The Wonderful World of the United Palace Theatre

The Loew's 175th Street Theatre, now the United Palace Theatre, opened on February 22, 1930. Imagined by architect Thomas Lamb, the fifth of five Loew's Wonder Theatres in the New York area (and all still standing, another wonder) boasted architectural elements from the whole wide world. Details include lions, Buddhas, ornate Islamic patterns, and impossible knights in armor guarding the stage. Gold and red, the colors of opulence envelop the vast palace from floor to ceiling, from first-row orchestra to the nose-bleed seats, and up and down the theatrical staircase.

The United Palace Theatre, 175th and Broadway, was one of five Loew's Wonder Theatres.

The uptown theatre had 3,000 seats when it opened that first night, and it has about 358 more now. Like the fashion of the time, the show included live vaudeville acts along with a motion picture. On opening night in 1930, the featured movie was THEIR OWN DESIRE starring Norma Shearer. One of the big attractions was the "Wonder Morton," a pipe organ that not only rose up to the stage from underneath the orchestra pit but also rotated while doing so.


A Walk Around the Central Park Reservoir

Walking around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, the official name for the reservoir in Central Park that stretches from around 86th to 96th Streets, is not ideal for your typical city walker who prefers a stroll on the boulevards. Few architectural structures of note grace the path, and the main entertainment consists of trying not to become injured by fast runners. However bucolic, the reservoir is not a good place to walk the turtle.

This walk around the Reservoir begins on the east side near Museum Mile.

At the same time, walking around a large body of water in New York City's greatest park is not without charms. Views of the skyline from all direction, plenty of flora and fauna, access to charming cast-iron bridges, and overheard conversations may be counted among the attributes of a walk around the reservoir.


The New York Public Library's Rose Main Reading Room Reopens

The New York Public Library's Rose Main Reading Room and the adjacent Bill Blass Public Catalog Room, located on the third floor of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan, reopened this month after being closed for more than two years for needed repairs and restoration. 

Rose Main Reading Room, New York Public Library

The rooms had been shut down to the public in May 2014 after an ornamental plaster rosette fell from the ceiling overnight. As the floor-to-ceiling space in the Reading Room measures 52 feet, it seemed prudent to take extra measures to protect the safety of researchers engaged in quiet study. While taking the initiative to learn new things, slumped over a book or hammering away at a laptop, they shouldn't have to worry about the sky falling.


The Grid in the Spiral: Agnes Martin at the Guggenheim

Agnes Martin, a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum.
The Guggenheim Museum is hosting a major retrospective of the work of American painter Agnes Martin (1912–2004), the first since her death. Canadian by birth and a New York resident for a seminal period in American art, Martin felt most at home in the shadow of the Taos Mountain in northern New Mexico. Other creative types have traded the city for the mystical light of New Mexico - Andrew Dasburg, Georgia O'Keeffe, Henriette Wyeth, and a large contingent of women artists of the feminist movement, among them, but with Martin, we see a journey that goes inward as well as out west.         

While labeled a minimalist, Martin often self-identified as an Abstract Expressionist. As an expressionist, she expressed emotions, mostly positive ones associated with meditative states. No chaotic lines and exaggerated gestures are here, any contortions or anger, but mostly the cool, calm transcendent power of straight lines penciled in with a ruler. The exhibition moves within the Guggenheim spiral, 115 works in all from the 1950s to her final canvases of the early 2000s, advancing with a few detours (she destroyed most of the detours) toward her famous grid and increasing abstraction. Her meditative practice is better than most.