Elizabeth Street (Little Italy) – delightful garden

Updated from 2015

There is a small park – Elizabeth Street Gardens – on Elizabeth Street , between Prince & Spring streets (Little Italy) that is very unusual. While not open all the time it is a great place to have lunch (bring your own) or picnic or sit in the shade. You will be surrounded by statuary of all kinds. Oh by the way, it is free. Check here for when open.

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The Elizabeth Street Gallery, open to the public in a park like setting, contains a variety of ornamental stonework, some of it depicting mythological figures

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I walked the length of Elizabeth Street and found most of the people enjoying the day. The restaurants were busy and  those stores that were open had customers.

Most of the buildings in the area are multifamily, or apartment buildings dating from the first decade or two of the 20th Century

Some people think that the boundary between Chinatown and SOHOis mid-block between Kenmare and Spring,  The area to the south is mostly Chinese.

Before  the virus arrived the northern area was home to upscale galleries and shops north of Kenmare.

As of this date,  many shops have closed due to the pandemic. The street is filled mostly with outside dining. and there is a lot of construction going on. However, visiting the garden is still very enjoyable and all along the street people were animated and enjoying their visit. Most wearing masks and other than restaurants and bars, keeping some separation between each other

I am confident that after we solve the health situation  These  two blocks just South of Houston will, again, become quite alive and quite trendy.

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Carved, painted and lettered shingle signs that hang over the sidewalk are becoming popular in the neighborhoods where the hip people go,
 Photos taken on November 8, 2020

Trivia

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Elizabeth and Hester may be the only intersection in Manhattan where both streets are women’s first names, though Hester isn’t used much anymore. Elizabeth Street is one of the few major streets in Manhattan that begins and ends at a T-shaped intersection.

NYC – The Day of the Dead Celebration during a busy weekend of concerns

Publication delayed due to election.
Day of the Dead statuettes
Over the years of writing this blog, I have tried to include the many  traditions of different cultures. On November 2nd was a celebration called “Dia de Murtos” or The Day of Dead – it  is a time to honor and revere deceased family members and ancestors.
 It is important to pass on to each generation the celebrations that embrace their heritage. In Mexico and other Latin American countries, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festivities is a time honored celebration.
They believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all deceased children (angelitos) are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them. Celebrations are bright and lively, in belief that the souls of the dead are still alive and can return home annually during this time.  Nov. 1 is the Day of the Innocents to pay tribute to deceased infants.
To celebrate, people built altars, called ofrendas, to the dead. The altars incorporate photos of the deceased, their possessions, sugar skull decorations (see below) and their favorite food and beverages, including pan de muertos (“bread of the dead”). Altars also feature orange marigolds, the Aztec’s flower of the dead. It is used to attract souls to their altar.

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Skull imagery is central to Día de los Muertos celebrations, with people painting their faces in ornate skulls and buying or making sugar skulls.
The Sugar Skull Tradition
Sugar art was brought to the New World by Italian missionaries in the 17th century. The first Church mention of sugar art was from Palermo at Easter time when little sugar lambs and angels were made to adorn the side altars in the Catholic Church.
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Actual Sugar Skull made of sugar
Mexico, abundant in sugar production and too poor to buy fancy imported European church decorations, learned quickly from the friars how to make sugar art for their religious festivals. Clay molded sugar figures of angels, sheep and sugar skulls go back to the Colonial Period 18th century.
Sugar skulls represented a departed soul, had the name written on the forehead and was placed on the home ofrenda or gravestone to honor the return of a particular spirit. Sugar skull art reflects the folk art style of big happy smiles, colorful icing and sparkly tin and glittery adornments.
Sugar skulls are labor intensive and made in very small batches in the homes of sugar skull makers. These wonderful artisans are disappearing as fabricated and imported candy skulls take their place.
 It is more of a cultural holiday than a religious one. It is a wonderful way to celebrate the memories of our loved ones who are now gone… through art, cooking, music, building ofrendas, doing activities with our children, we can recount family stories, fun times and lessons learned… not how the person died, but how they lived.

NYC – A Saturday Walk on Madison Avenue to The Jewish Museum

What to do on a beautiful Saturday in NYC that is FREE?

This Saturday NYC  had a touch of warmer weather and I went  outside for my daily walk.  Not having too much extra money, the question was where to go and what to do?

 

Crewcuts

I decided to walk up the west side of Madison Avenue from 86th Street to 92nd Street [Along these 6 blocks are some small boutiques that offer very unique and beautiful clothing and accessories]

 

The Jewish Museum

and end up at The Jewish Museum at 92nd and 5th Avenue. Why this Museum? On Saturdays, it is free and they always have a special exhibition. 

Lets begin our walk. Here are a few of the stores: Brooks Brothers, Jack Rogers, CrewCuts, Joie, Ankasa, Alico & Olivia and Clic to name a few.

Of course, along the way, there are always curious little things to discover in store displays

There are several places to enjoy lunch or a coffee

The Jewish Museum

Rachel Feinstein is an American artist who specializes in sculpture. She is best known for baroque, fantasy-inspired sculptures like “The Snow Queen”, which was drawn from a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.

 
 

 Edith Halpert (1900–1970) was the first significant female gallerist in the United States, propelling American art to the fore at a time when the European avant-garde still enthralled the world.

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Sunday Morning

 

This is an older block, somewhat related here 

here is another one here

NYC – Gotham – Superman – The Daily News Building

Once the home of  Superman and a Vintage Globe – The Daily News

I suppose not many people go east of the Chrysler Building on east 42nd Street but those who do, will enjoy one of the city’s most historic Art Deco structures. The Daily News Building.

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This was the home of America’s first tabloid newspaper, the illustrious Daily News, until 1995. The outside of the building is exceptional enough on its own; a giant mural carved above the entrance in the Art Deco style depicts working Manhattanites under an illuminated sky.

 

But on walking into the building, you will  find a  spectacular architectural sight: a vintage globe that nearly dwarfs onlookers. IMG_1697 The globe is 12 feet in diameter and weighs approximately 4,000 pounds. It makes a full rotation every ten minutes, moving
144 times faster than the actual planet.12276380584_3f43e2dbfb_o

 

But it gets even better. Above the globe, an enormous rotunda made of faceted black glass extends upward, intended to depict outer space:

 

 

The giant globe was featured as part of the fictional Daily Planet in Richard Donner’s Superman films. The lobby still shows photographs of Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent and Margot Kidder as Lois Lane at work in the hectic newspaper offices.

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I added the Superman image

 

Accompanying the massive model are brass meteorological instruments giving the day’s rainfall, wind velocity, and atmospheric pressure, ornate clocks give the time in far-flung destinations such as Panama, Casablanca, Belgrade, and Berlin.IMG_1716

Inscribed on the floor surrounding the globe are the distances to such exotic locales as Cairo, Gibraltar, and the North Pole, suggesting to visitors not already bowled over by the remarkable lobby that New York was indeed the center of the world.

 

Also on display in the lobby is this gorgeous time zone clock, which features New York City time in the center…. surrounded by 16 miniature clock faces depicting time throughout the world.

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Finally, as you exit the building, be sure to look up……where you’ll see a gorgeous period clock overhead.

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And best of all, walking through the doors is like traveling back in time to the 1930s.

NYC — small Art Galleries worth visiting

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This is a follow-up from a previous post Fall in Central Park –Metropolitan Museum Area

Today, I visited three very small art galleries just a half-block from 5th Avenue on east 79th Street. While they might not be your primary destination, I am confident it will add to your NYC experience.

 

Let’s get our bearings. Just north of east 79th Street is the Metropolitan Museum. To the south is the Frick Museum and at the corner of  East 79 and 5th Avenue is the Ukrainian Institute. If you are in Central Park, then you might be at the Obelisk or the area around the Belvedere Castle/Turtle Pond.

 Each gallery is in a brownstone and their spaces are small but very tranquil.  I’ve found the staff at each  gallery to be pleasant. You are left to enjoy the art works at your own pace. If you are interested in a studying different themes of art and seeing the modernism,  abstract and deciphering themes of art.  Each gallery is free and they do change their themes during the year.

NYC note: Most New York City galleries enjoy having people come in and look at their art. Often though, you may feel a little intimidated but I walk up those few steps and later you will come down with a smile and the satisfaction that you went inside. 

I have placed a sampling from each gallery below. I, purposely,did not identify the gallery each came from, I would like you to consider them as a combined example for your visit.

Skarstedt Gallery

20 East 79th St.

Acquavella Galleries

18 E 79th St.

Rosenfeld Gallery

16 E 79th St.

Note: There is a coffee shop at the corner of East 79th Street and Madison Avenue. Also, around the corner are more places to eat. Best to use the Park bathrooms before venturing out as bathrooms are scarce in this area. However, if really needed, you can use the bathroom in the New York  Society Library – 53 East 79th St just on the next block.

Also, along with several galleries on the upper east side, there are many small galleries throughout the city – don’t be bashful!

 

NYC – Wild Things – Maurice Sendak – Sothebys – Free

 

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Max arriving at the Island

Wild Things

The Art of Maurice Sendak

 

Sothebys has on exhibition  preliminary and finished drawings, artwork for posters, theatrical sets and costumes, and more from Maurice Sendak.  His  world recreated at the gallery  is at once playful, inventive, subversive, and, above all, wild.

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Transformation

A Brief Author Bio

Maurice Sendak (1928-2012), author of many beloved works including Where the Wild Things Are (1963) and In the Night Kitchen (1970), has captivated our imaginations for decades by creating immersive and distinctive literary worlds. The exhibition is open through December 18, 2015.

 

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Moishe and Bernard

 

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New York is Book Country

 

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Watercolor for JewishBook Monthly

 

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IBBY Congress 1990

 

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Wild Thing Eyes

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A Tabletop Cow (Moo-Reese

 

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Love for Three Oranges – Armchair

A closing thought: Many of the places I visit may not your “cup-of-tea”.

My blog is just reminding  us to enjoy what is around us.

What is in your neighborhood ?

Open air high rise – south of NYC – available – original Fredericksburg VA Renaissance Fair.

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Internet photo

Well.  Actually about 300 miles south!

– Found during a walk in Fredericksburg Virginia –

This is but one structure left of the original Fredericksburg VA Renaissance Fair. The faire was built by Disney after being rebuffed on a Civil War theme park, they were the silent backers and they gave the management “X” years of funding and that was it, after that it was supposed to be self-sufficient.

They attempted to create the illusion of a bustling feudal port. Multiple buildings were erected in the style of medieval European architecture with towers and improbable buildings on stilts. There was even a replica sailing ship sitting in the small pond on the lot, where performers would put on small shows and entertainments.

Unfortunately the swampy land and muggy climate proved a bit too much for the normal ren-fest crowds and after just two seasons of waning profits, the faire shuttered its gates and abandoned the regal site as it stood.

Brave soul that I am, I ventured into the woods to find what building might be left. High grass, many bugs and large signs – No Trespassing – kept me on my guard. I managed to get a few photos without being arrested, bitten to death or lost in the woods..

This abandoned Fredericksburg Renaissance Fairgrounds is now a piece of history, it’s in a horrible state of decay, and if no one knows about it and learns of its existence it’s at risk of complete and total destruction. Should you venture out to the fairgrounds, douse yourself in bug spray as the area is a notorious breeding ground for ticks. The area is posted with No-Trespassing signs. Oh yeah, and wear orange if you visit during hunting season.

Note: In 2018 I went past the location and noticed that the forest was overtaking the grounds

While finding this was a surprise to me, I was amazed at the amount of web information there is about the Fredericksburg VA Renaissance Faire.

I hope this brief look at history will prompt you to get out there and walk – you never know what you may find! Note: Even if on vacation.

Extra Note: George Washington’s mother once owned the land here, because pretty much everything in Virginia was owned by the Washington’s at some point. The area itself is called “Sherwood Forest,” because duh! The Ren-Faire was in operation from 1996 until it tanked from low ticket sales in 1999. The property has been decaying ever since.

NYC – In plain sight but a Hidden Public Space – 5th Avenue – Windows -Bendel

Bonus hidden gem at end of article

Some NYC building have public spaces within them. I guess that it is because of a unique feature or that the developer received a variance if they included a garden, park or public space. Much of the public are unaware of these but the following will be a treat for both those of you who like to look at upscale fashion but also to see some beautiful windows and murals. I didn’t photograph the merchandise but it is outstanding… you should walk through the entire store – look without buying is best!

The following a store that should be looked into. It has a public space and they are used to people coming in and looking around.

  • Henri Bendel, established in 1895, is an American upscale women’s specialty store based in NYC that sells the Henri Bendel brand of handbags, jewelry, luxury fashion accessories, home fragrances and gifts. Its flagship NYC store is located at 712 fifth Avenue.

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Imagine, inside this wonderful store is a Public Space…

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During renovation of the Coty building, 276 “masterwork” panes of glass commissioned from Rene Lalique in 1912 were restored. The glass fills three large windows that comprise the front of the second, third and fourth floors of the Henri  Bendel flagship. Upon the store’s opening in 1991, it received landmark status from the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission..

Here are a few of my extra photos from inside the building.

 

Bonus

The Ford Foundation Building (320 East 43rd Street) is just as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside and is an ideal escape for New York nature lovers. The building’s lush, indoor garden, abundantly oozing over the sides of the brick walkways, creates a serene atmosphere and is the perfect place to stop in and snap a few cover photos when you’re in the neighborhood.

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(Photo Credit:  Rian Castillo )

NYC- Summer – Food, Faces and Fairs

The “outdoor” season has begun. Weekends in NYC  come alive with street fairs and festivals. A visit to one of them could be fun to add to your visit.

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Food is always a good reason for strolling down a street fair.

People looking can be fun but look carefully at the many other faces too.

What is a street fair?

Ans: A shopping mall with a food court and plenty of color. Also, it’s outside!

 

 

 

NYC – just looking around

New York City is an interesting place to walk. There is activity everywhere you go.

 

Look at the many different buildings (not just the usual apartment house).

 

And doorways can be fun to look at.

Also, don’t forget to stop and look up to find other things unique to the city.

 

Lastly, look for odd-shaped eye-catching buildings.

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This is a public school – I first thought it was an amusement ride

 

 

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