Notes from the Field is a format where we recommend you an interesting destination which comes with a unique place to stay - WHERE - our individual take on it - ABOUT - and things to experience - NOW.
This time we are in New York, from the Guggenheim to the city's green art spaces.
1 Hotel Central Park, an urban retreat inspired by nature, is focused on sustainability and responsibility. One block south of New York’s largest green space, the ivy-covered facade and plant-filled interiors offer visitors respite from the busy streets while remaining at the center of it all. Each room is filled with reclaimed materials and many rooms offer views above the treetops of Central Park.
Thinking of New York conjures images of steel, construction and the concrete jungle, right? Reading Delirious New York (1978) by Rem Koolhaas certainly feeds that perception, as it posits Manhattan as the arena for the terminal stage of Western civilization. Come 2020 and Koolhaas has turned his sights to green with Countryside, The Future, an exhibition initiated by the renowned architect together with Samir Bantal, director of AMO, the think tank of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture. It explores radical changes in the rural, remote, and wild territories collectively identified as “countryside”. Why is this project taking place in one of the world’s densest urban centers when its content focuses on innovation in peripheral spaces? We want to offer a different view of the Big Apple, inspired by Koolhaas’ perspective, to find out to what extent this mega-metropolis incorporates natural elements in the urban context and how to re-think nature in the city.
After seeing the exhibition at the Guggenheim, we recommend four experiences which can further connect the urban dwelling to nature (through art).
Located in New Canaan, Connecticut, just 1.5 hours from Manhattan by train, architect Philip Johnson constructed his stunning Glass House in 1949 on a pastoral and green 49-acre landscape. The estate features fourteen additional structures, a permanent collection of 20th-century painting and sculpture and temporary exhibitions. Johnson viewed the house as a pavilion for viewing the surrounding landscape - “I claim that’s the only house in the world where you can see the sunset and the moonrise at the same time, standing in the same place. Because that’s an impossibility in any house; you have to walk to another room to see one or the other of those effects. But I get it all the time here in the Glass House.”
Once destined for demolition, this disused elevated rail line on Manhattan’s West Side was repurposed as a park and space for public artworks, opening in 2009. Take a stroll along this 1.5 mile stretch of former rail which is now home to more than 500 species of plants and stumble upon an exhibition, performance or video screening. The next opening is The Musical Brain, a group show featuring commissioned works by 8 artists which reflect on the power music has to bring us together.
Founded in 1986 by visionary sculptor Mark di Suvero, Socrates Sculpture Park is a public park located in Queens. Imagined as a community engaged, accessible arts space dedicated to supporting artists in the production and presentation of public artworks, their curatorial program features mostly site-specific artworks commissioned for this green space. With views across the water to Manhattan, the artworks gesture for us to consider what role green urban spaces play in contemporary life in relation to leisure and as exhibition spaces themselves.
Local produce and honey from New York City? Brooklyn Grange is the world’s largest rooftop farm complex, located across 3 building rooftops spread over New York. From April to November the farms are open to the public for tours, dinners or yoga classes. Buy fresh New York rooftop produce at many farmer’s markets across the city, for example at Sunset Park in Brooklyn, or enjoy it prepared by a top chef at Glasserie or Kish Kash.