dakota Apartments adjacently located to this space. Looking up at the Dakota towers we’ll feel again the sorrow of hearing on December 8, 1980, that John Lennon had been shot dead when walking into his home.

To commemorate his life and talents, on March 26, 1981, City Council Member Henry J. Stern designated this area as Strawberry Fields after the title of the Beatles’ song “Strawberry Fields Forever.” The iconic black and white “Imagine” mandala mosaic was designed by a team of artists from the Italian city of Naples. Named after another famous song by John Lennon, “Imagine” evokes a vision and hope for a world without strife, war and conflict. A bronze plaque lists the more than 120 countries that planted flowers and donated money for the maintenance of the area; they have also endorsed Strawberry Fields as a Garden of Peace.

While there we’ll surely think of our Carthage friend, Sandy Higgins—lover of art and artists, founder and first director of artCentral, peacenik and admirer of John Lennon and all the goodness for which he stood.

Carrying the peace of this place, we’ll move beyond the park to meander through the energized city streets and grab a quick bite of lunch off a vendor’s cart and find a bistro for a sidewalk cappuccino. We’ll spend an art afternoon at MOMA followed by a long trek down The High Line before we return home to our sweet New Jersey family and our plane ride back to our furries and feathers in Carthage where spring will surely be moving forward all around us.

Just imagine!

 

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