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Showing posts from February, 2009

A New York Poem Made of Search Words - "Chocolate Peeps," "Derek Jeter Diet, and "Skirts Blown in Winds"

Here are actual search terms that brought some individuals to Walking Off the Big Apple in the past 24 hours. I think the phrases make a lovely beat poem, circa 1959. Search Words, a poem chocolate peeps washington square james google weather new york city march and april derek jeter diet prada shop on fifth avenue only central park nyc walking map visit woolworth building unmonumental walk way roosevelt manhattan new york walking blog chester alan arthurs favorite foods ralph albert blakelock million dollar bills where to buy cheap venetian mask in nyc 7 times square ny, ny target advertising 41st broadway what room in westbeth did diane arbus die in? bohemian garden decor sitouts american radiator building nyc lighting contemporary african art 2008 kokotte kirchner nighthawks hopper upper east side jackie kennedy apartment exploring tribeca roosevelt island walking tour "new york city ballet" garbo walks: andy warhol and the crumpled butterfly lunch upper west side bohemian

A Walk From Lincoln Center to Zabar's

If you happen to be attending a noon or matinee performance in Lincoln Center or otherwise happen to be hanging around there for whatever reason and find you've got some time, I recommend a stroll up Broadway to Zabar's, the famous Upper West Side food emporium. This stretch of Broadway takes in the sights of several new housing sky-rises, several theaters, and some flamboyant former apartment hotels of the early 20th century. Flâneurs will love the Belle Epoque ambiance of these overly-ornamented buildings, and the distance from W. 66th or so to W. 80th is not so taxing, especially if you're dressed in shoes for the opera. View Larger Map Several noteworthy structures along the way - The Dorilton, 171 W 71st St., from 1900-02, at the northeast corner of Broadway, is considered a Beaux Arts masterpiece. The 72nd St subway station dates from 1904 and is a funny little thing. Verdi Square, at the convergence of Broadway, Amsterdam, an W. 73rd, is a nice small park fea

A Visit to Lincoln Center, In Progress

From Winter 2009 I know what you're thinking. Isn't that Holly Golightly there above, centered in the photo of the photo, awaiting the opening of the completely renovated Lincoln Center? Do you think she is excited about a night at the Metropolitan Opera, a place far away from her gritty roots in Tulip, Texas ? Yes, of course. New York glamour lives on. I'm not one to take organized tours. I tend to wander off and ask too many questions, but for some places, that's the only way to go. On Wednesday I had every intention of traveling to Lincoln Center (vicinity of E. 64th @ Broadway) to hear a concert at the lovely redesigned Alice Tully Hall, but I was running too late. So, I made my reservation for a tour of the center yesterday, Thursday, at 11 a.m. In my befuddled state, I had expected that Tully Hall would be part of the tour (no doubt confusing it with Avery Fisher Hall), which it was not, but as you'll read later, things worked out anyway. Yesterday, I checked

A Stroll West Along Atlantic Avenue, and Finding My Way to Carroll Gardens

After a nice lunch with a friend at Cafe Lafayette in Brooklyn this afternoon, I felt like taking a walk. Though it was chilly, the sun was bright, and the insane winds had died down. I wanted to walk without too much over-determination (otherwise, a stroll becomes too much work) and just drift. I wanted to see new streets and sidewalks, Really, all I require in a New York walk is knowing the location of a subway station that I know can take me home. As a resident of Manhattan, I often guilt-trip myself about Brooklyn, thinking I should be more familiar with places like Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, or Carroll Gardens. I'm vague about the neighborhood of Williamsburg, the home of most everyone I meet under the age of 29. I know the borough's facts - that Brooklyn is New York's most populous borough with two and a half million residents and that it is pretty, with trees, and very literary and full of famous and talented people, and if counted by itself, it would be

A Timely Visit to The Museum of American Finance

One day this past week, while watching the opening minutes of the markets on various TV channels, experiencing vicariously the adrenaline rush, or in this case, the nausea, that attends the opening bell, it seemed like American finance, as we've come to know it, was entering a dramatically tense chapter in its story. At some point, I remembered that New York is home to an institution called the Museum of American Finance, and looking up its hours and address (48 Wall Street, fittingly, in the Bank of New York building), I made note to visit. Wall Street on a Saturday morning lacks the bustling atmosphere of the trading week, but as of late the ranks of finance have been thinning anyway. On this morning, many tourists were out and about, mostly milling around George Washington's statue in front of Federal Hall and taking pictures of themselves. The museum, down the way on "the street," occupies the building once home to the oldest bank in the country, the Bank of New

A Three-Mile Walk Through Fort Greene and Clinton Hill

I set out on Tuesday afternoon just to view the Tree Hugger Project on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn (previous post), but the attractive architecture and street life kept me going much farther. As I mentioned in the last post, I started out near downtown at the Jay Street station and walked through the Metro Tech Center before heading out Myrtle Avenue. After walking past Fort Greene Park and stopping at the temporary art installation of the sculptures, I continued walking east down Myrtle Ave., a nice street of diverse businesses and past a drive-through White Castle, the home of the small, square "slider" (a hamburger). There, I felt like I had hit suburbia in true form. Turning at Classon Avenue I made my way to the Pratt Institute, a leading arts school, to contemplate art education in the age of post-capitalism. I'll save my thoughts for another post, but for now, I wandered onto the campus, not really sure if I was permitted, and looked at all matter of sculpture insta

The Tree Huggers on Myrtle Avenue: Public Art on a Mainstream Street

A tree is hugged in Brooklyn. I had every intention of visiting the Chelsea art district today, but wanderlust overtook me for the greener (though winter now) pastures of Brooklyn. Curious about the Myrtle Avenue Public Art Program's ambitions to install temporary outdoor sculptures along a stretch of a needy major commercial thoroughfare, I decided to visit Person Square (Myrtle and Carlton Avenues) to visit the first of these installations, Wiktor Szostalo and Agnieszka Gradzik's Tree Hugger Project . The journey to look at these fetching twiggy people hugging the trees on a triangle of Brooklyn became something of an adventure. Emerging from the bustling Jay Street station, I got turned around until a policeman pointed me in the right direction to Myrtle Avenue. It's a fun, bustling world, this downtown Brooklyn, and I was glad I decided on an unknown walk rather than a familiar one. Soon I found myself walking along the Myrtle Avenue promenade within Brooklyn's expa

After the Boom, Assessing the Contemporary Art Market in New York: Thoughts and Links

It seems to me that artists should be able to weather a severe recession. Creative types routinely make art anyway, come hell or high water, and the lack of any conventional means of support does not ordinarily diminish the urge to create. Artists like this are in it for the long haul, just like those of us who lose their money in retirement funds but keep it there anyway. Some artists are lucky or bewitching enough to have landed supportive partners. On the other hand, the artists who make art solely for an art market and not for themselves are really business people in artist disguise, and unlike real artists, are too other-directed for their own good. They just want to please the teacher. Real artists work from within and eat cheap food. Artists do what they have to do. They just might not be able to sell anything in the current market. Still, in a time when commercial galleries start closing and museums fight for more funding, visual artists encounter real problems finding places t

The Insane Wind: The Wind-Tunnel Effect in New York and Historical Wind Storms

Yesterday, strong and relentless winds blew through the streets and urban canyons of New York, with occasional gusts as high as 55 to 60 mph. I spent much of the morning and afternoon working at home, and watching and hearing the trees sway so violently outside the windows made concentrating on my tasks too difficult. One of the dogs kept barking, so I had to leave the desk several times to calm it down. The loud noises made by some construction equipment across the street compounded the problem, and when I heard a big crash I went to the window to see that one of the crew's saw horses had blown into the intersection. By the end of the afternoon I felt like I needed a padded room. Fortunately, I had plans to go out to dinner, and spending a couple of hours inside a warm SoHo restaurant had the effect of keeping me sane for a few more hours. Walking in the wind to and from dinner, although still feeling vulnerable amidst flying objects, seemed less terrifying than staying inside and

A Dog's Guide to New York City

Friends who visit New York are always surprised to see so many dogs everywhere and not just when the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is in town. They think that because the city is full of concrete it must be inhospitable for the canine friends. Operating on the assumption that dogs need exercise, a freedom to roam beyond the end of a leash, and lots of green grass, all true, they wonder if dogs are somehow imprisoned in the urban jungle. Not really. We love our dogs and do the best we can. Dog owners try to provide fresh air and exercise by strolling with Max, Maggie, Buddy and Lucy (among the most popular dog names - a website lists them ) to the nearest dog park and letting them run around free in their butt-sniffing crazy eights. Some even argue that dogs in New York are more sociable and well-adjusted than those from the countryside. Many New Yorkers seem to enjoy outfitting their pets, a necessity for short-haired breeds in the cold weather, and over this past winter, I'

An Afternoon Gone to the Dogs: A Photo Essay of the 133rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden

Attending the Westminster Kennel Club dog show at Madison Square Garden is like going to see a play but with the added freedom to move around the theater with access to makeup rooms, wings of the stage, and the green rooms. Though the atmosphere is fun and lively, the pressure on the players is intense and palpable, and from time to time some of the actors actually bark. I had intended just to walk around the Garden this afternoon to pick up any outside vibe that champion dogs may be on the premises, but as this area of Midtown is not a walking-your-dog type neighborhood (in contrast to my own canine-friendly Greenwich Village), all the action was inside. In sum, I decided to spend a happy afternoon among the great family of dogs and man. Hanging out with the dogs as they awaited their turn in competition or watching them get prettied-up back stage or petting them as they chilled out in a vast area offstage cluttered with crates and human junk food pulled me into the drama of the c

The Light in Edward Hopper: The Sunny Side of the Great Depression, and A Walk

Edward Hopper achieved fame relatively late in life, with his art career gaining momentum during the early years of the Great Depression. After years as a working artist, the Met, MoMA, and the Whitney started acquiring his paintings. Hopper turned 50 on July 22, 1932. That year Hopper and his wife Jo moved toward the front of the building at 3 Washington Square North into a sunnier spot on the fourth floor that afforded a view overlooking the park. Inspired by the new point of view he started painting November, Washington Square , a landscape that showed the buildings on the north side of the park, prominently Judson Memorial Church. He set the unfinished painting aside for about twenty-seven years, coming back to it in 1959 and filling in the missing sky. Hopper shows Washington Square to be completely empty, not surprising for a painter known to remove people from his compositions. The painting shows a sleepy village, and with the earth tones and blue sky it looks like it could be

The Light in Hopper: The Diner on Greenwich Avenue. Yes, That Diner

June 8, 2010. Jeremiah's Vanishing New York has written a three-part thriller investigating the potential locations for Hopper's famous diner. Start with Part I here . May 14, 2010. Update to post: From time to time, readers become interested in this post. Today was such a day. Thanks to a link from Jeremiah's Vanishing New York on May 14, 2010 , a few readers have written to me about their own quest to find some certainty in the now-vanished diner. I consider the case open, because a photo of a diner resembling the Nighthawk has not yet surfaced. I based my original conjecture on a couple of things. First, Hopper said that his painting " was suggested by a restaurant on Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet." That gets us only so far, but the intersection of Greenwich and Seventh Avenue seemed a possibility. Second, several online sources published prior to my post cited this location (Mulry Square) as the home for the diner. When I blended my image and part

The Light in Hopper: The Years on Washington Square North

Edward Hopper (July 22, 1882 – May 15, 1967) lived at 3 Washington Square North, in what is commonly called "The Row," in Greenwich Village from 1913 until the day he died in 1967. He was almost 85, and presumably, he saw many changes during the course of five decades as he looked out his studio windows onto Washington Square. He moved into the Village in the year of the Armory Show (1913), the New York world of the Ashcan artists , the bohemians, the theater of Eugene O'Neill and the Provincetown Playhouse, Mabel Dodge's salons , and John Reed's radical causes. In 1924 he married artist Jo Nivison at the French Evangelical Church on West 16th St. At the time of his death, at home in his Washington Square studio on May 15, 1967, he and his wife were living amidst an equally bustling bohemia - the world of Dylan and Baez, the counterculture, and protests against the war in Vietnam. He moved into the neighborhood when Woodrow Wilson was President, and he died du

Walking Through the Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District and Beyond

The acronym "BFF" is my new name for the neighborhood that encompasses the Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District, a name too long to use in casual conversation, as well as the blocks west of Varick Street to the Hudson River. The general area I'm speaking of is south of West Houston Street and north of Canal Street. Many label this area the South Village, but it doesn't feel like the Village to me. I shall call it BFF, which stands for Beyond Film Forum (the cinema on West Houston). The place is just kind of way over there, remote and yonder, west and south. You know, beyond Film Forum. To prove my point, a bar in that neighborhood is called "Antarctica." The Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District is bounded by Varick, Vandam, MacDougal and King Streets, and is characterized by the quality of its Federalist and Greek Revival architecture, especially the townhouses. I forgot to take pictures of them to show you. It's a quiet and peaceful neighborhood, an