Greenwich Village – Let’s start with the Jefferson Market area

 A very good place to visit during a tour of Greenwich Village is the Jefferson Market Library. It is hard not to notice and  it’s on a most peculiar piece of land. 6th Avenue on one side, Christopher Street on another, Greenwich Avenue on another side and 10th Street covers the remaining two sides.

Greenwich Village

The building has had a fascinating prior life. It was formerly a courthouse, with a prison next door ( it is a garden today. Every last inch of the unusual shaped lot was used to its maximum. Only the court house remains and in 1967, the building was reopened as a New York Public Library branch.

Notable names that were locked up in the old courthouse jail cells next door, also known as the Women’s House of Detention, included Mae West, Angela Davis, and Andrea Dworkin, Holly Woodlawn (before it was discovered she was really a man).

It had a civil court on the second floor, now the Adult Reading Room, and a police court, now the first-floor Children’s Room.

 The façade is opulently ornamented, especially the Sixth Avenue side Carved details encrust the entrance and accumulate under the beautiful stained-glass windows and elsewhere around the building. The water fountain is decorated with reliefs depicting a weary traveller and a life-giving pelican.  There is also a state seal in the main gable and a frieze representing the trial from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice that hangs over the window above the main entrance.

The surrounding Area

Standing in front of the door for the library and looking across 10th Street, there is a small, gated community that could very easily be missed by someone walking along 10th street – Patchin Place.
The small stretch of brick houses were once famous for housing writers like Theodore Dreiser and E. E. Cummings. Contrary to what you might read elsewhere, Marlon Brando did not live in Patchin Place; but his sister did, and put him up in 1943 when his career was starting.

As you walk around the corner from West 10th Street onto 6th Avenue you might not notice Milligan Place, a triangular alley. Milligan Place has only four buildings, all on the far left. A side note: Patchin Place is gated but open to the public. Milligan Place is gated and locked. 

Crossing 6th Avenue onto 11th Street we come to a cemetery that is so small you may never notice it. Lined by residential buildings, it’s only natural to assume the short stretch of fencing on the south side of West 11th Street to be the courtyard entrance to an apartment.

You’ll find what has to be the smallest graveyard in Manhattan. How small is it? Just big enough to hold about 30 graves bordering on a worn, moss-covered brick path. But perhaps even more unusual is its irregular shape: a long, thin triangle.

The graveyard is all that remains of the Second Cemetery of the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue of the Congregation Shearith Israel. What makes the little graveyard on West 11th Street so special: it is gasp of existence of a West Village that is no more, a time when cow pastures were just down the street and local children would play in the streets.

We will end this walk on West 10th Street at #14, where Mark Twain lived.

As I begin researching Greenwich Village and its history, I am learning that this was home to many immigrants. I will update this post as I find new information.

Post first written in May 2016 updated September 2020
Thom

NYC – Colorful Lower East Side

NYC – Enjoy art while you exercise during the corona outbreak.

Not everything is of-limits in New York City.  Take for instance, a  several-block stretch of the Bowery (street). from 1st street to 7th street. In the lower east side there have been many businesses that cannot open and have covered their windows with plywood. Thankfully, a group of artists decided to create some very interesting and colorful murals.

 

Artist, Sono  Kuwayama decided to start a movement to “freshen up” the neighborhood. There are no restrictions on the subject matter; however, there is some input from the store owners. She hopes that it will be tangible artifact from this epidemic period. 

She hasn’t been the only artist painting more local artists have joined in to help.

to see many more  of the murals click for instagram. here

NYC – NYC Stuck inside? Dreams of a Lottery Win – Special Edition

This re-post of an “extra” edition is more of a fantasy page but it does refer to real works of art.

You might be getting bored with reading books, watching movies and dozing off . I suggest that  you might want to add a wish to your day-dreams.

Mine was winning the lottery. So, if you won a bunch of money, what would you spend your winnings on?

Here are some items I would consider…

Note: All estimates of value are at the minimum price. Also, thanks to Sotheby’s for sharing their art.

Place cursor over photograph for info and  price.

(prices may have increased/decreased  since 2016)

 

May your dreams come true, too!

Church of St. Paul and ST. Andrew – but what is hidden inside?

On the corner of West 86th Street and West End Avenue stands a very large church that is looking its age but the church’s mission is very current.

The Church of ST. Paul and St. Andrew was built in 1834

The front has very impressive large wooden doors that are all locked during the week days. There is a door open on 86th Street. Pleasantly surprised, I was greeted by a person at the desk who quickly invited me to see the church.

I like going into NYC churches because they often look the same on the outside but are, mostly, different on the inside. The St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral on 96th stands out with its golden icons and no pews while this church has a unique large Sanctuary(1500 seats), a separate Social Hall and additional intimate spaces.

It seems that the church is well used, This Saturday, a small group was meeting in the small chapel and three people were,in the Sanctuary practicing some music scales,

Video – quiet time to practice – sorry about the ads

So, what is hidden ? Located in a back corridor were these beautiful paintings

I asked about them and was told that these were but a few of many placed throughout the building.

Question: “Why were these painted and why are they hanging on the walls?

Answer: they were done by a former parishioner that painted them over many years.

I asked if anyone knew the name of the artist but got only blank responses. One person said, “they have been here for years”.

I will try to update this blog by finding out more about the history as they are beautiful and should, I think, be part of a folk-art collection.

For me, these gems were hidden in plain sight. Each one beautifully composed and painted in bright colors. They were the highlight of my day!

Just a short walk west leads to the Soldiers and Sailors monument and Joan of Arc monument.

St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral

How the Church survives

The Church is known for being socially moderate and for being accepting of people of all races, ages, and sexual orientations. The building holds a variety of spaces to rent, ranging in capacity from 25 to 1200 people.

A Grotto in a New York City Church – worth a visit

The Notre Dame Church- worth the visit.
St John the Divine Cathedral

New York City is perhaps one of the few American cities that has such a diverse culture.  In this city ,you can find dozens of unique  churches, buildings and neighborhoods like Saint John the divine Cathedral.

Today, I am not writing about the Cathedral but a church, I would guess, most  visitors to the Cathederal would never visit and it is only  a few blocks away.

405 West 114th Street 
New York, NY 10025

 

The Notre Dame Church, where you can experience a replica of the grotto in Lourdes France, where in 1858 Saint Bernadette was said to have witnessed the appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary.It rises several stories behind the main altar.

The Church of Notre Dame.   
405 West 114th Street

 

This chapel has an impressive French neoclassical exterior and is equally matched with the interior that boasts a Grotto that rises SEVERAL stories behind the main altar.

 

Although this grotto was built inside after the church was completed.It feels as if the church has been built directly into the side of a mountain.

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Fourteen inset bas-relief images of the Crucifixion of Christ adorn the perimeter of the church interior.

  ——  

The altar, pulpit and balustrade (altar rail) in white Carrara marble, which took over two years to complete.

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NYC – Ghanaian Artists Create Unusual Movie Posters

This past week I spotted a community day [ free day] at the  Poster House-the first museum in the United States dedicated exclusively to posters. The weather turned out to be nice and the event was free, so why not take a look. I thought how great it will be to see posters of movies that maybe I have enjoyed. It would be nice to see the posters that advertised them

The Poster House is just two blocks (west) from the Flatiron Building on east 23rd Street. And is close to Leggo Land, Madison Square Park and  Sony Square.

The Poster House is a small exhibit space with a book-store and coffee shop. There is a fee on non-free days.

BAPTIZED BY BEEFCAKE: THE GOLDEN AGE OF HAND-PAINTED MOVIE POSTERS FROM GHANA Over-the-top posters were a key part of Ghana’s vigorous black market in American VHS tapes in the 1980s and ’90s.

  • These movie posters were all created by artists in Ghana to promote traveling movie shows and sell tickets to bootleg screenings of various western and local movies.
  • These posters range from quirky recreations of the original movies to WTF inducing paintings with imagery completely unrelated to the original content.

While the posters were very interesting, some might say weird, the descriptions were equally interesting and worth reading.

Rambo is stylized like Jesus with long flowing hair and a wound in his side that emulates Christ’s on the cross. The artist has moved the bullet hole to his chest.
This poster uses the box cover as its inspiration but elaborates upon it by removing Arnold’s sunglasses and exposing part of his mental skull Also added a nude couple in the lower register, which could reference the only love scene in he movie. However, neither of them had black hair
The design draws from the official PAL box cover. However ,he has replaced the New York skyline in the lower register with an image of a Eddie Murphy in a coffin – a scene that does not appear in the film
This probably the most overly penticostal film in the exhibition, an exorcism leading to the destruction of the demon world and the salvation of a family
This poster does away with the lead-figures iconic mop and instead adds two semi-naked women at his feet who does not appear in the movie.
 
This design bears no resemblance to any material for the movie. Missing is the lead’s hybrid chainsaw-hand. This is the most complex posters in exhibit.
Box covers typically only show the carriage holding three creatures. The artist has added the knif held by the baby as well as three monsters floating above, all of them appear in movie but never on promotional material

NYC – 2020 – Chinese New Year – Firecrackers – Parade

Chinatown is one of the most famous neighborhoods in downtown Manhattan and hands down holds two of the best events of the the Chinese New Year celebration.


For two weeks, starting on January 25, you can head to Manhattan’s Chinatown for the Firecracker Ceremony and later, on February 9th, the Chinese New Year Parade.

 

chinatown_fire-cracker_2017-47
Thousands of these are sold, almost everyone of them is used on the streets.
During the Firecracker Celebration the streets get covered in confetti, people dress in red and gold with beautifully painted faces or masks, and the sounds of drums and bells and huge dragons are everywhere. This is what Chinese New Year looks like in New York. The celebration of this holiday is both visually and atmospherically impressive. The street parties with vendors selling great Chinese food, different performances, music, firecrackers, and entertainment for all ages last for almost two weeks.
 

 the sparkly explosives are set off to ward off bad spirits for 2020.

Here are some highlights.

The Chinese New Year Parade and Festival takes place on a different day than the Firecracker Festival. This year it will be celebrated on Sunday, February 9th. The spectacle includes musicians, lion and dragon dances, stunning outfits, acrobats and martial art performers. More than 5,000 people participate in the parade. Celebrate the Year of the Rat. [The Chinese zodiac begins a new 12-year cycle in early 2020 with the Year of the Rat. According to lore, the rat (as a zodiac animal personality, that is) is associated with wealth, cleverness and likability. Those all sound pretty good.]

The New Year Parade

 

Helpful hints
For prime photo and viewing opportunities, get as close to the barricades as you can. Once the crowd forms the lines will be several people deep and movement will be restricted along the path. So find a good spot and stick to it! Remember that spectators count in the thousands, with travelers even coming from outside the city to enjoy the festivities.

You will be outside for the duration of the parade, which lasts for several hours and occurs rain or shine. Even in milder temperatures, being exposed to wind and rain over a prolonged period can be harsh. Avoid bulky bags, which might be searched. And keep your hands free so you can take great pics and set off those fun confetti cannons!
Note; Public bathrooms are rare in this area. I would suggest that you do not load up on liquids before the parade. Columbus Park (mulberry Street) is open but not always the cleanest. If you go into an eating place ask if they have bathrooms for customers before ordering.
Click on pictures to enlarge

In Chinatown is that many things are looking at you.

What to eat

Traditional holiday foods include dumplings, long noodles, peanuts and dim sum to name a few. You’ll find plenty of places along the main Chinatown strips serving up menus filled with New Year’s delicacies. 

Also, You can find fresh fish to take home at a very reasonable price.

 

Many interesting moments when you are just wandering.

Young women mix of the traditional and the modern.

Color is everywhere

 

A few of the “other” photos.

Previous Posts about Chinatown

Chinatown’s Charm

Joss Paper – Funerals

people

Hand Fans

This is a brief video to let you listen to the noise.Video

NYC – A Mid-Town Art Gallery and Pedestrian Walk you may have missed

Recently, I was making my way down 6th Avenue from Central Park.  I decided to go towards 5th Avenue on 57th Street.  I have been on this street many times and it’s where I first discovered  6 1/2Avenue. Today, I found another pedestrian way that is open and full of surprises. Just a block away at west 40. It simply brings pedestrians from one street to another.

 

It is fully covered, yet door-less and brightly lit with welcoming, whimsical, sculptures lining the walls by the likes of Tom Otterness, Fernando Botero, Manolo Valdes, Jacques Lipchitz to name just a few.

Today sculptures by Tom Otterness formed a very inviting path.

(Everyone I know loves Tom Otterness’ “Life Underground,” the Fraggle Rock Doozer-like small bronze characters inhabiting the 8th Avenue L train station.)

The pedestrian walk is part of the Marlborough Gallery, located at 40 w57th.

Note: This location is on the edge of Midtown but is a short walk from Columbus Circle, Carnegie Hall and MOMA (Lower floor galley is free).  Also, from Lincoln Center, you can walk down Broadway and pass near here and 6 ½ Avenue. You could then continue towards Rockefeller Center.

Previous Blog – 6 1/2 Avenue

 

NYC -The National Museum of the American Indian -Lower Manhattan – Free August 2019 update

Located right in the heart of Lower Manhattan steps from the Statue of Liberty Ferry, Wall Street and close to other historic sites

The National Museum of the American Indian

This is one building you cannot miss! One Bowling Green facing Broadway and Trinity Streets. Just a stones throw from the famous “Wall Street Bull”. And, only a short walk from Castle Clinton and the Statue of Liberty boat entrance.

 

The U.S. Custom House is a seven-story structure on the south side of Bowling Green.

 

It has a grand set of stairs facing Bowling Green.

 

New since I originally wrote this the Diker Pavilion for Native Arts and Cultures has been added to the first floor. This a rotating exhibition which, on my visit, was showing the following:

 

On the seconfd floor is the Rotunda, As you enter the interior feels immense but is very simply laid out. There are exhibition located in adjacent galleries.

Around the rotunda there are galleries  house that permanent exhibition and special exhibits
Masterworks from Native cultures highlight the permanent  collection.

The collection of art and artifacts are from a variety of tribes spanning hundreds of years. The individual items selected for showing are outstanding. However, I did not get a sense of history as everything is organized geographically rather than chronologically. While the exhibits are excellent,  they seem a little lost in such  a large building.

 (click photos to enlarge)

 

As I said earlier, I enjoyed the individual artifacts and was glad that I went inside this majestic building.

Witches in NYC

Almost every weekend there is a street fair or festival going on somewhere throughout New York City. This weekend I visited a Witchsfest at Astor Square.

It is always fun to see events that feature “cultures” so different than mine. There were vendors highlighting witchy, New Age, Gothic and steampunk – I have no idea what these are?

And you can take home a magic item made right before your eyes.

It was interesting to see how many spectators were interested in witchcraft.