Month: August, 2006

Wedding at The Lighthouse

Saturday, August 5th, 2006 | All Things, Events, Friends

DK’s big day! Since neither SYB nor I were bringing dates, we agreed to meet at my apartment in the morning for the taxi ride to Chelsea Piers. As soon as I entered, I was delighted to see a familiar face in JE, the old college roommate, whom I hadn’t seen since running into her at The Conservatory Gardens two or three years ago. She was positively glowing with the news of her two-weeks’ old engagement. Her fiance was with her, in town from California; they’d met last year at her best friend’s wedding. How romantic (and inspiring)!

Best man HH came by to greet us as we were sipping our pre-ceremony seltzers in the foyer. Groom DK strolled in shortly afterwards, looking a little nervous, but otherwise happy. I hadn’t seen the boys in tuxes since our high school prom, and the sight of them as grown men, dashing in their wedding finery, made me a little nostalgic.

Show time. At my insistence, SYB, DK’s friend JR and I snagged seats near the front, overlooking the Hudson. The venue was as lovely as I remembered from touring it three years ago with J & J when they were considering wedding locales. The days-long heatwave had broken and the skies were clear and almost impossibly blue. The stage was set for a perfect day.


Short, sweet ceremony. DK’s twin nieces made adorable flower girls. The bride was, of course, beautiful in her white gown, but the range of emotions playing across DK’s face as she made her walk towards him down the aisle is what I will remember most.

A cocktail hour followed during which I had the opportunity to mingle with the other guests, none of whom I knew or recognized. HH introduced me to two of LC(K?)’s brothers and I chatted with one of DK’s cousins while we were in line for the smoked salmon and carved Smithfield ham. Probably spent the most time with LK’s friends, an architect/purse-designer couple from Park Slope. I was describing to them how I’d been friends with DK, HH and SYB since junior high school and the wife observed, “So you’re the girl! You’re their Elaine!” Which got me to thinking: can that possibly be true?

Naturally, this led to a discussion of the other characters in the dysfunctional quartet. Ultimately, we couldn’t decide whether DK or HH would be Jerry, but SYB would definitely be the Kramer.

According to Wikipedia:

Elaine is mostly a victim of fate throughout the series. Her storylines see her caught up in the machinations of the other characters, or coming into conflict either with inadequate boyfriends or the arbitrary requirements of her eccentric employers. Many episodes end with Elaine ruining something for someone.


During the luncheon, I was seated at a table with HH, SYB, other friends of LK and a former co-worker of DK’s, who rather curiously brought her married, vegetarian trainer as her date.

The band and singer performed a classic rotation of American standards and smooth-jazz dining music. Perhaps due to the early hour, or the whims of the crowd, there was actually very little dancing after the bride and groom had their first dance to “At Last.” I was determined not to be a wallflower, though, and even managed to coax turns out of HH, SYB and JE’s fiance, SS.
Wedding table

Wedding cake
Flower girls

As the festivities wound down, HH managed to snag 1.5 centerpieces for me — someone had cherry-picked the roses and swiped the vase of one, stuffing the remainders into a wine glass. We picked up our photo favors, and SYB accompanied me with the flowers to my place to change and recharge while HH wrapped up his best man duties for the day. After all the early excitement, it was probably no surprise that I ended up passing out in a champagne/cocktail haze until HH called to reconvene upon his return from Brooklyn.

After burgers at the Fairway Cafe, the three of us caught the 10:30PM show of Talladaga Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. It seemed I had vastly underestimated the draw of Will Ferrell; by the time we arrived just before 10:00 (having wisely purchased our tickets before dinner), the line snaked along the entire length of the second floor. Nonetheless, we still managed decent seats in the sold-out theatre.

I once read Ferrell described as “shame immune,” and I think that could well be the crux of his appeal. John C. Reilly (as best friend Cal) and Sacha Baron Cohen (as Ricky’s gay, Formula Un nemesis) provided impressively solid, comic support — which prevented the film from relying too heavily on Ferrell’s signature screaming and stripping. Despite a nagging headache, I found myself laughing aloud in parts. It seems Ferrell has rebounded nicely from the nadir of Bewitched (which I actually did see in a theatre, but for free… and even then felt it was not worth the 102 minute investment.)

So in spite of not experiencing JE’s wedding luck in love, it was a nice ending to an eventful day.

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Tantric Siddhas and Dirty Birds

Friday, August 4th, 2006 | All Things, Arts, Eats

The Rubin Museum of Art opened in October 2004, in the Chelsea building on 17th Street formerly occupied by Barneys. I remember window-shopping through the same space when it was a department store — the Rubins, Shelley and Donald, bought the building in a bankruptcy sale for $22M to showcase their vast personal collection of predominantly Tibetan-region art, dating from the fourteenth through nineteenth centuries.

The most striking feature of the exhibition space is the six-story spiral staircase — original to the department store’s design. Architect Richard Blinder and graphic designer Milton Glaser (creator of the “I *heart* NY” logo and the DC Comics circular logo that was in use until 2005) are credited with the museum’s transformation.

RMA spiral staircase

The collection focuses on paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs. This night, we were treated to a gallery tour and storytelling session focused on how gender lines are blurred in the imagery and folklore of Himalayan art traditions, during which I was struck by the museum’s guide/historian’s obvious passion for her work. The fifth and sixth floor galleries were taken up by a special exhibit entitled “Holy Madness: Portraits of Tantric Siddhas,” which focused on spritually accomplished men and women (siddhas ) who possessed magical spiritual and physical powers. Like stopping the sun to avoid paying a tavern bill — fun stuff!

One gallery is devoted to a fantastic mural being painted through the end of the year by Himalayan-trained Tibetan artist Pema Rinzin, on a residency sponsored by the RMA and The School of Visual Arts, where he will be teaching a Tibetan painting course in the Fall. When I arrived, he was talking animatedly with a couple about his previous eight-year project in Japan. His painting technique involves hand grinding mineral stone into a water and rabbit-skin extract solution and painstakingly applying it to the the wall with a tiny brush.


On Friday nights through mid-September, the museum plays host to CabaretCinema, an innovative themed film program. Their first floor K2 Lounge is a slick space serving drinks and light bites, and set up for live performances and DJ turns.

Afterwards, we stopped in for dinner at Dirty Bird to Go, the newish West Village organic fried chicken spot. Good — if slightly pricey — fried chicken: ours arrived hot, crisp and not too thickly battered. The shallot cornbread had a different texture than what I was used to — flatter, denser — but was nonetheless tasty.

We pulled up stools at the counter overlooking 14th Street, from which we could watch the fascinating array of Friday nightlife scenes unfold.

Dirty Bird to Go

Chicken dinner

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Crochet class: loose ends

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006 | All Things, Classes

Attended my final crochet class at Cooper Union tonight. The extreme heat – three straight days of at least 100 degree temperatures at both LaGuardia and Newark airports – seemed to keep people several at home. Even Con Ed dismissed their non-essential employees early. Tonight our ranks numbered just five, plus instructor Lisa.

Cooper Union

We reviewed our patterns from last week and launched into hairpin lace crochet. This technique, unlike the others we learned during the course, is worked on a small handheld loom, sometimes called a staple – actually a two-pronged fork of adjustable width – on which one makes interconnecting loops using a crochet hook. Early practitioners of this craft worked their stitches onto an actual hairpin, giving the technique its name. The result is an open, airy weave, suitable for lace and edgings, or interconnected to form a lightweight fabric. The ends can also be cut for fringe, left free-hanging as loops, or finished off.

My first attempt was pretty dismal, as usual: the tension wasn’t quite right, and my stitches, once removed from the loom, had a way of curling up into a hopeless-looking wad. Argh. But through perseverance – and some extra attention from the ever-patient instructor – I eventually ended up with two pieces that could be coaxed to lay flat. I still think it’s a somewhat old-fashioned-looking technique – even more so than standard crochet – but with more practice, and prettier yarns, this could be used to create a sweet-looking shawl. Or worked up with thin wires and interspersed beading for some funky cuffs or necklaces?



I’m only just getting into the possibilities. Cooper Union is offering a more advanced, craft-focused version of this class in the Fall: Purses, Pillows and Chapeaus: Exploring Shape, Structure and Design. I’m very interested in their New York City History course, but with my Russian class re-starting at NYU in September, there just don’t seem to be enough days in the week.

I bid farewell to my classmates and left Cooper Union just before 10pm. It had rained sometime during my class: the ground was still wet in spots, and the temperature had dropped some 15 degrees. Sweet relief! It was actually pleasant enough weather to walk… not the entire way home, but to the West Village, where I caught the 1 uptown.

Jefferson Market at night:

Jefferson Market
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