NYC – How many, of you, have missed seeing this  38 foot tall dog?

Unveiled in July 2018, her name is Spot and is a three-story-high statue of a Dalmatian puppy, balancing a real New York City yellow cab precariously on its nose.

Right now, you cannot see that she has a playful grin as she is wearing a purple mask.

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The taxi cab is wired so that its headlights illuminate Spot when it gets dark. When it rains, the cab’s wipers turn on

The permanent piece is located outside the Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital within NYU Langone’s Kimmel Pavilion at 34th Street and First Avenue.

Creator Donald Lipski was inspired by his belief that art has healing powers.

“I wanted to make something so astounding it would distract even those arriving for the most serious procedures, and so lovable that young patients coming back again and again with chronic conditions would see it as an old friend,”

Donald Lipski, has done multiple pieces of public artworks across the country and in NYC, including a suite of sculptures that hang over the entrance of the La Guardia High School for Music and Art (made from musical instruments, costumes and ballet slippers).

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Note: My oldest grandson graduated from LaGuardia Performing Arts High School. I always admired these pieces of art, now I know who created them.

NYC – Museum of the Dog

The Smithsonian had a day where it was free admission to several museums throughout the country and free is always good for me! I have passed the museum, several times, and decided this was the day to visit. So here I am at the Museum of the Dog in NYC.

The museum has beautiful dog-themed fine art, statues, a full library of all things dog, and other exhibits! There is even a fun interactive program to see what dog you are! I found the exhibition spaces to be outstanding. I had plenty of room to look around and the exhibits seemed like they were surrounding you. If you are a dog lover then, you will be in heaven.


There are a few interactive stations. What breed of dog you would be, then try the digital board with information about all the different breeds.

There is also a small library and coloring station. The majority of the museum is paintings, statues, and glass dogs. I wish there were more interactive parts to the museum.



The staff is extremely friendly and so happy to assist you and answer any questions you may have. There is also a cute gift shop for the dog-lover in your life.

Buy your tickets in advance online as reservations are required. Be sure to choose the Furry Friday option and add the dog ticket too! When you arrive in-person, you must sign a waiver for your dog.

The first Friday of every month is Furry Friday and leashed-dogs are allowed to join you at the museum between 6-8pm. Fee: $15

I would recommend a visit to any dog lover

Web page: here

Austrian Cultural Forum – a few steps from 5th avenue and Rockefeller Center

Have you ever been to the Austrian Cultural Forum at 11 east 52nd Street? 

First cartoon published in the New Yorker

Many times during the year, they have excellent exhibits. Also, it is convenient 5th Avenue. It’s In a small building, with lots of glass, that houses exhibition spaces, a theater, a library for books and audio recordings, offices, seminar and reception rooms. Often, you will find something new and interesting.

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I have never found it overcrowded and the gallery spaces makes for a relaxed visit. The staff is almost invisible but easy to find.

Here are samples from a recent exhibition.

Three with a Pen: Lily Renée, Bil Spira, and Paul Peter Porges feature work by three Jewish artists driven from their homes in Vienna after the German annexation of Austria, the so-called “Anschluss” in 1938. The exhibition showcases examples of their signature work in comic books, New Yorker cartoons, Mad magazine spoofs, caricatures, portraiture, fashion design, advertising, and children’s books, among other formats.

Upper Broadway 1941

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Upper Broadway 1941

If near the Rockefeller Center area, I would put it on my list to, at least, peek inside. All events are free.

A reminder that many gallery’s and museums require timed-entry and a VAC card. So bring your cellphone. Note: many also allow walk-ins. So if you find a place that looks interesting go in and ask if they accept walk-ins.

Phone: (212) 319-5300

NYC City at NIght

Urban Mountains: New York City is a very visual place to visit… plenty to see and do.  Here are a few photos from places higher than ground-level – imagine yourself here in NYC during the evening.

Updated August 2021

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NEW YORK CITY   It has been called the “City that never sleeps!”

Forgotten or Lost? WW1 Memorial

Today a group of people who visited a world War I Memorial in Central Park published a post in a local blog. It was a visit to the WWI 307th Infantry Regiment Memorial Grove.

I must confess having explored Central Park, for several years, this was new to me. The memorial is in a grove dedicated to the  WWI 307th Infantry Regiment.

The Grove is an area of Central Park located just south of the Band Shell, surrounded on all four sides by paved walkways.

The area of the Grove originally was covered with grass, consistent with the adjacent areas of the park. However, a number of years ago, the grass was replaced with wood chips, apparently as a result of soil erosion and insufficient sunlight below the tall tree canopy.

The Regiment participated in the following campaigns: Oise-Aisne, Meuse-Argonne, Champagne, and Lorraine. Company K was a member of the “Lost Battalion“.

The lost battalion — outnumbered, outmaneuvered and outguessed — was cut off from other American forces along the Western Front. It was also hit by friendly fire and stunned by German flamethrowers. A captain was so badly wounded he leaned on rifles as crutches as he continued to give orders to the single surviving machine-gunner. The casualties were almost unfathomable: By the time reinforcements finally arrived, 107 soldiers had been killed, 190 were wounded and 63 were missing. Little more than a third of the unit, 194 of the original 554 soldiers, escaped unhurt.

After the war, young trees were planted in the grove—each representing one of the regiment’s companies—which features a memorial plaque naming the men of that company who died in battle. One of those plaques specifically honors the fallen members of Company H, 307th Infantry Regiment, including baseball great CPT Edward (“Eddie”) L. Grant.

The Grove also contains the 307th Infantry Regiment Stone, with its plaque honoring all companies, and the Knights of Pythias Stone.



Thanks to the group for sharing…

I later noticed that there had been a movie made about the Lost Battalion.

NYC – The North Woods-Ravine and more

Read – Construction in the area March 20, 2021

updated for future planning

This year where traveling is limited and keeping a safe distance is hard to achieve, why not a nice walk in the woods. [ the photos are from a fall walk but it is a nice walk in any season.

The North Woods is located at the very northern part of Central Park. It has the feeling of being in the woods. It is a little off the typical tourist area but on a nice day is worth a visit.

You can start this walk from two directions.

The first is from the Meer and walk west and then around the pool where, in a parking lot, (maybe construction detours during 2021) you will see a stone arch You are now in The Ravine. The second approach is from the west side (1ooth Street) starting at the Pond.  The Pond is a small lake with green lawns, a waterfall and a loch at the other end. Walk to the end of the pond and  follow the stream into the Ravine.

There is much more to see in this part of the park. Here is an excellent link with a good map here.

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NYC – Three Kings Parade – Celebration – 2021 (Virtual)

Updated from 2017

El Museo del Barrio is delighted to present the 44th Annual Three Kings Day (Virtual) Celebration on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, titled Fuerza Colectiva: Celebrating our Roots and Diversity. The upcoming celebration honors and embraces our community’s collective strength in response to the pandemic and injustice, and the cultural contributions of the African diaspora. The Museum’s first-ever virtual celebration, hosted and directed by TV personality and Producer, Rhina Valentin, will include musical performances, festive skits, cameos by our famous giant puppets, and saludos from this year’s honorees.

It is a small event as NYC events go. In the past it had  mostly parents  participating with three children. It is but one of many activities that make NYC neighborhoods great.

https://www.elmuseo.org/event/3kings-schools/

Photo are from past years.

and  the cleanup crew…

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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 – East Harlem – Graffitti

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Sunday afternoon in NYC – time to capture the  color of our graffiti artists.

Click on photos to enlarge and utilize slideshow

The Graffiti  was photographed between east 102 Street and east 108th Street. Along 3rd Avenue and Park Avenue Updated October 2020.