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Showing posts from 2010

Tuesday Morning: Finding a Path Out of New York's Blizzard

When dawn broke on Tuesday morning, and it was a beautiful sunrise by the way, it was apparent that the city would try its best to get back to normal. Out of economic necessity or out of sheer boredom, it was time to beat a path out of one of the worst storms in New York City history. The activity all morning centered around making literal paths to post-blizzard normal life - in clearing the streets, the sidewalks, and the runways. daybreak over Washington Square Park, an optimistic sign

Images from the Blizzard, Monday Morning, New York City

I think many people were a little shocked Monday morning to see much snow had fallen in New York City overnight and how the snow had arranged itself after falling and blowing for many constant hours. It will take a few days for the city to get back to normal. The winter scenes early morning after a big snowfall are always the best, before too many people start tramping through the snow drifts and before the big trucks arrive to clear the snow away. LaGuardia Place, south of Washington Square Park. In the distance - One Fifth Avenue, a setback apartment building from the Art Deco era.

The Blizzard, Washington Square Park, Sunday 5 p.m.

At first the blizzard forecast for New York City seemed hard to believe. As the storm approached, each new forecast predicted greater and greater amounts of snow and blowing wind. But the storm did materialize. By 5 p.m. on Sunday, the storm shifted into high gear. Many people stayed hunkered down in their homes. Many people with dogs still needed to venture out in the elements. As the light dawns on Monday, and a few people trudge out into the wind-battered city, the snow that has accumulated overnight is still hard to fathom. Image by Walking Off the Big Apple from Sunday, December 26, 2010 at 5 p.m. iPhone with Hipstamatic app. Also see pictures from Monday morning  and Tuesday morning .

A Story of Old U Nork: Adam Gopnik's The Steps Across the Water

The Steps Across the Water by Adam Gopnik, with illustrations by Bruce McCall (Hyperion Books, 2010, 304 pages, $17.99), may be designed for grades 3 to 5, but older readers, at least ones older than 12, may want to sneak a read before handing it over to a younger friend. Just when a young girl named Rose begins to feel like she does not quite fit in with the New York family that adopted her, she comes across a magic staircase near a pond in Central Park. When she winds up the courage to climb up and down the magic stairs, she falls into the alternative universe of a place called U Nork. This fanciful city reflects similarities to her own metropolis, but it's more the New York of an old illustrator's imagination, one with dirigibles, flying giant pigeon taxis, hurried rude residents, and wise guy gangsters. Rose is on a quest for young girl things - in her case, a snow globe and a dog of her own, but as befitting a tale with a moral, she will discover greater lessons for her

The Moon Over Manhattan

Last night in New York, we had clear though blustery cold weather for the locals, if they were awake and outside, to watch the total lunar eclipse. The eclipse occurred on the same date as the winter solstice. The last such event took place on December 21, 1638. In this place and in that time, residents of New Amsterdam, the Dutch colony, and their indigenous American neighbors may have glimpsed up at a portentous red moon. 3:14 a.m. lunar eclipse as seen from somewhere in the Village. From a balcony in the village once known to the Dutch as Noortwyck (present-day Greenwich Village), the moon looked full, orange-red, and dimensional, as the shadow of the Earth gave it shape. As the moon passed into eclipse and darkened, other stars that normally would not appear to the naked eye in the Manhattan sky revealed themselves. It was a beautiful and rare starry sky, but the star-struck night was hard to capture on a mobile phone.

20 (More) New Books for New York, New York

As soon as I finished compiling a list of books for the post, Required City Reading: 25 New Books for New York, New York , published in early November, many more titles presented themselves. Some were published later, but other notable books appeared earlier in the year. A few came out in 2009, but the paperback is now available. As with the former list, these are titles that involve New York as a prominent setting. • Thomas Kramer, New York in Postcards 1880:1980: The Andreas Adam Collection (Scheidegger & Spiess; University of Chicago Press, October 2010). The 900 postcards, culled from an enormous personal collection, reveal historical changes, lost landmarks, and the modern cultural history of New York, from one style and art movement to another. • Norval White, Elliot Willensky, and Fran Leadon, AIA Guide to New York City (Oxford, June 2010). The most indispensable guide to New York architecture, frequently cited on these pages, is now significantly updated to include new

The Frick Collection at 75: Plain Citizens in a Rich Man's Home

On Thursday, December 16, 2010, seventy-five years after its debut as a museum, The Frick Collection (1 East 70th Street, off of 5th Ave.) will celebrate its anniversary day by opening its doors to the public free of charge. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For members of the contemporary art-loving public, a visit to the opulent Fifth Avenue mansion of wealthy industrialist and art collector Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919) will offer many similarities to those of Depression-era citizens who gazed upon the wonders of the galleries for the first time. They will see the same great European paintings and decorative arts enjoyed by the generation of the 1930s – stunning works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Goya, and many more, masterpieces that continue to make the Frick an important destination for the fine arts and in much the same atmosphere. Except for the haunting echo of economic stress, only the outside world has changed. Consider the world in which The Frick Collection opened to the public i

A Convergence of Santas

I began seeing the Santas this morning as they were headed toward their starting places for this year's NYC Santacon . I saw them on most streets of the Village before 10 a.m.. As I was heading uptown around noon to visit The Frick Collection , I really didn't think the Santas would come to the Upper East Side. Wrong. I first saw the Santas on the uptown 6 train , and then I was surprised to see them get off at 68th Street. Just as I was about to walk into the Frick, the Santas received their command to converge at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. I was happily caught up in a Santa wave. Santas wait for a green light at Lexington and E 68th. Santas march on E 68th. Santas cross the street and do not look both ways.

Mr. Morgan's Library

36th Street entrance (detail). The McKim Building. For those who love books as objects but find themselves staring at screens all day, harboring the dream of a personal book-lined library with comfortable arm chairs and a Citizen Kane-size fireplace, then stepping out of the digital age and into Mr. Morgan's Library and Mr. Morgan's Study in the McKim Building of the Morgan Library and Museum presents the opportunity to indulge the fantasy. Maybe envy is a better word. A classically inspired 1906 building on 36th Street and Madison Avenue, designed by Charles Follen McKim, housed these sumptuous rooms for financier John Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), and exploring them after their recent restoration is akin to seeing the world anew with a much better pair of prescription eye glasses. The colorful and brightened rooms of the renovated McKim Building now play an even more lovely counterpoint to the airiness and whiteness of the 2006 additions of architect Renzo Piano. Furthermo

A Visit to the Neue Galerie

One way to deal with the blustery cold weather that we've experienced in New York of late is to buck up, bundle up, go outside and then head to an attractive destination, preferably one in an elegant setting that offers great art, wonderful food, and a gift shop. And let's say it's a Monday. So where would this be? Try Neue Galerie on Fifth Avenue at 86th Street, a museum specializing in early twentieth-century German and Austrian art. The focus of the collection encompasses the extraordinary artistic worlds of Vienna at the turn of the century and the amazing art movements associated with the Weimar Republic. Building on two collections amassed by art dealer Serge Sabarsky and business man and collector Ronald Lauder, the galerie is housed in a fine 1914 building designed by Carr รจ re and Hastings. Stepping through the front door is like passing into another country. As a transition from the frightful weather of New York streets, a leisurely lunch at Cafe Sabarsky

A Mortal's Guide to the Angels of New York City

(updated 2015) A certain city on the other coast may claim, based on its name alone, the nickname of "City of Angels,"  but in truth, the angelic city of New York can rightfully claim a whole host of the winged ones for its own. Read on, mortals of Gotham! Angel of the Waters (1873)  Central Park • Angel of the Waters (1873), also known as Bethesda Fountain, is a commanding sculpture by Emma Stebbins (1815-1882) in Central Park and is arguably the city's best known angel. • Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes by Tony Kushner. The aforementioned sculpture in Central Park (image: right) was prominently featured in the 2003 HBO miniseries of the play directed by Mike Nichols. • Angel Corella , a former principal dancer with American Ballet Theater, is the artistic director of the Pennsylvania Ballet. • Angel of the IRT, in Grand Army Plaza Station, Brooklyn, a mural created by artist Jane Greengold in 1993 called Wings for the IRT, The I

Flagships of New York: A Self-Guided Holiday Walk to New York's Department Stores

Somewhere the other day in a New York department store - where was I? - stopping to chat with a cosmetic representative and to try a whiff of perfume, riding the escalator to the store's main restaurant, examining the selection of leather wallets, asking directions from an elegant worker in black, searching for the holiday decorations on whatever floor, locating the women's room, trying on a trench coat, gazing upward at the vaulted main floor lit up in bright white lights - can't remember - the exterior world dissolved. Suddenly there was only the world of the store, a certain kind of place with its own life and culture. Without a view of the outside, the inner world of the artificially lit universe collapsed on itself. Time and place were suspended. walking by a window at Bergdorf Goodman While recalling some of the department stores of New York holidays past - Gimbels, Bonwit Teller or B. Altman, there's the realization that the stores operate within a larger

Flagships of New York: Bergdorf Goodman and Henri Bendel

Update: In September 2018, Henri Bendel announced it was closing all of its stores in January 2019, including the store on Fifth Avenue. The series  Flagships of New York: The Great Department Stores  continues with a look at Bergdorf Goodman and Henri Bendel. •  Bergdorf Goodman 754 Fifth Avenue, 58th The one and only Bergdorf Goodman remains an exception among the great New York department stores, because the company chose to limit its business to the pair of stores on Fifth Avenue and 58th Street (and online now, of course). Its main store sits on the west side of 58th Street and the men's store on the east side of the avenue. Bergdorf Goodman's exclusivity is accentuated by its geographical proximity to its posh neighbor - The Plaza, directly to the north, as well as the sight of the horse-drawn carriages lining up at the southeast corner of the park nearby. If you want to shop at BG, you have to come to one of the most important intersections in Manhattan.