Ink and watercolor wash New York Outdoors/Landscape Sketchbook Pages

NYC Part 5: Central Park Conservatory Water, John Zorn at the Met, NYC Food Oddities

Central Park Conservatory Water, NY, ink and watercolor, 5x5"x7.5"
Central Park Conservatory Water, NY, ink and watercolor, 5×5″x7.5″

Saturday mid-day we met Brooklyn art blogger (and funny lady) Carol King by the Conservatory Water (above) in Central Park, named for the Conservatory of Flowers building it was meant to reflect but that was never constructed.

In the sketch above, I abused the rules of perspective, enlarging the boathouse and model boats but not the distance to the front of the pond, making the water look more like a kids pool than the small lake you can see in the photo below. Oops.

Photo of Central Park's Conservatory water from where we were sketching in the park
Photo of Central Park’s Conservatory water from where we were sketching in the park

Before Central Park, we went to the Metropolitan Museum where they were presenting hourly performances of John Zorn music to celebrate the avant-garde composer’s 60th birthday. I’d heard him interviewed on Fresh Air and was blown away by his dedication to a life of creativity, stripping almost everything else out of his life. You can read the full transcript here. This (slightly edited by me) quote really got me:

GROSS: What does turning 60 mean to you?

ZORN: There are no more doubts...That little guy that sits on my shoulder…that used to whisper in [my] ear, you know, “you could be really wrong about this,” that guy’s not around anymore. I brushed him off.

Everything is very clear: what I need to do, why I’m on the planet, the best way to accomplish it, what is a distraction, what helps me focus. Everything is really there. And…I work very hard, I work all the time, I’m not really interested in vacations or getting away from my work….

Now there are no more solutions because there are no more problems. I just turn the tap, and the music comes pouring out.

We chose the 11:00 a.m. performance Volac – Masada; Book of Angels with Erik Friedlander, cello, held in the Assyrian Gallery.

Assyrian Lamassi at Met during John Zorn Cello Concert, ink, 7.5 x 5'
Assyrian Lamassi at Met during John Zorn  Concert, ink, 7.5 x 5′
Assyrian Lamassi
Assyrian Lamassi protective being, after the concert and the crowd left

The sketch above left started out quite nicely, despite drawing standing in a crowd. But later, forgetting I’d used a water-soluble pen, I added watercolor. The ink spread and smeared all over. I tried restating the lines with a brush pen but don’t like the results.

I filmed the clip below holding my iPhone over my head; I couldn’t see what I was recording since my actual view was the crowd in front me as in the sketch above, but at least it is a snippet of the sights and sounds:

Next Carol was taking us to Brooklyn. We followed her down 5th Avenue to the subway, stopping quickly along the way for her to pick up a new-to-me food item. Pronounced as one word, “butterroll,” according to internet sources a “buttered roll is a big, pre-buttered, pre-wrapped roll, soft in the inside, chewy on the outside. Usually eaten in the morning with a cup of coffee, regular.”

And that’s another New York food oddity: when you order coffee most places you’re supposed to say “regular” if you want it with a “normal” amount of milk and sugar, or specify dark, light, sweet, or no sugar if you want something different because they put the stuff in there for you. I’m glad we had a coffee grinder filled with dark, rich beans and a French Press pot in our apartment. It was the best coffee I had in New York, with just the right amount of modifiers, added visually not verbally.

7 replies on “NYC Part 5: Central Park Conservatory Water, John Zorn at the Met, NYC Food Oddities”

Really am loving this post, Jana. I miss the chances to drop in these places– the park and museums and huge main library. You’ve shown how colorful the park looks in October.


You really “did” New York, Jana! Great sketches, but I am thinking you must have been totally wiped out by the time you got home. I know when I go to NY, there’s so much to see and do that I always try to get in more than one thing, but that means a LOT of walking and sometimes time pressure, and it winds up a little overwhelming. And sometimes expensive. I went to an art exhibit once in Central Park (those artists who drape things in orange cloths and banners). By way of a “break” afterwards, I ambled into one of those fancy department stores opposite the park and wound up buying myself what I thought at the time was a unique, gorgeous, sparkly sweater-capelet. Cost me a bundle (but I’m worth it, right?). I never found the right occasion to wear it. That was before my drawing days. I’ve since passed it along, but darn–I should have drawn it first!


Beautiful conservancy water sketch and I’m happy to say I got to see you sketch it in person. I even like the oversized boats. And I did say buttered roll. I just said it so quickly it sounded like one word. 🙂

Looking forward to the rest of your posts.


Hi Carol, I was happy to get to see your sketches in person too! I know you did say “buttered roll” but I heard it as something new and unique, a special kind of pastry maybe, like a croissant or something…my imagination when it comes to buttery doughy good stuff can get carried away. Jana


The Boathouse is brilliant – literally and figuratively! I am enjoying my vicarious tour of NYC. Thank you.


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