Storm King Art Adventure

Travel Diary

 Sculpture in the wild…

Sculpture in the wild…

Upon the genius suggestion of S, plans began for a day trip to Storm King Art Center in upstate NY. The park is accessible to carless NYC dwellers via train or bus and we decided to go with the bus option which went straight from midtown Manhattan to the art place and didn’t involve shuttles or transfers or starting all the way uptown. This option involved using Shortline/Coach USA, a company not exactly on the cutting edge of modern tech. Despite purchasing our packages online they required us to PRINT (?!?!) the purchase confirmation email and then visit the ticket office in person (?!?!) to then PRINT (?!?!) the actual tickets for both travel on the bus and admission to the park. Given all the analog hoops we needed to jump through, we planned on meeting at the station at 9am though the bus wasn’t scheduled to depart until 10.

I would guess that to most people, having to be someplace at 9am on a Saturday isn’t that big a deal. Seeing as how I’m on the make-your-own-schedule schedule and my routine involves staying up till just shy of dawn and then rising around noon, planning to be anywhere by 9am is a Herculean feat. Nevertheless I set my alarm for 6:18am so that I would have time to snooze once or twice and still have time to make coffee, sit in front of my computer and ease into the day a bit before heading out.

Despite my best intentions I didn’t get into bed until 3am the night before the trip. I know I know I did it to myself, but it’s tough to suddenly go to sleep hours earlier than usual without weeks of prior training. Also I had just started season 1 of The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu and I couldn’t stop watching episode after episode. Also I couldn’t stop thinking about the storyline and today’s political climate, and my questions about the time scope of the show, and so even though I got into bed close to my normal bedtime, I tossed and turned unable to fall asleep. I got little more than a single hour of sleep.

The alarm went off as scheduled and I dragged myself out of bed after only snoozing once, mostly because I was eager to get on with the making of coffee. After dressing and showering and loading my fanny pack (so that I may roam the hilly grounds unencumbered by baggage) I managed to leave the house at 8:09am, nearly 10 minutes past when Google said I needed to leave to make it downtown on time. I managed to catch an express train on my way and miraculously arrived at 8:56am. S was nowhere to be found so I hit the ladies room. S wound up running pretty late but thankfully that “requirement” of printing the confirmation emails was bullshit so I was able to grab both our ticket packages and snag some seats near the gate and awaited S’s arrival.

 Look at that sweet-ass sky!

Look at that sweet-ass sky!

The wait was more interesting than expected, largely because there was a renaissance fair happening later that day at some location one of the other buses was traveling to, and there was quite the parade of costumed folks to ogle. Just before I started getting real judge-y in my head about the kind of person who gets dressed up to attend one of these events, some guy who smelled like dirty feet sat down next me and so my judgment transferred to him. Not long after that, S finally appeared and so I had the perfect opportunity to change seats and distract myself from the sights and smells of the hell hole which is Port Authority.

Finally on the bus, S and I spent the duration of the ride chatting about mutual acquaintances, our strong opinions about them and the general goings on and ups and downs of our lives. S joked how amused she was by the idea that we were going to arrive at the infamous outdoor art park and spend the day hopped up on coffee and laying in the grass instead of “appreciating” the place as we imagined other people would. In that instance I was most grateful to being taking the trip with S and no one else as that sounded like the ideal use of our time. Few people are capable of throwing all expectation out the window and just doing whatever the fuck they want like S, like me.

For those of you who don’t know, Storm King is an outdoor sculpture mecca of sorts, with rolling hills and wooded expanses, artworks large and small dotting the landscape. There is no right or wrong way to do it per se, but most would argue actually making an effort to view the art would be a majority part of “doing it right”.

Anyway! We arrived and promptly went off in the direction of restrooms and coffee. The weather was absolutely beautiful, warm and sunny and no rain (unusual for the previous days and weeks) and it just felt good to be out in the world, breathing fresh air and gazing upon different scenery. After making our beverage purchases we sat in the breezy light and chatted about our dysfunctional families before deciding to actually view some art. We wandered down path after path, eventually turning onto one of the wooded trails where I periodically stopped to inhale the sweet smell of earth and reminisce about my glory days at girl scout camp. We viewed some art.

We also lounged around in the grass, just as we had dreamed. However it was buggier than we had dreamed so that curtailed our lounging a bit though didn’t stop it entirely. We mused some more and watched flocks of people walk to and fro ahead of us, all diligently documenting their precious experiences for their stupid Instagram feeds.

The bus home was set to depart at 5pm so we had plenty of time to be lazy. While we did manage to walk a large part of the park, at midday we moved inside to check out the current interior exhibition before trying to locate the taco truck. On our way to said taco truck we passed the starting point of the park’s tram. As we gobbled up our tacos while sitting in the grass we decided we would like to ride said tram and so we did. S smartly commented it was like a “sculpture safari” and I used this clever title to later post a video story of our ride to my own stupid Instagram feed.

Having sufficiently explored the park via sculpture safari and foot, we made our way to the bus area to lounge in the grass some more. How nice it was to starfish in the sun and catch a few minutes of shut eye before boarding. I spent the ride home enjoying the passing landscapes and thinking quietly to myself as S got her own dose of shut eye.

Upon our city return we made a trip downtown to the new Trader Joe’s and later nibbled on our purchases while congratulating ourselves on a successful venture.

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