>> Wednesday, July 29, 2009
When it's not raining, there is a ton of stuff to do outside and for free in New York. And when it's raining, as it has been for most of the afternoon and apparently will continue to do for the next week, there's still a ton of (different, sometimes free, sometimes not stuff) to do in New York.
Tucked into a small space adjacent to its monumental MoMA neighbor, the American Folk Art Museum is well worth a stop. Current displays include an exhibit of Paula Nadelstern's Kaleidoscope Quilts. Free Fridays start at 5.30 pm and include a free concert. To be honest, the music was the least impressive part of my visit, but perhaps you'll encounter a more calming sound accompaniment. The quilts are truly incredible -- from the tiny piecing only visible up close to the mirage of kaleidoscopes from afar.
If you want to see an excellent piece of theater, head over to the Manhattan Theatre Club to watch the 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner, Ruined. Set in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ruined takes rape and recovery seriously. Though intense, the play is not without its humorous moments. The cast is incredible and wrestles with moral ambiguity throughout the performance, aided by several actors who play multiple conflicting roles. Student tickets are 1/3 the price of regular ones and well worth every penny.
And on a lighter note, there is of course food. I haven't eaten in House of Vegetarian (in chinatown) but I love the prevalence of vegetarian restaurants around me. Buddha Bodai brings together a cultural melange of patrons -- with monks, financial district kashrut adherents, vegetarian hipsters, and an occasional dash of Yiddish students sharing space and big tables. The food is delicious and while I've never had real shrimp, it was fun to order and eat fake shrimp (and be assured there was no fish in it as most fake shellfish contains other fish). The fake chicken is some of the best I've eaten and the meat-eaters at my table felt it was good too (having not eaten meat in 17 years, I'm not exactly qualified to render an opinion on its meatiness). The fake crab meat was disappointing, but that was the only less than stellar item. I would happily eat there frequently, especially because the prices are reasonable and the food filling.