Director samples an art-fuelled New York mini break, enjoying a city whose arts credentials are the stuff of modern legend
John Lennon once likened New York to ancient Rome, deeming it “the centre of the earth”. And, when it comes to artistic innovation, the city that brought us the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jackson Pollock, Diane Arbus and Andy Warhol certainly gives the epicentre of antiquity in its heyday a run for its money. But what can art aficionados do to maximise their New York mini break?
The modern aesthete will be bowled over the moment they saunter into the lobby of the Loews Regency Hotel (below) located on the corner of Park Avenue and 61st Street, at the south-eastern tip of Central Park. Designed by Rottet Studio, around an art installation by the Brooklyn-based artist, Nina Helms, the lobby is the focal point of a top-to-bottom $100m (£70m) renovation which also saw ultra-hip design boutique Meyer Davis rethinking the Regency Bar and Grill, the Julien Farel Restore Salon and Spa and two of the hotel’s signature suites with tailored finishing and well-appointed furnishings, all inspired by New York’s effervescent fashion industry.
Having kickstarted day one with the Regency Bar and Grill’s iconic ‘power breakfast’ – a four-decades-old nickname alluding to the number of media, business and political deals closed over the room’s hallowed tables on any given morning – I made a beeline for the Whitney Museum of American Art in its new steel-and-glass home in the Meatpacking District. The Whitney’s 50,000 square feet of gallery space is packed with works by Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as lesser-known up-and-coming talent.
The surrounding district and nearby Soho are these days teeming with independent boutique shops, pop-ups and even vans purveying clothes, accessories, glasswork and hand-made crafts. But I broke free and took the three-mile stroll up to the Museum of Modern Art (slightly too soon, sadly, to take in Picasso Sculpture, a survey of the Spanish genius’s three-dimensional works).
A further two-mile hike through Central Park to the Guggenheim, and a saunter around the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building housing a vast collection of 20th-century art (the retrospective on Colombian political sculptor Doris Salcedo is well worth a look), and it was about time for dinner. And where better for an art lover than Casa Lever (see below), a Milanese restaurant just a few blocks from the Loews Regency boasting a collection of 32 original Warhols reputedly worth more than $50m?
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