This the final installment of my NYU Diaries, since I’m returning to Finland. Not that much to report this time. The summer seems to have finally arrived in NYC, just as I’m leaving. However I’m under the impression that NYC can get disgustingly hot in the summer, so I don’t really mind that I won’t be suffering from the heat. I did also get one lovely sunny day on Long Beach Island, which is not something that is generally accessible for tourists. My last week was quite lazy, but I tried to catch up with some touristy things that I wanted to do. These included the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.
The Met is huge, and I can’t claim to have seen very much of it. The collections are impressive, but it was much too crowded. The main attraction at the moment is the Alexander McQueen exhibit, Savage Beauty, of which much fuss has been in the air. You actually have to queue to see it. I was fairly ambivalent about the whole thing, but I did like it. Some of the less extravagant pieces had a certain simple elegance to them. The whole concept makes me wonder about one thing though: if these items of clothing are not meant to be worn, and in many cases could not be worn, then why should they be items of clothing in the first place, why not just create a scuplture or something? I can appreciate that they are supposed to be works of art, but then again, the standards for the fashion industry are nothing like the standards for most modern art. So something seems to be amiss here. Anyway, more impressive for me personally was the collection of European art from the Renaissance period. I’m especially keen on Rembrandt, and I was pleased to discover his painting of Aristotle and the bust of Homer.
The MoMa has a very impressive collection, although the contemporary section was not very convincing. It’s the fifth floor especially that I would recommend, with many iconic pieces such as Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. However, I was hoping to see much more Dali. They do have The Persistence of Memory, which is probably Dali’s best known piece, but although it is magnificient, it’s not my favourite by any means — it lacks the detail of some of his other works. Still, the MoMa’s collection was probably the most interesting for me of the few museum that I had the opportunity to visit.
The heat put me off my plans for dedicated photography shoots. I wanted to capture some of the architecture in particular, as well as take a few shots at the Central Park, but it’s not so much fun when it’s boiling hot. There would also have been numerous bars and (vegan) restaurants that I would’ve liked to explore, but I guess I got a pretty good sample. I did still manage to go to the upscale Upper East Side vegan restaurant Candle 79, but I wasn’t very impressed: the $20 paella that I had was nothing special, although my date’s Burrito 79 seemed good, and the Mexican Chocolate Brownie that we shared for dessert was excellent. Anyway, I didn’t feel that the $100 bill was justified — you can eat pretty well in NYC for that money!
Oh, I’m back into running a bit more — in fact I ran a full marathon in training this week, in 3:19:31 (Garmin data here). That’s about 20min faster than my marathon time from Helsinki last summer, so there’s no doubt that I can beat it this year. I’m thinking of aiming for sub 3:10 in Helsinki in August (it’s a tough course), and if that goes well I’ll try to get as close as possible to 3h flat in Amsterdam in October. Still some training to be done before that though!
Well, that’s about it. Part of me is very sad to leave NYC, especially because I’ve had the opportunity to spend a fair amount of time with someone whom I really got along with. My time here was always going to be limited though, so it was difficult to grow any roots. There are also some places here that will always be special for me, and I look forward to visiting them again. I’ve already looked into the possibility of coming back to the US next year, as my project’s budget allows for another 3-4 month visit. I feel like I have a decent appreciation of North America in general now, as I got to visit a few different places — it’s not at all out of the question that I will look into the job market here, which I haven’t really considered so far. But for now, other adventures await!