I must have been about nine the first time I visited New York City. We lived in Washington DC and Nana, my world -travelling grandmother, just back from Egypt, was laying over in New York on her way home. My family of four drove up to New York for a flying visit. Nana was my version of Auntie Mame– playful, smart, eccentric, and interested in me! I still have my gold charm bracelet with its tiny pyramid and sphinx. She gave the best presents ever.
First stop the Empire State Building. I remember the long ride up. We had to change elevators to reach the windy observation deck. Daddy held his hat, Mom clutched her head scarf, but I let the wind whip my hair around. My dad had told us all about the workers who built the tower without safety ropes –lots of them were Indians because their courage and sense of balance let them work great heights. I longed to see one.
Piet Mondrian left New York a couple of years before I got there. His Broadway Boogie Woogie looks like the birds-eye view of Manhattan he might also have seen from the top of Empire State Building. Tiny squares represent cars, bigger blocks are skyscrapers. The the white spaces are anonymous blocks of lower ordinary buildings. Best of all he captures the vibrancy of those city streets. His painting stirs the same excited anticipation within me that I still feel every time I visit New York.
city streets, a high tower
central park in bloom