Oberlin Blogs

Give Me A Break: Another NYC Adventure

April 5, 2010

Ma'ayan Plaut ’10

I spend a lot of school breaks in New York City. It's not that it's the only place I ever go, but it sure is a good option; I never end up doing the same thing twice. That, and Oberlin never feels too far away from New York during breaks.

I wrote and photoed extensively about my fall break in New York and circus-ing it up at every possible location with as many Obies as possible. This break was defined by seeing as many Oberlin things in the real world, to complement my bringing many Oberlin things with me on breaks.

This break was a bit of the same old same old, but with a twist. First of all, I didn't get to see my grandmother, who I have spent most of my vacations with since coming to Oberlin, but Daniel and I spent our break apartment-sitting for her. I did get to see a cousin of mine from Israel for a couple hours, and I saw my aunt, uncle, and cousin just a few hours before they flew to Peru for Passover.

We arrived in New York with a long list of things to do, places and people to see, and foods to eat, much like our past breaks, with a few repeats (Cafe Lalo, B&H, dim sum in Chinatown, seeing a Striking Viking Story Pirates performance) to keep our favorites fresh in our mind. We also did some things that have been on our list for a few breaks thus far, but never got around to: visiting the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography, seeing a circus show, being in the audience for The Late Show with David Letterman, eating at the Carnegie Deli...

We also experienced some Oberlin things in some cool New York places. The Obertones, Oberlin's male a capella group, tours often to the New York area and points north for spring break. While checking my Facebook for college updates from my brother one evening, I ran across my friend Phil's update that the Obertones were singing in Union Square earlier that day. I promptly emailed him and told him to keep me posted on where they were going to be the following day. After a good deal of texting, we tracked down the Obertones in Washington Square, joining a sizable audience to listen to them perform many classics, including covers of Don't Stop Me Now by Queen, Crazy Love by Van Morrison, and a medley from Abbey Road.

The Obertones point to the sky in unison at their performance in Washington Square

A closeup view of the Obertones performing at Washington Circle

3 members of the Obertones singing. They're all looking in different directions!

Another close-up shot of the Obertones performing

A member of the Obertones making big hand gestures

A view of the surrounding buildings of NYC as the Obertones perform in Washington Square

Later that week, we also attended a musical revue directed and producer by Anna Strasser '09, co-produced by Jamie Caplan '08, and music directed by Ian Axness '09, featuring the talents of Melissa Bayern '07, Sam Heldt '09, Shelly Irvin '08, Rachel Jacobs '09, Paul McKenney '07, Courtney Merrell '08, Jill Murdoch '09, and Raphael Sacks '09.

A performer at the revue holds their arms outward

Three performers at the revue

Two performers singing at the revue

A performer shrugging their shoulders at the revue

Three performers at the revue, one playing the piano in the background

A performer lays across the lap of another in what seems to be an altercation

A performer holds another performer in their arms at the revue

A large group of performers huddle together at the revue

A group of performers all looking at each other

It was a wonderful collection of modern musical numbers, jam-packed with energy in the Shetler Studio. This was a great opportunity for casting, and the audience was filled with current Obies, recent grads, family members for support as well. I loved seeing that much Oberlin talent in one room, especially in New York City.

On our last day in the city, we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of my favorite museums. It had been on all our NYC trip lists, but we hadn't made it there yet. This time there was a doubly good reason to attend: with the Allen Memorial Art Museum's closing for renovations at the beginning of this semester, many of its star pieces have a temporary home within the Met's collection in a show called Side by Side. The Met's collection is extensive and one of the most comprehensive collections in the world, and the singular pieces the Allen has contributed to them makes their collections even more stunning.

This is a less-traditional exhibition, with all of the Allen's pieces situated side by side and interspersed with the Met's permanent collection in four different galleries. We overheard several groups of people asking where the Oberlin exhibit was located, which wasn't in a central location and caused a bit of confusion. We treated the exhibit like a scavenger hunt, viewing the Met's collection at large and celebrating joyously when we found a recognizable Oberlin piece.

Many of my favorite pieces are currently residing at the Met, so going through these galleries with all these famous pieces and seeing my favorite pieces with them, including pieces I have talked about on tours before, like the Kirchner sculpture Standing Female Nude in the second and third images, made my trip.

A poster advertising the Met's collection of Oberlin's Masterworks in a show called Side by Side

A view of the Kirchner sculpture entitled Standing Female Nude

A side view of the Kirchner sculpture entitled Standing Female Nude

Kirchner's Self Portrait as a Soldier! And Standing Female Nude! That sculpture is one of my favorites, and it was also the first piece I found at the Met.

Gottlieb's painting entitled The Rape of Persephone

Rothko's painting entitled The Bull (center)

Various paintings in the Met's Collection including Gottlieb's The Rape of Persephone andRothko's The Bull

People looking at various paintings and sculptures at the Met's Collection

Gottlieb's The Rape of Persephone! Rothko's The Bull!

Close view of Newman's Onement IV

Remote view of Newman's Onement IV

Newman's Onement IV!

Cesari's painting entitled The Agony in the Garden (Christ on the Mount of Olives)

More paintings in the Met's collection

Mola's painting entitled The Rest on the Flight into Egypt

Domenichino's painting entitled Landscape with Flight into Egypt

A person looking at various paintings in the Met's collection

Gaulli's painting entitled Death of Adonis

You know, I don't remember ever seeing these pieces before. I feel like a bad docent. We still found them on our tour!

Cezanne's painting entitled Viaduct at l'Estaque

Cezanne's Viaduct at l'Estaque!

Sweert's Self Portrait

Sweert's Self Portrait!

ter Brugghen's painting entitled Saint Sebastian Tended by Irene

ter Brugghen's Saint Sebastian Tended by Irene!

Monet's painting entitled Garden of the Princess, Louvre (center)

Monet's Garden of the Princess, Louvre (center)!

Turner's painting entitled View of Venice (right)

Turner's View of Venice (right)!

The show runs until the end of August, so if you have the opportunity to pop into the Met and play hide-and-go-Oberlin-seek, please do! If you can't make it to the Met, selected Allen pieces are on exhibit at several other museums.

The only thing we were really looking forward to but have to schedule in for a future trip is visiting the geniuses behind the web cooking show Economy Bites. Founded by Allie Schwartz '07 and Daniel Schloss '07, this weekly cooking show touts easy-to-make meals that can allows to you "Cook on Sunday, eat till Thursday," all on a budget of less than $30 a week. I fell in love with their show over Winter Term, and I learned recently that a friend of mine, Emily, was their intern over Winter Term. Food plus videos plus Obies seemed like a great combination to me, but our timing over spring break didn't really fit with their schedule, but next time, we're hanging out with them!


This was a great transitional spring break for me, as I'm just about to graduate and seeing where Oberlin fits into the world at large is a pretty good thing.

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