New York Stories Just back from four enjoyable days in New York City. Rain on the first day forced us to choose indoor events, so we saw the Matthew Barney show at the Guggenheim and then spent a couple of hours trawling Century 21 for bargains. The cinema accross from ou hotel beckoned, and we caught Laurel Canyon . First day verdict: The Barney show was well worth it, but (gasp!) I appreciate him as a craftsman more than anything; all his stuff (props, really) are so well made. I was constantly reminded of Joseph Beuys, as Barney likes to use pseudo-primary materials in his sculptures--"self-lubricating" plastic, vaseline, honey comb, etc.--akin to Beuy's felt and fat. Century 21 offered a couple of new summer trousers and a stylin' new backpack. Laurel Canyon was great: Frances McDormand was superb and Christian Bale was surprisingly unsexy, meaning that he truly is a great actor (Newsies aside), because Christian Bale *is* sexy. Days two, three, and four were spent wandering around Soho, the Village, and Chelsea (where we stayed). Memorable were: Lunch at Tea and Sympathy, the Staten Island Ferry, and Jo Baer at the Dia Foundation. Wheels of Commerce New York would be nothing without wheels. Everyone and everything is on wheels. Apart from the obvious wheels of the subway and ubiquitous yellow cabs, everyone has a small wheeled suitcase or backpack that they use to negotiate the distances between multiple destinations. Children in particular are well-endowed with wheels: strollers now have small platforms behind them that parents place older siblings on. Two children can now be steered safely down busy 5th Avenue by busy mums and dads. Dog Days Everyone has a dog in New York. Frequently people have two. Servicing our canine friends are millions and millions of chi-chi pet boutiques that ocassionally stock the odd cat toy. Dog spas, dog walkers, dog groomers, dog delis. It must be great to be a New York dog. We didn't see any cats. Not anywhere. "I Don't Do the Vagina Thing" It was likely the area we were staying in, but I got the distinct impression that pretty much all the men we passed in the street and met casually in shops and restaurants were gay, except of course any young male between the ages of 16-18 wearing baggy pants and Nikes. I hope no one takes offense to this remark--I'm simply alerting a number of my friends that Chelsea seems to be the place to stay and play.

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