Museum Of Modern Art Opens Bill Brandt Photography Retrospective

Museum Of Modern Art, Bill BrandtThe Museum Of Modern Art in New York City has opened an important retrospective of the work of Bill Brandt, one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century.

Bill Brandt: Shadow and Light” covers the photographer’s entire career in more than 150 images. While Brandt was born in Germany in 1904, he made England his home until his death in 1983. He’s best known for his intriguing photos of London during the bombings in World War II. Images of civilians sleeping in Tube stations and a blacked-out London in moonlight quickly became iconic images of Britain in wartime.

Before this, Brandt was already making a name for himself with images of the English poor and working class, and also the English countryside.

After the war, Brandt began to create nudes and, once again, his photos had an ethereal, dreamlike quality to them. He’s also known for intimate portraits of famous people of his day such as Pablo Picasso and Martin Amis.

“Bill Brandt: Shadow and Light” runs until August 12.

[Nude by Bill Brandt taken in London in 1954 courtesy Museum of Modern Art]

Cheap Vacation Ideas for New York City

budget travel new york city

New York can be crazy expensive. $8 for a bottle of beer. $300/night for a hotel room. $400 for dinner at famed Japanese restaurant Masa. As someone who spent most of 2008-09 writing about the Big Apple for Gadling and who’s lived here over 7 years, it’s a sad fact I’ve come to know all too well. But here’s another shocking fact I’ve discovered about my adopted hometown: if you know the right places to eat, where to stay and what to do, New York City budget travel can also be a surprisingly rewarding experience.

Best of all, budget travel in New York doesn’t mean you have to give up on all the good stuff. Still want to eat like a king? Stay in a trendy new hotel? Experience New York’s legendary activities and nightlife? It’s all yours for the taking. It simply requires an adjustment in your approach.

We’ve scoured New York high and low and come up with the following ten budget travel suggestions. Want to learn how to visit New York on the cheap? Keep reading below!budget travel new york cityThree Tips on Where to Stay
Tracking down reasonably-priced accommodations is arguably the most daunting part of any New York budget travel experience. Visitors who so much as sneeze near popular hotel spots like Times Square can expect to pay upwards of $300/night for lodging. Budget travelers, fear not: if you want to avoid the sky-high prices (and the crowds) check out some of these wallet-friendly options:

  • The Jane (doubles from $99/night)The Jane, a hotel that effortlessly blends old and new inside a beautifully renovated building from 1908, oozes New York cool. Best of all, you’re just steps away from free attractions like the High Line.
  • The Harlem Flophouse (doubles from $125/night) – don’t let the name fool you; this “flophouse” is part of an emerging crop of intriguing Harlem lodgings that are easy on the wallet. Part B&B, part art gallery, guests can immerse themselves in the home’s one-of-a-kind decorations. All rooms have shared bathrooms.
  • The Gershwin Hotel (doubles from $109/night) – you can’t miss The Gershwin hotel from outside. This distinctive hotel is adorned with a one-of-a-kind facade of curvy glass lanterns. The intriguing interior decoration (and the prices) don’t disappoint either. Especially thrifty travelers should check out the Gershwin’s $40/night hostel-style “Bunker.”

Three Tips on Where to Eat
You probably already know New York is one of the best places in the world for eating. Did you also know it’s one of the best for cheap eats too? Thankfully, eating well and eating cheap in New York are not mutually exclusive. Here’s three of our favorites:

  • Xi’an Famous FoodsXi’an Famous Foods, which first found fame on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, recently opened an outlet of its famous Flushing noodle shop in New York’s East Village. Spice-lovers can grab a plate of the shop’s hand-pulled Cumin Lamb Noodles for under $10 bucks.
  • Super Tacos Sobre Ruedas – this unassuming taco truck, parked on Manhattan’s 96th Street, doesn’t look like much. Yet it’s one of an increasing number of under-the-radar New York spots to get outstandingly good (and cheap) Mexican food. Grab a cup of milky Horchata rice milk with cinammon and a couple Carnitas Tacos for just a few bucks.
  • Pies ‘N’ Thighs – think New York is all “fusion” cooking and snooty French cuisine? The down-home Southern cooking at Brooklyn’s Pies ‘N’ Thighs will prove you wrong. Enjoy Fried Chicken, biscuits, and apple pie at (nearly) Southern-level prices.

budget travel new york cityThree Tips on What to Do
Having fun and free are not opposites in New York. In fact, the city is filled with surprisingly fun activities and freebies for budget travelers looking to save a couple bucks:

  • Free Friday museums – even the city’s most famous cultural centers aren’t always expensive, particularly on “Free Fridays.” Venerable institutions like the Museum of Modern Art (Free Fridays from 4-8pm) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (pay-what-you-wish, Fridays 6-9pm) help art lovers enjoy these great institutions at low or no cost.
  • Wander Grand Central Station – It’s free to enter this gorgeously restored New York landmark. Gaze in awe at the vaulted ceilings in the Main Concourse, stop by the great food court and share a secret with friends in the Whisper Gallery. Here’s a few more Gadling Grand Central tips to help you out.
  • The High Line – New York’s High Line, the city’s newest and greatest park is built atop the ruins of an old elevated railway line. In its place is a beautifully designed park, complete with wild grasses, art exhibits and plenty of great people-watching.

One Wild Card
One of the most intriguing and cheap ways to spend a Saturday or Sunday in New York is at the Brooklyn Flea. This one-of-a-kind swap meet meets artisanal food tasting meets art show is one Brooklyn’s more intriguing weekend activities. Pick up inexpensive jewelry and handcrafted clothing and art from Brooklyn artists while enjoying cheap eats from local food vendors.

Just another surprising example of New York’s refreshing range of cheap accommodations, inexpensive eats and budget-friendly activities.

[Photos courtesy of Flickr users b0r0da, DanDeChiaro and albany_tim]

See the Museum of Modern Art in two minutes

Ever visited New York City’s Museum of Modern Art? It’s quite possibly the world’s greatest museum for art lovers – harboring numerous masterpieces from painters including Picasso, Pollack and Warhol, among others. But it’s also quite overwhelming. If you’ve never been, prepare to be overwhelmed by thousands of different works across multiple floors, ranging from sculpture to photography to film and special exhibits. You will be exhausted when you leave.

That’s where this neat video comes in. Someone took the time to create a video montage of every single piece of art in the museum’s painting gallery in April 2010, collapsing the experience into a YouTube video just over two minutes in length. It’s a dizzying reminder of just how much this great museum has to offer. Whether you’ve already gone or have yet to visit, take a minute to enjoy one of the world’s great collections of modern art.

[Via Metafilter]

Undiscovered New York: lesser-known museums

Undiscovered New York loves our museums. Who hasn’t come to the Museum of Modern Art and spent hours gazing at works like Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon? Or visited the the Met on a warm evening at dusk to take in one of New York’s best views from the rooftop sculpture garden? Or gazed in awe at the massive lifesize Blue Whale at the American Museum of Natural History?

But the truth is that whether you live here or you’re coming from out of town, a trip to New York’s “must see” museums can get old quickly. Don’t get me wrong – if you’ve never seen the Musuem of Modern Art or the Met, by all means go. But at the same time, the ridiculous weekend crowds and steep admission fees can conspire to spoil that ideal New York museum visit, especially at some of New York’s biggest and most popular spots. What’s a museum-loving visitor to do?

Lucky for you, New York is absolutely jam packed with amazing museums, covering just about any culture, subject, genre of art or period of history imaginable. Best of all, many of these museums are extremely cheap or free and you’ll avoid huge crowds and long waits that can spoil a visit at some of New York’s “biggies.” Want to have an awesome New York museum experience without all the fuss? Step inside Undiscovered New York’s favorite lesser-known New York museums, after the jump.
City Reliquary
On the outskirts of Brooklyn’s trendy Wiliamsburg neighborhood, sandwiched along a row of unassuming storefronts and steps from the noisy BQE Expressway lies one of the more unique museum collections in all of New York. It’s called the City Reliquary, and it’s a less a formal museum than a testament to the maniacal habits of obsessive-compulsive New Yorkers.

Rather than focus on collection curated by some academic “expert,” the City Reliquary started as a repository for the collections of ordinary New Yorkers ranging from “vintage thermoses” to Presidential Plates and antique pens. The organization supplements these resident collections with displays of interesting New York paraphenalia including architectural remnants of New York City buildings and Statue of Liberty mementos. It’s a small but often fun antidote to the stuffy, more established museums across the river in Manhattan. As another plus, the admission is “pay what you wish.”

Rubin Museum of Art
The Met has an amazing collection of artwork from the Far East – enough to put most major museums to shame. But there’s so much to see it get a bit overwhelming at times. That’s why a museum like Chelsea’s Rubin Museum of Art can be a great alternative for easily distracted visitors. Rather than try to cover a huge range of countries and cultures in Asia, the Rubin Museum focuses exclusively on Himalayas and surrounding regions on several manageable floors. It’s a decidedly more leisurely, manageable and less crowded way to check out some amazing culture in a cool setting.

Museum of Sex
We mentioned the the Museum of Sex this past Valentine’s Day, and it honestly deserves another mention here. OK, yes, I know – it’s a museum about sex. But before you break into nervous giggles and write it off as some place for perverts, did you ever think to consider it might be an interesting museum? The answer is a definite YES. In all honesty, the scope of the Museum of Sex goes well beyond celebrating flesh to take a deeper look at human sexuality. Honest-to-goodness academic questions are asked through exhibits about censorship, obscenity laws and the changing morals of different societies through the years. And yes, of course, there are images of some naked people here and there (shocking isn’t it?).

John Updike’s take on travel: A mini tribute and ode to NYC

John Updike, as well as being one of America’s beloved, if not a bit controversial, novelists, was a traveler and a poet. Brenda’s post yesterday was a fitting tribute, but here’s a bit more. In his collection of poems, Americana, published in 2001, Updike combines the traveler’s and the writer’s eye.

The poem “Americana,” subtitled “Poem Begun on Thursday, Oct. 14, 1993, at O’Hare Airport, Terminal 3, around Six O’Clock P.M.,” is an airport musings piece. In this one he uses the airport as a place to let his mind and words ponder life. In another, he delves into the subject of an overhead luggage rack. (To read “Americana,” click on this link and scroll down.)

In other poems, Updike tackles overseas travel and descriptions of cities. About New York City, he wrote the lines “whose sheets of windows rise like dusty thunder” in reference to the skyscrapers.

New York City, according to Leon Neyfakh who wrote an article about Updike in the New York Observer, was one of Updike’s favorites.

Along with people watching and taking in the city’s sense of adventure, Updike enjoyed heading to art museums, in particular. Neyfakh was planning on taking Updike to the Miró exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art on his next visit to the city.

If you want to see New York through Updike’s eyes, sit at a restaurant table where you can look out the window and people watch. Then head to the Museum of Modern Art to see the Miró exhibit. Along the way, jot down notes on your observations. Perhaps you’ll uncover a poem in there.

For a review of Americana, click here. For Updike’s review of the Museum of Modern Art before it reopened after being remodeled, click here.

Chalky Lives did the photo montage of the Chrysler Building, an image that seems to suit Updike’s words. The second photo, titled “Jump” was taken in NYC”s theater district by Joshua Davis. It also seems poem worthy.

In today’s New York Times, Updike’s poem, “Requiem” was published in the Opinion page. It’s part of his collection “Endpoint and Other Poems” that is soon to be published.