NYC – Winter Walk-Give it a try!

During this unique time and being careful of keeping distances and not going stir crazy, I suggest the following:

Find a few places to walk where there are not a lot of people in groups. Getting outside into the Crisp winter air emphasizes the beauty of luminous clouds, maybe eerie fog and mist, and (if an early bird) capture that special light only a sunrise can provide.  If not sure this is your thing then, you should start out taking short jaunts from your vehicle or apartment; no big hikes.

The city affords you to notice the changing colors and shadows along tree lined streets. City parks can provide you the beauty of a rural nature.

The main concern is to wear comfortable layered clothing. Do not bundle up too much! Believe me, the main concern is staying dry – little sweating – and being able to add or remove layers as needed to adjust to the temperature.

When I walk in the city, I wear a light knapsack. [When in a park or the woods, where there is snow, I do the same but sometimes drag a plastic sled behind me – good to store extra layers or maybe camera stuff or a snack. (don’t overdo the weight).]

My camera equipment, for the most part, will function as normal as I keep the battery warm as possible. I have a spare battery in my inside pocket. My Iphone stays in my pocket until needed.[Cold weather takes its toll on batteries]

With the right clothing, planning, and dependable equipment, nature provides us with some magnificent material! Give it a try if you haven’t yet.

I convinced myself to go for a walk in the neighborhood. Some of these photos will show you the vibrant colors that can be captured during of a winter walk. {You don’t need a camera to enjoy the walk!]

NYC – Rockefeller Center – Art Deco

A visit to Rockefeller Center––a city within a city––is a must. New York’s most important urban complex of the twentieth century, the Center was built between 1931 and 1939. Rockefeller Center extends from 48th to 51st Street, and from Fifth to Sixth Avenue.

The promenade separating the British and French buildings

The Fifth Avenue frontage is a show case for the cause of international understanding–hence the International Building, the Maison Française, the British Empire Building, the Palazzo d’Italia––and the Channel Gardens (named for the English Channel separating France and England), between the French and British buildings, lined with fall foliage and statuary

Seeds of Good Citizenship
Above Channel Gardens Entrance of La Maison Francaise
Winged Mercury -Above Channel Gardens Entrance of 620 Fifth Avenue

Rockefeller Center epitomizes the Machine Age––building materials like aluminum and stainless steel, parking facilities for cars and trucks, high speed elevators, air cooling, noise silencers and escalators. There is so much to see both inside and outside but I thought it would be nice to feature a few of the works that are on the outside of the buildings.

I placed the street location or reference point on each photo.

PROGRESS
Above 49th Street entrance.
CORNUCOPIA OF PLENTY
10 West 51st Street
THE JOY OF LIFE
Above 48th Street entrance

What is Art Deco?

Although the question seems simple, historians have not been able to agree upon a single, definitive answer. The time period, aesthetic principles, motifs, and just about everything else that typically defines a style or movement, are all open to interpretation when it comes to defining Art Deco.

NEWS
Above 50 Rockefeller Plaza main entrance.
SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI WITH BIRDS
Above 9 West 50th Street entrance of 630 Fifth Avenue

I thought I would include something you might miss when going to or walking past Radio City Music Hall.

Dance, Drama, and Song

These three large stylized decorative plaques, placed high up on the south façade of Radio City Music Hall.

Two of the six playful plaques under the marquee at the front entrance.

A couple of observations as of this publication date.

  • Overall, New York City is less crowded.
  • Check ahead to see if places you want to visit will be open.
  • Public bathrooms are even fewer that usual.
  • There is a bathroom in the main building at Rockefeller center.

NYC – An unlikely place for two civil war era houses

In previous blogs I have mentioned, when on a walk, how enjoyable it is to find something unexpected along the way. Here is the latest.

Today’s event happened while walking up East 58th Street between 1st and 2nd avenues, a street full of traffic speeding towards the Queensboro Bridge.

There they were, two freestanding houses, and very unusual to see one-or-two-story homes in Manhattan that have survived since the Civil War.

but this pair of surviving ones =two stories high with a basement and constructed of brick with stone trim. The pair were built in an Italianate style in the late 1850s and must have been among the first buildings on East 58th. Both are brick with stone trim and have basements; only #313 has retained a porch.

But each reflects design styles popular in the 1840s and 1850s: huge windows, French doors, pilasters, shutters, small front lawns, and a (charmingly crooked) front porch.

Most of known information is about #313. The history of the property goes back to 1676. It may have been a Tavern called the “The Union Flag”.

tis amazing that these two buildings were saved during the construction of he bridge just a block away. In the 18th century the area near the East River around what would become 58th Street was lonely. 

Travelers using the Eastern Post Road could stop at the inn called The Union Flag (the name of which referred, of course, to the British colors, not the later American union).  The tavern sat approximately at the Queensboro Bridge approach.

Today #311 is home to antiques store Phillip Colleck, Ltd., while #313 at last check was home to painter John Ransom Phillips after a stint as the Czech Pavilion Restaurant., number 311 is occupied by an English antique furniture business (the business bought the house for $1.1 million in 1999).

For several decades the building was used as the offices of the NYC Humane Society

I guess we should think of them as examples of the “modest, semi-suburban houses which dotted the uptown side streets of mid–19th century New York,”

The following is not to depress you but to show how bad these two older buildings fell into disrepair Thankfully, someone along the way cared!

An interesting side note is that in 1899 the original owner patented an invention far afield from the building business.  His “reversible tie” was described as having “sides of different color or material.”  For the price of one tie, the customer would get two.

One more look at how nice they look now

Church of St. Paul and ST. Andrew – but what is hidden inside?

On the corner of West 86th Street and West End Avenue stands a very large church that is looking its age but the church’s mission is very current.

The Church of ST. Paul and St. Andrew was built in 1834

The front has very impressive large wooden doors that are all locked during the week days. There is a door open on 86th Street. Pleasantly surprised, I was greeted by a person at the desk who quickly invited me to see the church.

I like going into NYC churches because they often look the same on the outside but are, mostly, different on the inside. The St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral on 96th stands out with its golden icons and no pews while this church has a unique large Sanctuary(1500 seats), a separate Social Hall and additional intimate spaces.

It seems that the church is well used, This Saturday, a small group was meeting in the small chapel and three people were,in the Sanctuary practicing some music scales,

Video – quiet time to practice – sorry about the ads

So, what is hidden ? Located in a back corridor were these beautiful paintings

I asked about them and was told that these were but a few of many placed throughout the building.

Question: “Why were these painted and why are they hanging on the walls?

Answer: they were done by a former parishioner that painted them over many years.

I asked if anyone knew the name of the artist but got only blank responses. One person said, “they have been here for years”.

I will try to update this blog by finding out more about the history as they are beautiful and should, I think, be part of a folk-art collection.

For me, these gems were hidden in plain sight. Each one beautifully composed and painted in bright colors. They were the highlight of my day!

Just a short walk west leads to the Soldiers and Sailors monument and Joan of Arc monument.

St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral

How the Church survives

The Church is known for being socially moderate and for being accepting of people of all races, ages, and sexual orientations. The building holds a variety of spaces to rent, ranging in capacity from 25 to 1200 people.

NYC – Ghanaian Artists Create Unusual Movie Posters

This past week I spotted a community day [ free day] at the  Poster House-the first museum in the United States dedicated exclusively to posters. The weather turned out to be nice and the event was free, so why not take a look. I thought how great it will be to see posters of movies that maybe I have enjoyed. It would be nice to see the posters that advertised them

The Poster House is just two blocks (west) from the Flatiron Building on east 23rd Street. And is close to Leggo Land, Madison Square Park and  Sony Square.

The Poster House is a small exhibit space with a book-store and coffee shop. There is a fee on non-free days.

BAPTIZED BY BEEFCAKE: THE GOLDEN AGE OF HAND-PAINTED MOVIE POSTERS FROM GHANA Over-the-top posters were a key part of Ghana’s vigorous black market in American VHS tapes in the 1980s and ’90s.

  • These movie posters were all created by artists in Ghana to promote traveling movie shows and sell tickets to bootleg screenings of various western and local movies.
  • These posters range from quirky recreations of the original movies to WTF inducing paintings with imagery completely unrelated to the original content.

While the posters were very interesting, some might say weird, the descriptions were equally interesting and worth reading.

Rambo is stylized like Jesus with long flowing hair and a wound in his side that emulates Christ’s on the cross. The artist has moved the bullet hole to his chest.
This poster uses the box cover as its inspiration but elaborates upon it by removing Arnold’s sunglasses and exposing part of his mental skull Also added a nude couple in the lower register, which could reference the only love scene in he movie. However, neither of them had black hair
The design draws from the official PAL box cover. However ,he has replaced the New York skyline in the lower register with an image of a Eddie Murphy in a coffin – a scene that does not appear in the film
This probably the most overly penticostal film in the exhibition, an exorcism leading to the destruction of the demon world and the salvation of a family
This poster does away with the lead-figures iconic mop and instead adds two semi-naked women at his feet who does not appear in the movie.
 
This design bears no resemblance to any material for the movie. Missing is the lead’s hybrid chainsaw-hand. This is the most complex posters in exhibit.
Box covers typically only show the carriage holding three creatures. The artist has added the knif held by the baby as well as three monsters floating above, all of them appear in movie but never on promotional material

NYC – Walking -W70th Street to W58th Street -Riverside Drive – updated 2018

July 2018

I recently revisited this area and found it a very poplar place for walkers, joggers and bicyclists. The Hudson River Park is clean and there are many several piers along the way for your enjoyment of the Hudson river. I note that there are clean bathrooms along the way and  two places for eating -79th Street and 69th Street.

 

79th Street Boat Basin Restaurant.

Great view, from the restaurant, of The George Washington Bridge.

 

I looked south at the horizon and immediately was taken by the tall glass-enclosed buildings, a destination at last.

 

 

 

 

I continued on up the path to Riverside Drive

 

 

This area is mostly high rise apartments/condos and is all building.At the westernmost end, beyond Central Park .

 

I did find a park amongst them and there were plenty of pre-schools along the way so I imagine quite a few people live in this area.

 

Ended the walk with a drink

A forgotten Garden in Fredericksburg VA – was to be part of The National Slave Museum.

UPDATED WITH 2017 PHOTOS – AT END OF ARTICLE.

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Tucked away in a remote area of Fredericksburg VA is a small garden – The spirit of Freedom – A somewhat forgotten part of what was to be The National Slave Museum.

In 2013, mostly overgrown it is tended to, occasionally, by a young student who has taken the voluntary task of trying to maintain the garden. The National Slave Museum has gone bankrupt and the property will probably become a ball field. I was impressed with the young girls attempt to keep this place alive so I searched and found the garden.

The garden is near several Civil War battlefields where soldiers fought to preserve slavery, In the center of the garden stands a solemn stone figure arms outstretched, face turned skyward as if rejoicing over the broken shackles etched into its thick arms….The Hallelujah Sculpture, a 5,000 pound statue,” according to museum officials, “represents the pain, tears, and un-timely deaths of those millions who never gave up on their belief that one day they would be free.”

As interesting as the statue is, I found, at the rear of the garden, an amazing discovery. There were several tree trunks with beautifully carved designs of slaves in various positions. Here is a brief slide show.

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The remainder of the garden:

 

UPDATE: October 2017

After three years, I had a chance to re-visit the site. You can see through the following photos that, while you can still see a few of the remains, the site is almost fully forgotten history

NYC – Thanks for your support

Just about this time of year, in 2011, I started writing this blog. It is hard to believe that I have lasted this long. On a TV show (a few years back!) they claimed there are over 8 million stories to be told about NYC. I guess I have just put a little dent in telling those stories.

Today, I would like to thank each of you for visiting my blog

 

Roof Top Water Tanks

 

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Street Art

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Museums

oct_31_15_central park (16)_the Met

Fashion

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Historic Buildings

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Central Park

oct_31_15_central park (53)_frog Pond

More to come in future blogs

NYC – Winter in Central Park

It is amazing how many people still enjoy Central Park year round. I took a walk from east 66th Street and went north up to about east 75th Street. The following photographs are what caught my eye and hence my camera lens.

 Central Park Zoo (east 66th st)

Walking along the Mall

The Bethesda Terrace

The Boathouse

The way home

central park_dog statute area_jan14_ 2014 (1)

These little ones are already home