When I was in elementary school my forever-friend, Amy, said she read a book with a funny name and thought I might like it. The book, Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth by E.L. Konigsburg is one of the first books I remember choosing on my own. This book led me to one of my all-time favorite books, also by Konigsburg, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I identified with the main character, Claudia, and from the minute she and her brother Jamie ran away from home to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, I wanted to visit there too.
Fast forward to 2011 – I read a book review about an upcoming book by Susan Vreeland called Clara and Mr. Tiffany. It sounded like a great book and reminded me of some recent historical fiction that I read and really enjoyed. Based on the review I put a hold on the book on disc. To say that I was obsessed with this book is probably a bit strong, but I really enjoyed it. The book brought the process of creating Tiffany glass to light and gave insight into Louis Comfort Tiffany and his relationship with his father and Tiffany and Co. It also vividly described New York City at the turn of the century and issue related to immigrants, labor unions, and women in the workplace. After reading this book I yearned to see Tiffany windows and lamps. After doing some research I learned that there was Tiffany glass on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art … I wrote a blog post about Clara and Mr. Tiffany and someone from New York City responded, “So, pack those bags, hop on a plane and come on over to the largest most exciting city in the U.S. NEW YORK CITY!!!” Hmmm ….
About this same time, my family watched the movie Serendipity. It is set in New York City and centers around the Waldorf=Astoria hotel on Park Avenue. We talked about New York and how fun it would be to visit. Within a couple days, a friend and former resident of Iowa City who lives on Long Island called and invited us to visit. Serendipity?? Sounded like a great excuse to get away for Spring Break!!
Where do books take you? This is where they took me in March 2011:
Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay: While visiting Long Island, our friends took us to Teddy Roosevelt’s home, Sagamore Hill, in Oyster Bay. While there I realized that Oyster Bay is where Luis Comfort Tiffany built Laurelton Hall, his audacious home that later burned. Laurelton Hall is discussed in Clara and Mr. Tiffany and the loggia is on permanent display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Our visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art was fabulous. Not only did we see the Tiffany stained glass windows and lamps, but also some of the art created for the World Expositions in Chicago and Paris that was mentioned in Clara and Mr. Tiffany. We also saw the Egyptian art that Claudia and James loved in From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
While in Manhattan we also visited the American Museum of Natural History, Tiffany and Co, ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center, Central Park, and the Flatiron Building. All these places were a part of the books I read and movies we watched.
I don’t know where books will take me in the future, but I love an adventure and look forward to the journey. Stay tuned