NYC – The Library Lions of the NYC Public Library – 109 years old,

 

Today, the New York Public Library lions, Patience and Fortitude, turn 109 years old! Newly restored last fall, the lions have long sat on pedestals in front of the New York Public Library’s “main branch” on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street. The New York Public Library calls the lions “symbols of New York City’s resilience and strength,” and the popularity of the lions amongst New Yorkers is a testament to their role in the city. The lions were named by the always-entertaining Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in the 1930s when he believed New Yorkers needed something to uplift them during the Great Depression — and in particularly, that New Yorkers needed both patience and fortitude to get their the economic crisis. “That certainly resonates today,” writes the NYPL.

 

“For over 100 years, Patience and Fortitude have stood calmly at the center of a bustling city, proudly poised regardless of circumstance,” said Anthony W. Marx, president of The New York Public Library. “It doesn’t matter how scary and uncertain the world feels, the lions stand strong, somehow both protective and welcoming. That certainly resonates today. On their birthday, we hope the lions and all they stand for provide some calm, inspiration, and hope for the people of New York
City.”

The New York Public Library announces its favorite 125 books of its lifetime

However, these are not the only pair of lions guarding a NYC public library?

Actually, there are two more lions, a pair, of sleeping, cousins, in the Bronx,at the  NYC Riverdale Library. The lions, each weighing about 900 pounds are sprawled lazily on stone pedestals with  their eyelids closed  at the libraries entrance.

New York Public Library – Riverdale

Though smaller than the NYCPL lions, they began their public life at the Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue. At their present location in Riverdale, they have been named “River” and “Dale.”

 

Are these the only pair(s) of lions in the city?

Are you are familiar with two lions named Stephen and Stitt,?

These two lions  keep watch over the HSBC bank at Canal Street and Bowery.

HSBC Bank – Canal Street and Bowery

History: Lions have appeared on the English coat-of-arms ever since the arrival of William the Conqueror in 1066, and the Peking Lion holds a great significance in Chinese tradition. It isn’t surprising therefore, that two lion sculptures can be found guarding many of the HSBC offices around the world today. Note: The HSBC name is derived from the initials of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.

You are invited to add to this story.

 

 

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.
  •  
  • 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 – Bonhams – an auction house close to 5th Avenue

Over the years of writing this blog, I have uncovered many interesting items and pieces of art at Sotheby’s Auction House. I realize that I often visit Southeby’s as it is closer to my apartment. I have done this to the neglect of other excellent auction house but starting with today’s blog will attempt to broaden my horizons.

Several people have asked me if there were any places nearer the tourist areas (5th Avenue). They opined that when coming into the city for only a day, the location of Sotheby’s was too far to get to

Note: Visiting these auctions is a good way to look at expensive articles that not usually available to us outside of a museum. And the viewing if free!  Don’t be intimidated by security in dark suits, just walk in the door and ask if any galleries are open… simple as that!

Here are two that are right in the thick of the tourist area. If you have others, let me know and I will plan a visit to them.

Christie’s   20 Rockefeller Plaza, West Entrance is located at 49th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. 

Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:30am – 5:00pm
we are often open for weekend views, although the hours vary by sale. For specific viewing hours and other business matters, please contact Client Services at +1 212 636 2000

Bonhams – 580 Madison Ave (corner of 57th Street)

Hours: Monday – Friday: 9.00am – 5.00pm 
Preview days: 12.00pm – 5.00pm (please check as they are subject to change)

Modern Art

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. 

 

NYC Easter Bonnet – Easter Parade – Easter Bunny – Easter Eggs

In New York City, the Easter Parade tradition dates back to the mid-1800s, when the upper crust of society would attend Easter services at various Fifth Avenue churches then stroll outside afterward, showing off their new spring outfits and hats. Average citizens started showing up along Fifth Avenue to check out the action.

In 1948, the popular film Easter Parade was released, starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland and featuring the music of Irving Berlin. The title song includes the lyrics: “In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it/You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade.”

Easter Parade starting at about 10am and continuing until 4pm, the parade marches north on Fifth Avenue, from 49th Street to 57th Street in Manhattan from 10am-4pm on Easter Sunday.  Unlike most New York City Parades, the Easter Parade isn’t an organized event.

It is a time to enjoy decorative chapeaus and the delight of the Easter holiday.

 

When I was growing up my folks always got my brother and me a new suit for Easter.

DO you have any old photos of Easter?

By the early twentieth century, Americans became more and more invested in the Easter outfit—the hat, in particular. Because Easter coincides with seasonal fecundity, women garnered fresh flowers to wear in their hair and in their bonnets. Lilies, daffodils, azaleas with their red, pink or even crème colored blooms, Hyacinths, purple and white, as well as pussy willows and red tulips are considered traditional Easter flowers

 

 

 

Easter Bonnets can be whimsical, fantastical, with a hint of fabulist narrative, whether religious, seasonal or cultural, all adding to the magic of the hat.

 

These days, the Easter Bonnet can be wild, They can also be simple and playful, subtly nodding to the Bonnet’s modern tradition with a bunny ear or two. What will your Easter Bonnet hold?

 

 

 

 

The Easter Bunny – Easter Eggs

 

Have you ever wondered how a rabbit and chocolate eggs became associated with Easter?

The exact origins of the famous bunny are unclear however many sites have stated that it may have come from pre-Christian Germany. The hare was said to be the symbol of the pagan Goddess of Spring and Fertility, Eostre or Ostara. As anyone who is familiar with hares or rabbits will know, they are a great symbol for fertility as they have great ‘stamina’. The festival of Eostre and the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus soon became intertwined and the Christian holiday Easter was born.

The Germans changed the image of the rabbit into Oschter Haws, a rabbit who would lay a nest of coloured eggs for good children on the night before Easter. As the legend and popularity of Oshter Haws spread throughout the States, he soon became the Easter Bunny.

Easter is a religious holiday, but some of its customs, such as Easter eggs, are likely linked to pagan traditions. The egg, an ancient symbol of new life, has been associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring.

Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century, according to some sources. One explanation for this custom is that eggs were formerly a forbidden food during the Lenten season, so people would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting, then eat them on Easter as a celebration.

Did you color eggs for Easter?

 

 

 

 

 

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

What and where is the only street with a fractioned number in New York City,

A while back, I put up some photos of an outside arcade (walk-through) on west 52nd Street.

At the time, I was engrossed on getting to an event and didn’t notice a sign post – 6 ½ Avenue w 52nd Street. Later, as I edited the photos I noticed the 6 ½ Avenue sign, though  I didn’t recall seeing a roadway in the middle of the block. My first thought was that someone was just having a little fun. With a little of exploring, let me tell you the story.

 

Yes, there are sign posts showing a 6 ½ Avenue. Hey are located on west 51st street to west 57th Street. While 6 ½ Street  is not an Avenue or a Street it is a series of Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS)  that provides a way to get from w57th Street to w51st Street mid-block. Currently the only street with a fraction number in New York City,

 

These arcades of Midtown connect one street to another through building(s). 6 ½  Avenue is a public walkway through the buildings for the convenience of pedestrians. It is a fun secret of NYC. For the most part, I found most of the passageways boring, but I also found one that was worth a visit.

I have elected to start from W 57th Street and go south but you could start at W 51st and work north.

 

 

West 57th street: There are three points of entry

 

Le Parker Méridien at 118 West 57th street, which is perhaps the most interesting. The elegant lobby, which is technically an arcade but looks just like a hotel lobby. The hotel is required to provide a certain number of tables and chairs for the public. If I had to begin and end my tour it would be here.

Le Parker Méridien has battled with the City over its elegant lobby, which is technically an arcade. The hotel is required to provide a certain number of tables and chairs for the public,. But the thing you notice upon entering at 57th street is that half the lobby has been appropriated by the hotel’s Gothic style cafe and bar. This entrance is quite cozy and may intimidate you from entering but be assured, it is a public space! I noticed one person who was eating her bag lunch on one of the sofas..

 

This space opens up to an impressive lobby that has large columns and mirrors. Here is a glimpse of the inside.

Here are two BONUS items for you:

  • Burger Joint at Parker New York – right next door. Noted for the best hamburger in NYC. Also, highly recommended by my daughter.
  • 130 57th – a small lobby with very interesting old photos of celebrities. The building used to an arts building. There is a doorman but just ask to see the photos on the wall. (I put some samples  at the end of this blog)

The other two entrances are not as nice as above.

Since I love the challenge of finding new things, I continued my quest to learn more about 6 ½ Avenue and headed south. Most of these arcades are simply walk throughs. Some have seats and benches. Originally, I thought I would show you some examples but I just found a video that walks through the arcades and I think does it better.

Please Note:

  • The video starts from w55th Street and heads south.
  • The entrance on 56th Street is easy to spot. Note that construction on w54th  but go down a bit and you can  cross through the Hertz parking lot.
(Sorry about the ad but didnt know how to remove it)

 

 

1

30 west 57th street – Lobby photos

 

NYC a short Christmas walk in midtown: Part Two

Continued from Part One

Today, I took a walk on 7th Avenue from west 57th st to west 52nd. Turned east and walked to the Paley Building (25 w 52nd) and then walked up to west 57th. This an easy walk and I added a stop at the Paley building and the 21 club.

If visiting the. city and if you will be walking down 5th Avenue then this is a great stop for you and your family. Literally, it is just around the corner (w 52) from 5th Avenue

The Paley Center for Media celebrates the joy of the season with a special family friendly experience. It’s Holiday Time in PaleyLand features continuous daily screenings of beloved classic holiday TV programs from the Paley Archive. Families can also enjoy special holiday activities like arts and crafts, dreidel games, and FREE hot cocoa!

December 8, 2018, to January 6, 2019, in New York
Wednesdays to Sundays 12:00 to 6:00 pm; Thursdays until 8:00 pm

Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.  website here

 

Right next door is the 21 Club

Perhaps the best known feature of 21 is the line of painted cast iron lawn jockey statues which adorns the balcony above the entrance. In the 1930s, some of the affluent customers of the bar began to show their appreciation by presenting 21 with jockeys painted to represent the racing colors of the stables they owned. There are 33 jockeys on the exterior of the building, and 2 more inside the doors.

Interesting: a couple going into the club with matching shoes

Interesting: couple with matching shoes

 

Walking 5th Ave Mid-Summer Fashion Windows

A walk along 5th Avenue can be enjoyable if you take time to look at the many store windows. Also, don’t be afraid to go inside and browse around. Today, I walked from 59th street to 42nd street with side trip to Rockefeller  Plaza and Times Square.

Few things are as fun as an indulgent and leisurely shopping trip to  New York’  However, it can also be incredibly daunting and overwhelming, particularly for first-time shoppers. So here is a short list of some of the top shops to visit during your time in Manhattan.

Tiffany & Co.

Shiny, sparkly baubles abound at the incredibly famous fine jewelry brand

 

Bergdorf Goodman.  The premier shopping destination for all luxury items.

Louis Vuitton

The crème de la crème of leather handbags, this outpost of the

French maison, Louis Vuitton will set you back a pretty penny for a purse.

Zara Bargain

shoppers have known about the fast fashion shop Zara for years. For the uninitiated, the shop offers the best of what’s hot now at low prices.

 

Gucci Offering everything in men’s and women’s fashions, Gucci has gained more fame from their adorned sneaker collections.

Versace

This Italian fashion house was made famous by the deceased designer’s sister

Fifth Avenue is the most famous shopping street in the world. Although most people assume that only luxury labels such as Hermes, Gucci, Tiffany, Prada, and others are represented here, there are a variety of other recommendable shops to visit.

Here is a list of stores with location and price.

addition info:

NYC – POP ART (Madison Ave) Chairs – Bonham’s Auction House (57th/5th ave)

The School of Visual Arts (SVA), unveils a public art installation

Storefront window displays are not the only glass-enclosed structures turning heads on Madison Avenue this spring.

The School of Visual Arts (SVA), unveiled a public art installation consisting of 16 original chairs that represent each artist’s inspiration to create. These “Chairs that Inspire” can be found in eight-foot tall, Lucite-enclosed displays scattered along the sidewalks on Madison Avenue between East 57 and East 86 Streets until May 18.

Click photo to enlarge

For many of the student artists, being featured on Madison Avenue is a dream come true. For close to a month, the students’ work will be on display on one of the busiest avenues in New York.

Bonham’s Auction House (57th/5th ave)

I have added this short piece to the above store because many people do not know that Bonham’s can be a free museum. They have very high quality work and the location (57th and 5th Avenue (SW corner) is where most people travel down 5th Avenue – may be worth a visit!

Note: Often not open on weekends.