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New York, New Oculus, New Whitney


By Tina Hidalgo Jacinto

  • The Oculus at the complex of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. This glass-and-steel structure was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to resemble a dove in flight

  • At dusk the memorial is transformed by light shining up from the pools

  • The donation box includes Maraming Salamat

  • On display were photographs of birth to old age, which occupied the entire room of the new MoMa

  • Michael Spano, Photogram

  • Dan Flavin, untitled (to the ‘innovator’ of Wheeling Peachblow) 1968 fluorescent light and metal fixtures

  • Maria Teresa, Infanta of Spain by Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez at the MET

  • The National September 11 Memorial

  • Aladdin on Broadway at the New Amsterdam theater

  • Rissa Hidalgo, the author, Liezl Sato, Shinji Sato, Julian Jacinto, Nina Jacinto, Keiji Sato, Arisa Sato, and Jeremy Jacinto

  • Whitney Museum’s ‘Red in View,’ an exhibit of life in Mars

  • Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

    New York is everything. It’s the most exciting city in the world where power is centered, from financial, cultural, and political to everything dazzling and glitzy. Ever since my husband and I lived there with our family, New York has continuously inspired me. It is important to us since our children and grandkids now reside there. Just recently, a short visit was once again in order, and an unforgettable journey to the world’s most mesmerizing and photogenic city ensued.

    This time around, my son Jeremy and I visited the 9/11 Memorial. This complex has stirred a nonpareil and resounding impact across the globe.  The path starts by entering a futuristic immaculate white building. Adding an element of modern vision and magnificence to the striking New York City skyline, the Oculus stands proudly as the World Trade Center transportation hub.  There are high tech style retail and dining spaces. This glass-and-steel structure was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to resemble a dove in flight and erected to maximize the effect of autumnal equinox rays. The definition of Oculus is a window or other opening that has an oval or circular shape (as that of an eye).  It has windows that bring in a profusion of light and we were captivated by the sight of a forest in the middle of this great city. The Oak trees, tall and strong remind us that despite tragedy and loss, life endures. It is a massive modern building that one has to pass through to get to the National September 11 Memorial. The Memorial is situated at the heart of the rebuilt World Trade Center, dedicated to the 2,983 men, women, and children killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a loving reminder of New Yorkers strength and resilience.

    The 9/11 Memorial and Museum built at Ground Zero itself is one of the most sacred places in the U.S. that will show its countrymen as well as the world that what happened there shall not be forgotten. The Memorial boasts architectural grandeur, a tour de force and occupies half of the entire World Trade Center site. Two reflecting pools sit in the footprints of the Twin towers. The entrance to the 9/11 Memorial Museum is between the two pools. The Foundation Hall is the museum’s largest space that houses two major artifacts—the World Trade Center wall and the Last Column. At dusk the memorial is transformed by light shining up from the pools and through the names of the victims. In Michael Bloomberg’s words, chairman and mayor of the City of New York, “This museum, built on the site of rubble and ruins, is now filled with the faces, the stories, and the memories of our common grief and our common hope.”

    A visit to New York would not be complete without spending time at the museums. We visited the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), the Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the new Whitney Museum.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the largest museum in the world, is a must-see.  My sister Rissa and I visited the current exhibits and on display were the mysterious landscapes of Hercules Segers, the Seurat Circus Sideshow, the Native American masterpieces, and an exhibit on “Celebrating Arts of Japan.”

    We also visited the new location of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Leonard A. Lauder Building. Of special interests were “Red In View,” an exhibit of life in Mars on the ground floor; Portraits from the Whitney Collection on the seventh, and “Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980” on the eighth.

    Despite the biting winter air, we managed to watch two Broadway plays: Alladin, whose lead actor was a Filipino, Joshua de la Cruz. Another Filipino, Don Darryl Rivera, is in the cast. We delighted in viewing The Present, as we were seated in the second row, and being a fan of Cate Blanchet, I found it an overwhelming moment to see her seductive porcelain beauty up close, as well as her rare acting skill. With Richard Roxburgh who played the other lead role, the play is from Anton Chekhov’s Platonov.

    With family, art and culture in the greatest city in the world, it was indeed a marvelous and memorable February in New York.


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