Pic of the Week: The Governor’s Island Spectacular

If New York City weren’t cool enough (I don’t mean temperature-wise, of course!), now you can feast your eyes on an amazing outdoor exhibit on Governor’s Island by artist, Mark di Suvero.  The many massive sculptures are constructed from industrial materials such as I-beams and salvaged steel.  Even mallets are available for visitors to hit the sculptures and hear the “musical” sounds that emanate.  The show will here through the Fall.

Pic of the Week: A Taste of the Cape

Ahhh the Beach

Our first full day, awesome!  Take a look at some of the pics from today’s activities, including a bit of preppiness from “downtown” Chatham.

Chatham house
Beach in Eastham, MA
A taste of preppy Chatham
"Puritan Cape Cod" (that's the name!)
Main St at Night

Pic of the Week: Amazing Figurines Line Broadway

I was walking to work through New York’s garment district yesterday and was struck by a beautiful installation of translucent, delicate, red figurines all in different poses hovering above our heads. And they even change color depending on the light!

Remember last year’s “Sidewalk Catwalk” project which lined Broadway with mannequins dressed in fashions from superstar designers, like Diane Von Furstenberg and Michael Kors? While these figures are “daintier” than those, they are actually more striking.

The exhibit is called “The Fashion District Pilings Project,” by Brooklyn artist Joan Benefiel. The effort is organized by the Fashion Center Business Improvement District and will be on display through Aug. 31.

“The figures simultaneously convey a sense of precariousness and joy. And so it is to live our lives — something that I think everyone can relate to, especially New Yorkers,” Benefiel said in a statement.

Thank you New York City for adding so much beauty to my daily walk to and from work.


Weekend Observations: Manhattan the Beautiful

Ah, July 4th weekend.  There’s always a mass exodus of Manhattanites from the hot steamy streets of New York City to the Hamptons, the “Shore” or up the Hudson.  Certainly it’s much more beautiful outside the City, no?
Ummm, maybe not.  As I was jogging along the West Side Highway this afternoon I was awestruck by the amazing new statues erected along the boardwalk from 59th st to 65th st.  See below for more pics.  They’re  magnificent and make the boardwalk that much more beautiful (to say nothing of giving me the uplift I needed for my run).
Unlike the wooden structures I spoke about last year that blend in to the landscape (Weekend Observations: Stonehendge Along the Highway), these pieces are intricate, well-crafted wooden, metal or stone sculptures that immediately stand out and catch you off guard.  Each has a unique story on an accompanying plaque to intrigue you further.
Not only do I have the pleasure of running along the river with the smell of flowers wafting around me and trees to shade my path, but I now have amazing, beautiful artistic feats by my fellow New Yorkers to inspire me.
So if you want a beautiful experience on the 4th of July, you many not need to leave town anymore.  Just take a jog in my ‘hood.
Happy Holiday!

Weekend Observations: What a Bunch of Horses Can Tell Us

It was raining, late and I had to schlep downtown.  Yet none of these typical roadblocks stopped me from going with my friend to an art exhibit we were invited to.  Our expectation: some great work, a few glasses of good wine and a little networking.

But we were so hectic this week, we didn’t read our invitations correctly and ended up instead at a little, relatively-unattended show having no semblance of the work we expected to see.

To make matters worse, the showing consisted of about 10 photos of wild horses.  That’s it.  My thinking was that, okay, after about 5 minutes of horsing around (I know, horrible, but I just couldn’t resist!), what are we supposed to do?

But since we made the trip (and screwed up my husband’s ambition of going to his karate class), I pushed myself to “get into it.”  It turns out, the photos were totally arresting.  Roberto Dutesco, the photographer, was able to capture amazing scenes of horses in their purely natural state.

And the back story is even more captivating.  It turns out these horses live on Sable Island off Canada, an uninhabited island save for 2 people — the caretaker of the island and the scientist who studies and cares for the horses.  So these horses know no fear, no limitations and no human civilization for that matter.  They are truly free, and as you can see from the photo, strikingly beautiful.

Dutesco’s goal, he says, is to open people’s eyes to the beauty of the world’s natural state.  And, he hopes, this will encourage us all to treat our lands and, ultimately, one another in a more responsible, loving manner.

He summed up by saying, “luxury is about being aware.”   How true is that?!  The more we see, I mean really see, the more we appreciate.  And the more we recognize the beauty around us — our kids’ sense of humor, our friends’ compassion, the crisp air on an October day, and our favorite body feature — the richer we feel.

Of course that’s easier said then done when there’s laundry to be done, legs to shave and presentations to write.  But we all can try to be a bit more “aware” every day, no?  At the very least, I’ll never underestimate the tiny, neighborhood exhibit again!

Beauty, a Symbol of Potential

source: L.A. Times Magazine

What is beautiful?  The human being’s unique ability to turn ugliness into splendor. Take Clare Graham’s creations from garbage and discarded materials as proof (see article in L.A. Times Magazine entitled Wonderama).

To develop something beautiful out of something ugly not only means there’s one lovelier thing to look at.  It demonstrates our ability to change ourselves, our destinies, and the world around us.

Of course we’re not changing the world everyday, but we can still be reminded of this potential thanks to the beauty we see around us.  It can be as small as what you create tonight for dinner or as grand as Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.  It’s as obvious as Geoffrey Canada’s turnaround of Harlem schools or as quiet as my older son’s painting framed in my office.  It’s as striking as a Zak Posen gown or as cute as a braid in my daughter’s hair.

So let’s appreciate the big or little examples of beauty around us because, in effect, we’re celebrating the amazing possibility of humankind.

Weekend Observations: Stonehendge Along the Highway

Welcome to a new feature of my blog: Weekend Observations.  Since my weekends tend to focus on family and personal obligations, my perspectives on beauty may go in different directions.  Hope you enjoy them!
In typical Sunday fashion, my husband, Marc, and I throw the kids into the back of the car and go food shopping.  Some typical destinations are Costco in Spanish Harlem and Fairway, a large supermarket on the upper west side of Manhattan.  On our way back from Fairway, we took the West Side Highway, which runs parallel to the Hudson River.  Until recently, a 20 block stretch along the river was under construction.  Now that it’s refurbished, we were focusing on the new view on our ride home.  We noticed that every few feet along a particular part of the river now stand sculptures made of raw wood branches.  In fact, my kids first thought they were just piles of fallen tree remains.  But that’s the genius of them.  Somebody took great pains to create unusual, beautiful sculptures that both blend in with and stand out from the environment.
This wasn’t the first time I had seen them.  A few weeks ago I went running along the river in an attempt to get “bikini ready” (given my klutzy nature, I ended up totally wiping out and getting a huge gash on my knee…oh well, bikini ready for Ripley from “Aliens”).  Somewhere between 95th and 125th streets I saw these unusual art forms.  I, too, was confused as to what they were until I saw many more along the path.  Though I was suffering on one level (no shade along the path, the wipeout, and, let’s face it, running is hard for us mortals), I was also inspired.  The simplicity of the sculptures contrasted sharply with the highway scene on the other side of the jogging path.  They looked almost prehistoric.  The fact that the city developed a boardwalk along the river was beautiful enough, but then to add these unique sculptures was amazing.  It gave me more pep in my step, which made it possible for me to jog the rest of the way home.
Ancient civilizations understood the power of beauty — think Stonehenge, hieroglyphics, the pyramids, etc.  Beauty is both primal and progressive, spiritual and concrete.  Even if it means that we witness beauty through the windows of a speeding car on the West Side Highway, I’m grateful that my city values my family and me enough to offer us a few minutes of inspiration.

Thursday Nights in the Summer

There’s something special about Thursday nights in NYC during the summer.  If you were outside like I was last night (walking home from the office) you would have seen all the couples strolling to their various date destinations — restaurants, bars, hotels, clubs and the like.  It struck me how great it is to see men and women all dressed up for a night together.  With three kids and a full-time job I tend to be more of an observer of this behavior than a participant.  I’m sure many of these couples were still in their honeymoon phase — getting to know each other, trying to impress their date, or trying to look great when meeting their date’s friends for the first time.  But I’m sure many of these couples were also “long-timers,” that is they’ve been together for a while and there was no need to “impress” anymore.  And, yet, they still chose to go the extra mile to look fantastic.  What’s truly beautiful isn’t just that their hair, make-up and outfits looked amazing but that they chose to put effort into how they looked for each other. It was actually inspiring.  In a small way this effort symbolizes all the other things we do as couples to keep our love fun, fresh and thriving.  Looking beautiful for each other is a beautiful thing.
Now its my turn to go that extra mile.  Good thing I just got a new haircut 🙂

Seriously Fun

I was in Sephora over the weekend checking out what’s new.  I like to go in every so often to see what interesting brands have launched or just to get a new look.  I even bring along my daughter and we try out different perfumes or eye shadows together.  No question about it, Sephora is fun.  So much creativity to be had.  So much sensory delight to absorb.  But it’s not a relaxing sort of fun.  In fact it’s quite an intense experience.  The electricity is palpable. At any given second, women (and some men) are applying, undoing and reapplying colors with a ton of focus and energy.
Contrary to many opinions out there, make-up isn’t frivolous.  No way.  It’s pretty serious stuff.  It’s a way to express yourself, and that’s critical for self-esteem and personal development.  But, even more importantly, make-up can be transformative.  And the ability to transform is fundamental to being an American.  We should all have the ability to be whoever we want.  That’s what our forefathers and foremothers fought for centuries ago, and what all immigrants expect when they step into this country.  Of course we can’t necessarily change our personality, financial status or career overnight.  But with a bit of time, effort and cash we can change our appearance.  In the end, make-up isn’t just fun, creative or even gratifying.  It’s empowering. And no one can call power frivolous.


The World Cup, An Art Form


While waiting for Borders Bookstore to open this morning at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan, I had, for the first time in ages, NOTHING to do.  My emails had all been read (even re-read), voice mails responded to, and store windows checked out for any new outfits.  I was stuck.  I had 20 more minutes more until the store doors were to open.  After I stashed my Blackberry, I looked up and was immediately struck by some of the most vivid, intriguing, emotionally striking paintings I had seen in a long time.  And, believe it or not, they were of soccer players!
You may be scratching you head thinking, “paintings, soccer players, huh?” Sure, up until now I’ve written about appearance.  But, as you will see, this blog celebrates all kinds of beauty.  Now back to the paintings…
In support of the 2010 World Cup, ESPN commissioned South Africa based Am I Collective to paint depictions of each of the 32 teams competing in the games (the exhibit was curated by Wieden+Kennedy NY).  Inspired by hand-painted art found on the streets of South Africa, each magnificent painting tells a powerful story of a particular team.  I am anything but a sports fan.  Sure, I’m all for physical activities to stay in shape, clear my mind, etc., but I find no interest in watching or following sports.  But these paintings just mesmerized me. In fact, I was moved even hours later.
As cliché as this sounds, beauty is all around us.  We just have to look up from our tempting Blackberries, iPhones and laptops to find it.  During the jog I took a few hours later, I took this discovery to heart and really tried to take in the sights and smells of the park.  It was wonderful.  I know we’re always on the run, especially as Americans — there’s always something to do around the corner.  But let’s all force ourselves to look up and around sometimes.  We never know what beauty we may find.