Translation from English

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

North Face Sale

Not much of a discount for winter jackets in steamy weather...

But The North Face is one of the most popular brands in NYC, you see the jackets EVERYWHERE in the winter, with the logo on the back.

Chef Street Statue

Pizza Man has disappeared but there still is the occasional street sculpture like this...

A friend of mine sent me a link to a company that makes figures like this, in various sizes. So people still buy and use them...

In Midtown, they just represent the past.

Rooftop Gardens

All this foliage on house rooftops in Murray Hill suggests they may have little penthouses built on top of them...

Or else someone who owns the building wants a rooftop garden.

Two Men and a Mirror

Watching these two guys move this mirror reminded me of Roman Polanski's famous short film "Two Men and a Wardrobe."

Monday, May 30, 2011

First Class Barber Shop

Another remnant of old New York of another age, this barber shop is next to a bar that uses a famous World War II expression, "Snafu" ( sanitized translation: Situation Normal, All Fouled Up.").

Morgan Library- Illuminated Manuscripts

Known for its incredible collection of manuscripts of all kinds, the Morgan Library and Museum is now putting on an exhibit about Dress in the Middle Ages...

This place is more visited by scholars and professional people than the general public.

Commodore Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt Avenue adjacent to the East side of Grand Central Terminal is eerily quiet on Memorial Day.

The man who started all of this was Cornelius Vanderbilt...

To quote Wikipedia again:

Railroad empire

Cornelius Vanderbilt versus Jim Fisk in a famous rivalry with the Erie Railroad

New York and Harlem Railroad

Though Vanderbilt had relinquished his presidency of the Stonington Railroad during the California gold rush, he took an interest in several railroads during the 1850s, serving on the boards of directors of the Erie Railway, the New Jersey Central, the New Haven and Hartford, and the New York and Harlem (popularly known as the Harlem). In 1863, Vanderbilt took control of the Harlem in a famous stockmarket corner, and was elected its president. He later explained that he wanted to show that he could take this railroad, which was generally considered worthless, and make it valuable. It had a key advantage: it was the only steam railroad to enter the center of Manhattan, running down 4th Avenue (later Park Avenue) to a station on 26th Street, where it connected with a horse-drawn streetcar line. From Manhattan it ran up to Chatham Four Corners, New York, where it had a connection to the railroads running east and west.[17]

Vanderbilt brought his son William Henry Vanderbilt in as vice-president of the Harlem. William had had a nervous breakdown early in life, and his father had sent him to a farm on Staten Island. But he proved himself a good businessman, and eventually became the head of the Staten Island Railway. Though the Commodore had once scorned him, he was impressed by William's success, and eventually made him operational manager of all his railroad lines. In 1864, the Commodore sold his last ships, concentrating on railroads.[18]

New York Central and Hudson River Railroad

Looking out the north end of the Murray Hill Tunnel towards the station in 1880; note the labels for the New York, Harlem and New York, and New Haven Railroads; the New York Central and Hudson River was off to the left. The two larger portals on the right allowed some horse-drawn trains to continue further downtown.
Statue at the modern Grand Central Terminal

Once in charge of the Harlem, Vanderbilt encountered conflicts with connecting lines. In each case, the strife ended in a battle that Vanderbilt won. He bought control of the Hudson River Railroad in 1864, the New York Central Railroad in 1867, and the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway in 1869. He later bought the Canada Southern as well. In 1870, he consolidated two of his key lines into the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, one of the first giant corporations in American history.[19]

Grand Central Depot

In 1869, he directed the Harlem to begin construction of the Grand Central Depot on 42nd Street in Manhattan. It was finished in 1871, and served as his lines' terminus in New York. He sank the tracks on 4th Avenue in a cut that later became a tunnel, and 4th Avenue became Park Avenue. The depot was replaced by Grand Central Terminal in 1913.

Memorial Day in Grand Central Terminal

Upstairs and downstairs (where the larger eating areas and the rest rooms are), Grand Central Terminal is relatively quiet on Memorial Day.

Grand Central TERMINAL was destined to become Grand Central STATION (linked with Penn Station so trains could continue)...but that multi billion plans seems to be on ice, like so many other projects.

It is amazing that the Second Avenue Subway is still being built.

Historically: to quote Wikipedia:

Grand Central Terminal (GCT) — often incorrectly called Grand Central Station, or shortened to simply Grand Central — is a terminal station at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States. Built by and named for the New York Central Railroad in the heyday of American long-distance passenger trains, it is the largest train station in the world by number of platforms:[3] 44, with 67 tracks along them. They are on two levels, both below ground, with 41 tracks on the upper level and 26 on the lower, though the total number of tracks along platforms and in rail yards exceeds 100. When the Long Island Rail Road's new station opens in 2016 (see East Side Access), Grand Central will offer a total of 75 tracks and 48 platforms. The terminal covers an area of 48 acres (19 ha).

The terminal serves commuters traveling on the Metro-North Railroad to Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties in New York State, and Fairfield and New Haven counties in Connecticut.

Although the terminal has been properly called "Grand Central Terminal" since 1913, many people continue to refer to it as "Grand Central Station." "Grand Central Station" is the name of the nearby post office, as well as the name of a previous rail station on the site, and it is also used to refer to a New York City subway station at the same location.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Gap

Summer fashion for men at a Gap outlet.

As noted, fashions for men stay pretty stable year after year..

Although I have noted younger people have told me Cargo Shorts are "out."

Times Square from the South

Times Square has been "Disneyfied" as many people call it..

For years it was as seedy as hell, and though there were plans for rebuilding the area, they really didn't get going til the mid 90's.

I , however, feel no nostalgia for the old seedy Times Square with all its porn theaters and muggings.

The distant past remains in places

So much changes around here so fast that is something of a surprise to find a spot like this-- the Ribbon store and the diner-- so much like 50 years ago ( or longer ago than that).

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fountain & Kalikow

Noted Kalikow Real Estate Offices behind fountain...

Kailikow has been involved in a lot of contentious matters in NYC.

One of them involved displacing a whole block of rent controlled apartments from a place on the Upper East Side. I don't know if the tenants won that one or not...

This is not mentioned in the Wikipedia article, which is just a list of his honors, etc.:

Peter S. Kalikow (born December 1, 1942) is President of H. J. Kalikow & Company, LLC, one of New York City's leading real estate firms. He is the former Chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), former Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and past owner and publisher of the New York Post.

In May 2000, Kalikow was named Chairman of the Grand Central Partnership Board of Directors. The Grand Central Partnership is one of the largest and most successful Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in New York City. Kalikow is very familiar with the area covered by the Grand Central Partnership, as his company headquarters, 101 Park Avenue, was one of the first new office developments in the area dating back to 1982.

Kalikow began his career in real estate in 1967 and became President of H. J. Kalikow & Co. in 1973. Following his father's death in 1982, Kalikow assumed responsibility for all Kalikow holdings. Kalikow is the third generation to preside over his family’s 77 year-old real estate company founded in 1927.

Kalikow remains very active in local, state, and national politics. In June 1994, he was appointed to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) of the State of New York by Governor Mario Cuomo. The MTA oversees the operations, planning, and financing of the New York metropolitan area’s subways, commuter railroads, buses, bridges, and tunnels. He was appointed by Governor George Pataki to the MTA Board in 1999 and served on the Board as its Chairman until October, 2007.

Seventh Day Adventists

The Seventh Day Adventist Church on 40th Street opposite Bryant Park also is home to its Hungarian and Russian branches in New York.

To quote Wikipedia again:

The Seventh-day Adventist Church (commonly abbreviated SDA,[2][3][4][5] officially abbreviated Adventist[6]) is a Christian denomination which is distinguished by its observance of Saturday,[7] the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent Second Coming (Advent) of Jesus Christ. As of May 2007, it was the twelfth-largest religious body in the world,[8] and the sixth-largest highly international religious body.[9] The denomination grew out of the Millerite movement in the United States during the middle part of the 19th century and was formally established in 1863.[10] Among its founders was Ellen G. White, whose extensive writings are still held in high regard by the church today.[11]

Much of the theology of the Seventh-day Adventist Church corresponds to Protestant Christian teachings such as the Godhead and the infallibility of Scripture. Distinctive teachings include the unconscious state of the dead and the doctrine of an investigative judgment. The church is also known for its emphasis on diet and health, its holistic understanding of the person, its promotion of religious liberty, and its conservative principles and lifestyle.

Bryant Park and Carousel

Summer has come to Bryant Park and " Le Carrousel" is again running...

Le Carrousel in Bryant Park, specially created to complement the park’s French classical style, is an homage to both European and American traditions. Its fourteen delightful animals, replicas of classic carousel creatures, revolve to the sounds of French cabaret music.

You will find the carousel mid-park on the 40th Street side.

Sunday–Thursday 11:30am to 9pm
Friday–Saturday 11:30am to 10pm

All hours weather permitting.
Pricing – One ride $2.00

More Murray Hill Houses

These houses were built for the wealthy originally and today a lot of them are owned by such organizations as consulates ( note Benin posting) and businesses.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Madison Square Garden

You go through this complex to get to Penn Station...

They wanted to move Penn Station further South to the site of the old Main Post Office but I believe this fell through finally because of the exorbitant cost.

Madison Square Garden ( which now is nowhere near Madison Square) has an interesting history.

To quote from Wikipedia:

Madison Square Garden, often abbreviated as MSG and known colloquially as The Garden and/or The World's Most Famous Arena, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the New York City borough of Manhattan and located at 8th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station.

Opened on February 11, 1968, it is the longest active major sporting facility in the New York Metropolitan area, and is the fourth incarnation of the arena in the city. One Penn Plaza stands at its side. Several other operating entities related to the venue that shares its name.

Madison Square Garden is the third busiest music arena in the world in terms of ticket sales, behind M.E.N. Arena, Manchester and The O2 Arena, London both in the United Kingdom.[1]

As of the start of the 2010–11 NHL season and 2010-11 NBA season, Madison Square Garden is the oldest arena in the NHL, and the second oldest in the NBA, following Oracle Arena, in Oakland.

Other Facts:

On February 11, 1968,[2] the current Madison Square Garden (sometimes referred to as Madison Square Garden IV) opened after the Pennsylvania Railroad tore down the above-ground portions of Pennsylvania Station and continued railway traffic underneath. The new structure was one of the first of its kind to be built above the platforms of an active railroad station. It was an engineering feat constructed by Robert E. McKee of El Paso, Texas.

Public outcry over the demolished Beaux-Arts structure led to the creation of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The current Garden is the hub of Madison Square Garden Center in the office and entertainment complex formally addressed as Pennsylvania Plaza and commonly known as Penn Plaza for the railroad station atop which the complex is located.

Bead Center

Typical big shop in Garment Center..

How often do you think about beads?
I almost never do.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Father Mychal F. Judge Way

This street sign honors the Police Chaplain who was killed in the Twin Towers catastrophe.

He stayed in the area long after he should have run for cover and was killed by falling debris.

There are memorial signs like this all over Manhattan, as I have noted.

Fashion Institute

Another West Side ( Chelsea) institution: the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Borrowing from Wikipedia:

The Fashion Institute of Technology, generally known as FIT, is a State University of New York (SUNY) college of art, business, design, and technology connected to the fashion industry, with an urban campus located on West 27th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan , New York City. It was founded in 1944,[1] accredited in 1957, [2] and is ranked among the top five fashion schools in the world.[3] It has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students.[4] FIT's 2010-2011 tuition and fees are estimated at $5,438 for in-state students and $13,820 for out-of-state students. [5]

This stretch of 7th Avenue in the Garment District is known as Fashion Avenue...

Environmental Update

Changing sign about carbon emissions calling attention to climate change.

Guess you know there is also a similar sign around (think it is in Times Square, or used to be) which shows the National Debt.

Flower District in Bloom Again

The Flower District on the West Side is just a shadow of what it used to be, it seems to me...

Now summer has come it is back in business again though.

Infant abandoned amongst the rushes?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Old and New on West Side

Typical contrast in Midtown between older ornate office buildings and the sleek modern ones.

I think the mixture makes them both more interesting.

The Training Institute for Mental Health

New York offers some great services and this about one of them:The Training Institute for Mental Health at 115 West 27th Street in Manhattan.

The TIMH trains therapists and provides affordable (below market) counseling and therapy.

I do volunteer writing for their newsletter and am pleased to be associated with such a fine organization...

It draws a lot of students, people in the Arts and others from all of over Manhattan and particularly from lower Midtown.

People come in for intake interviews for a modest fee and then work out payments based on a sliding scale -- what they can afford.

There are also special low fees for the unemployed, which in these troubled times is especially helpful.

The Sarah A. Meehan Center helps people cope with all kinds of issues-- low self esteem, anger management, career difficulties, relationship conflicts and depression and anxiety among them.

It offers such services as individual psychotherapy, support groups , Gay/Lesbian/Bi-Sexual Affirmative therapy, Couples therapy and Family therapy.

Therapists are available Monday through Saturday, days and evenings. To make an appointment, call and speak with an intake specialist at 212 627 8181.

Shown here are the main entrance on 27th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, the waiting room, one of the friendly receptionists, and the head of development,
my friend John McCaffrey ( his amiable wife also works at TIMH).

Just saw John today to talk about an article I will write for the next issue of the newsletter--- about psychotherapy and the problems of artists ( a lot of artists and art students come to the Training Institute).

450 Seventh Avenue- Nelson Tower

There is one office building in the garment district that really stands quote Wikipedia:

Nelson Tower is a 171 meter (560 feet) tall building located at 450 7th Avenue on Manhattan Island, New York, United States.


It was completed in 1931 and became the tallest building in the Garment district of New York. Today it is dwarfed by the 60 story One Penn Plaza that sits across 34th Street from the Nelson Tower but still visible from most directions except the southeast. It was designed by H. Craig Severance. The building was originally planned and built by New York developer, Julius Nelson.


The building has a rectangular base and recedes at different places. Each section is of brown stone with the top of them lined with white stone. The crown is completely white stone and has a slight slope.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


It just dawned on me last week I didn't really know what HSBC stood for... after all these years of its being one of the biggest banks around.

To quote Wikipedia:

HSBC Holdings plc (Chinese: 滙豐控股有限公司) is a global banking and financial services company headquartered in Canary Wharf, London, United Kingdom.[3] As of 2010 it was the world's sixth-largest banking and financial services group and eighth-largest company according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine.[6][7] It has around 7,500 offices in 87 countries and territories across Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America and around 100 million customers.[4][8] As of 30 June 2010 it had total assets of $2.418 trillion, of which roughly half were in Europe, a quarter in the Americas and a quarter in Asia.[5]

HSBC Holdings plc was founded in London in 1991 by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation to act as a new group holding company and to enable the acquisition of UK-based Midland Bank.[1] The origins of the bank lie in Hong Kong and Shanghai, where branches were first opened in 1865.[2] Today HSBC remains the largest bank in Hong Kong, and recent expansion in mainland China, where it is now the largest international bank, has returned it to that part of its roots.[8][9]

HSBC is a universal bank and is organised within four business groups: Commercial Banking; Global Banking and Markets (investment banking); Personal Financial Services (retail banking); and Private Banking.[10]

Smoking Bans

I was out today suddenly noticed I had not seen anyone smoking for a good while.

Then that all changed when I walked down 36th Street between Madison and Park Avenues, where I saw about a dozen people in doorways smoking away furiously.

I didn't feel comfortable taking pictures of this people head on ( they are probably in a bad mood because of all the new NYC smoking bans) --

This woman is walking down Park Avenue...with her back to me. Cigarette is in her right hand.

As an ex-smoker myself, I know how hard it is to quit and wonder whether banning smoking in city parks and other public places just is not one step further on the road to out-and-out prohibition.

Actually, all reports are that all the major tobacco companies have been planning for this for years and have diversified most of their assets...and there are still plenty of developing countries offering markets to be exploited.

Garment District

New York still has its Garment District in Manhattan ( a stretch of 7th Avenue is called "Fashion Avenue" --but its glory days and production facilities are gone.

To quote Wikipedia about the decline:

Cheaper overseas labor and production has dramatically affected the New York industry for decades. This change has forced many designers who once manufactured their lines in the city to shift production overseas, which has in turn affected small cutting and sewing rooms as well as zipper, button and supply stores in the Garment District.[3]

Charles Bagli of the New York Times wrote "Some city officials and industry leaders worry that if manufacturing is wiped out, many of the designers who bring so much luster to New York will leave, along with the city’s claim to be a fashion capital rivaling Paris and Milan. The damage would be undeniable, given that the industry’s two big annual events — Fashion Week in September and February — attract enormous numbers of visitors and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity."[3]

Although these are difficult times for many industries, including New York's Garment District, there are many organizations working hard to keep this district vital. One such organization is The Fashion Center Business Improvement District (also known as The Fashion Center or the Fashion Center BID). This non-profit organization works hard to sustain and improve upon the vibrancy and vitality of Midtown Manhattan’s Fashion District by promoting the area as a strategic business location for fashion and non-fashion related business alike.[4]

Summer Fashions

Lord and Taylor store windows and a boutique nearby called Janique.

Notice beachwear is not always that revealing...

Well, that much exposure to the sun is not good for you anyway.

Monday, May 23, 2011

City University Exhibit Sign

On the other side of the Science Library is a section managed by the City University of New York..

This show is called "The New American Painting Captures Europe."

Wish there was not so much reflection in the window, makes it hard to see images.


Just liked this doorway....seems very typical of the very early 20th century.