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Showing posts from October, 2015

At the Bronx Zoo in a New York Autumn

If you want to experience the autumn splendor of New York, consider a visit to the Bronx Zoo. Spend the day with a stand of flamingos, a band of gorillas, a barrel of monkeys, a pride of lions, and the ostentation of peacocks that seem to have run of the place. I suppose there are definite advantages in being born with wings to fly.


I will dispense with chatter now, and let the pictures reflect some of my impressions from a recent Sunday walk. I will point out that my stroll covered only the southern areas of the zoo, including the pond of flamingos, Congo Gorilla Forest, the African Plains, and Baboon Reserve. Therefore, pictures of a sleuth of bears, a herd of buffalo, and a streak of tigers will have to wait for another day. I can't wait to visit in winter. But hurry if you like autumn.















Residents of Northern Manhattan, or Upstate Manhattan as I prefer to call it, can get to the Bronx Zoo and its twin, the New York Botanical Garden, in approximately 30 minutes, via the Bx12-SBS …

At the New York Botanical Garden, Visiting Frida in Autumn

Fans of the artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) should make haste to the New York Botanical Garden before November 1, because that's when the extraordinary exhibition FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life comes to a close. It's satisfying to see a Kahlo painting with lacy palms and bougainvillea, but when the live floral surroundings of Mexico are presented as they are here, with tropical heat and vivid color, the effect is like stepping into one of her paintings. 


The multi-part FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life includes recreated garden elements of her home, Casa Azul, in Mexico City (now the Frida Kahlo Museum); her studio desk with a small world globe, jars of paint pigments, and a full set of dry pastels; and the cactus fence from the San Ángel house, all within and outside the Haupt Conservatory. The Library building features 14 paintings and works on paper, highlighting her bountiful botanical subject matter, along with other artifacts and artistic interpretations. The centerpiece of…

Scenes from Bryant Park in Mid-October

(Updated for October 2016) How splendid is Bryant Park on a sunny autumn day before the advent of the holiday season? Very splendid.


Even while workers plow through the park's summertime lawn to make space for the Winter Village, visitors carry on with everyday things at the periphery. We're in New York's poignant seasonal interregnum, the time when the green city of summer gives way to autumn and the holidays. For the last two weeks in October, a good place to witness the change is here in Bryant Park.


Whatever construction noise made by the park workers and their plows tends to crossfade in the larger ambient chatter and traffic. For some reason, calm and quiet may be found here. Many New Yorkers come to Bryant Park to read, and not just because the park functions like the back lawn of the Main Branch of the New York Public Library.


To understand why the park works so well as a public space, notice what's happening throughout the periphery. Let's circumambulate t…

10 Short Walks in the Flatiron District

A typical walk in the Flatiron District usually involves a stroll around Madison Square Park and a photo op of the iconic Flatiron Building. Now that the area has become a celebrated food mecca, visitors stop at Shake Shack or Eataly, creating long lines and pedestrian traffic jams. But let's not stop there.



Fortunately, for those of us with an eccentric bent, the streets north of Madison Square Park (or, NoMad as it's called these days) offer many rewards. It's just a matter of discovering atypical stops in the urban adventure, for example places where you can learn about bookbinding or where scientist Nikola Tesla experimented with radio waves or a museum of mathematics.

The 28th St. subway stop makes a convenient point of departure to the park and to NoMad.

Madison Square was once quite fashionable in the Gilded Age, and New York's high tech industry has contributed to a revival. The area provides a heady mixture of perfume stores, good restaurants, and pleasantly a…