Although I normally prefer red wine or tequila cocktails, I didn’t mind the gin that night. It’s not my favorite spirit of choice- however considering it was a ginful open bar, replete with a charade of happy Hendrick’s hostesses trotting corseted A-line dresses, I didn’t mind it after all.
I haven’t followed the contemporary art scene for about a decade but remembered how to play the game. As homage to the collectibles, Die Wunderkammer welcomed a room full of oddities. No wonder the artwork didn’t flow here, but was it intended to? From the life sized four legged vertebrae with optical designs, to the scary Asian monster painting (the most sellable), to the beaded double monkey sculptures with human features.
Most if not all the works shown at Die Wunderkammer could’ve belonged to the same collector. In my imaginative world- he or she enjoys drinking inside dark obscured halls, their persona characterized by a pleasant and whimsical surface while haunted by its racy, perverted, and obscene daily thoughts. The gin cocktails are an escape from the mind and of reality. Thusly, this collector’s a lover of gin, it’s usual concoctions must be presented as icy cold with a touch of green olive, perhaps a cucumber or two to garnish it. And of course, they’re also a bit of a hoarder of things. Nothing’s quite curated in their drinking room…it’s the river which fails to flow. Our imaginary collector could be a real narcissist who loves their dirty gin, loves collecting beautiful people, and is usually found spending much of the daylight hours entrapped in a perfect world of chaos. Their disorganized thoughts of revenge, theft, and dominance never seem to subside….
Unfortunately my imaginary collector is nothing but imaginary. If you stick around long enough to see all the work here, you’ll be surprised by the veer bar/lounge “through” the blue curtain called Home Sweet Home. It’s been around for some time now, but it’s so well hidden- and unless you’re invited by a friend of a friend who knows about it, you’ld simply pass it off as just another store front. Upon passing through the curtains, I was greeted by New Yorkers who were dousing unlimited amounts of ravishing gin cocktails on the Henderick’s dime. I ran into some friends and followed them to the wooden corner bench/table next to the mystery novel window (where ghosts might appear and women jump off for suicide attempts). I slid into the back corner, next to the fresh air- then encountered my biggest mistake for half an hour. Can you guess what happens next? I was naturally cornered with no convo, none, zero, nope. No one spoke to me for thirty minutes. Everyone else was too busy closing in on some real estate deal- I was warned they were going to do that- so why did I follow them and get cornered? My que to move onto another scene was hinted at me after one of the guys (sitting opposite) asked me for his leather jacket (I was sitting next to it). After handing it over to its owner, I quickly noticed he checked the pockets (in a frenzy) for his wallet. Really? You think I’ld steal your wallet? You have some class sir, you’re obviously used to being in the company of some pretty classy folks. Should I be furious or understanding? After all- I did something similar on my way to there. Earlier that evening- I walked a flew blocks towards the gallery (from my car) with my DSLR clutched to my body, disgusted by the garbage pile up and paranoid of all the human alley cats I swore were hissing and prowling to snatch my baby up (camera).
I was feeling nauseous and overtly claustrophobic when rescue came along before I started to panic. I left with my friend who joined me for a bite at my favorite Malaysian place. We went to Nyonya, located at 199 Grand Street, sandwiched between Chinatown and Little Italy. This place only takes cash- but you won’t need too much of it to enjoy a multi-course meal. I frequent this joint as much as I can with whomever is willing to partake on a little curry meets Asia adventure. The coconut white rice is divine and I insist you ask for that version to replace the standard jasmine rice with the curry dishes. The sweet pineapple fried rice is pretty spectacular too.
The best appetizer my friends- is the Roti
Telur Canai. It’s an Indian crispy thin, handmade bread with a mild curry sauce on the side priced at only $3.50 per order. One is never enough for two people. If you dine alone, that’s perfect- if there are others there with you- have everyone get their own. My Indian friend claimed the Roti bread is “as authentic as it gets”. The curried chicken on the bone is pretty close to the Indian original and reminded me of the Roti Telur Canai sauce. We also enjoyed a noodle dish, the Curry Mee with Young Tau Foo and a bean curd with vegetables.
I loved it so much that I returned the following night and savored my favorite dish (Roti
Telur Canai) all over again. You can order an entire fish to share- which I’ve never had before but watched many large parties order it nearby. Appetizers range from $3.50-8.95 and entrees from $6.25-23.95. They serve a nice assortment of Malaysian non-alcoholic beverages, wine and beer. Come early, late, alone or with a crowd. It’s usually packed, whether it’s lunch or dinner. It’s casual, it’s delicious and you’ll never regret it. You might even have enough money left over to get dessert at Ferrara’s nearby.
Die Wunderkammer; Objects of Virtue
March 31, 2013- May 1st, 2013
131 Chrystie Street
New York, NY 10002
199 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 334-3669
$ Very Good, Ethnic, Malaysian