Our Valentine’s Day breakfast of crepes was superb. Our lunch of charcuterie served on a tray with the Eiffel Tower was fun and hearty. Now we were ready to head into the second half of our day of romance, with a visit to the Noguchi Museum and a dinner of Parisian Plateau de Fruits de Mer.
I have known about the Noguchi Museum almost as long as I have lived in New York City, but I had never visited it before. You may say, well, what does Isamu Noguchi and his work have to do with Paris? And the truth is, not much. But this seemed like the ideal opportunity to finally visit this extraordinary museum in the northwest corner of Queens.
We decided that we would take the subway to the museum, which meant having to walk from the Broadway stop of the N subway 10 blocks to the museum. But we were game because, hey, we’re New Yorkers, and also, nothing would stop us on Valentine’s Day, right? It was a cold crisp day, and we were heartened, upon reaching Broadway in Long Island City, and walking west, to find a sign directing us to the museum. Yay, we were on our way!
What we did find a little confusing was when we got to the museum, saw a sign telling us it was the museum, but found no entrance. Hmmm. When we walked a little further, we were encouraged to see banners, 3 of them in fact, displaying Noguchi’s name. Aha, this must be the entrance! But no, once again, there was no entrance.
I remembered reading something about the entrance being in an unexpected place, so we kept walking, around the corner, and finally, aha! there was the entrance. But I tell you, until I was actually standing in front of the entrance.
Is this all some part of Noguchi’s plan? After all, he bought the building and designed the museum before he died. Hmm, maybe. But what is the message being conveyed by putting the entrance on the side where one least expects it? That perseverance is rewarded? That Noguchi was a whimsical fellow? I suspect it was a practical decision: that that was the best place in keeping with the layout of the museum to put the door.
After all, everything else in the museum seems deliberate: where his pieces of sculpture are placed, even what pieces are placed next to each other. Even what one sees when one looks out the museum’s windows is strictly planned to interact with what is inside the museum – Noguchi had trees planted that in some cases make a very deliberate effect with the sculptures that are inside the museum closest to the windows.
We enjoyed our time in the museum, which consisted of a free Gallery Talk with the museum’s educator, book-ended by beginning and finishing our charcuterie lunch in the museum’s cafeteria (you may remember that in my last post I said I had put together our lunch, but we had to run so we packed it and brought it with us to the museum). We concluded our visit with seeing some parts of the museum that had not been included in the gallery talk. Then we headed out for the long walk back to the subway, and our subway ride back to Manhattan.
By the time we were back home and rested up a bit, it was time to start putting together our last part of our Valentine’s Day in Paris, a plateau royal des fruits de mer inspired by a dish of the same name that we ate on our first day in Paris back in 2010 at a wonderful restaurant, Brasserie Lorraine. For our dish, Therese was in charge of putting it all together – she had ordered most of the ingredients from Citarella, a market in NYC that has lots of high quality merchandise, including some wonderful seafood (oysters, etc.). For the plateau part of our dinner, Therese used a Wilton 3-Tier Pillar-Style Cake Stand that she had bought as part of the planning of our daughter’s wedding this coming summer. It might not work for the wedding, but I think you’ll agree, it created a lovely effect for our dinner!
To go with our dinner, we had a bottle of Piper Heidsieck Champagne which we had actually bought for New Year’s Eve but never drunk. It went perfectly with our fruits de mer: oysters, sushi-grade tuna (expertly seared by Therese), jumbo lump crab meat, prosciutto (ok, some things were not so very “de mer”) , artichoke hearts with tartar sauce, cocktail sauce and home-made mignonette sauce (I made that).
We feasted on our many seafoods and sauces and washed it all down with the champagne, and then went back and feasted and drank some more. Our day of bringing the things we love in Paris to us in New York had been a rousing success. We live in hope that we will visit the City of Lights again in the near future, but in the meantime, my friends, we will always have Valentine’s Day.