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Georgia O’Keefe and Little Italy!

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What is better than touring the Georgia O’Keeffe Show at the New York Botanical Garden? Going to the show on a beautiful fall day, and then having a personal culinary tour of the Little Italy of the Bronx, Arthur Avenue, afterwards!

Many of us didn’t know that Georgia O’Keeffe spent nine months in Hawaii in 1939, when the Hawaiian Food Company (now Dole Foods) commissioned her to produce snapshots, sketches and paintings to reveal the true character of the island — going beyond Waikiki Beach. She was overwhelmed with the lush beauty of the place, and said, “Many things are so beautiful that they don’t seem real.” Real or not, her paintings of the tropical flowers — angel trumpets and birds of paradise, plumeria and belladonn — were as stunning, to my mind, as any she painted in New Mexico. Equally fabulous was a documentary shown about her time in Hawaii.

Lunch consisted of pizza (only a thin layer of cheese below the tomato sauce) at a food stall in the Arthur Avenue Market, as our guide Danielle Oteri filled us in on the history of Arthur Avenue. It goes back to 1915, and generations of Danielle’s family had lived there almost from the beginning. Out came our tote bags (which Lydee Hummel who arranged this great day, advised us to bring) and before long we were tasting and buying dried sausage, cheese, fresh pasta, pastries, bread and olive oil — all from the best purveyors. We were stuffed by the end of the tour, and headed back to our cars with visions of Georgia O’Keeffe, fresh pasta and truffle cheese dancing in our heads . . . Emily Kelting

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