My New York Adventure - Part 1
Being an art student in college, for years I dreamed of going to New York City. Finally in the summer of 2018 I made the trip out there. I had spent the past year leading up to my adventure planning and saving money so I could stay out there for as long as possible. For years friends who traveled there informed me of the nightmare prices of lodging in the city. But that past year I was speaking to a colleague and friend of mine at my school I teach at about our travels. I was amazed how long her trips were over past few years I have gotten to know her. I finally had the courage to ask her, "Where do you stay when you go to these places?" She then informed me of an app known as AirBnB, where people rent out their rooms or homes to travelers and affordable prices. My travel standards for where I sleep are fairly reasonable. I don't require my pillows fluffed by the made, no need for room service, or for a bell hop to take my bags. A clean bed, privacy and a shower is all I need.
Once my nephew came along with me on an overnight stay in San Francisco. He was disgusted by the size of our room and that the bathroom was in the hall. It was then I passed my travel rule onto him, "I never get a hotel room just to hang out in it all day." But this will be a story for another day.
So at the moment I discovered AirBnB I went back to my classroom and started looking up prices for rooms in New York City. I had read so much about the artists that lived there. Jackson Pollock, Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe, Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe just to name a few. The prices were so reasonable for some of these rooms all I could say to myself, "I could stay out here a month." Being a teacher, having summers off has its advantages.
I decided not only was I going to explore the city, but I could travel upstate too and photograph the east coast landscapes and small towns. The beauty of upstate has been told to me by many artists and photographers I've run into through the years. So I really was hoping to explore a few areas of interest upstate.
My Professor at Consumnes River College had made a recommendation that I had not considered. She suggested I try exploring Woodstock, a small town in upstate which at the time I remembered for the famous concert in the 1960s. She told me of the Center for Photography located in the town was worth a look. I went on google and began exploring Woodstock online, the town seemed very small and sat at the foot of the Catskill Mountains. After viewing several images I decided that this town was exactly the upstate New York I was looking for. I found an AirBNB room in Woodstock and plotted my first destination during my trip.
I would then reserved my stay in Lake George. I wanted to walk in the footsteps of my two favorite artists. Lake George was the area where photographer Alfred Stieglitz and wife Georgia O'Keeffe has spent their summers at his families lakeside manor. Would I look up in the sky and see clouds worthy to photograph as Stieglitz had done, could I find a foundation or some relic left over that O'Keeffe had immortalized in one her paintings there. Mostly, I was hoping to find a Jack in the Pulpit, O'Keeffe's paintings of that flower was my introduction to her work. How much would be left there that I could find, so I decided a few days to explore their would be sufficient.
Lastly before heading to New York City their was one more stop in Upstate New York I wanted to visit, Rochester, New York. Home of the George Eastman Museum, owner and founder of the Kodak Company. There are so few museums dedicated to photography, it just so happens this one would be exhibiting the work of David Levinthal while I would be in the upstate area. I figured a day or two would do just fine out there in Rochester, their wasn't much else drawing my attention there other than a few houses that were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
When my planning was all done, I would be in New York for three weeks, the longest vacation I had ever taken. In anticipation for my trip, I picked the biography of Alfred Stieglitz. Much like I had done with Georgia O'Keeffe when I set out to explore her country in New Mexico where she spent the last half of her life. I wanted as much information as I could find. After all I had secured a hotel room right where their farm house in Lake George once stood. I had read two O'Keeffe biographies, so much of my knowledge of Stieglitz came from those books. The RIchard Whelan biography of Stieglitz filled in most of the blanks of the photographer's life. His contribution to photography, his genius combined with his ego, his failed marriage, his family life, his time with O'Keeffe. Before I knew it, summer would be here and I would finally see the city, visit the museums which housed my the most iconic works of art, and eat NY pizza.
-To Be Continued.