So I was going to write about how we marked the Columbus day* holiday with a visit to both the Neue Galerie** and a special exhibition at the Met***, and then go on to describe an impromptu night at the opera****, but recent wanderings around our neighbourhood gave me a much more entertaining idea.
I hardly need to tell you that Halloween is a big deal in America – the shops are full of costumes and spooky candy, there are pumpkins all over the place, and all kinds of decorations have been appearing steadily over the last few weeks. Many people go all-out and some of the grand houses in the fancier parts of the Upper East Side are looking quite spectacular, or perhaps I should say spooktacular! We’ve been admiring them in passing, so I thought it was about time to head out with the camera.
Some of the sights on display are rather appealing:
Some are cute:
Some are frankly terrifying:
Some must have taken serious effort to put up:
And some are just nuts:
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As you may have gathered from the asterisks in the first paragraph I couldn’t completely pass over the opportunity to describe the above-mentioned cultural activities, so here you go:
*It still perplexes me why Columbus day is a national holiday in the US, given that to the best of anyone’s knowledge he never actually set foot on mainland America. However I’m certainly not complaining about a day off, and I do appreciate the fact that public holidays here are much more evenly distributed throughout the year than they are in England.
** The Neue Galerie is a concise collection of German and Austrian art housed in a lovely 5th Avenue mansion. They’re currently showing a Kandinsky exhibition, which we enjoyed much more than we thought we would – a particular highlight was the set of drawings for Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.
*** The Met exhibition, Interwoven Globe: the worldwide textile trade, 1500-1800 focusses on how textile fabrics and designs from different countries influenced each other, which was fascinating, colourful and more complicated than I would have imagined.
**** The opera in question was Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream at the (other) Met. I happened across a review at lunchtime on Tuesday (one of the boy choristers at St Bart’s is playing Moth), it sounded extremely tempting AND featured Iestyn Davies as Oberon. We went in knowing nothing about it apart from the story, and a few other works by Britten, but it was truly a great production – the music, the set and the entire cast were superb.