NYC – Fall (or any season) Walks in Central Park

As we say farewell to summer and get ready to enjoy the spectacular beauty of fall, we can find the changing leaves along the many paths of Central Park. The Park can also be a place to get refreshed from the sun’s warming rays and is something that is very pleasant and easy to do.

To begin with, I found an article written by Rachel Brown, who described two walks which are very accessible from midtown. Also, I have added my own personal recommendations. Ms. Brown wrote for the CP Conservatory as well as her own blog.
Often, I am asked about the location of specific sites. Sometimes the answer is more confusing than it should be. Below, each walk has highlighted some of the sites that you could visit. It is not a detailed map but, at least, it lets you know what is in the area of your walk.
CENTRAL PARK SOUTHERN SECTION

 

Wein-walk
Wallach Walk

I think it’s best to start your walk from the southwest corner of 59th St. and 5th Ave by the Pulitzer Fountain. It’s easy to find the spot because the statue is located directly in front of the Plaza Hotel’s main entrance. By wandering the winding the pedestrian paths, towards 72nd Street, you will be passing a pond, rocky outcrops, bridges, open fields, and skyline views If you follow the pathways you will end up at 72nd St. and Central Park West

LOWER SECTION Sites include Grand Army Plaza~ The Plaza Hotel~ Central Park Zoo ~The Pond~ The Dairy~ The Mall and Literary Walk~ Bethesda Terrace and Fountain Sheep Meadow~ Strawberry Fields ~The Dakota Apartments

Addition Features 
  • Hallett Nature Sanctuary – Surrounded by the Pond at the southeast corner of Central Park is the four-acre Hallett Nature Sanctuary, a peaceful haven just feet away from some of Central Park’s busiest paths.- East Side from 60th-62nd Streets

  • Sheep Meadow is a  peaceful expanse of green that inspires calm and refreshing thoughts just by looking at the meadow.- West Side from 66th to 69th Streets
  • Umpire Rock is one of the best examples of Central Park’s rich endowment of exposed bedrock, Umpire Rock is likely named for its commanding view of nearby baseball diamonds. Central Park has an unusually rich endowment of exposed, ancient bedrock People love to climb them too) -West Side at 63rd Street

 

CENTRAL PARK MIDDLE SECTION

A second walk focuses on the middle of Central Park, starting in front of the beautiful American Museum of Natural History. You even get to see the pond where Stuart Little raced his sailboat in the children’s movie! Don’t forget to bring along your camera, there are so many awesome photo opportunities in this park. You can start walking from the park entrance directly across the street from the American Museum of Natural History at the intersection of Central Park West and 79th Street and if didn’t do the lower section you could go south and end up at Bethesda Terrace, on the 72nd Street Traverse through Central Park.

MIDDLE  SECTION Sites include: American Museum of Natural History~The Swedish Cottage~Shakespeare Garden~Belvedere Castle~ Turtle Pond~The Delacorte Theatre (Shakespeare in the Park)~The Great Lawn~Cleopatra’s Needle~ The Ramble~The Lake~The Conservatory Waters~Bethesda Terrace

Addition Features
  • Strawberry Fields is a living memorial to the world-famous singer, songwriter and peace activist, West Side between 71st and 74th Streets.
  • The Ramble is a 36-acre “wild garden.”  Central Park’s designers imagined a tranquil spot where visitors could stroll, discover forest gardens rich with plantings, and meander Mid-Park from 73rd to 79th Streets. along the paths. This truly is a place for the urban explorer to escape the city and get utterly lost in nature.
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  • Turtle Pond – Like all of the other water bodies in Central Park, Turtle Pond is man-made, filled with New York City drinking water. It is the home to five species of turtles who live in the Pond year-round. Mid-Park between 79th and 80th Streets.
  • Bow Bridge -The first cast-iron bridge in the Park (and the second oldest in America), the bridge was built between 1859 and 1862. Bow Bridge is named for its graceful shape, reminiscent of the bow of an archer or violinist. Mid-Park at 74th Street west of Bethesda Terrace, connecting Cherry Hill and The Ramble.
  • I have explored many walks in Central Park and I recently published a short article – A pre Fall Walk. It is a brief highlight of specific parts of the park.
I am working on material that will cover the upper part of the park. Most people know that Central Park is big.  Unfortunately, most people don’t know how big it really is because they only explore the southern and middle portions. 

 

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.

Road Trip – a stop at a “pickers” paradise

Usually, my blogs are mostly NYC but I ventured south and found this roadside attraction.

I watch the TV show American Pickers, where they find all these neat items throughout the states. I am fascinated by the objects as well as the price paid for them.  It makes me think about all the stuff I should have saved, How about you?

This week I was traveling through Virginia along route 301 and flew by the following (see photo)

 

There are so many unique items to look at and to investigate. 

What would America be without gas stations?

Dont forget, “Miss Piggy, Santa Clause, and a “pig”

Coca-cola is always popular

 

And all these assorted items:

Does anyone remeber this ?

This is just part of what was inside, If you are a collector then you would just love this place. Plenty of signs, automobile stuff, clocks, and much more fill this place to the walls. This is located in Port Royal VA and I was told that they have another on Rte 301 in Maryland.

NYC – Soldiers & Sailors Monument -Memorial Day

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In1893, a Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument Association was formed. It proposed a triumphal arch at Grand Army Plaza, at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, however, after opposition it was erected on Riverside Drive. President Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone for the monument in December of 1900. For years the monument was the terminus of New York City’s Memorial Day Parade. This massive circular temple-like monument located along Riverside Drive at 89th Street commemorates Union Army soldiers and sailors who served in the Civil War.

Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Day Observance: Monday, May 27, 2019 (Riverside Drive & 89th St)

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Below.Addition information about a few of the battles listed on the monument.

Click on pictures below for more information

Malverne Hill
Malverne Hill

Murfreeboro
Murfreeboro

Port Hudson
Port Hudson

Wilderness
Wilderness

NYC – Mid Town East – Turtle Bay

Turtle Bay is a neighborhood in New York City, on the east side of Midtown Manhattan. It extends between 41st and 53rd Streets, and eastward from Lexington. Its most famous site is the United Nations and Tutor City.

My reason to visit, was the newly painted murals (5) in this neighborhood. They are sponsored by a labor group and the over-all title is Social Change

Turtle Bay almost feels like a different world: peaceful, uncrowded, and filled with brownstones and smaller brick buildings rather than skyscrapers. Much of the residential architecture is from the 1920s, often featuring basic Italian antecedents, stucco walls again bricks or tile.

Mid Town, Turtle Bay, is  an interesting place to visit and walk. 

Two buildings in Turtle Bay are the Seamen’s Churches of Sweden and Norway, which have hidden cafes inside that are open to the public though the organizations themselves primarily serve the expatriate community.

Seamen’s Church

It might look like a gated building front on East 49th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, but this between-buildings passageway, now known as Amster Yard, goes all the way back to 1830 or earlier. On this site, the stagecoach to Boston began its route on a now-vanished road called the Eastern Post Road. It has been rebuilt with an art gallery and a charming back garden. The complex remains open to the public on weekdays, except when there is a private event. (Spanish Cultural Center)

Then there is Beekman Place, also just a few blocks long. Its prewar co-ops nuzzle town houses with dormered windows jutting from their top floors.

Fun facts

As a non historical curiosity, the Hammarskjöld Plaza (Second Avenue and Forty-Sixth Street ) is the very center of the imaginary multiverse formed by all of the stories written by Stephen King, as described in his “The Dark Tower” series of books. It is actually the place that “keeps all those universes working”. So it is an interesting touristic point for the fans.

 

Number 227 – 247 East 48th Street and 236-246 East 49th Streets are famous remodeled brownstones which surround a private common garden and are the former homes of Dorothy Thompson, Katharine Hepburn, Stephen Sondheim, Maggie Smith and Tyrone Power

This area is right on top of the United Nations Building. 

 

SoHo – Cast Iron Buildings – Vault Lights – More

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Many of you come to New York City and spend some time in China Town and  Little Italy. Just a hop skip and a jump from there is SoHo –  the home for high-fashion, cast iron buildings and cobblestones.   Just roaming the streets and popping into the many boutiques can be a fun experience. I will note that the prices may also be a subject of dinner-time talk as well.

Since it impossible for me to accurately describe what a shopping experience would be like, I will try to give you a picture of this neighborhood and its uniqueness to NYC.

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SoHo is filled with intricate, yet simple, cast-iron architecture.. Walking along streets like Mercer, Greene, Crosby or Wooster you will notice cobblestone streets
lined with cast iron buildings. (A few of you may recognize this area as the backgrounds in many commercials,most notably auto ads.)

SoHo began as an area for manufacturing or department stores, it was built before electricity was invented so they built buildings IMG_2230with giant-scale windows, allowing daylight to enter the basement and the far reaches of the storefronts.

Also, cast iron is a stronger product than other irons (such as wrought iron), so it allowed  buildings to span greater distances. The material could be prefabricated offsite and quickly put up on site. It also allowed the delicate designs of the time to be mass-produced. In order to go higher the buildings store fronts were supportedby columns rather than brick.

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Along with the many stores there are living spaces above with giant windows, tall ceilings, and expansive living spaces. A great place to live.

Cast iron columns are hollow, enabling architects2012_march_11_Marshall_Vill_008_Ato build higher without the thick walls previously required to construct brick buildings.

IMG_2277Foundry stamps were often placed at the base of cast-iron buildings.

Many stores have loading docks close to the buildings. They were designed at that height to lift people up and out of the walkway, as well as to come closer to the structures so they could window shop.

A magnet will stick to cast-iron, but not other building materials. Bring one with you as you wander the SoHo streets. 

Small circular glass bulbs dot the sidewalks of Soho–are they chic street stylings or art?

Many of the sidewalks in New York are hollow but especially in this area. In many of the older buildings the basements extend beyond the building’s footprint- opening up to a “vault” space under the sidewalk. The glass bulbs are actually tiny windows–called “vault lights” or deadlights–to allow sunlight into the basement factories before the introduction of electricity.They permitted daylight to reach otherwise dark basements (or “vaults”) that extended out beneath the sidewalks this created more useable or rentable space for building owners.

Notes

You might also notice that the street signs in SoHo are brown, not green like standard street signs. This is because a large section of SoHo is a historic district.

SoHo’s cobbled streets and atmosphere make the district unlike any other area in Manhattan. The uniqueness boils down to the most simple details such as the street names. In SoHo the streets have names rather than numbers. Spring Street, Prince Street, and Broadway are all well-known streets.

Broadway is probably one of the most well-known streets in NYC, and also runs right through the center of SoHo. Many big name shops have their flagship stores here, right in the heart of SoHo. Broadway is not only the longest street, it is also the heart of shopping in NYC – Definitely worth a visit!

Here is a collection of some unique items you can see in SoHo

NYC – Barber Shops, Chairs and Memories

NYC – Barber Shops, Chairs and Memories

While the City has always had its share of classic, old-time, businesses I have always enjoyed going by old barber shops.  It is like looking into the past when people had more time, less work pressure.

In most old barber shops, the barber chairs stand out – front and center, Are they original? You often can tell by looking at the worn metal foot rests.

Well, what got me to write this blog? This past weekend, on west 56th Street, I came across a store display of Barber Chairs.

As you can see in the photo above, it is easy to walk past and not know what is inside. Also, these are newer models but they got me thinking:

Since my youngest recollections of going to the barber, the chair(s) seemed like they were always there. I am sure that many of you who went to beauty parlors may have a similar experience. When things like this happen, I wonder why this is a first time experience for me to even think about where one would get a chair,  Of course, new barber shops and beauty salons open frequently. Like me, did you just think that the chairs were there already?.

For me, finding this store, had me thinking about  events from the past. Memories you thought they were long forgotten.

 

It got me thinking of my first haircut and sitting in those big barber-chairs. [I remember when the barber would put the “child’s seat’ on the arms of the chair]. The one above is certainly more fancy than the one I sat on!

Hoping that this blog brings with it memories for you, too!

I have put together a few photos of NYC barber shops that I took from the internet and one that I have passed on my walks.

 

In an earlier blog I wrote about a Barbershop Museum. here