England only steps away

Did you know that you can  stand in England and not cross the ocean or you might  take the MTA and get off on English soil?

It may come as a surprise that parts of New York City are from the United Kingdom and if you walk way down Manhattan’s East 25th Street you’ll find yourself standing on English soil.

 

No, not something created by treaty like an embassy or consulate, but rather, actual English land, brought to the Port of New York during s some of the darkest days of World War II. Given the city’s colonial origins, cross-Atlantic trade, and World War II alliance, it begins to make more sense. 

 

This small outcropping of land near East 25th as well as a small stretch of the FDR Drive, was made out of landfill from the English city of Bristol – during WWII.

 

U.S. and Canadian merchant marine vessels steamed across the Atlantic to keep the British supplied against Nazi Germany’s assault. These ships were loaded with weapons when they set out on their journey, risking U-boat and air attack. When they arrived, the supply ships delivered so much cargo, with nothing to bring back, that they needed ballast to stabilize them for the return journey.

The men and women of Bristol, many of whose homes had been utterly destroyed by the Luftwaffe’s air assault, loaded these ships with the rubble of their city. Acting as ballast, these literal chunks of England returned to the U.S., where merchant marine vessels offloaded them into the East River and picked up fresh cargo to return to Europe.

The resulting landfill created the area known as Bristol Basin, quite literally built from part of England.

I found this short  video 

 

In 1942, the English-Speaking Union of the United States erected a plaque commemorating Bristol’s unique contribution to New York City.

Nearby, the British International School houses its River View Campus in Waterside Plaza’s Building 20.  The plaque itself has moved around over the years, and now overlooks a portion of the East River with spectacular views of Queens and Brooklyn.

The plaque reads: “Beneath this East River Drive of the City of New York lie stones, bricks and rubble from the bombed City of Bristol in England. Brought here in ballast from overseas, these fragments that once were homes shall testify while men love freedom to the resolution and fortitude of the people of Britain. They saw their homes struck down without warning. It was not their walls but their valor that kept them free. And broad-based under all is planted England’s oaken-hearted mood, as rich in fortitude as e’er went worldward from the island wall.”

The plaque was was rededicated in 1972 by the actor Cary Grant, a Bristol native whose family survived the bombings.

Know Before You Go

Follow E 25th Street as far east as it goes; crossing a footbridge, one arrives at Waterside Plaza. Stairs lead you to the central public plaza, where on the northeast side there is a plaque dedicated to the English city of Bristol that supplied the land on which Waterside Plaza is built.

Unless you have a personal interest in Bristol history, or you would be walking/bicycling along the East River, I would suggest that you let this article be your virtual visit.

NYC – A Saturday Walk on Madison Avenue to The Jewish Museum

What to do on a beautiful Saturday in NYC that is FREE?

This Saturday NYC  had a touch of warmer weather and I went  outside for my daily walk.  Not having too much extra money, the question was where to go and what to do?

 

Crewcuts

I decided to walk up the west side of Madison Avenue from 86th Street to 92nd Street [Along these 6 blocks are some small boutiques that offer very unique and beautiful clothing and accessories]

 

The Jewish Museum

and end up at The Jewish Museum at 92nd and 5th Avenue. Why this Museum? On Saturdays, it is free and they always have a special exhibition. 

Lets begin our walk. Here are a few of the stores: Brooks Brothers, Jack Rogers, CrewCuts, Joie, Ankasa, Alico & Olivia and Clic to name a few.

Of course, along the way, there are always curious little things to discover in store displays

There are several places to enjoy lunch or a coffee

The Jewish Museum

Rachel Feinstein is an American artist who specializes in sculpture. She is best known for baroque, fantasy-inspired sculptures like “The Snow Queen”, which was drawn from a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.

 
 

 Edith Halpert (1900–1970) was the first significant female gallerist in the United States, propelling American art to the fore at a time when the European avant-garde still enthralled the world.

Liberty
Sunday Morning

 

This is an older block, somewhat related here 

here is another one here

NYC – Statue of Liberty – Mini

Today,  I was off to watch the St Patrick’s Day Parade. I thought that the area  around the east 60’s and Central Park would be best. From the subway at Lexington Ave I made my way down Lex to east 61st Street On my walks I slow my pace and try to enjoy the walk and maybe find  something new. (at least to me.)

I found myself outside of 667 East 61st Street looking at a 9 ft tall Statue of Liberty. My first thought was that somebody made a smaller copy and placed it here in front of a building to attract a passer-by.

The plaque  gave me more details:

It cost over 1 million dollars – and according to French law, only 12 copies can ever be made from the original mould. She’s the only one here in the United States.

 

I did not think to get up close (should have known better) but later found out that you  can see details that you cannot be seen looking at the larger statue.

For example, did you know that there are broken chains at her feet? They represent our freedom from oppression and tyranny.

From Google

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The seven-pointed crown she wears represents the seven seas and the seven continents of the world.

From Google

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The statue was purchased by The Hartz Group where it  now proudly sits.

Added Bonus

Hint: don’t ignore the insides buildings… this  lobby has a museum quality 16th century Knight’s of Armor and an original 17th century Royal Goblin Tapestry. Only in NYC.

Oh by the way, the parade was great!

NYC – Holiday windows of Madison Avenue

It seems that every Christmas I get to walk down Madison Avenue. This year, I only walked one block – but what a block. Stores like Choe, Gucci and  Prada are but a few stores with interesting windows – they were not really holiday oriented (my opinion) but all featured the same accessory.

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HANDBAGS

 

Click on any photo to enlarge – press esc to return to blog

 

 

 

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Here are a few photos taken along the way

NYC -East 70’s – a quick look at fashion and food along the Avenues

 

 

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Many people explore the city by walking near a major tourist attraction, but try venturing a little further away . You may find a greater mix of stores and restaurants that may be more interesting and affordable.

Lately, I took a walk from Lexington Avenue along East 73rd Street heading towards the East River. I did enjoy strolling along the quaint tree-lined blocks, checking out historic townhouses and I ventured up and down the adjacent Avenues to see some  stores and restaurants that are less than a block away from 73rd Street.

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Part of my door series

 

This blog has mostly store windows (fashion) and one interesting Persian Restaurant. However, in my enjoyment of the walk, I forgot to note where I took many of them.

 

I peeked into this little Persian Restaurant only to find that I was too early for lunch.

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2nd Avenue and 73rd Street

 

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Long and narrow

 

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Well, the adventure is in getting out and finding the world around us…

so enjoy and  happy walking!

A little background of the East 70’s area

  • This portion of the Upper East Side is home to schools like the Hewitt School, P.S. 158, P.S. 267, Eleanor Roosevelt High School along with Marymount Manhattan College and the Allen-Stevenson School.
  • Much of the old architecture in this part of the Upper East Side is Neo-Renaissance and French neoclassical. Historic, luxurious mansions like the Henry T. Sloane House at 9 E. 72nd St. and the Edward C. Converse Mansion at 3 E. 78th St.
  • The Henry Clay Frick mansion at 1 E. 70th St. now serves as a museum displaying Fricks art collection.
  • Central Park is just to the west.

 

NYC – Upper East Side near Central Park #1 St Nicolas Russian Church

THIS IS PART OF SEVERAL POSTS THAT WILL HIGHLIGHT THE AREA ABOVE 86th STREET (mostly eastside).

Many visitors come to NYC never go beyond 72nd street and a few probably go up to around 86th street.  there is plenty to see and For those who venture above 86th street, there is much to see and enjoy.

St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral

I have a habit of trying to look into churches. Many times the doors are locked but today, I noticed , the door  of this east 97th st church was ajar. Immediately, I knew I had entered an orthodox church – what a feeling! The church was empty except for a cleaning woman and a woman praying. There are no pews or seats.  The room is filled with candle holders (I imagine during services full of candle light) and religions items. Here’s some more information.

St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral

 

This impressive Upper East Side Cathedral, built at the turn of the 19th century, remains the center of Russian Orthodoxy in the United States. Five onion domes distinguish the opulent, red-brick structure that was inspired by the great architectural edifices of Tsarist Russia.

The structure is a slice of old Moscow dropped onto 97th Street. If the congregation had no money when they started the project, the finished structure gives no hint of it. Exotic onion domes clustered above the red brick and limestone façade which is decorated in green, yellow and blue glazed tiles. Gilt bronze ribs stand out against the painted surfaces of the domes.

Inside is a blaze of traditional Russian decoration. Bright multicolored frescoes adorned the walls and ceilings. To cross the threshold is to leave New York and enter Russia.

Hint: Always ask if you can take flash or no-flash photographs before taking pictures. Also, if you get a lot of great shots then a small contribution to a candle offering is always a nice way to say thank you.

More places of interest (above 86th St.) next week -Reservoir