Sunday, December 31, 2017

Weekday Sketchters at the Met's Christmas Tree

There are no end to Christmas Trees in NYC. However only a few stand out as something beyond the ordinary.  The tree at the NY Public Library on 42nd Street gives the illusion of coming across a  beautiful tree in the forest just after a snowfall with all the birds taking refuge in the branches. And, the tree at the Museum of Natural History is a dedication to origami art with thousands of animals created from squares of paper.  But the one that is a testament to the lasting beauty of fine art and craftsmanship is the one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Set in the grander of the medival rooms stands an enormous tree with carved angles in its branches and the entire town of Bethlehem beneath it.  Join us as we try to capture the whole tree, or just an angel, the nativity or perhaps the blacksmith working in his shop.

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                       5TH AVENUE AND 82ND STREET
                       We will meet at the Christmas Tree 


Please RSVP directly to Raylie Dunkel at  Bring a stool and dry materials to work with. We will break for lunch in the cafeteria in the building.  Bring your own or purchase something there.  

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

SATURDAY: Sketch the Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian
Located in the historic 
Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House. 

Hosted by Elaine Langer

SATURDAY,  December 30, 2017
Let's get one last weekend drawing in this year.  We'll sketch the museum’s permanent and temporary exhibitions—exploring the diversity of the Native people of the Americas.

The building itself is a fantastic Beaux Arts structure with loads of interesting lines and perspective challenges.

The National Museum of the American Indian–New York, is located on the south side of Bowling Green, in lower Manhattan, adjacent to the northeast corner of Battery Park.

Start time:   10 AM.  Admission if free.  Be aware they have a surprisingly serious security screen including a metal detector

-  4 & 5 trains to Bowling Green
-  1 train to Rector Street or South Ferry
-  R (& W on weekdays) trains to Whitehall Street
-  J & Z trains to Broad Street
-  2 & 3 trains to Wall Street

Lunch:  Meet in the lobby at noon for a short walk to Flavors  - 27 Whitehall St.

Afternoon1 PM - Back sketching at the museum

Show and Tell3:00 PM - A short walk to Murphy’s Tavern at 6 Stone St, (212) 425-1700 where we will share drawings, good stories and a snack or refreshments if you're so inclined.

- Despite the metal detector I’ve brought my sketching stool with no problem.  A stool is always a handy item that allows you to sketch from the very best spot.

If you can’t find us
call or text Elaine at 347-415-5453 
or Mark at 973-809-9128

There are no fees.   All drawing skill levels are welcome.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

No Weekend Sketch

To You and 
Everyone you Love
There will be no planned sketch event for this coming weekend.  However time spent with family and friends is always made more memorable by sketching.

Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Weekday Urban Sketchers at Palm Court

'Tis the season, and New York does it better than most places.  The lights and decorations around the city are magnificent. However, most are outdoors and sketching them would certainly be uncomfortable. However, there is at least one place that has beautiful, unique holiday lights that are indoors:  The World Financial Center Palm Court (also known as Brookfield Place).

The Luminaries have been hung again for the holiday season.  Beautiful strings of lit boxes that change color as you watch them.  (Perfect for watercolor washes!).  Not only can you watch them but you can control the changes in color!  

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DATE: TUESDAY December 19, 2017

                      World Financial Center
                      We will meet under the palm trees 


DIRECTIONS: E train to World Trade Center, A, C to Chambers Street, 2, 3 to Park Place, N, R to Cortland Street, 4, 5 to Fulton Street

Please RSVP directly to Raylie Dunkel at  Looking for us? Call Raylie at 201-9789-6387.  No need to bring a stool as there are lots of chairs.  Bring your lunch or purchase something at Hudson Eats.  

NOTE:  Of all the challenges of living in NYC, there is one unique to Urban Sketchers: too many things to sketch, especially around the Holidays. So to make sure we get to do as much as possible there will be a small change to the printed schedule. 

The January 4th meeting will be held at the Metropolitan Museum so that we can sketch the magnificent Christmas Tree. Therefore there will be an optional afternoon sketching event this week, after we sketch the luminaries, to see and sketch the exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology, "Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme, which will be closing on January 6th"

Waste Basket Boutique by Mars of Asheville, dresses, circa 1966, USA. Gift of Ruth Ford and Mrs. D.J. White. Coat, 1966, USA. Gift of Montgomery Ward.Junya Watanabe, Comme des Garçons, ensemble, fall/winter 2004, Japan.Helmut Lang, jumpsuit, fall/winter 1999, USA. Gift of HL – art.Ohne Titel, coat, fall/winter 2012, bodysuit, spring/summer 2015, boots, fall/winter 2016. USA. Gift of Ohne Titel.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

SUNDAY: Sketch in Tranquility

Brooklyn’s Botanic Gardens

Sunday December 17, 2017

After sketching in Times Square and then at Rockerfeller Center, both incredible but hectic locations, maybe like me,  your spirit is crying out for artistic tranquility.  In thinking of the peaceful soul nurturing locations in New York City, (and there are many) the one that feels like it will be most satisfying is a visit to Brooklyn’s Botanic Gardens.

The cold above
I hope you will join us on Sunday.  Our focus will be the Hot House complex with it’s fascinating rooms capturing different seasons and various climates.  It’s a chance to be in nature sketching without a jacket in December.

The warmth below

The Gardens Open at 10 AM.  Our base of operations will be the Conservatory, whose indoor attractions include the Aquatic House, the Bonsai Museum, the Desert and Tropical Pavilions and the Warm Temperate Pavilion.  The winter light should be beautiful including the possibility of outdoor sketching, weather permitting.

When and Where  10 AM at the Steinhardt Conservatory (the hot house complex) in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. We’ll meet on the first floor near the main entrance and will then fan out from there.

How:  Located at 100 Washington Avenue with an entrance on Eastern Parkway

  - By Subway,  the 2, 3 train to the Brooklyn Museum - the 4, 5  train to Franklin Avenue

  - By Car - There's convenient parking behind the Brooklyn Museum which is adjacent to the Gardens.

Lunch12:00 Noon at the Yellow Magnolia Café (in the Garden a short walk from the Hot House) a healthy restaurant offering vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.

Afternoon1:00 PM - Back to sketching at the Steinhardt Conservatory

Show and Tell3:00 PM walk to Tooker Alley, 793 Washington Ave, 347) 955-4743  to share drawings, good stories and a beer or wine if you're so inclined.

- Admission:
   Members Free
   Adults $15
   Seniors (65+)$8
   Students 12+ with ID $8
- Easels and tripods are not permitted.
- Stools are generally not a problem and make sketching easier.

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Can't find us?  
Call or Text Mark - 973-809-9128

There are no fees or attendance taken. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Weekday Urban Sketchers in Bryant Park

We love sketching in Bryant Park, especially in the winter when there is a holiday market and the skating rink is set up!  Too cold to work outdoors? No problem. There is an indoor observation area one level up above the skating rink.  Bring your watercolors and be ready to capture the color and the action that is part of winter in NYC!

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Skating rink and observation area

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Holiday Market

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East Side of Skating Rink

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Color and Light at the Holiday Market



LOCATION: BRYANT PARK, 6th Ave and 42nd St.

 Note: we will meet in the seating area on the east side of the skating rink towards the library.  If it is very cold we will meet in the observation area on the  south side of the rink.

TRANSPORTATION: B, D, F, M to 42nd St/Bryant Park, 7 to 5th Ave.

Please RSVP directly to Raylie Dunkel at  No need to bring a stool...lots of chairs around the rink.  We will break for lunch about 12:30 and go indoors at Whole Foods on 6th Ave.  

Friday, December 8, 2017

CHANGE PLANS!!! for the Saturday Sketch


Saturday, December 9, 2017
The forecast for tomorrow is 100% chance for snow ranging from 3 - 5 inches.  The Noguchi Museum will require a very long walk and will be unsuitable for tomorrow’s sketch.  We will definitley visit this lovely museum another time.   The good news is that NYC has so many wonderful locations.

Tomorrow - Saturday December 9th 
we will 
Sketch the Oculus 
at the World Trade Center. 

It is one of the most stunning interior spaces in NYC.  It’s got people, perspective, loads of shops and a warm interior.  Because of the locations history it is a heavily secured area and we will need to be respectful.

When and Where:  We will meet at the eastern end of the Oculus.  The space is a long tube that connects the Fulton Street subway stops with the World Financial Center.  Following that east to west path you come to a balcony with an incredible view of the Oculus space below.  That’s where we will meet at 11 AM.

How:  There are many ways to get there including the Fulton Street stop for the A, C, J, Z, 2, 3, 4 and 5 trains

Lunch12:30 at the Winter Garden Food Court.

Afternoon1:30 back to drawing the interior.

Show and Tell:  3:00 PM. Details to be announced -  this is the social part of our sketch day -  our time to share drawings, good stories and get a snack or a drink if you're so inclined.

If you can’t find us
call or text Mark at 973-809-9128

There are no fees.   All drawing skill levels are welcome

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

SATURDAY: Sketch the Noguchi

The Noguchi Museum

Saturday - December 9, 2017

Our visit to the museum was suggested by NYC Urban Sketcher Nobuko Kobayashi.  Many thanks!

The museum was founded and designed by internationally-renowned American artist Isamu Noguchi. It features indoor-outdoor galleries and a serene outdoor sculpture garden. I love this quiet lovely museum because his modern sculptures and unique shaped gallery space.

Opened in 1985, the Museum complex was built around a 1920s industrial building, and features indoor-outdoor galleries and a serene outdoor sculpture garden, with two floors of interior exhibition space. Located in the vibrant neighborhood of Long Island City, Queens, the Museum is itself considered to be one of the artist’s greatest achievements. In building a museum, Noguchi was an early pioneer who led the metamorphosis of the Long Island City area into the arts district it is today.

Although the museum looks very interesting and highly sketchable you need to get directions if you intend to use public transportation.  A train and bus combination get’s you very close. Using just the train means a longish walk.  The museum’s website:  Has lots of information about how to get there:

When and WhereSaturday - December 9th at 11 AM at the Noguchi Museum located at 9-01
33rd Road, Long Island City

How:  Travel details:

Lunch: 12:30 PM - There are no lunch spots nearby.  Best bet is to bring food or purchase something on your way.  We can eat in their garden or across the street on Socrates Park.

Afternoon: 1:30 PM - Back sketching the Noguchi.

Show and Tell3:00 PM We’ll walk several blocks to The Strand, 25-27 Broadway, Astoria, (718) 440-3231, a super Barbecue spot that serves drinks and other eatable where we will share our drawings, good stories and a snack, beer or wine if you're so inclined.

-   No wet medium in this location. we can only use dry mediums.  I've had mixed results using a waterbrush in these situations.  Often the issue is not having an open water container.
-   The website said we can't use a tripod for camera, so we probably can't use easels.
-    It's not clear if they will allow us to use stools (... althought a stool takes up less space than an easel?) 

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If you can’t find us
call or text Mark at 973-809-9128

There are no fees.   All drawing skill levels are welcome

Sunday, December 3, 2017


The Cloisters is wonderful at any time of year, but especially so during the holiday season with the sumptuous decorations throughout the building and grounds. Much of the iconography of Christmas  is based in European art and architecture. A subway ride to the Cloisters is an easy alternative for experiencing the sculpture, tapestries, and buildings that are the basis for the books, greeting cards and religious displays that we prize during this season. 

Here is a clip see how they do it!

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Join us for an afternoon of sketching the wonderful artifacts and architecture in this serene and beautiful building.  (Since there is no food allowed in the building and the cafe is closed for the season, we will start our sketching after lunch.  Of course you are welcome to come earlier, go out of the building to eat and return to continue sketching.) 

We will meet in the entrance hall by the information booth.  You can bring a stool. Remember that only pencil is allowed in the galleries. No wet medium. There is an entrance fee for the museum. A Met Museum membership or City Pass will gain you entrance.  The museum's policy is "pay what you want" so if you are not a member any modest amount will be accepted.



TRANSPORTATION: A Train to 190 St Station. Take elevators to the street level and walk along Margaret Corbin Drive for about 10 minutes to the museum. Or transfer to the M4 bus for one stop to the museum.

If you are driving, please check directions at the Met Museum web site. There is free parking available at the museum.

Please RSVP directly to Raylie Dunkel at Looking for us? Call/Text Raylie at 201-979-6387.

Weekday Urban Sketcher Schedule December and January

In an effort to help you plan your attendance at the weekday sketching events, here is the calendar for December and January

Wednesday December 6, 2017                     The Cloisters

Wednesday December 13, 2017                   Bryant Park Skating Rink

Tuesday  December 19, 2017                       Brookfield Place Winter Garden Luminaries

Thursday January 4, 2018                            FIT Museum: Extreme Clothing

Saturday January 6, 2018                             Holiday Party 

Thursday January 11, 2018                          Hoboken Terminal

Wednesday January 17, 2018                      Nicholas Roerich Museum 

Thursday January 25, 2018                         NY Waterways Ferry Terminal/John Jay College 

Wednesday January 31 2018                      Brooklyn Navy Yard Bldg 92

Friday, December 1, 2017

Courtroom Sketch Bonanza at John Jay College

By Jeffrey M Levine

Vincent “The Fish” Cafaro, artist Richard Tomlinson

This is a message to Urban Sketchers and those interested in the underbelly of New York City history:  RUN DON’T WALK to the exhibit currently at the Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery at John Jay College of Criminal Justice until February 2, 2018.  The show is entitled Rogues Gallery: Forty Year Retrospective of Courtroom Art from Son of Sam to El Chapo.  For sketch enthusiasts and tabloid fans, this is a bonanza of faces and techniques executed on the spot in courtrooms where cameras are prohibited.

Son of Sam trial, artist Aggie Whelan Kenny

There are 78 large-scale sketches by three professional courtroom artists: Richard Tomlinson, Aggie Whelan Kenney, and Elizabeth Williams.  The amazing skill of these artists, and expressiveness of the sketches is totally enjoyable to see up close and learn from.  Techniques include watercolor, gouache, pen and ink, pastel, charcoal, and markers.  There is a free catalog with bios of the artists and background info on each sensational trial sketched.

Dominique Strauss Kahn, artist Elizabeth Williams

The people on trial include a true rogue’s gallery of New Yorkers involved in all sorts of mayhem including murder, fraud, terrorism, assault, extortion, and white collar crime.  They include Son of Sam David Berkowitz, Robert Chambers, John Gotti, Bernie Madoff, Martha Stuart, Mark David Chapman, Leona Helmsley, and others.  Witnesses in the courtroom include Michael Bloomberg, Mick Jagger, Woody Allen, Ed Koch, Donald Trump, and Al Sharpton.

Various Mafiosi, artist Aggie Whelan Kenny
 The sketches brought back memories of a City that once was.  A typical example is the trial of Bernhard Goetz, who shot four black teenagers with an unlicensed handgun in the subway.  It was December 1984 – the year I moved from Orange, New Jersey into my brownstone walk-up on West 90th street.

Sean Bell trial, artist Elizabeth Williams

Rogues Gallery runs until February 2, 2018 and is free.  The gallery is located on 524 West 59th Street near 11th Avenue, and is open to the public Monday – Friday, 1-5 PM.  Sketchers, don’t miss this one!  

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