BWW Exclusive Day 3: Preview of Margery & Sheldon Harnick's OUTDOOR MUSEUM- A Car Looks at Manhattan
The Outdoor Museum (not your usual images of New York) is a book of photographs and verse created as a tribute to the iconic city of New York. Presenting it as its own exhibit, the book includes more than 100 stunning images, 11 sage and witty poems (read by Sheldon Harnick on an accompanying CD), and a reverential foreword by renowned director, Mike Nichols.
BroadwayWorld brings you a preview of one of the pieces from the book below, entitled 'A Car Looks at Manhattan.'
As museum enthusiasts, the Harnicks began to construct their own virtual museum while regularly walking the city streets. Looking past the landmarks and cultural icons, they came upon more fascinating and less regarded urban marvels—puddle reflections, subway tiles, sleeping swans, fireworks, public sculpture, store mannequins, and so much more that can be enjoyed without a ticket or a reservation. Margery snapped pictures and Sheldon scribbled verses on a pad. Together, this influential couple brought their abundant talents to The Outdoor Museum as homage to New York. The Outdoor Museum is a singular trophy by two New Yorkers who have contributed to and been deeply touched by the city’s magic.
Margery Gray Harnick and her husband Sheldon Harnick have been fixtures in the New York theater scene for decades—she as an actress-singer-dancer, he as a lyricist for such smash-hit musicals like Fiddler on the Roof. More recently, the couple have turned their eye on the less-documented corners of their beloved metropolis. The result is The Outdoor Museum: Not Your Usual Images of New York (Beaufort Books, $29.95; ISBN 978-0-8253-0675-4), which brings together Margery’s artist’s-eye-view of the city and Sheldon’s knack for narrative verse to produce a uniquely sublime souvenir. To purchase the book, click here.
A CAR LOOKS AT MANHATTAN
(AND MY WIFE LOOKS AT A CAR)
When people stop
to stare at a car,
struck by the elegant contours
of its hood,
the arresting geometry
of its headlights
or the brazen theatricality
of its taillights…
when people, as I say,
stop to stare at a car,
what they see is a car.
When my wife stops
to stare at a car,
she sees what the car sees.
WHAT DOES A CAR SEE
when its hood, headlights, taillight
and assorted body parts
gaze at Manhattan?
A city no one has ever seen:
a surreal world
of melting buildings…
silhouettes of spectral trees
hurrying who knows where...
of curiously intricate machinery
doing who knows what…
a magic lantern show
of phantastical shapes,
colors, patterns and designs…
this is what a car sees.
WHAT DOES MY WIFE SEE
when she looks at a car?
She sees what the car sees.
Kaleidoscopic visions drift
towards her waiting camera
and float through her surrogate eye
to be observed, sifted and appraised
by her eye’s mind,
soon to spout as printed images,
ports of entry to this mystic universe.
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