Friday, December 31, 2010

Nénette at Film Forum

Even as we prepare for tonight's revelries, some part of our minds goes quiet, reflecting on the passage of time and the shadow life we're not living but wish we were, or could be, if we could only get those pesky resolutions to stick. 

Watching a documentary about a 40-year-old orangutan named Nénette move about her Parisian cage somehow spurs such thoughts: time itself is a prison, and while some days we swing from our ropes and toss blankets or straw over our heads, others find us with head in hands, mournful or melancholic, unable to muster much interest in our 4.30 teatime snack of yogurt and tea. 

C'est la vie,  Nénette might say. Not being French, we'll put it another way: yogurt and tea beat the alternative. And sometimes we're lucky, getting goat neck massaman and pancetta-wrapped monkfish, lemon poppy seed ice cream and Venezuelan sandwiches instead.

Here's to a happy new year --- may it be filled with treats and peace!
allo

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Jain Meeting Hall at the Met

Jain Meeting Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Despite its size, the Metropolitan Museum of Art isn't known for its Asian holdings. Of course, what it does have beats most museums, and since most visitors justifiably spend their time on Picasso, Washington Crossing the Delaware, and Dendur, the Asian galleries tend to be empty. It's an excellent way to escape the crowds.

Jain Meeting Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art

At first glance, the Jain Meeting Hall looks like nothing so much as a lot of dark wood. Look again: this 16th-century temple from Gujarat, India, features extraordinary carvings of people and gods. Go ahead and stare, in fact, craning your neck to peer further and deeper into the crevasses. As a religious building, it's meant to be contemplated intensely and silently.        

Jain Meeting Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Jain Meeting Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Church of the Most Holy Trinity

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Founded in 1841, and in its current building since the 1880s, the Church of the Most Holy Trinity casts a long shadow across its Brooklyn neighborhood. The French Gothic church looms over the low rises of Williamsburg, its grandeur and ornateness contrasting with the mundane aluminum-sided architecture of its half-working class, half-hipster surroundings. Thanks to Father Timothy Dore and the inquisitive folks at Urban Oyster, we recently got to tour the building (including the parapets!) and learn about its history.

Lucy, Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Built to serve the area's once-vast and upwardly mobile German population, then adopted by the Italians who made their way through the area in the twentieth century (one former parishioner on the tour spoke only Italian), and now the spiritual home of Latin American and Polish immigrants, Most Holy Trinity, for all that it seems anomalous on its block, tells the story of New York. Oh, and it's supposedly haunted.

Missal, Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Father Timothy Dore, Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Gifts for the poor, Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Gifts for the poor, Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

View from the triforium, Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

View from the parapet, Church of the Most Holy Trinity/St. Mary's, Brooklyn

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tiffin Wallah

About to head off for the holidays, we had siblings on the brain. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that we wound up feasting beforehand at Tiffin Wallah, sister restaurant to one of our favorite Indian restaurants, Chennai Garden. Part of the fun of being a sibling is figuring out what's the same and what's different.

Chana chaat, Tiffin Wallah

Pakoras, Tiffin Wallah

Like those served by its predecessor, the kosher vegetarian specialties here include a mean melange of textures known as chana chaat. If food could party, then this appetizer would be a rave: meaty chickpeas grooving to the tartness of the raita, both augmented by what the menu literally referred to as "crispies." The pakoras weren't bad either, especially if you're into fried food --- the chickpea-based batter crumbles off in crunchy little bits.

Rava masala dosa, Tiffin Wallah

The rava masala dosa came stuffed with peas, potatoes, and spices, pre-pressed, alas. (Half the fun of eating dosas is cracking the casing to get at the good stuff inside.) While we slightly prefer the Gujarathi thali at Chennai, because it's always fresh and bold, the one at Tiffin Wallah satisfied. In fact, it featured enough tastes of moong dal and buttery undhiyu, along with poori, to fill us for a week, although we somehow found room for Christmas cookies and candy canes as soon as we stepped off the plane.

Gujarati thali, Tiffin Wallah

Monday, December 27, 2010

Blizzard Streets

Whiteout

24th

Sidewalk

Drift

Corner

Bike rack

Parking spot

Leash

Rocks

Carousel

Gangplank

Four top

Promenade

Seasonal cheer

Santa

Drifts

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