These are perilous times, and my democracy grief is overpowering. No one is selling tickets for civility and truth, so I grab tickets to Medea at Brooklyn Academy of Music.
BAM’s contemporary production is harrowing and utterly relatable. Based on the bloody, catastrophic tale written 431 BC, modern Medea is brutal and raw — at times, difficult to watch. Set in a seamless white rectangle, the production has stunning visual impact.
We digest the muscular drama with a late-night meal at nearby Caffe e Vino, a classic bistro serving northern Italian fare. Standouts include savory polenta with veal, buttery sage pasta, and lemony Torta della Nonna — best I have had on either side of the Atlantic.
My rescue-remedy includes a space-age trip down memory lane at JFK’s TWA Hotel, a shrine to brilliant Finnish architect, Eero Saarinen.
Adding to the sensation of mid-century zoom is a vintage Lockheed Constellation plane just outside the lipstick-red “Connie” cocktail lounge. We enjoy a few Royal Ambassador Martinis, served with three olives and shiny TWA flight wings.
The soaring lobby of the former Terminal 5 has identical Saarinen and Hughes wings (for TWA founder Howard Hughes). Guest rooms have floor-to-ceiling views of working runways, astonishingly soundproof. Get a good night’s sleep and dream of the 1960s.
The inspired Saarinen drawing above confirms my deeply held belief that some of the world’s greatest design work can be found on cocktail napkins.
Art & Soul
No trip to New York is complete without a day at the Museum of Modern Art. Racketing back and forth from midtown to Queens is admittedly a schlep, but MoMA is an essential part of my self-designed therapeutic breakaway, and cheaper than a psychiatrist.
Basquiat’s tortured portrait, Glenn, reflects my dark mood on arrival.Van Gogh’s sweet postman, Joseph Roulin, begins to raise my spirits. “A good soul, so wise and so full of feeling and so trustful,” Vincent said.
Klimt’s circles calm my apocalyptic political dread, and his palette warms my heart.
Oh my! Beloved Matisse Dancers restore a bit of lightness, joy and whimsy.
Uh-oh. Madelon Vriesendorp’s Flagrant Délit reminds me why am am here in New York in the first place: Democracy is in peril — Lady Liberty is pissed.
It’s time to get back to work.
My time-out has been both restorative and inspirational. I recommend a 36-Hour Art & Soul Getaway for anyone depressed, overwhelmed or defeated by the vertiginous, hope-or-hate tipping point at which we find ourselves. •
Coraggio! Next we return to Italy: Montecatini, Ferrara, Padova, Vicenza and a sunny Venetian afternoon.
Loved this, Elizabeth! Your post made me want the butter sage pasta at Caffe e Vino RIGHT NOW. The TWA hotel looks out of this world cool. And you reminded me that we haven’t been to MOMA in a while; maybe that’s our end-of-March museum outing. And the Trump stuff. The democracy stuff. I honestly feel like I’m slowly losing my mind. Last week was just terrible.
Good thing we have an excellent distraction in LEGO Masters! xxoo
What a wonderful respite from all of this. After last night’s caucus debacle you made need to make another swing south!Marcia