I have always found great pleasure in walking the city streets. Throughout my 43 years in New York City, I’ve seen a lot. And, yet, I always find something new. This past week I started to notice the ubiquitous iron work on so many buildings and railings. There’s a long history, centuries old, of metal and iron works. On closer inspection there are common patterns. Chances are they’re cheap. But not all buildings have the less expensive options. There are stunning pieces of craftsmanship.
Decorative arts can easily be underestimated. In terms of New York buildings iron work tends to be architectural embellishment. For me, they’ve usually gone unnoticed. But to the trained eye, the metal works stand out as a separate entity. A craft in its own right.
Funny, but as often as I go to museums, a repeated walking destination, I have rarely visited the decorative arts galleries. I’ve walked past them to see special exhibits, but like the iron work covering many brownstone doors and windows, I walked by them not giving them a second glance.
There’s so much we don’t see. Whether we aren’t in touch with our compassion and neglect to notice the pain of a bothersome neighbor, or we fail to see the beauty in the ordinary, as we continue to walk this earth we have so many opportunities to look again and appreciate what’s here in plain sight.
- Go on a treasure hunt. Look for beauty in places that you take for granted. Notice what you find. Enjoy the surprises that come your way.
- Check out decorative arts when you visit a museum. It will be a quiet gallery with a virtual private viewing
- As an act of body love, go over your physical being and notice it’s beauty. It can be something small like a lovely crease on your elbow, the curves in your hair, or your hips, or you can look at your body anew, appreciating its presence, its strength, its capabilities