After more than six weeks traveling in Morocco, Manhattan seems so clean, organized and civilized.
The sidewalks are wide and nicely paved, and they do not have potholes that can swallow a small cow.
The people are well dressed, manicured and even the “rough guys” seem so affluent in comparison, well dressed and orderly….
We have totally different standards of abundance than they do in Morocco…
I just remembered walking down a market street in Essaouira, Morocco, wearing my cheap practical fleece that I bought for a discount at the Sports Authority chain store for $10, when a young merchant whistled in admiration: “Wow… Nice Columbia Fleece… How much you paid for it in your country?… Nice… Very, very nice…”
The architecture in this city is amazing….
I always felt that the architecture in NYC was fascinating, but now after seeing adobe desert architecture and crumbling Medinas, the buildings in NYC look like advanced mansions of abundance from outer space…
There are stone carvings and copper accents to some amazing buildings, and Gothic architecture rubs shoulders with sleek modern buildings, or oddly shaped glass buildings that catch the light in the most interesting ways.
I felt magic in the air of NYC, as I walked and photographed the streets…
Horse-drawn beautiful carts circled Central Park, and the yellow cabs looked like dots of sunflowers under the tall buildings.
It is mid-November now and a bit cool, but it feels as if winter were kept at bay, and the fall colors added a gentle soft touch to the feel of the city.
We visited the Museum of Modern Art, and saw murals painted by the famous Mexican Painter Diego Rivera.
The exhibit included some frescos that he painted on location at the MOMA, in the 1930s.
They have not been shown at MOMA since then, and it was wonderful to see them now, along with his drawings and sketches, that he did while planning his compositions.
The next day we decided to see some of the temporary art exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art.
We took a long walk from our hotel, and cut through Central Park, to enjoy the changing colors of the trees, as they shed their leaves and prepare for winter.
As we entered the park, almost immediately I stood in total awe….
My heart skipped a beat and my eyes got moist… I was so touched by the beauty surrounding me….
Carpets of fallen leaves crackled under my feet as I walked… Mothers were pushing babies in carriages, runners were running through the paths, lovers were holding hands and photographing each other under the colorful trees by the lakes…
The colors were absolutely mesmerizing.
They ranged from soft pinks to deep crimson, from deep Alizarin red to soft pale orange.
There were greens of all shades and yellows that made my heart expand…
Central Park is the lungs of the city.
As we walked the acres of beautifully planted trees, rocks, hills and ponds, I felt life pulsating inside me and I was engulfed with gratitude…..
I felt grateful to be alive and to be here…in this beautiful city which I love….
And then a soft breeze blew the leaves of the tree that I was standing under, covering me with multicolored leaves that fell gently on my hair crowning me with gold…… They felt like soft snow flakes.
I felt like crying….. The beauty felt so magical and it felt overwhelming…..almost too much for me to contain…
We came upon a bridge covered in red ivy, stretched over a pond with green ducks…the squirrels ran over the roots of trees, and birds flew in large groups overhead….
Some of the distant high-rise buildings towered high behind the trees…. Twisted tree barks and long tree limbs reached into the vast sky, their leaves glowing in the fall sun.
I was so touched that I decided to paint a series of thick oil paintings of “Autumn in New York.”
When I declared my idea to Jules, we started taking photos with the intention of using them as inspiration for compositions for the series.
We saw a group of volunteers, helping to trim branches of some trees that fell in the last storm that hit the park in late October.
Fall in Manhattan is truly a magical time of the year.
I felt so touched and elated…
Our visit to the Met Museum was stunning too.
This museum has a massive collection of the best art and crafts that the human race has ever created.
It is truly one of the best four museums in the whole world.
We also ate good food while in NYC.
We visited our beloved Hangawi Korean Vegetarian restaurant and tried their Autumn tasting menu that included a stuffed persimmon, an array of delicious veg seasonal appetizers, a great soup, an avocado hot stone rice bowl and a vegan chocolate mouse dessert with soy ice-cream.
We were seated next to three young and attractive women who shared experiences about being young mothers in NYC.
They talked about their maids and nannies, and husbands working late to pay the bills for their boats and ridiculously expensive apartments.
Listening to them I thought of the struggling poor mothers that I saw while in Morocco…. They were a whole world apart….
These young mothers who do not work, spend their days at the gym, or at the hair and nail salons, trying to stay attractive for their high powered husbands who are working on Wall Street and earning high salaries in exchange for their precious time while spending the hours of their lives working in offices in boring jobs, just to pay for a lifestyle they have no time to enjoy….
Still it was fascinating to listen to them and to observe another aspect of the human array…
I felt like an anthropologist exploring the many facades of the human race…. From the markets in Morocco, where mothers tie their infants to their dusty bodies with a thin old cloth, to the upscale lifestyle of NYC where mothers talk about whether it is appropriate to have lunch with their Maids or not….
We ate a breakfast of Onigiris, which are triangular Japanese rice balls, wrapped in Nori or in thin Yuba, stuffed with pickles, served with miso soup.
They also had a good selection of Japanese teas.
We walked all the way from our hotel to 45st and 3rd Ave to enjoy this breakfast in a tiny place that was run entirety by Japanese women.
It was yummy and a great start to the day of many hours of walking and taking pictures, enjoying great art and falling in love with NYC again….A city that put on her best Autumn colored dress for us….
on another night, we had dinner with Richard, Jules’ brother.
We needed to get downtown.
The line of people looking for a taxi at our hotel was ridiculously long.
A young curly haired woman with a folded massage table, asked if anyone were going downtown and willing to share a ride.
We said that we were going downtown…
We shared a ride with this friendly massage therapist, who happened to be a warm and bubbly girl.
She told us about working in NYC, and we shared stories about traveling in Morocco, which she had seen twice.
When we got to Lafayette Street, we gave her the taxi fare for the whole ride.
She thanked us graciously.
I remembered my own time in NYC, when I lived here…… I was broke and working hard, barely able to pay the bills….it felt nice to help a young girl in a very small way.
We had a lovely time with Jules’ brother Richard, sharing stories and catching up.
After dinner, the weather turned drizzly, so I gave up on my plans to photograph the city at night, with the amazing city lights and the full moon… And we accepted Richard’s offer to drive us to our hotel instead.
I had a wonderful time in this artsy city.
Today we plan to visit the Guggenheim or the Whitney Art Museum before we leave the city and go……H O M E.
Traveling is exciting and we have seen so much… Done so much… Had so many beautiful experiences… But I miss the comforts of home…
I miss my studio SO VERY MUCH…..
And I miss Big Yellow, our comfortable loft sofa, on which I lay in the afternoons with a bowl of cherries or with a cup of tea, read books, dream and snooze….