There’s something about the word “artist” that adds instant panache to anything, even poverty. In this economy, even those with money in the bank would do well to explore date options that cost less without sacrificing style or class. Dig out your skinny jeans, you are about to enter the world of the starving artist.
Begin your day by browsing art galleries in Chelsea. Within the 10-block radius of 19th to 29th Sts between 10th and 11th Aves, installations and collections spanning all mediums abound. Almost all galleries are free to enter, and many feature rising artists with innovative points of view. Current standouts include Jedediah Caesar’s mixed media sculptures and paintings at D’Amelio Terras (525 W 22nd St between 10th and 11th Aves) and “The Bible Illuminated: R. Crumb’s Book of Genesis” at the David Zwimer Gallery (525 W 19th St between 10th and 11th Aves). As you weave your way along these streets, many more exhibits will catch your eye.
Next, visit Chelsea Market (75 9th Ave at 15th St) to explore the result of a happy collaboration between art and commerce. The unfinished-by-design industrial look creates the feeling of an urban outdoor marketplace, as if you’ve discovered a secret alleyway full of treasures. Bronze sculptures dotted throughout the space double as seats for weary pedestrians. Rotating collections of photographs and paintings decorate the raw brick walls. As you wander, troubadours and acoustic bands provide music to soothe your soul. Now, there is no need to take the word “starving” too literally. Browse the stores selling fruits, cheeses, meats, seafoods, wines, chocolates and pastries to put together the picnic basket of your dreams.
Complete this day of urban culture by enjoying your picnic on The High Line (entrance stairs on 18th St between 10th and 11th Aves; additional entrances available at Gansevoort, 14th, 16th and 20th Sts), a recently opened public park converted from abandoned railway tracks. Each section of the park highlights the uniqueness of the space.
In one area, wooden benches are arranged in stadium style seating. Blurring the line between viewer and voyeur, a giant window takes the place of a movie screen so that visitors can sit and watch the everyday drama of life on a New York City street. Wide lounges fill another area of the park. Perch on one, lay out your delectable spread and mull over the things you’ve seen today. Food for the mind, body and soul. Perhaps there is no need to be a starving artist after all.
In lieu of sleeping, Shirley Chan chooses to write, volunteer on art installations, design mobiles, make pop-up books and drink entire pots of coffee. Her work is published in The New York Post, the upcoming Scores Entertainment Magazine and several online magazines like the one you are currently enjoying. Please visit www.WhoIsShirleyChan.wordpress.com for more disturbing glimpses into her brain.