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This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 05, 2018

David Bowie Is

June 24, 2018


David Bowie Is

As our time in New York City wound to a conclusion, there were a couple of special exhibits that we really wanted to see, as it would most likely be our only opportunity to see these traveling exhibitions that happened to be in the city at the same time as we were there. One was the traveling exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum called, “David Bowie Is” which is a retrospective of the late singers life and career. The other exhibit was based on the beloved television series “Downton Abbey”, which was making its NYC stop of a world tour taking the sets, costumes and more around the globe.

The Brooklyn Museum is the final stop of a world tour that took the “David Bowie Is” exhibit to a dozen museums around the world. Since first opening at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in March 2013, the exhibit has been seen by more than two million visitors, most of whom it seemed picked the very day we were attending to show up, as it was totally packed and somewhat warm in the exhibit.

In spite of the crowds and heat, the show was totally amazing, featuring over five hundred objects from David Bowie’s massive archive. He apparently kept everything as there were notes and drawings from his childhood right up to the Blackstar era that he had just completed upon his death. To even begin to go into all that the show included would be impossible as it was massive and almost overwhelming. 


Perhaps the highlight was the collection of original costumes, stage sets, instruments and more from his many diverse and groundbreaking tours and shows. The curators of the show had unfettered access to Bowie’s massive archives and they did a masterful job of presenting a great overview of the creative genius that was David Bowie.

Perhaps the most surprising things we saw were a collection of Bowie’s original paintings, he was a gifted painter and I am not sure that I was really aware of that. His handwritten lyrics, notes on stage sets, drawings of his album covers and more all suggested just how involved he was in every aspect of how his image was presented. There were literally hours of audio and video that accompanied the show and you could literally have spent an entire day in the exhibit and not truly seen everything.

One of the cooler things about this particular stop were the items selected specifically for New York that showed the singer’s connection to the city. For example the stage backdrop and costumes from Bowie’s title role in the Broadway production of “The Elephant Man” were on display along with many more NYC specific items that were not featured in any of the shows previous stops.

The other exhibit we saw was completely different, but no less impressive. The “Downtown Abbey” exhibition had taken over a building on West 57th and featured incredible complete sets, costumes, scripts and more from the hit TV show. I had not really watched much of the show that Kathy is a big fan of, but I must admit after seeing all the detailed work that went in to creating the period piece drama gave me a much greater appreciation for it and even made me interested in checking it out.


The meticulous detail of the sets and costuming are truly incredible and the interactive three floors of exhibit does so much more than just show the items from the show, but serves as a history lesson about the time period that it takes place in, making the exhibit interesting for even those like me who are unfamiliar with the show and its characters. 

As a visitor, you get an upstairs/downstairs look at the fictional Crawley family estate, walking through re-creations of sets that take you into the kitchen, servants' hall, Carson's pantry, Lady Mary's bedroom and the dining room. More than 50 costumes worn by Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith and other stars are on display. They include Lady Mary's and Lady Edith's wedding dresses, Mary's Season 2 two proposal dress and Rose’s royal presentation dress.

For our final evening, prior to heading out to see Bruce Springsteen, we decided to explore the Times Square area right around our hotel. We had walked through a lot, but never really taken the time to look around much. The huge, multi-leveled M & M’s store was just across the street. We had been in their similar store in Las Vegas, and went in to marvel at the huge place dedicated to a single type of candy.


We also visited some of the tacky NYC gift shops that litter Times Square where every sort of tacky NYC souvenir can be purchased in abundance, they have these type of shops in every tourist destination, including Key West, but now we were the actual tourists so we checked them out. There were also a number of shops dedicated to Broadway itself, selling various items related to Broadway shows past and present.



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