April 2001, during an Old Master/New Visions seminar in Austria, I met a gal
from Australia. Innocent enough, I met a lot of nice people that seminar.
Though after a few hours it was obvious that she would be one of those friends
that would be in my life forever. One of those rare people that when you meet,
you feel as if you have known them forever. That person was Kim Evans.
We were only together 7 weeks, but in that time we shared a lifetime of experiences and made new experiences that won't be forgotten for a lifetime. When the seminar was over, Kim went home to Melbourne, Australia and I went home to NYC.
A year later, in August 2002, after a year of letter writing, really long distance phone calls, and packages sent across oceans, we met again in Austria. This time our meeting was short and sweet. We had only 3 weeks together and our time was punctuated with the responsibilities of a studio assistant, which we were both performing, and our own personal work. Though through it all, we still stole time for girlie chats and catching up until we both had to return to our respective sides of the world.
As anyone knows who has a friend that lives far away, skeeming to see one another is part of the friendship. And Kim and I were no different. Though having a friend on the other side of the world as opposed to the other side of town makes this task of visiting each other a bit more difficult. Though as luck and synchronicity would have it, the impossible became possible this past summer.
The Brave Destiny show here in Brooklyn was the spark that started serious discussions about a visit. Both Kim and I had art work in the Brave Destiny show, and given our history, we felt it the perfect opportunity to celebrate our individual and shared art successes and our friendship.
September 19th I picked Kim up from JFK Airport and welcomed her to her first visit to the good ol' US of A. Qantas Airlines is not a terminal I visit often and it took some scrambling to find the right one. I was nervous that Kim would get off the plane and I wouldn't be there. After the nightmare of finding the right terminal, I parked, ran in, and frantically started looking for Kim. In my panic I hear this voice say, "Linda Chido", I turn and there she was. No high pitched girlie screams, just big hugs and lots of tears.
In the realm of friendship Kim's visit is a highpoint for me personally. Why you may ask. I've only known the girl for 3 years and in that 3 years I've only been in her presence 2 months. And though this may be true the bond is there regardless. The obvious answer is a shared interest - we are both artists, we both have interest in an old master's technique, and we both are attracted to mystical themes. But I can say that about several of my friends. So, what gives? The simplest answer is that I love her and she loves me. We are girl-friends in the truest meaning of the word. And well, that's the bottom line.
All of that aside, Kim's visit to NYC was greatly anticipated by myself and Ron, who had yet to meet her in person. Though after all the introductions, it was as if Kim was our neighbor over at our house for a cuppa tea and a slammer. The distance of the past year disappeared and we continued on with our friendship as if we saw each other yesterday. It was now time to plan out what Kimmie wanted to see while she was here in NYC. The list of things Kim wanted to see and do was as long as my arm! So, we broke out the maps and planned a few trips into the City.
Our first day in the City was the big City tour. Instead of planning an itinerary we decided that we would pick a point to begin and just start walking. We didn't have any particular destination but we did have a starting point. Before we did anything else, the first thing Kim wanted to do was have a pretzel from a street vendor. A request easily enough filled. So, our first stop was Central Park south. In the shadow of the Plaza Hotel we both got a pretzel with lots of mustard, found a bench in the Park with a good view, ate our pretzels and watched the City go by.
Kim's pretzel need was satiated, we started at a leisurely pace down 5th Avenue.
We walked past the Plaza Hotel, Trump Towers and Tiffany's. Window shopped
and basically gawked at the people rushing past us. Until we got to Saint
Patrick's Cathedral which warranted stopping in for a look see.
The inside of St. Pat's is so beautiful! And as if they knew we were coming, the organist was practicing and the entire Cathedral was filled with music. Lucky us! We walked all the way around the cathedral stopping occasionally to take it all in. We also stopped in front of St. Theresa, where I lit a candle for my grandma. Filled with spirit, we left the serenity of the Cathedral to face the city again.
out on the street, we crossed 5th Avenue and went into Rockefeller Plaza.
The Plaza had a huge exhibit of work by Takashi Murakami, which was a lot
of fun. We hung out there for about an hour just taking pictures and doing
a lot of laughing.
I found out Kim was a fun, though uncooperative, photo subject! And after about 50 or so covert photos, she was like enough with the picture! But who else was I supposed to take pictures of? And this was only our first trip into the City! Needles to say, I have lots of picture of her and she has lots of pictures of me. Once she get's it together, I'll put some pictures of me in this story (just to prove I was there too!).
After we had our fill of Rockefeller Plaza, we wondered off 5th Avenue and started walking down the Avenue of the Americas. We were going to explore the theater district until we saw something in the distance that looked really interesting. It ended up being Grand Central Terminal.
Over to, and then thru, Grand Central we walked. It is a sight to behold even if you've seen it a thousand times before. Millions of people pass through it every day and we joined in with the masses. Once poured out onto the other side and back on the street again, we took up with our walking tour. I hate to admit it but I was all turned around and we wondered for a few blocks until we came upon a series of brass plates in the sidewalk. Thankfully I knew what they were and knew they would lead us to the Main Library.
The steps of the library were a welcome reprieve. We were getting tired so we sat for awhile, talked to some locals and had a snack. The sun had come out and the warmth on our tired bodies felt wonderful. As we rested, we looked over some maps to decide our next move. Though until that motivation came, it was good just to sit. After a good rest on the steps of the library, we continued on our journey. It was time to ogle some of the more prestigious architecture NYC has to offer.
We, of course, saw the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. We stopped into a church or two and we even got to see the Dali Lama who was in NYC that week. Unfortunately, it was only a bus ad but it didn't make it any less fun.
One of the places that Kim really wanted to visit was the Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately, the Statue has been closed since the events of September 11. Not to be upstaged by terrorist, I did fill this request, though not as you would expect!
We ended our day's walking tour at the Flatiron Building. Why there? Well, I don't think we could have taken another step! So, once we finished taking a few more pictures at street level, we descended into the subway to meet Ron for a well deserved dinner.
Our next visit into the City was to visit museums. A day long awaited by both of us though for different reasons. For me, it was the opportunity to share with Kim artwork in NYC that has become like old friends to me. The Vemeers at the Frick, my favorite paintings at the MET - joy. Ron came along on this leg of the journey and we all felt like little kids in the candy store! Our first visit was the Guggenheim Museum, where we saw an exhibit of the Abstract Expressionists. Our second visit was to the Frick Collection just down the street. At the Frick, Kim finally got to come face to face with Sir Thomas More, a painting by Hans Holbein the Younger. A painting neither of us will look at again without thinking about Willhem Hubner or Phil Rubinov-Jacobson. A long story, so ask the next time you see one of us.
On another day of our continued museum tour we started at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (which we visited twice because you just can't see it all in one visit). This particular visit Ron joined us and we had a blast. The reason for the second MET visit was to take Kimmie up to the roof so she could see the entire city from a birds eye view. It was sunny and clear and the view was spectacular.
Once down off the roof of the MET and back on City streets, we started walking along Central Park down 5th Avenue. After a pause for ice cream from another street vendor we decided to explore some of Central Park.
Since moving to NYC, there has been one thing that I have been wanting terribly to see. That is, the Alice in Wonderland bronze that sits in Central Park. I don't know why I never hunted for it before, but with Kimmie here it seemed the perfect time to find it. And we did. And it was way cool! Talk about feeling 10 years old again. Now that I know where it is, you can be sure I'll be visiting Alice again. AND not only did we get to see Alice and play with all her Wonderland friends, we also hung out with Hans Christen Anderson, who read us a story. Hey, I'm connected here in this City!
After playing in the Park, we caught the subway down to Union Square. Specifically to take Kim to Strand Bookstore, the largest used book store in the City. If you are a book buff THIS is THE place to go. Knowing that Kim shares my obsession with books, it seemed a good excuse to go and peruse the bookshelves. Though Kimmie didn't need any convincing and the visit was almost more anticipated than going to the museums.
So, after another long day of art, fun and literature, we dragged our weary bones to one of my and Ron's favorite restaurants - The Veg City Diner. It's exactly what it sounds like. Diner food, like meatloaf and mashed potatoes, burgers and fries, and mac and cheese, all prepared vegetarian using no meat, cheese or dairy. Awesome or what!!! Come to find out, there is nothing like it in Melbourne and Kim fell so in love with the place that we ate there twice. Yum yum!
We did a lot of other stuff while Kim was here too (like visit Times Square, Chinatown and Pearl Paint). Though mostly we hung out at home enjoying our time together. Our friend Kat, who's going to school here in NYC, came over for a slumber party one night (we all met that first year in Austria). That night we also introduced Kim to an American delicacy - Schmoores! Or more to the point, Urban Schmoores, because we had to melt the marshmallows over the stove burner. Regardless, it was tons of gooey fun.
The day Kim was leaving was somber. Knowing that you're not going to see such a great friend for some time, maybe even years, it sad indeed. We tried to linger in every moment that passed. Laughing and crying over the silliest things, like Kimmie trying to stuff everything she brought and everything she acquired into a small bag. Thru my tears I could see a friend I would have for life. That even though we are separated by a couple of continents and a few oceans, I know Kim is always near in my heart. She is unequivocally a true friend and a jewel in the crown of my life.