Monday, January 18, 2010

New York City - Day 13 - fabulous Neue Galerie - Klimt, Schiele and other artists working in Vienna, etc.

December 13, 2009, a dreary rainy day which became heavy in the afternoon

I am writing this at 8:16am after a half hour conversation with yet another Ozzie! I have lost track of how many I/we have met this trip. Many are staying at our place of lodging, but I can spot their accent and so usually approach them. They are a great bunch and quite friendy.

This fellow was on the hotel computer doing research in the final phase of writing a book on the Madoff ponzie scandal. He is interviewing all levels of people involved in the prosecution as well as some victims. I learned that anyone who got out of the fund up to six months prior to the filing for bankruptcy are liable by law and that they will be gone after to recover money to distribute to those who were left hanging holding the bag.

We talked a lot about the case.

Susan and I had breakfast at Breadstix again at the corner of 23rd and 8th Avenue and then took two subway trains up to Lexington and 86th and proceeded to walk 3 blocks east to 5th ave in rain to spend most of the day at the magnificent Neue Galerie housed in a magnificent old four story mansion at the corner across from Central Park. It was completed in 1914 by Carrère & Hastings, who did the New York Public Library. It features the great collection of Serge Sabarsky, a collector and art dealer. It features Austrian artists Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Oskar Kokoschka, and German artists Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, among others working in Vienna and Germany just before and after WWI. The only word to describe it is a gem of collection in gem of a building.

After touring the artwork we couldn't resist visiting the bookstore in the former library of the mansion. The books are displayed in the original glass doored cabinets lining the walls. OMG! We could have purchased 25 books! One was on the cabaret and musical reviews of that period and included 4 CD's. Next to the library was the exquisite tiny "Design Store" featuring repros of many of the elegant silver ware of that period. OMG 2x!

We then cued up at their Sabarsky restaurant operated by renowned chef Kurt Gutenbrunner to partake of German - Viennese food. The approximately 25 x 40 foot room is panneled in a dark walnut. The decor includes lighting fixtures by Josef Hoffmann, furniture by Adolf Loos, and comfortable banquettes that are upholstered with a 1912 Otto Wagner fabric of white roses with pale green leaves on a rich burgundy background. We were seated in one of those by windows looking out on 5th Avenue and Central Park. Our table was graced with beautifully designed salt and pepper shakers and a sugar dispenser. The well worn floor is of a herringbone design. The center area featured black and white marble topped "cafe" tables with black bentwood chairs by Loos. Hanging in the tall windows are 18 inch Christmas wreaths with red ribbon bows. The windows featured fantastic brass hardware that I couldn't photograph because it was so dark in the room. They need romantic candles on the tables.

Susan started with a beet salad with goat cheese with a refreshing lemon vinaigrette dressing followed by Beef Goulah with spatzel which was excellent.
Stef started with a large bowl of Beef Goulash soup with potatoes that was tangy with just a bite of spice. This was followed by Wiener Snitzel with potato salad and lingon berries in a sauce. Very good.

This was followed by special Viennese torts and exquisite rich hot chocolate.
I had hoped to visit some special chocolate shops and sample some goodies as well as have hot chocolate, but have managed to have some hot chocolate at a number of restaurants been lucky: it has been top notch.

When we left the light was a deep blackish grey accompanied by endless rain drops dancing in the streets, water running in the gutters and on glass roofs. You could see the rain back lit in the auto headlights.

Allow me an aside observation. We have noticed everywhere folks texting at inappropriate venues and times, at least in our opinion. Here we are in a romantic environment and even the woman is texting while her date is stilling there waiting to converse with her. Enough already!

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