B&H, MoMA and WD-50

Trip Start Mar 02, 2011
Trip End Oct 14, 2011

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Flag of United States  , New York
Sunday, March 6, 2011

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After making plans to come to New York with my friend, Bill, Eugene, another friend of mine from Crimea, Ukraine, told me that he was coming to the U.S and was going to be in New York today.  Bill and I hadn't planned anything requiring a reservation until dinner so Eugene was able to meet us at our hotel and joined us for much of the day.  Bill and I checked out, left our bags with the bell hop and waited briefly until Eugene arrived.

After introductions, the three of us had breakfast and caught the subway to B&H where I intended to trade in an older version of a lens for the current version.  Eugene also needed a power adapter for his camera.  Many people have shopped with B&H either by phone or online but most of the customers never see their store.  It's quite an operation.  After growing up with the little camera shops every mall used to have before the internet put them out of business, it's a real shock to see one the scale of B&H.

We caught the subway north to Rockefeller Center.  It was raining and we didn't want to do a lot of walking.  To get to our destination, the Museum of Modern Art, some walking in the rain was unavoidable and walking by the lovely Art Deco buildings of Rockefeller Center seemed like a good choice.

We bought our tickets at MoMA.  There were only a couple exhibits on the first floor.  We then started working our way up through the museum.  The second floor didn't have much of interest to us either.  The third floor had architecture and design exhibits, which I would have liked to have spent a little more time viewing, but which were of no interest to Bill and Eugene.

The fourth and fifth floors house painting and sculpture from MoMA's permanent collection.  While I don't care for the works of some of the artists exhibited on he fourth floor they had some Warhol and Pollack works that I liked a lot. 

Things really improved on the fifth floor.  They have some van Gogh's, but not just any van Gogh's; they have The Starry Night, which is probably his best known work.  And they have some Dali's, but not just any Dalis; they have The Persistence of Memory, which is probably his best known work.  They have a Picasso and Braque room filled with cubist works, as well as a number of other fine Picasso's elsewhere in the museum.  And a room-full of Pollack's spanning his entire career.  And a half a dozen Brancusi sculptures.  And four Kandinsky's, which I think is more than I've seen in any museum including ones in Russia, his home country.  And a number of Duchamp ready-mades as well as an oil and one of his glass pieces.  It just went on and on: Klee, Magritte, Arp, Man Ray, Monet, Matisse, Cezanne, Miro, Calder, Seurat, Gauguin, Chagall, Leger, Modigliani.  The depth and breadth of their collection is amazing.

We left MoMA sooner than we wanted and walked through the rain back to our hotel.  We had a farewell drink, said goodbye to Eugene, got our bags and caught a cab to WD-50, our destination for dinner. 

WD-50 is rated 45th on Restaurant Magazine's World's Best Restaurants list and has a Michelin 1-Star rating.  It is also known for Molecular Gastronomy, a style of cooking that makes use of scientific innovations in food preparation.  The restaurant is fairly informal and somewhat noisy.  Most of the seating is at booths.  The kitchen opens onto the dining room.  We were able to look back and see Chef Wylie Dufresne at work.

Some people think Molecular Gastronomy is too gimmicky.  While that can certainly be the case, I was actually looking for something gimmicky from WD-50.  While the food was good and more experimental than the food at Per Se, Daniel or Eleven Madison Park, it didn't go as far as I was hoping.  One disappointment was the "bread".  Instead of what you're offered at most restaurants, at WD-50 you get sesame flatbread that somewhat resembles Indian khakra, I believe it's called.  The dishes, however, were quite tasty and, in a few cases, were very imaginative.  For instance, one dish came in an "egg" that wasn't really an egg and was edible.

After dinner, we caught a cab to Penn Station for our train home.
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Chas on

Yes, they are quite tasty http://is.gd/Y14B1w

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