Thursday, May 27, 2010

MoMA Garden Party

Okay, so we're big supporters of the Museum of Modern Art, and when we learned that a garden party would be held in their lovely courtyard between 9 PM and Midnight on Tuesday, we thought it would be fun to attend.

Because we don't live all that far from MoMA and because it was an especially lovely night on Tuesday, we decided to walk. We did this in spite of the fact that Karen was wearing quite high party heels. Somehow, she can go almost anywhere in them. At any rate, there we were, strolling through Central Park and then along 5th Avenue. As we neared the 54th Street right turn to MoMA, I suggested to Karen that we play a game. "Will the entrance to MoMA be quiet and deserted," I asked her, "or will there be hundreds of well dressed twenty-somethings thronging the street outside the Museum?" She guessed that it would be quiet, as did I. But even before we made the turn we could see how wrong we were. The entrance to the museum on 54th Street that they happened to be using that night is about 1/3 of the way down the street, but the line of well-dressed twenty-somethings was already pushing out to 5th Avenue. What was going on?

Fortunately, we asked someone and learned that the line was for people who were trying to purchase tickets at the door, whereas we had acquired advance tickets. We felt just a bit haughty walking past all these glamorous people and right into the museum and the courtyard pulsating with loud music and streaked with flashes of color emanating from a strobe light. Food was not their forte, just nuts, popcorn, crackerjacks, and cheese puffs, but the wine and the mixed drinks flowed endlessly. Before we could get our bearings, we each retrieved some sort of orange marmalade margarita from a tray held by migrating waiters, but quickly jettisoned these rather bizarre concoctions in favor of a glass of wine.

Then, we found a good spot to stand (no sitting at the MoMA Garden Party) and watched this uninterrupted wave of prosperous New Yorkers strut by. Our best sighting was the artist Chuck Close in his now signature wheelchair - fully automated and elevated - and his companion, an absolutely smashing-looking supermodel type. As soon as she saw Close, Karen went to his side, toasted the cup he was holding in his hand, and said "we love you." We almost feel we know Close, as we have seen his super-realist paintings many times, watched a documentary about him on New Year's Eve, and said hello to him at a gallery opening a couple of years ago. Interestingly, we are going to see him next week in a conversation with Oliver Sacks, as they both suffer from an inability to recall people's faces.

Well, anyway, we did some of the best people watching of our lives at this party. There was supposed to be live music, but that didn't get going until we were ready to leave at around 11:30. By then, we were tired, and, truth be told, a bit tipsy (you know, we couldn't resist the endless flow of liquor). It was great, incredibly decadent fun, but only for a once in a great while occasion. Maybe we'll do something like it again in a couple of years to see if the bold and beautiful of New York remain as glitzy as ever.

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