Come triumph or catastrophe, New York never stops evolving, which is why Spear’s dispatched Caroline Phillips to discover what’s in, what’s out and what’s shaking it all about in the New New York.
Part Three: Being there
Getting into a good exhibition in New York is like trying to bag first place at the Selfridges sale. Now those in the know can enjoy touring the Museum of Modern Art without the crowds. HNWs, especially, love these private before- or after-hours visits and they’re great for corporate entertaining.
Although, it has to be said, there were some live nude bodies in the recently-finished Marina Abramovic exhibition. If you want something less challenging, catch MoMA’s excellent retrospective of 300 Henri Cartier-Bresson photographs in private. Private guided tours last an hour and are with a Museum lecturer. A snip at $50 a person.
Private visits with a Museum lecturer are available 9.30-10.30am, 5.30-6.30pm. Minimum ten people. MoMA also offers these exclusive tours on Tuesday afternoons, when the Museum is closed to the public.
If buying contemporary art’s your thing, check out the arrival of Hauser & Wirth in Manhattan. Representing both emerging and established artists (and the estates of Henry Moore and Eva Hesse), it opened in September with a show of the influential American artist Allan Kaprow. Saves the schlep to the gallery’s outposts in Zurich and Picadilly.
The New Museum of Contemporary Art’s witty seven-tiered building – a stack of metal mesh-clad, off-centre boxes designed by SANAA – is more notable than the current exhibition. It has just shown Jeff Koons’ first time as a curator. Entitled Skin Fruit, it was an ill-chosen, badly-installed selection of pieces from Greek buh-zillionaire Dakis Joannou’s collection. But Maurizio Cattelan’s ‘All’, eight life-size occupied body-bags made of Carrara marble, got my vote.
Go also for Pavel Althamer’s iconic ‘Schedule of the Crucifix’ (2005). It’s a heavy oak cross fitted with a bike seat, straps and handles and with a folding ladder and screen beside it. At unscheduled intervals, a man changes into his crown of thorns and loincloth and climbs his ladder to take up his position on his cross.
Additionally the view of the Lower East side is great from the Sky Room. And virtually every nook bears the name of a sponsor. Even the 60-person elevator is dedicated to a local couple. I’d like a lift named after me.
11 West Fifty-third Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
Tel: 212 708 9400
Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century runs until 28 June.
Hauser & Wirth
39 East 69th Street, New York NY 10021
Tel: 212 794 4970
Tel: 212 219 1222
Coming 7 July–3 Oct is Brion Gysin, inspiration to David Bowie and Patti Smith. The Brazilian conceptualist, Rivane Neuenschwander runs 23 June–19 Sept.
Hailed the new Soho House – but not affiliated with it – Norwood is a members-only arts club on the Lower West Side. It’s spread over five floors of a nineteenth-century townhouse with a restaurant, three lounge bars, screening room and private meeting rooms – think Vogue fashion shoots to book launches.
Trendy and bohemian, Norwood has ultra high-backed sofas, beetroot walls and is scattered with books and paintings by members – who include musicians, writers, Oscar-winners and entrepreneurs. At lunchtime the salon is full of multi-tasking folk tapping on laptops, networking, talent-nurturing and eating decent club food. Plus there’s a garden for hog roasts, Cuban bands and models. Hardly surprising that Mick Jagger likes it.
241 West 14th Street
Membership: $2000 per year
Open 8.30am until 3 am
Disaffected JP Morgan man-turned-fashionista Shawn Bell has just opened lifestyle store Bellhaus in Soho. Upscale and modern, it’s for the working woman and fashionable man. It sells RTW (ready to wear, darling), including many American designers and well-selected pieces from Azzedine Alaïa and Sophie Theallet to Tom Binns. From $220 for a daytime tote to vintage Bill Blass at $38,000, plus shoes, accessories, Malin+Goetz skincare, eyewear, candles and Kilian perfumes. Think Beach in the City.
57 Bond St at Bowery, New York, New York 10012
Tel: 212 505 0057
Opened April 2010
The latest fitness craze to hit Manhattan is AntiGravity Yoga. It’s done suspending from a fabric hammock – allowing us to stretch further, hold postures longer and look like demented spiders. ‘The fabric holds up to 1000lbs,’ consoles the instructor. Phew!
First the Setai Wall Street luxurious condominiums (the penthouse, $7.82 million, made a Financial District record) and then the Setai Club (for exclusive business and lifestyle services). Now the Setai Spa.
Just steps from the NY Stock Exchange, this spa (open to all, but with benefits for members) is a genuine sanctuary – not least after the NYPD concrete roadblocks and canine sniffers outside. There are over-size soaking tubs, walnut walls, flickering candles and mahogany lockers: 12,000 sq foot of Asian serenity, couples’ suites (massage for two $500, 90 mins), fitness centre and impeccable service.
First one can go into the AquaGrotto (separate ones for men and women) which even has a mineral-infused jacuzzi soak. Then it’s onto an extra-wide, heated massage table for a perfect Essential Facial ($185, 60 mins). I float into the Relaxation Lounge for warm neck pillows and teas, truffles and macaroons from SHO, Shuan Hergatt’s Michelin starred restaurant downstairs. Faultless on every count.
crunch.com for class venues
40 Broad Street
$5,000 per year for Premium Membership and $2,500 for Wellness Membership
Tel: 212 792 6193
Opened Feb 2010