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Showing posts from January, 2010

Good Subway Stops for Bad Weather Days: A List of Stations Near Major NYC Attractions

Updated. A rainy or snowy day in New York City can pose a few challenges for seeing the city, but many attractions are indoors. The subway may be the best and most convenient means of maneuvering New York City in disappointing weather.

Locate a subway stop near a favorite shopping destination, landmark, or a museum, and you are good to go.

Here is a list of recommended subway stops in or near a major NYC attraction. 

• Eastern Parkway-Brooklyn Museum 2, 3: Just outside the Brooklyn Museum.

• Bowling Green Station, 4, 5: Near the main steps of the National Museum of the American Indian(the former Custom House).

• W. 4th St., A, B, C, D, E, F, V: There's always a movie. The IFC Center on 6th Avenue shows the best of independent film. 

• W. 14th St. A, C, E. Make a mad dash west to Chelsea Market on 9th Avenue between W. 15th and W. 16th and go on a food spree.

• 34th Street-Herald Square, N, Q, R, W: Go straight to the Manhattan Mall and shop. Macy's is very close.

• 34 Street…

Breakfast at the Breslin, Then a Walk

The streets near Madison Square Park and north to Greeley Square represent an aging section of the city, replete with great dowager buildings of glory years past and the fading songs of a hundred years ago. The streets serve up their own specialties - Tin Pan Alley itself on W. 28th between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, Korea Way on W. 32nd Street, and Broadway functioning as a wild wholesale district selling every whatnot imaginable.

Streetside views take in the splendors of the Flatiron Building from all angles and the ubiquitous over-the-shoulder shadows of the Empire State Building from above. NoMad, the name often given to this section of Manhattan north of Madison Park, managed to hide from the wrecking balls of mid-century, so several ornate buildings dating from the 1860s give the streets a slightly French air. Grizabella, the aging feline, and the Madwoman of Chaillot would be comfortable wandering the streets. As with Jean Giraudoux's play, I wouldn't be surprised if NoMa…

At the Morgan: The Master of Catherine of Cleves

A Review of Demons and Devotion: The Hours of Catherine of Cleves at The Morgan Library and Museum. January 22 through May 2, 2010

Bigger than an iPhone but smaller than whatever reading device Apple is expected to roll out this week, The Hours of Catherine of Cleves, a pre-digital 15th century hand painted illuminated manuscript of devotional miniatures, attracted the attention of many visitors to the Morgan Library and Museum this past Sunday afternoon. Created for a wealthy woman with some serious marital problems, the precious volume of richly colorful images is the work of the gifted anonymous craftsman known as the Master of Catherine of Cleves. 

The books of this common type of medieval manuscript vary in composition and style, but as the Morgan made the good move to also display several others for comparison, the viewer can appreciate hands-down their claim that the disassembled pages constitute "the greatest Dutch illuminated manuscript in the world." While we grow i…

Postcards from a Walk on St. Mark's Place and W. 8th Street

A walk along the colorful streets of St. Mark's Place in the East Village and west on 8th Street in Greenwich Village offers an overdose of visual pleasures but also a sense of the ephemeral nature of the contemporary urban experience. Like many other streets of the city, favorite places come and go so quickly here that repeating the walk at regular intervals teases with the memory. Where was that Mexican restaurant I visited last year? Where has it gone? Many New York residents and visitors with a strong sense of place must surely share this sense of confusion and displacement; yet, technological changes in how we relate to the city make me wonder. On a recent walk here I also noticed several people walking slowly along the street, heads down, eyes on the cell phone in their hand in front of them. Oblivious to the sights of the street, except maybe for the sidewalk, they seemed to occupy a separate reality.

If the walking residents of cyberspace would look up and observe, they mi…

From Penn Station to New York Landmarks: Measuring Walking Distance and Time in Manhattan

(revised 2017) How long does it take to walk from Penn Station/Madison Square Garden to well-known destinations in Manhattan? What are the best walking routes ? What if I don't want to see anything in particular but just want to walk around?

In addition to the thousands of working commuters from the surrounding area, especially from New Jersey and Long Island who arrive at Penn Station via New Jersey Transit or the Long Island Rail Road, many people arrive at the station just to spend time in The City. Some have questions.

Furthermore, a sporting event may have brought you to Madison Square Garden (above Penn Station), and you want to check out what the city offers near the event. This post if for you. 

The map below should help you measure walking distances and times from the station to well-known destinations in Manhattan - Bryant Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Empire State Building, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Washington Square Park, the High Line, SoHo, Centr…

When Walking Becomes Marching: A Post for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

On March 12, 1930, when Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) set out on his 240-mile march to the seaside town of Dandi to protest the British tax on salt, he was joined by 78 followers. As the walk continued and the word spread of his unconventional means of protest, thousands more joined in the nonviolent protest against the injustices of colonialism. By the time he arrived on April 5, Gandhi had attracted the attention of the whole world.

Marches and walks as a form of demonstration were not new, finding precedents in cities in the 19th century. Years before the March on Washington in 1963, civil rights and labor leader A. Philip Randolph and others had proposed a march on Washington in 1941 to protest discrimination in the war industries. The march was called off after President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation pledging fairness. Randolph, Bayard Rustin, and Martin Luther King, Jr. organized the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the historic event of August 28,…

Now Another Thing to Do in Times Square: Catch Criminals

From 2010
Today, according to media reports, the FBI announced plans to display mugshots of the nation's most wanted criminals on a massive billboard near the TKTS booth in Times Square. The media advertising firm, Clear Channel Outdoor, is providing the agency use of the 40-foot digital display at no cost. The idea is that placing these images in a spot where thousands of people congregate will result in arrests.

So, in addition to lining up for theater tickets, dining in nearby restaurants, shopping in superstores, and playing with the kids in the new family-friendly pedestrian plaza, it will now also be possible to catch America's most wanted criminals. The most successful public places are the ones with a variety of activity, so I imagine the added opportunity to memorize the faces of criminals and be on alert for them will make Times Square even that more popular.

This afternoon, hoping to see this spectacle, I took the subway to Times Square and located the proposed bil…

The Many Lives of Second Avenue (A Walk)

Judging just by the looks of its current commercial occupants, the stretch of Second Avenue between Houston on the south and 14th Street to the north appears primarily as a food destination. Dozens of restaurants and bars crowd both sides of the eclectic-looking avenue, offering an impressive array of world cuisine - Thai, Ukrainian, North African, Belgian, New American, French, and more. Several celebrated restaurants, such as Momofuku Ssäm Bar on the southwest corner of Second Avenue and E. 13th Street, have been gravitating to this part of the East Village for the past few years. Beyond its culinary moment in the sun, however, Second Avenue's famous past is increasingly hard to discern. The street served as the nerve center for many important cultural moments, but two periods of its history stand out - first, as a major center for Yiddish theatre in the early part of the 20th century, and second, as a major thoroughfare in the downtown art scene from the 1960s to 1990.

I was re…

Point and Shoot Nostalgia: iPhone Photo Apps for the Contemporary Retro Traveler

In the history of contemporary art photography, the transition from film to digital in the 1990s inspired a creative counter wave of explorations in increasingly archaic photographic equipment and techniques - daguerreotypes, tintypes, the wet collodion process, cyanotypes, the camera obscura, and so forth. Even in amateur photography, as digital cameras produced clean and perfect shots, allowing untrained photographers to mimic the work of professionals, some people longed for the look of imperfect analog photographs - images blurred around the edges, scratched, off-color, or odd.

Early in the 1990s, a visionary group of Austrian students devoted themselves to saving a mass-produced Soviet camera from the 1980s, the Lomo LC-A, that made such images. The subsequent Lomography craze, along with its playful set of instructions to disobey conventional rules, introduced the values of art photography to a larger public. The resulting film prints, still requiring lab development, often look…

The Educated Artist: A Guide to Continuing Education Classes and Workshops in the Fine Arts in New York City (Updated)

Living in a city with so much art, it's not surprising that so many people who are not professional artists occasionally like to draw, paint, sculpt, and take pictures. Many area art schools, colleges, and other institutions offer a range of art courses and workshops for all levels of artistic skill - beginning, intermediate, and advanced. A few of these programs offer a drawing course, or at least a class session, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a classic way to improve artistic vision.

In addition to improving artistic skills and learning new techniques, participating in an art class is a fun way to meet others in the city who share the same interests. Classmates come from all areas of the city, with different backgrounds and experience that shape their individual visions. You'll be amazed at what kind of work is out there among the amateur art population. Do not worry about your own level of talent. Someone will be worse than you. Others will blow you away.

Most of these i…

Long Live the Bauhaus

Bauhaus 1919–1933: Workshops for Modernity, an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, presents a straightforward but elaborate visual chronology of the school from its beginnings in Weimar to its new building in Dessau and finally to its end in Berlin.

Advancing the story through a sequence of gallery spaces, the exhibit explores the intellectual and creative struggle among its leaders as they thought through the basic principles of design in a machine age. While the school's direction shifted under the consecutive administrations of architects Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer, and Mies van der Rohe, the institution's endeavors to create a sort of unified field theory in every medium of communication never ceased.

The comprehensive exhibition of some four hundred objects gives a strong sense of an engaged community of artists and designers creating work of great functional beauty, having some fun, yet at the same time grappling with what to do with the increasingly disturbing eco…

Tim Burton at MoMA

In the midst of the crowded galleries devoted to filmmaker and artist Tim Burton, surrounded by adults still stuffed inside their winter coats and besieged by their young children, I inadvertently became another object of curiosity. Not that I resemble any of Burton's creatures. No, when the guards kept shouting "No pictures!" to those who thought they could sneak in a cellphone picture of a Batman cap or a drawing of a Ghost Dog or a statue of Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands, I simply pulled out a small notebook and started sketching. This act of a lady sketching the small models of Burton's balloon-headed, big-eyed creatures seem to excite the youngest museum attendees, and one or two offered favorable remarks for my efforts. Their parents, on the other hand, seemed less engaged with my activity, perhaps thinking the medium a form of juvenilia or a province of weirdo artists. Kids totally get it.

And then looking up from my drawing, I realized Tim Burton was jus…