We are staying in Hells Kitchen, New York. For the first week anyway. We managed to be the ultimate of scabs to Vienna’s brother Eden, and dump our 4 massive bags at his extremely convenient crib on the corner of 52nd Street and 9th Ave.We went to sleep at 5am this morning. After clocking Social Media the most EVER in our Soldiers Rd life, we dozed off full of excitement and to the sound of a busy busy city already awake.
Today was cool. How could it not be, we are in New York city on a work trip purely for inspiration, artistic expression and whakawhanaungatanga (sharing of our Maori culture). We dealt with foreign smells like a champ. Every fourteenth step on the side walk you get a whiff of what smells like either urine/spew/rubbish OR all of it rolled in to one. Did that faze us. Nope! We mastered the subway. Get in, bag a chair ASAP or at least one hand on a pole ALWAYS. You do not want to hongi the ground when it jolts to move after every stop. Do not be alarmed if you are touched or brushed by someone in any way, you’re on the subway with literally a million other people who are all more interested in getting somewhere than they are in accidental inappropriate body brushing. Sometimes people look like they are asleep, probably because they are.
We also decided to grab a korowai and our moko stencils to practise doing some shots that we have had rolling around our minds and mouths for some time now. We hit the Highline walk in Chelsea today and spent a few hours taking some experimental practise shots up and down the old monorail with the urban backdrop of the city. We wore moko to promote our business but more so to express ourselves and our culture.
What an interesting reaction we received from New Yorkers. Pretty much every person we passed was staring at our chins. Ha! We smiled and said Kia Ora, but other than one german girl we met who had been on a trip to our country last year sometime, New Zealand may as well be out of space to most people here, so sharing our culture here is proving to be more interesting than we anticipated.
All that walking was clearly gonna work up an appetite so we headed down some stairs to Artichoke Basilles on the corner of 10th ave and14th St. Eden, who we had dragged along for the ride to be our compulsory photog recommended it, and he is a genius for it! The slices are HUGE. Even for Maori food portion standards, still HUGE! Its pretty much just pizza bread, lots of it, a massive crust, artichoke and cheese with some kind of magic of seasoning. It was amazeballs. We recommend these $5 slices of pizza that you will never be able to really finish to everyone!
Before heading home, we remembered a convo we had just had with Bruce, the camera guy from our Te Karere filming on Monday before we cruised. He mentioned an artist by the name of Susan Te Kahurangi King, who had just been in New York and opened an exhibition with a gallery somewhere in Chelsea. The neighbourhood we had been rolling round in all day. So of course we did what anyone would do, jumped online to ask Uncle Google and sure enough. We had an address for the Andrew Edlin Gallery and were already on the street we needed to be on. In we popped to have a peep at the gallery. In all fairness, there was an obvious glare, probably because we were wearing moko. But we asked about her exhibition that we could already see on the walls and mentioned we were from New Zealand as well. She isn’t of Maori descent, but her parents gave her a Maori middle name meaning “the treasured one”. When she was 4 years old for no apparent reason Susan stopped talking but continued to express herself through drawings and sketchbooks. Most of her work is “…strange abstract combinations of knitted-together landscapes of cartoon parts, notably Donald Duck, arranged with the piecing together of body parts and distortion”
It was awesome to see someone from New Zealand have her work displayed on the scale in which it was. Heres a link to her facebook page if anyone is keen to check out what she does. She’s pretty cool.
Its now 10.14pm and we’re probably gonna go grab a hotdog from the street dudes and go check out the MAC store in Times Square because NOTHING is closed here.