Rudy Burkhardt, Pedestrians, New York City, 1939
Photo via Met Museum
There’s a show up at The Metropolitan Museum of Art of which I’ve come back to three times because I enjoy it so much, maybe I can convince you to come see it too…
New York, N. Why? (1940) is a handmade scrapbook of silver-gelatin photographs Rudy Burkhardt took in New York City between 1937 and 1940 accompanied by 7 sonnets by the poet and dance critic Edwin Denby.Â The Met owns the only copy which has been unbound and hung on the wall in sequence for this exhibition. Read more →
I have added my small collection of vintage postcards of The Upper East Side to the “Pictures of the Upper East Side” section. Click on the “Postcards” link in the sidebar to see the fronts and backs of more postcards.
Your response to my point has set the tone of the dialogue between the two of us: breezy and sugar-coated yet mordant and vicious. Not unlike a molasses-covered glob of feces shat from the fiery sphincter of Cerberus, the three-headed hound of the Upper East Side. You are a worthy adversary, despite your blue-blood, and your argument, albeit fallacious, was a pleasure to read in its frivolity.
Nonetheless, your words do smite, not in the sense that they bear any semblance to what I and most sane New Yorkers consider to be self-evident truth, but because, feeble as your attempt is, you besmirch my beloved berg, and that I will NOT stand for. No, madame, I do not abide wanton and haphazard insults flung across my dear (Central) Park, insults whose empty meaning bespeaks nothing more than the folly of idle privilege. You see, while we Upper West Siders may revel in watching the sun set over the Hudson river, submerging its golden light behind the grillade of bucolic boughs of Riverside park, enjoying our picnic baskets from Zabar’s, we do not take such insults lightly. As one of our many accolades said in his ode to the (soon to be) Upper West Side, “We prefer to fight you more like a man, and beat you down, with our hands, and body slam you in the Wild Wild West”.
Be that as it may, I will show you the meaning of delicacy and restraint, if not to say modesty. You see, although I’m quite certain that the Upper West Side could beat up the Upper East Side, (who would really win in a fist fight, Jon McEnroe or Brooke Astor?) I choose to take the high road, as is the intellectual tradition of our neighborhood, and keep this beef verbal. Read more →
It has been an exercise in restraint and modesty, leaving this blasphemy unchecked for so long. But my faith in your faith is strong and the truth will out. Mr. Barrow has made a valiant and creative effort in claiming The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park for the West Side, based on their locations West of Fifth Avenue. I do have a soft spot for logic, but his is the logic of a child who takes the few teachings he possesses as literal.
Not everything is so black and white, or East and West. If you ask any “sane” New Yorker, I believe they will tell you that The Met is on the Upper East Side and they will certainly say that Central Park is neither part of the Upper East nor the Upper West Side. Wikipedia, which is becoming an increasingly more accurate reflection of fact as well as general consensus lists The Metropolitan Museum of Art under Landmarks and Cultural Institutions of The Upper East Side.
Although I haven’t taken the trouble to find a document explicitly setting forth Central Park’s neutralness, I challenge Mr. Barrow to find one historical document which specifically supports his claims about The Met and Central Park belonging to The Upper West Side.
In researching my rebuttal I have realized that Mr. Barrow’s argument highlights an ambiguity in the demarcation of our two neighborhoods. I believe this confusion lies in the fact that the terms Upper East Side and Upper West Side actually have nothing to do with the more general terms of East Side and West Side.
East Side and West Side are geographical designations. They extend so far up and down Manhattan that there is no consistent cultural common ground between them.Â However, Read more →