Tomorrow Marks the Beginning

Ladies and Gentlemen the day has come. I have spent five lovely days getting to know Toni, Chris, and CJ in New Jersey doing everything from movies at home to grocery shopping. They have been so kind to let me stay in their beautiful home, eat their food and sleep in a spare bedroom (which is adorable.) I’ve ventured into South Orange a bit, enough to get my feet wet and grasp my surrounding. I even took my first taxi ride in years to a neighboring town for church.

On Friday I ran a trial commute to the city, taking the 8:22 train to New York Penn Station, wandering around Penn till I found out how to get a metro card. (P.S. you go all the way to your subway, and if your using a card don’t go to the teller.) I jumped on the E train that heads uptown and got off at 53rd St. and 5th Ave. At this point I was feeling good, I had made it all the way into the city. Getting to the gallery would be the easy part, right? Not so much. It took me about another 30 minutes to find the gallery I thought was right down the street. I found my way to 57th and started looking for 24… 104, 106, 107… these addresses were way off… how could I possibly be that far away?! So I submitted to the power of technology… ashamedly I pulled out my google maps. It took me down 56th, back up 5th and then over to 57th again… I don’t understand why or how I was on the wrong street, but I found the gallery and that was that.

Next, I met Pedro, our building doorman. He directed me to the 4th floor, but when the elevator doors opened the giant iron gate to the gallery came down in front of me. Closed? Why is no one here?? I went back downstairs and asked Pedro what was up and he looked at me and giggled, “they don’t open till 10″… I knew this. I work Monday through Friday 10 to 6. These are their hours, it has always been their hours. I looked down at my phone and saw 9:45. 9:45!! All that misdirection and wandering around and I was still 15 minutes early. Guess on Monday I can wait till the 8:36 train.

When the gallery opened I returned and got to meet a few of the girls who work there. Ellison was the first, she is around my age, and worked the front desk. This was great! She was super cool, and had grown up in the city. Phew, someone to connect with, maybe she will show me around the city some! Nope, Friday was her last day, she’s off to grad school. Bye Ellison, good luck! I met about 5 other people in the gallery (of 25), but I was more concerned with the gallery itself. I wanted to view it as a guest, get a feel for what the public sees and feels. I’m so glad I did. It was the last day of Italian Artist Giuseppe Penone‘s show and it was beautiful. Please go check him out, I’ve linked the gallery’s artist page. Monday starts our next show.

Leaving the gallery I ventured down to MoMA with what I thought was a free guest pass from the previous intern at the gallery, sadly it had already been used. Here’s the kicker, because I work at the Gryphon back in Savannah my ID says Faculty/ Staff… not student. So I had to try and prove to the cashier that I was still a student so I could get the discounted pass… never had that problem before. I stayed for a while, taking in each piece of art bit by bit, trying to remember names and make connections. I think it is so funny how people in museums and galleries will walk past any piece of art with the same expression… you know the one, the “I’m really contemplating the meaning of this piece… really…” face, even if the piece is hilarious. I felt like laughing extra loud just so they would stop and ask why. Instead I just kept my giggles to myself. After the 2nd floor of this ginormous building I was pooped. Also, my phone was dead and I knew my momma would be freaking out soon without an update. So I decided to head home. I jumped right on the subway to Penn Station thinking it would be just as simple to go out as it was to get in… it was not. There were over 20 tracks… Since when did my train come in different tracks… none of them say South Orange, and none of them have numbers listed for which track to take. I was so confused. I went and talked to a surprisingly nice, expectedly blunt teller who simply said, “151” and shooed me off. “151” that’s all I had. I went back and stood in a crowd of people all staring at the same unchanging screen. Suddenly an 11 popped up on the track column and everyone rushed down the stairs. I followed, thinking, well if this is the one obviously I should get there fast. While in front of the gate that looked like something right out of Polar Express I asked the guy next to me where this was going. He answered with the name of some town I had never heard of. I simply said, “South Orange,” and he said “not you”. So I wandered back under the screen and looked for 151… “1:51 to Dover” ahhh, there it is. Unfortunately I had just missed the 12:46 train so I will have to wait another hour… phone still dead. I sat down and started sketching. A lady sat next to me with a slight smile, this I decided to take advantage of. I turned to her and asked in my sweetest Southern voice, “Can I ask you a very non-New Yorker question?” She smiled a little more and said sure. “Can I borrow your phone to call my mom, my phone died mid-conversation, and I’m sure she is freaking out.” And by the grace of God she pulled it right out of her bag and handed it over, “I know how mom’s are, here you go.”

Mom was updated, I was headed home, and my first day in New York was coming to a close.       Tomorrow it resumes, up at 7, out by 8, and in the gallery at 10, bright and early.

Till next time lovelies,

Alex

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