1 Dried squid from Aji Ichiban: The New York City outpost of this Chinese snack shop makes me feel like a kid in a candy store…the kind of candy store that’s actually filled with an extensive collection of dried fish, fruity jerky, dried fruit and even dried olives. My favorite is the below, a spool of Haikkodo dried squid sheets. The squid is sweet, salty, delicious, and annoyingly addictive. You can buy it by weight or in prepackaged bags for $7 a piece.
2. Degenerate Art at the Neue Galerie: The Nazi regime didn’t censor the works they found most abominable, instead, they staged an exhibition in Munich in 1937, labeling the works as degenerate–a product of mental illness–and deriding the artists in a public setting. The exhibit went on tour, causing an uproar from citizens around the country who were appalled by the grotesque nature of German Expressionism and the part they thought it played in the supposed degradation of German culture. The works were mirrored by a collection of propaganda-style acceptable art creating a dichotomy of “disgusting” expressionism versus safe, heroic realism. The same technique is used by Neue in this exhibition of the same name, featuring many of the same works from both sides. To stand in the room of competing works is to bear witness to the artistic manifestation of stifling totalitarianism versus artistic freedom. It’s quite a thing to see.
3. Poetry in Motion: Since 1992, the Metropolitan Transit Authority Arts for Transit program has filled the walls of subway trains with specially-selected poetry, enriching the commutes of many New Yorkers. There was a four-year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, but for the past two years since the program’s return, the poems chosen, in collaboration with the Poetry Society of America, have seemed especially poignant. They add a dose of inspiration to an everyday activity that is at best, non-memorable and at worst, horrifyingly rage-inducing. The below poem by Dorothea Tanning, Graduation, was the inaugural poem selected for the program’s return in 2012. It’s layered, poignant, and sticks with you long after you’ve read it.
4. Brooklyn Bridge Park: This 85-acre waterfront park recently opened two new sections, including a beach (for hangin’, not swimming) near Pier 4 and an sporting area on Pier 2, which includes basketball courts, bocce and handball courts, and soon, a roller rink. There’s also a 30-foot-high berm of soil that separates the park from the BQE, blocking out traffic noise. A newly landscaped area near Pier 3 features installations by artist Dahn Vo–the bronzed life-size replicas of the various sections of the Statue of Liberty (below), on view until December 6th. Though there is ongoing discussion about whether more money should be going toward small, underfunded parks, instead of behemoths like Brooklyn Bridge Park and Central Park, there is something to be said for the transformation the waterfront has undergone, morphing from abandoned eyesore to one of most beautiful and most unique multi-use landscapes in the city. Plus, the view of the Manhattan skyline from the park’s various hills and walkways never gets old.