Saturday, April 30, 2011

echo: "what is art?"

"art should be an echo...a feeling of your heart...a mirror, a container of memory."
--jaume plensa, via joel henning/the wsj

newly installed echo, made of fiberglass resin, is 44 ft high...

mr. plensa's echo, in madison square park, looks eerie on a cloudy afternoon...

perhaps i will have a different feeling, when i see it in the full sunshine, and when the park is full of strollers and gazers.

you can see it too, through mid-august.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

read a good poem: the antilamentation

"regret nothing."


nyc, jan 2010.
photo © anita aguilar


Regret nothing. Not the cruel novels you read
to the end just to find out who killed the cook, not
the insipid movies that made you cry in the dark,
in spite of your intelligence, your sophistication, not
the lover you left quivering in a hotel parking lot,
the one you beat to the punch line, the door or the one
who left you in your red dress and shoes, the ones
that crimped your toes, don't regret those.
Not the nights you called god names and cursed
your mother, sunk like a dog in the living room couch,
chewing your nails and crushed by loneliness.
You were meant to inhale those smoky nights
over a bottle of flat beer, to sweep stuck onion rings
across the dirty restaurant floor, to wear the frayed
coat with its loose buttons, its pockets full of struck matches.
You've walked those streets a thousand times and still
you end up here. Regret none of it, not one
of the wasted days you wanted to know nothing,
when the lights from the carnival rides
were the only stars you believed in, loving them
for their uselessness, not wanting to be saved.
You've traveled this far on the back of every mistake,
ridden in dark-eyed and morose but calm as a house
after the TV set has been pitched out the window.
Harmless as a broken ax. Emptied of expectation.
Relax. Don't bother remembering any of it. Let's stop here,
under the lit sign on the corner, and watch all the people walk by.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

read a good poem: april rain song

park ave. april 19, 2010.

Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.

The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.
The rain makes running pools in the gutter.
The rain plays a little sleep-song on our roof at night—

And I love the rain.

--langston hughes via the poetry foundation

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

park ave: after eight...

i didn't think i'd miss missing the christian marclay exhibit when it was at paula cooper, but then a couple of weeks ago i read this zadie smith piece.

now all i can see are clocks.

the clock at 230 park avenue (the helmsley building).
april 19, 2011.

photo © anita aguilar

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

morning walks

broadway/19th street

i've been walking to work every morning, with few exceptions, for the last couple of months. sun, rain, "wintery mix" --the weather rarely hinders me.

i like how a city--any place, really--looks, feels, and sounds in the morning.
a photographer (i can't remember which one) had recently talked about looking at your city with the eye of a tourist. i think about that during my walks. i take photos occasionally--not many remarkable ones, as you see. but i frame a lot of them in my mind as i go. i notice the blocky shadows cast by air-conditioning units that jut out from big dreary apartment buildings on 36th street. i will realize a new view of the flatiron building from madison avenue. see buds and full blossoms on trees that had been fractured during "thundersnow 2011."

every day my route can be a little bit different. sometimes it is decided by "impatience." but i am rarely in a rush these days, so i don't always take the quickest, straightest path. i'll just choose one in the hopes of avoiding potential catastrophe (they are "underground blasting" on madison avenue and 37th. steer clear) or observing some new small thing or an interesting moment.

so i'll watch hard hats at work, surveying the streets or busting up ground or building something brand new. i'll see film and tv productions, which i am almost never in the mood to stop for (but i like walking by the big trucks, trails of thick yellow and orange cable, craft services tables). i notice delivery trucks (coca-cola barreling down 22nd street, two days in a row!) and the delivery people themselves: a familiar one, in a wheelchair, making his way up park avenue--and it is uphill-- in the cold rain.

i'll look for fashion-forward girls, take note of good short haircuts.

i judge everyone by their shoes.

but my favorite sights are the flower delivery people, always below 23rd street. i'm rarely quick enough to catch them, but i'll never forget the first time i really took notice--a tall, burly guy in a dark grey jumpsuit walked past me in the too cold drizzle, with a long glass vase filled with poofy peonies balanced on one arm, flouncing like a giant pink corsage. it made the whole walk worthwhile.

i hope you have good morning sights, too.
here are a few shots from monday...

from madison square park
from madison square park

fifth ave

broadway/union square

Sunday, April 17, 2011

stunning the senses

i spent the weekend "recipe testing" (to mostly disappointing results).

one dish invited you to make curry powder from scratch.

once you get your hands on the seven spices, it takes two minutes of toasting in a pan, to awaken the flavors, and less than a minute of grinding in a spice mill.

sadly, the aroma lingers for days.


they photograph beautifully, though.

coriander seeds
cumin seeds and black mustard
with turmeric and dried chili...

Friday, April 15, 2011

balaboosta: "go and see 'em some time..."

the translation is "the perfect housewife," but say the yiddish term "balaboosta" to me (or better yet, "let's go to balaboosta") and the first thing i imagine is that most undomestic of goddesses, mae west, hip-leaning against a door frame, diamonds all down her décolletage, declaring in her best hollywood-by-way-of-brooklyn delivery, "i got ya ba-la-boos-ta right here..."

is my imagination a little wild?

it's nothing compared to the dishes coming out of einat admony's kitchen.

imagine a marriage of the falafel and the meatball. in the wrong hands, it's "feel awful" to the nth power. but at balaboosta, it's a savory bonbon. it's light and a well-proportioned ratio--equal parts grass-fed beef and ground chickpeas. (though perhaps they are smart to offer only three to a plate?) the trio comes to you with a tahini dipping sauce in a deceptively deep bowl. there will be some sauce left over, and you'll be aching for some sort of pita bread to swipe every last lick.

and then imagine grilled pizza, with carrot puree. you might fear the sweetness? in reality, it's not unlike the the sweetness of a tomato sauce, but without the acidity. it's suave, but earthy (like the grilled pizza dough it sits on) with creamy goat cheese to add a spike of salt and the merest tang. caramelized onions are more forwardly sweet, but the right touch.

crispy cauliflower is one of the best good/bad appetizers i've had. it's a deftly deep-fried affair, rendering the thick stalk more like tender meat--or even clean, freshly fried calamari? currants, pine nuts and the zing of citrus dressing give this dish the air of a high-toned salad rather than something possibly, deeply taboo. (it's a small plate, anyway. share it, and enjoy every bite.)

the patatas bravas here are catalan style--served with a garlic aioli. and these potatoes are fierce. don't skip them.

i will order them next time, for sure, along with the crispy cauliflower (take 2), fried olives, "mortar and pestle" hummus, grilled lamb chops (or chicken under a brick), and date-banana bread pudding...


here are photos from the first visit:

libby: champagne, fresh pineapple, sage

cassava chips

crispy cauliflower with currants & pine nuts

falafel wrapped meatballs with tahini sauce

patatas bravas with za'atar and roasted garlic aïoli

grilled pizza with carrot purée, caramelized onions, goat cheese & cilantro

special thank you to ms. mollie, for the recommendation. and ms. rachel for the company.

Sunday, April 10, 2011