Seeing all the articles on Asia Week got me into a similar frame of mind last night, so A. and I checked out the Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea, where the galleries are free to visit on Friday nights from 7 to 10. The museum also turns part of its ground floor space into K2 Lounge (in honor of the world's second highest peak), where we had a quick drink while we waited for the 7 o'clock hour to arrive. The museum, which opened less than two years ago, is devoted to art from the Himalayas, an interesting mission as it cuts across boundaries and draws in works from many countries in the region. A lot of the art, as you might imagine, reflects Buddhism and other faiths practiced there. One could even argue that the design of the building evokes the concept of samsara, the cycle of rebirth, since the interior is focused around a wide, gently sloping spiral staircase and each level's gallery is experienced by walking in a circle. There is a lot of effort on the title cards which include names in the Sanskrit and Tibetan languages besides English to bring the concepts depicted home to the average viewer, and the more I looked, the more I could start to see similarities to Western Christian-inspired art. At the same time, I also wished I could remember more about what I'd learned back in my world religions class.
For dinner, we headed a few blocks north to Monster Sushi, which was packed with people. Still, we didn't have to wait for a table. As I was mentioning in an e-mail, this chain with a Godzilla theme in the decor is reasonably priced, yet not so cheap that they don't still deliver warm, moist towels to each table for you to clean your hands before the meal, a touch I always find to be special.