Friday, 26 November 2010

Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving!!

Ahhh, how is everyone? Stuffed to the gills after over doing it on Thanksgiving?? I am well and thoroughly enjoying my 4 day weekend, it's been so nice so far. The best thing being the amount of sleep I've managed to get. It's blissful, I should try sleeping for 8-9 hours a night more often, it takes years off me.

On Thanksgiving Day I had a mellow lunch with my friend Nigel, fellow Brit and fellow Thanksgiving orphan, at Spring St Bar & Natural followed by a movie, Unstoppable, which was not bad actually. Better than I expected it to be at any rate and pleasingly brief in this age of the 2+ hour movie, at just under an hour and 40 minutes. I always find that most movies could do with being shortened by a good 15-minutes, like the Harry Potter movie that I saw on Friday for example. It dragged on a bit in places and would have benefitted from quarter of an hour being chopped from the middle, although for the most part I enjoyed it.

It's amazing I got out at all to be honest. I was loathe to step foot outside my apartment on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year when everyone and his dog is out and about doing their holiday shopping and the stores are abuzz with bargains. On the few occasions my parents have been in town for the Thanksgiving Holiday my mother has coerced me into going to Macy's with her - an experience I avoid at the best of times, but my mother thinks she'll miss out on a bargain if she doesn't jump into the fray - while my father gets to stay at home and tackle 'any jobs' I need doing - affixing kitchen roll holders to my tiled wall etc - and it was just as unpleasant as I imagined what with all the unnecessary pushing and shoving, feeling all overheated in your 3 layers of clothing and almost succumbing to an asthma attack while taking a short cut through the perfume department.

I do as much of my shopping online as I can and my mother accuses me of contributing to the decline of the High Street, but it's the fact that the High St is so clearly not in decline, if the number of people on the streets are any indication, that keeps me away from the stores and in front of my computer. I let the shopping come to me.

Typically post Thanksgiving marks the start of my hibernation period, but I've been staying in far too much this year, so prior to seeing the Harry Potter movie I took myself up to the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum on 91st and 5th to check out the National Design Triennial exhibit. I've been meaning to check out the museum for a few years now, but until this weekend I hadn't got around to it. I've no excuse really, because I only live about 15minutes walk away, but I can give no real reason other than that it would slip my mind - I've started keeping a 'to do' list of things I should check out in NYC. Between you and me I nearly ditched it on Friday in favour of staying at home and reading a book I'm really enjoying - Red Bones by Ann Cleeves - but then I happened to notice that the exhibit closes in early January and I just knew that if I didn't go there and then I would miss it, so I got my arse into gear and walked up to the museum, trying my best to skirt the shopper hoards clogging 86th street. I'm really glad I did.

Unfortunately photography isn't allowed in the Cooper Hewitt, so the photos below aren't from the exhibit, but other websites. The exhibit is categorized into 8 areas: energy, mobility, community, materials, prosperity, health, communication, simplicity.

My absolute favourite piece of the exhibit was this idea for invisible streetlights by Korean designer Jongoh Lee.

Image from

Aren't they beautiful? The lights can be wrapped around tree branches so that they are difficult to detect during the day as they mingle with the natural surroundings. They use a 'photocapacitor' that converts solar energy absorbed during the day into electricity, which is stored in a battery. The lights are able to store solar energy even on the cloudiest days and can release electricity at any time. I love love love them. I'm waiting for the day they are installed in Central Park.

Another invention that harnesses solar power is the Solvatten Water Purifier by Swedish designer Petra Wadstrom, a water container that uses the sun to make dirty water safe to drink. Apparently there are 1.2billion people worldwide living without clean drinking water and 1.2 million diarrheal deaths every year caused by water-borne diseases, mostly among children under five. The purifier opens to reveal two halves which are exposed to sunlight which naturally heats the water to a temperature high enough to kill any nasty beasties lurking within. When the water is safe to drink a light changes from red to green.

The short video below (1-min 33-secs) shows Petra demonstrating how the water purifier is used. What can I say Petra Wadstrom rocks!!

So did you know that there is a
self contained sustainable city being built on the desert outskirts of Abu Dhabi. A city that will be the worlds first car free, carbon neutral, zero waste city powered by renewable energy sources???

I certainly didn't, although there's was a whole NY Times article published about it in September - okay so 2-months ago, I'm not THAT far behind the curve. Apparently the city will also be car free, so the only way to get around will be to either walk, bike or Segway but there's also the option to take one of the underground personal transit vehicles, or PRTs.

Image courtesy of

Is anyone else experiencing images from the movie Wall-E flashing through their mind? I'm envisioning lots of obese people travelling around in these wee pods.

The city is designed by Foster & Partners and the current estimate for completion is at least 2020, 4-years later than the original deadline. The 6 minute video gives an overview of the project. It all seems a bit too "Logon's Run" if you ask me, will it be curtains once you reach the age of 35?

Other items in the exhibit include this plastic fur jacket by Maison Martin Margiela which is made from over 29,000 plastic garment label fastenings.

Image courtesy of

I love the idea of this, although unfortunately I doubt it will impress the fur loving ladies who lunch inhabiting the upper east side. Fur is still such a status symbol in New York and it never fails to repulse me when I see these ladies of a certain age swanning around the city in their full length minks and what not. It's really unnecessary if you ask me, it's not Siberia after all, although maybe that's hypocritical of me since if I had to kill my own food then there's no doubt about it, I'd be vegetarian.

Anyway there's lots more to chat about, but I'll end on that note since my Safari browser just crashed twice without reason. Uh-oh!! However I highly recommend catching the triennial exhibit before it closes on January 9th 2011.

No comments: