Empanadas and MoMA PS 1

Spring is finally here and its time for more food and art explorations in NYC. This past weekend I visited MoMA PS1 in Long Island City just 5 ½ miles from the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Housed in an old school circa 1900, the museum was founded in 1971 by Alanna Heiss and the Institute for Art & Urban Resources, Inc. The purpose was to use underutilized and abandoned spaces in NYC. Today MoMA PS 1 houses some of the most experimental art in the world and pushes the boundaries of what can be considered art.

Hallway PS 1 MOMA.jpg

The first order of the day was to discover a good place for lunch and after that I planned to visit the museum. The neighborhood surrounding MoMA PS 1 in Long Island City is rapidly gentrifying with an enormous amount of construction and congestion. I took a walk around the streets and came upon a small Peruvian restaurant called The Inkan on 45-02 23rd Street right under the # 7 Subway. As I entered, I was immediately impressed by the warmth of the owner and servers. A large Latino family was enjoying lunch and a TV on the wall was playing a soccer game.


I ordered the soup of the day which was a rich cilantro chicken soup with corn, potatoes, peas and onions. It was delicious and was a perfect accompaniment to an order of crispy empanadas that were filled with cheese, onion and chicken. The empanadas were served with guacamole and a spicy coriander dipping sauce. The table next to me ordered a dish that looked inviting: Causa de Camarones- a beautiful presentation of avocado stuffed with shrimp, quinoa, cucumber, red pepper, mint, olive oil and cherry tomatoes. I plan to return with friends to order this and also the Peruvian chicken!

Fortified nicely and a little too full, I walked slowly to the museum about 3 blocks away. The museum was closed for regular visits due to construction, but tours of the museums were offered and it was a wonderful way to discover the hidden treasures that the museum has to offer! As I entered the museum I was struck by how much the building retained a feeling of a forbidding old school. The austere hallways were lined with tall high classroom doors. The stairways were encased with cage like metal and it felt very institutional. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of experimental artworks displayed on the bleak walls lining the stairwells and the installation titled Stair Procession by the South African artist William Kentridge . As I walked up the stairs, the images seemed to move with me.

Stair Procession William Kentridge.jpg

I look forward to returning to MoMa PS 1 for future exhibitions and to the restaurant, The Inkan. And, coming soon, my own recipe for Empanadas!

Happy Spring!!

Judith Dansker