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.

 

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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 – 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 – East of Midtown – a walk around east 54th and 2nd Avenue – Updated August 2019

I wrote this blog over a year ago. I mentioned an almost hidden church, today, I came across an article inUntapped Cities

about the Norwegian Seamen’s Church, it is very well done. I thought you might enjoy it.

Tucked in Midtown with a facade of stained glass windows is a church founded for Swedish seamen that has a cozy secret: a hidden coffee shop… Read the article here

 

My original article begins here

Here is a look into a neighborhood a bit off the grid of tourist areas.  I selected an area bounded by east 54th street, east 52nd Street, and Sutton Place and 3rd avenue. Some people call this part of Turtle Bay. The area has very little to offer but I found a few interesting places of interest.

I found myself looking through the locked doors of the Norwegian Seamen’s Church and wondering how to get inside, just then a passing mailman that just yelled to me to press the two white buttons, magically, the door clicked open. (I love going into interesting buildings)

Norwegian Seamen’s Church

A smiling young man greeted me and allowed me to come inside for a visit. The church is a part of Norwegian Church Abroad. Along with being a church it also holds an assortment of events and art exhibitions.  There’s a small store and cafe inside the church that offers coffee, waffles, and a few Nordic packaged goods.  The store had a few friendly people having a coffee away from the bustle of midtown. There is a Gallery located downstairs from the “church” and has a nice collection of Scandinavian art.  Upstairs there is a small library/reading room with a fairly impressive collection of books in Norwegian.

 

The New York City Bath House Building – a very impressive building, on east 54th.

The center’s original purpose was to provide sanitary facilities for the city’s working classes and much of its original character and history remain. The basketball court and jogging track are connected by two wrought ironwork spiral staircases, The vaulted ceiling in the gymnasium and the lobby are indicative of the architecture of the time. Marble walls in the locker rooms hearken back to the original marble baths. (Not allowed to photograph swimming pools)

 

 

What you find off the beaten path are often small ethnic restaurants.

 

 

Extra things I found along the walk.

 

 

 

 

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.

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.