Thursday, August 4, 2011


This is the last installment of my four part series on New York in July (even though we've now entered August and even though we'll be back in New York in less than a week). The four parts of the series are in no particular order and may also break the mold of holding off until the next nearest Thursday to post. Part four is a grab bag of breathtaking pieces, amazing theater, personal desires and one "only in New York" experience. Here goes:

One of the things I left out in my flea market tour was Doug Meyer and his industrial metal work. In the middle of Hell's Kitchen Flea Market, a little more than half way down on the right-hand side Doug has his pieces randomly scattered across an area half covered by a canvas canopy the other half laid out open to the elements. Like a kid drawn to a gleaming playground slide in the middle of a summer's day I lit up with excitement and desire, my eyes reduced to slits from the sun bouncing of their surfaces. As quickly as I reached for one of his consoles my mother's booming voice screamed out, "Don't touch that damn thing you'll burn your weewee off!" You could have fried an egg on the polished surfaces of his sun exposed desks and storage pieces. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but sometimes it's best to hold off touching beauty and let it exist solely as a visual reward.
That aside, there's a kitsch factor in Doug's work that really delights. I never got to meet Doug, maybe just as well as I conjure up the mad inventor pushing a line of grocery carts through the parking lot at Target his eyes popping behind a pair of thick black rimmed glasses his unkempt hair frizzed in a million directions his prized carts marching two-by-two in front of him on their way to their transformation into chic industrial loveseats. I can't think of a better image to portray such a wonderful combination of nerdiness and romanticism at the same time. You can see Doug's work online at

My first night back in New York, itching to get out and suck in the city. For me New York is a walking city. There are too many nooks and crannies missed by a tour guides bus ride through Manhattan, but there's one ride I might think twice about. The heat was still beating off the pavement as I rose through the subway exit at Grand Central. It was just after the sky had lost its final shade of blue. The lights of the city were now the footlights illuminating the stage of 42nd Street transforming everyone walking the street into actors in an unscripted play. We were all unwitting stars creating our own stage directions as we adlibbed our lines and hit our undirected marks. Cue the audience. I had to squint from the glare of the lights in order to make out the audience riding by in a bus. I had to look twice as "The Ride" crept by. "The Ride" is the newest addition to the city's theatrical heritage.
It's right out of Our Town with a narrator sitting off center-stage explaining the action to the audience while the actors continue their roles unaware of his presence. "The Ride's" brick and mortar theater is a bus with one side and the top cut away and covered in glass behind which sits an audience in theater style seating facing out watching the play which is New York City slowly move by. A tour guide perched on a stool narrates their ride spot-lit in a corner of the bus so as to not obstruct their view.
The production on board is far from random. The itinerary is planned out complete with comedy and information from the guides who are all professional actors and to surprise and entertain the riders, along the way are planted street performers singing, dancing and engaging with passers-by who are frequently unexpectedly thrown in front of the klieg lights and coaxed into impromptu performances of their own. The ride is approximately 75 minutes long, costs $65 a seat (there are 48 seats available) and culminates with an international karaoke rendition of Frank Sinatra's New York, New York usually so hilariously amusing that the people on the street stop in their tracks offering a round of applause and cheers of "Encore, Encore!"  Go to for more information.

Original may not be the most descriptive word for Doyle Meuser at 19 Christopher Street, but this store eviscerated my heart right straight through my ribcage and plunked it on their counter as collateral for just one of their suits. Once inside their tiny store you're taken from that West Village threshold and delivered to a space so British your tongue automatically dances with a royal accent. To loosen that tongue the gent behind the desk brings out his bottle of Balvenie single-malt whiskey. The purpose of the swirling cubes in your crystal glass is to not only loosen the British part of your tongue but to strip your wallet as well. Custom suits begin at $3,250. I covet and I don't care.

The process of fitting and building a suit to your exact body shape. The taking of extensive measurements and assessment of a client's posture over a six to ten week period involving three to five fittings and vast quantities of whiskey to attain the perfect nip and tuck of a Doyle  Mueser garment.

Every time I'm in New York I manage a visit to the New York Design Center, 200 Lex to those who know the correct pronunciation of Houston St. (it's house-ton), and that Avenue of the Americas and Sixth Avenue are the same thing. It's a round of going to the showrooms to see what's new and culminating in a good fifteen minutes of design gossip with an old friend, Steven Rappos, showroom manager for Ted Boerner. We were in the middle of catching up with the design community in Madison when Dale floated in impeccably dressed in a tight waisted white and black dress. Her blond hair worn on the long side, nails painted with a clear shiny coat, and black pumps giving a little tipsiness to her walk. It wasn't the perfect pitch of her voice, or proper out-stretch of her delicate hand, it was the shape of age on her face that told the story of person transitioning from one gender to the other leaving her a little bit in between. Clutched in her other hand was her photography portfolio with superbly designed cards and a very expensive looking brochure. Her introduction was brief and her purpose confidently announced. Looking for representation is a difficult task for almost any of us. Putting yourself and your work out there for acceptance or rejection is heart pounding. You had to immediately admire her courage, not only in putting her work out there but knowing that she might face another type of rejection each time she went into a showroom unannounced. Steven and I looked at her work and she left as confident as she had arrived giving us both a card and leaving Steven with one of her beautiful brochures.
After I got home I had to goggle her and her website: Her biography was even more moving than our initial meeting.


Erotic Floral, 2009
By Dale M Reid
Represented by DeLong Gallery, Toronto

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