7 Walks from the 7 Train, 34 Street-Hudson Yards Subway Station

Hudson Yards on the west side of Manhattan is a work in progress and will be so for several years to come. Become acquainted with the area's construction sites, detours, and barriers, as they'll be here for awhile. A visit to the north end of the High Line or to the new 7 train extension at 34th Street, discussed here, involves negotiating a landscape of high cranes and big digs. I was reminded of Ashcan School artist George Bellows's paintings of the excavations for the original Penn Station, that palace of transportation so famously torn down to make room for Madison Square Garden. I think he must have painted the pictures near this very spot. Anyway, we're in another chapter of that (west side) story.  

exterior, 34 Street-Hudson Yards Subway Station entrance 

With the High Line, the conversion of rails to trails is part of a metamorphosis of a working manufacturing city into a recreational one. With Hudson Yards, the equivalent of a small city is taking shape over the rails.

This area of the west side is a little unsettled. 

The new 34 Street-Hudson Yards Subway Station, the long-awaited extension of the 7 train, now provides easy access to this city in progress.


Photo: Mural for NYC Visit of Pope Francis

As part of his historic trip to New York City, Pope Francis will celebrate mass later today at Madison Square Garden. This enormous mural on the side of a building on 8th Avenue and W. 35th Street is sponsored by the Diocese of Brooklyn. The work can easily be seen from One Penn Plaza and will be up for a few more weeks. Take the subway or bus to Penn Station for easy access.


In Love with Albertine, a Bookshop on Fifth Avenue

Albertine, the elegant bookstore inside the mansion housing the Cultural Services of the French Embassy at 972 Fifth Avenue (Fifth at 79th St.), is hard to forget. Anyone who has ever fallen in love with French language or culture may find that love rekindled here. Set within the Payne Whitney mansion, itself a masterpiece by Stanford White, the two-story shop provides an intimate stage set for adventures in cultural exchange. The starry blue and gold ceiling mural reminded me of my first French literary crush, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's Le Petit Prince.

Interior view of Albertine,  972 Fifth Avenue

In addition to the interior design, Albertine's extensive selection of works in English and French led me to recall many more infatuations with notable French literary, cultural and philosophical figures. The shop, named for Marcel Proust's object of desire, is set up to evoke memories and trigger associations. I was delighted to find so many books by French writer Patrick Modiano, the 2014 Nobel prize winner, not just because I have wanted to know more about him but also because I couldn't readily remember his name.