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  • Nick Baker

Letter from America

Finally I have arrived in the USA; first time ever! The architecture of New York has been mind-blowing; Empire State, Chrysler Building, Rockefeller, Chanin, Grand Central Station, Flatiron and of course no architectural tour of the Big Apple is complete without a visit to FLW’s Guggenheim.

Like most Kiwis I have a passion for the work of Frank Lloyd Wright but how long was I prepared to queue for a look inside? Being Labour weekend in the US, the City was awash with tourists. After a walk through Central Park we approached the Guggenheim wondering what sort of a queue we would encounter but despite the masses we walked straight in and bought a ticket for $22 each.

Taking the advice of the guide from our open top bus tour, we took the elevator to the 6th floor and proceeded to wander down the ramped gallery rather than up. – Good advice.

I can confirm that the Guggenheim is a must see, the exhibition of Italian futurism only added to spectacle. I was torn between taking in the exhibition and gazing into the amazing space created by Franks spiral gallery. Even the massive number of people filling every level and the noise just seemed to add to the atmosphere. The filtered light and gallery alcoves enable the gallery to work even when it is crowded with people. Then to finally discover the museum’s collection of Cezanne, Gauguin, Monet, Picasso, Renoir, van Gogh, it was too much for me to take in at one time.

First visit to New York was for me a bit like visiting a shopping mall for the first time where a quick lap gives you the scale and an idea of what is there but I will need another visit or two to scratch beneath the surface.

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