Translation from English

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Shoe stores and sneakers

Big shoe store on Seventh Avenue reminds me of factory outlet at some suburban mall.

Is it true that popular Nike sneakers are made with child labor? To check the internet:

Nike is one of the largest athletic shoe brands in the world. While the company sells millions of shoes and pieces of clothing each year, Nike does not produce any of these products. Instead, the company contracts with manufacturing facilities located throughout the world. Nearly 800,000 people work in these factories, located primarily in Asia. Since the 1990s, the company has been criticized for the working conditions and low wages at these factories, with many critics accusing the company of profiting from sweatshop labor. While Nike has made efforts to improve conditions, many rights groups still push for higher wages and greater change.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tunnel closing and traffic jam on 2nd Avenue

Unannounced closing of Midtown Tunnel on a Saturday causes of course a massive traffic jam.

These unannounced street closings etc. are commonplace in Manhattan and must be a real headache to tourists especially.

Same thing happens with subway trains...some changes on weekends are announced, others aren't.

Cheap lamps

For safety's sake, I would never buy one of these extreme discount shop cheap lamps...

Know some of my neighbors have them, though!

What is Buncee?

Good question: what the hell is Buncee?

Tried internet:

Buncee Pro is a social publishing platform designed exclusively for the iPad that enables you to creatively express yourself using your own photos and text. You can share your creation by saving it to your photo library, posting it to your favorite social networking sites, or emailing it to friends, family or co-workers.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Constant upkeep

All the cornices and stonework etc. require a lot of upkeep all over New York City.

Many buildings built before World War I had really fancy cornices. These started crumbling back in the 1970's as I remember and a lot of buildings had them removed completely, which drastically altered the appearance of the buildings.

From internet article on this topic:

Most New Yorkers are too jaded and too hurried to look up at the often stunning architecture that surrounds them. But to some, like Mr. Bess, who do, every building with a top denuded of pressed tin, copper, cast-iron, stone, terra-cotta or even wood cornices and ornamentation stands out like a disfigured part of the urban landscape.

Many of those naked tops are the unintended consequence of Local Law 10, passed less than a year after Grace Gold, a Barnard student, was struck and killed by a falling piece of masonry at 115th Street and Broadway 25 years ago last month, and of its even more stringent successor, Local Law 11, passed in 1998.

The law, which requires that exterior walls and projecting ornamentation be inspected for safety by an engineer every five years, applies to the 12,000 city buildings - 60 percent of them in Manhattan - that are taller than six stories. Preservationists say the laws have contributed to the attitude that old buildings are inherently dangerous and should be stripped of decoration as a preventive measure rather than take a chance that a piece of masonry or cornice will fall off. As a result, ornamentation may be removed independently of the facade-inspection law, as was the case with the building on Strivers Row.

The neighborhoods most affected are often long-neglected jewels like Harlem and Fort Greene, Brooklyn, where the architecture is beautiful but ill-maintained, and where building owners are more likely to comply with safety requirements by taking the cheapest route instead of the most aesthetically pleasing one.

It is hard to miss the evidence of destruction wrought in the name of safety. Lintels have been shaved off windows, leaving behind a flattened shadow of the former ornament. Apartment buildings have been capped by ribbons of "ghosting," layers of bare brick or stucco parging where massive overhanging cornices once hung like beetled brows. Such ghostings can be seen along Columbus Avenue in Manhattan Valley. Buildings have been scalped on nearly every block of Lenox Avenue in Harlem.

Steamy day in the Jungle of Cities

New York on a hot and very humid day feels like a jungle....seems apt to see people behind all this foliage in Herald Square.

Start 'em young

Local school wants kids to start chess early...

Internet reference on chess (Wikipedia):

The history of chess spans some 1500 years. The earliest predecessors of the game originated in India, before the 6th century AD. From India, the game spread to Persia. When the Arabs conquered Persia, chess was taken up by the Muslim world and subsequently spread to Southern Europe. In Europe, chess evolved into its current form in the 15th century. In the second half of the 19th century, modern chess tournament play began, and the first world Chess Championship was held in 1886. The 20th century saw great leaps forward in chess theory and the establishment of the World Chess Federation (FIDE). Developments in the 21st century include use of computers for analysis, which originated in the 1970s with the first programmed chess games on the market. Online gaming appeared in the mid 1990's.

Checker cab reference, Hertz and rental cars

Checker cab reference reminds me of story I heard on the BBC that the rental car business was started by a guy named Hertz who originally had a fleet of cabs...

People originally thought rental car idea was silly and would be a flop.

Let me see if I can find an internet reference:

While the exact origins of the first renting company are lost in the mists of the past, many hold the belief that the first rental company was started by a man named Joe Saunders. His rather small operation started with the Model T Ford, a car that brought automobile transport to the masses. It is believed that Saunders would rent his cars to customers and would charge ten cents a mile for their use. Charges were calculated with the aid of a mileage tracking device. A rather appealing story is that the first renter was a travelling salesman who used Saunders' car to impress a local girl he was taking out for dinner. Whether any truth is in this story is unknown, but it does add an attractive human element to the history of the rental car.

Saunders experienced large levels of success for his company, perhaps becoming the first rental magnate. By 1925 Saunders had depots in twenty one states across America. The success was short lived however, the Great Depression, a complete collapse of the economy in the United States, led to Saunders' operation struggling to find business. Eventually, rather sadly Saunders went bankrupt shortly after.

Saunders however was not the only entrepreneur with the foresight to spot an opportunity in the market. Another American, Walter Jacobs also started a car rental firm renting Model T cars to customers. Jacobs also experienced success although he sold his business to the larger Yellow Cab Company, owned by John Hertz. In turn Hertz was bought out by the automobile giant General Motors, the investment provided by GM ensured the survival of Hertz's company. Today Hertz is still in existence and the largest car hire company in the world, it distinctive yellow signage recognisable in countries around the globe.

After the Second World War the industry as a whole experienced a boom time. This was due to the close relationship between the growth in air travel and rental companies. Airlines were increasingly being used for business purposes and hence hire cars were widely being used by these businessmen once they had disembarked from the plane. Hertz were well ahead of the game at this stage, having the foresight to place a rental desk and depot in Chicago's Midway Airport in 1932. Hertz was not the only one however, Warren Avis, another entrepreneur almost entirely based his operations within airports anticipating the growth of air travel; mainly due to Avis' experience as an army pilot during the war years. Today Avis is another giant of the rental industry, owning other major industry players such as Budget.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Red Garage Door

For some reason I don't understand,
there are a number of small buildings with their own garages
on a street near to where I live.

Internet article from New York Times in 2008 talks about this:

MILLIONS of New Yorkers compress their lives into small spaces and yearn for things that their friends in the suburbs don’t think twice about: an extra bedroom, a patch of grass, a little distance between themselves and the neighbors.

Robert Caplin for The New York Times
SUBURBAN AMENITIES Enrico Cinzano’s town house with garage, above, is being offered at $18.75 million.
Circle the block five times looking for a place to park, and another wish can be added to the list: a private garage.
A recent check of real estate Web sites turned up about a dozen listings for town houses with private garage space in Manhattan and Brooklyn, ranging in price from $1.195 million, for a brownstone in Crown Heights, to $18.75 million for a restored carriage house in Greenwich Village. "I can’t imagine any greater luxury than a garage,” said Kirk Henckels, a Stribling & Associates broker. ”It’s not the square footage in Manhattan that counts. It’s the amenities.”
Town houses with existing garages and curb cuts on the sidewalk command a premium when the houses are resold. That is partly because getting approval from the city to create a new curb cut involves navigating a thicket of building regulations and approvals.
The Department of Buildings has approved only 54 new curb cuts in Manhattan so far in 2008, and only 57 curb cuts in all of 2007.
Jonathan Miller, chief executive of Miller Samuel Inc., the real estate research company, estimates that a garage adds about 5 percent to the price of a town house in Manhattan. Brokers say that in some neighborhoods, that number can reach 20 to 25 percent.
Enrico Cinzano, an heir to the Cinzano spirit and wine fortune, has owned his six-bedroom town house at 40 West 10th Street for 16 years and is offering it for sale at $18.75 million.
“In my experience, above and beyond the rarity of having the garage with a curb cut, the garage door affords privacy and security,” Mr. Cinzano said in an e-mail message.
His broker, Michael Pellegrino of Sotheby’s International Realty, said the garage added at least $1 million in value to the property.
The carriage houses that the wealthiest New Yorkers had at the turn of the last century were the forerunners of the town-house garage, which sprouted in the 1910s as cars became common for the very wealthy.

Buildings Crowding In

Buildings with such variegated rooftops make for some interesting contrasts in Midtown.

Notice too how residential buildings are wedged in between commercial ones. 

About the congestion on this streets, this was recently posted by the Mayor's Office:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Operations Stephen Goldsmith, Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration Victor Mendez and Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Carole Post today unveiled a new, technology-based traffic management system that allows City traffic engineers to monitor and respond to Midtown Manhattan traffic conditions in real time, improving traffic flow on the city’s most congested streets. The system, called Midtown in Motion, includes 100 microwave sensors, 32 traffic video cameras and E-ZPass readers at 23 intersections to measure traffic volumes, congestion and record vehicle travel times in the approximately 110-square block area bound by Second to Sixth Avenues and 42nd to 57th streets. The combined data is transmitted wirelessly to the City’s Traffic Management Center in Long Island City, allowing engineers to quickly identify congestion choke points as they occur and remotely adjust Midtown traffic signal patterns to clear traffic jams. Department of Transportation engineers are using recently upgraded traffic signal control systems to adjust the traffic lights. The real-time traffic flow information will be made available to motorists and to app developers for use on PDAs and smart phones. The wireless system is made possible through the use of the New York City Wireless Network (NYCWiN) – a wireless network developed and managed by the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. Using technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution caused by traffic congestion is one of the priorities of the City’s PlaNYC sustainability agenda. The Mayor made the announcement at the City’s Traffic Management Center in Long Island City, Queens.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bas relief at local school

There is a lot of old bas relief work on most older buildings in NY.

From an article on the internet:
A couple of buildings at this completely ordinary East Side intersection have some extraordinarily lovely figures carved into their facades.
Dollonbuilding1The sixth floor of the structure at the southeast corner features reliefs that look like dolls or babies, like this one at right. It appears to be an old factory building, so I wonder why it’s decorated with little ones in wreaths?
The twin goddesses below guard the entrance to a building a few doors up from 23rd Street on Park Avenue South.
Interestingly, the address above that doorway reads “303 Fourth Avenue,” a reminder that this stretch of Park Avenue South between 32nd Street and Union Square was called Fourth Avenue until 1959.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Con Edison and heat wave

Fancy ornamental tower is the local utility company's HQ on East 14th Street.

In weather over 100 degrees, like today, there were a lot of power outages. Thousands of "customers" ( a customer can be an individual or a big office or apartment tower).

More over 100 weather expected tomorrow.

Weather reporters on TV keep saying " It's better than snow." Really?

A little bit about the Con Ed system from the internet:

Con Edison operates one of the most complex electric power systems in the world. It is also the world's most reliable.

Con Edison delivers electricity to more than 3 million customers through a huge transmission and distribution network. The company has built the world's largest system of underground electric cables to accommodate the congested and densely populated urban area it serves. The system features approximately 94,000 miles of underground cable. Con Edison's nearly 34,000 miles of overhead electric wires complement the underground system.

Annual electric usage reaches almost 55 billion kilowatt hours in Con Edison's service area. Electricity accounts for about 75 percent of Con Edison's total revenues.

Deregulation required the restructuring of New York's electric power industry, and of Con Edison. The company divested most of its electric generating capacity. Con Edison now relies on buying wholesale power from other suppliers. Industry and corporate restructuring has had little effect on Con Edison's extensive transmission and distribution system. Customers, however, can now choose from a number of suppliers, to purchase their electricity, which Con Edison will continue to deliver. For more information about selecting an alternate supplier, visit

My note: I have to research more with Con Ed people about this alternate supplier bit but I don't believe it will do any good.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Subway sign- Operation and Politics of MTA

Sign shows routes for subways in area of West Midtown.

When I first came to NYC, subways had names like the Lexington Avenue IRT, the BMT, the Canarsie Line, etc. Numbers and letters came later.

Guess it makes getting around easier and makes maps more comprehensible.

Seems there is a blacked out spot on this sign...maybe it is one of the lines the MTA recently discontinued (the W?).

About MTA:


Chartered by the New York State Legislature in 1965 as the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority (MCTA) it initially was responsible only for regulating and subsidizing commuter railroads, including the Long Island Rail Road and what is now the Metro-North Railroad. The MCTA changed its name to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in 1968 when it took over operations of the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) and Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA), now MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) and MTA Bridges and Tunnels (B&T) respectively.

 Responsibilities and service area

The MTA has the responsibility for developing and implementing a unified mass transportation policy for The New York metropolitan area, including all five boroughs of New York City, the suburban counties of Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester, all of which together are the "Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District (MCTD)". The current Chairman and CEO of the MTA was Jay Walder--he is now leaving as of 7/11/11 for Tokyo. No replacement has been announced yet.
The MTA is the largest public transportation provider in the Western Hemisphere. Its agencies serve 14.6 million people spread over 5,000 square miles (13,000 km²) from New York City through southeastern New York State (including Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley), and Connecticut. MTA agencies now move more than 2.6 billion rail and bus customers a year and employ approximately 70,000 workers.
Walder's recent threats to terminate Long Island Bus, under the claim of a lack of funding, have led to various lawsuits being filed against the MTA and their payroll tax by the suburban counties, as well as a call for his resignation by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano.[8]


Remsen Building Gothic

This is the kind of Gothic and other classical kinds of architecture for office buildings that people like Frank Lloyd Wright so rebelled against.

Internet says:

Remsen Building
Emporis Building Number
Main address

148-150 Madison Avenue
Virtual address

Address as text
148 Madison Avenue at 32nd Street, SW corner

The Gothic style dictated the use of structural members in compression, leading to tall, buttressed buildings with interior columns of load-bearing masonry and tall, narrow windows. But by the turn of the 20th century, technological developments such as the steel frame, the incandescent light bulb and the elevator led many to see this style of architecture as obsolete. Steel framing supplanted the non-ornamental functions of rib vaults and flying buttresses, providing wider open interiors with fewer columns interrupting the view.
Some architects persisted in using Neo-Gothic tracery as applied ornamentation to an iron skeleton underneath, for example in Cass Gilbert's 1913 Woolworth Building skyscraper in New York and Raymond Hood's 1922 Tribune Tower in Chicago. But over the first half of the century, Neo-Gothic became supplanted by Modernism. Some in the Modern Movement saw the Gothic tradition of architectural form entirely in terms of the "honest expression" of the technology of the day, and saw themselves as the rightful heir to this tradition, with their rectangular frames and exposed iron girders.
Liverpool Cathedral, whose construction ran from 1903 to 1978
In spite of this, the Gothic revival continued to exert its influence, simply because many of its more massive projects were still being built well into the second half of the 20th century, such as Giles Gilbert Scott's Liverpool Cathedral. Ralph Adams Cram became a leading force in American Gothic, with his most ambitious project the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York (claimed to be the largest Cathedral in the world), as well as Collegiate Gothic buildings at Princeton University. Cram said "the style hewn out and perfected by our ancestors [has] become ours by uncontested inheritance."
Though the number of new Gothic revival buildings declined sharply after the 1930s, they continue to be built. The cathedral of Bury St. Edmunds was constructed between the late 1950s and 2005.[11] A new church in the Gothic style is planned for St. John Vianney Parish in Fishers, Indiana.[12][13]

Award for Carpet Dealer Sam Shamoulian

Oriental carpet store ( of which there are so many but used to be more) shows off its award for Leadership in the business.

Internet says:

Sam Shamouilian Oriental Rug in New York, NY is a private company categorized under Rugs. Our records show it was established in 1990 and incorporated in New York. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $5 to 10 million and employs a staff of approximately 5 to 9.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sixth Avenue gets top billing

It is officially The Avenue of the Americas, but that name has never caught on colloquially. It appears on stationery etc. but not in spoken New Yorkese ( unless they are from out of town or being pretentious).

The history of the naming of the street goes back to the "Good Neighbor" policy of FDR, trying to woo South American countries in the fight against Hitler.

Another import from that time was Carmen Miranda and maybe you could even say Desi Arnaz...

Official NYPD security camera notice

This is only sign for a NYPD security camera I have ever seen....wonder what prompted it.

Security cameras abound here, of course.

From the internet:

Some areas seem to be more private than others, but there's no practical way to know for sure. The island is dotted with thousands of security cameras, operated by the police, shops, and office towers. A couple of groups have tried to count those that are visible, and their results suggest somewhat lighter surveillance far uptown, with the exception of Columbia University and parts of 125th Street. In comparison, Times Square, Greenwich Village, SoHo, and the Financial District are riddled with cameras. (Shutter-shy New Yorkers downtown are best off in the Lower East Side.) But there are hundreds, and perhaps thousands, more cameras concealed behind tinted windows, or tucked inside of lobby smoke detectors, clocks, and sprinklers that are not included in these counts.
In 2005, the New York Civil Liberties Union conducted the most intense camera count (PDF), but focused mainly on Lower Manhattan. The group counted 4,176 cameras below 14th Street, an area about one-sixth the size of the island. That's up 443 percent from 1998, when the group conducted its first study. Greenwich Village and SoHo offered the least privacy, with a rate of three cameras per acre, or one for every 84 residents.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Curious building agglomeration

Older buildings form strange configuration on 57th Street on the East Side.

Lots of changes have been made to these buildings over the course of the years, apparently.

Beginnings of Residential Park Avenue

THIS building is down where Park Avenue is still almost all office buildings.

I wondered how long Park Avenue had been a special, exclusive address in growing New York.

I believe from what I could find and remember that it started about 1900. Stanford White designed one of the earlier fancy apartment buildings on upper Park Avenue.

Found this from Wikipedia:

As Park Avenue enters Midtown north of Grand Central Terminal, it is distinguished by many glass-box skyscrapers that serve as headquarters for corporations such as JPMorgan Chase at 270 Park Avenue and 277 Park Avenue, UBS at 299 Park Avenue, Citigroup, Colgate-Palmolive, and MetLife at the MetLife Building.
From Grand Central to 97th Street, Metro-North Railroad tracks run in a tunnel underneath Park Avenue (the Park Avenue Tunnel). There are no cross-walk signals or overhead traffic lights along this stretch of Park Avenue due to the presence of the tunnels underneath, and the inability to anchor the heavy devices into solid ground.[citation needed] At 97th, the tracks come above ground, rising onto the other Manhattan structure known as the Park Avenue Viaduct. The first street to pass under the viaduct is 102nd Street; from there to the Harlem River the railroad viaduct runs down the middle of Park Avenue.
In the 1920s the portion of Park Avenue from Grand Central Terminal to 96th Street saw extensive apartment building construction. This long stretch of the avenue contains some of the most expensive real estate in the world. Real estate at 740 Park Avenue, for example, sells for several thousand dollars per square foot.[3] Current and former residents in this stretch of the thoroughfare include Blackstone Group co-founder Stephen Schwarzman, former Morgan Stanley executive Zoe Cruz, private equity investor Ronald O. Perelman, John D. Rockefeller Jr. and others. James Cash Penney lived at 888, and Leonard Bernstein at 898.

American flags in NYC

Ever since the Twin Towers catastrophe, you see American flags all over Manhattan....still.

Don't know if this company is influenced by that or if it is their traditional logo.

Internet article notes:

Within hours of the attacks, flags seemed to be everywhere: car windows, T-shirts, front porches. Wal-Mart sold 5 million by the spring of 2002.
Tolstyka, who served in the Army and organizes memorial motorcycle rides for veterans, went out and bought a flag for his car antenna a few days after Sept. 11. "It was a symbol," he says, "of support."
It was also a show of defiance against the terrorists, a rallying cry of unity and a soothing security blanket for a wounded nation.
"Every time there's some kind of national emergency, we put up flags," says Carolyn Marvin, a professor of communication at the University of Pennsylvania. "The flag represents the life of the country."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Plaza Hotel

The famous Plaza Hotel has changed a lot in the last 20 years or so...I remember visiting it with a friend of mine whose uncle was the manager there back in the 1970's.

From the internet:

The Plaza is the second hotel of that name on the site. The French Renaissance château-style building was designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh and opened to the public on October 1, 1907. At the time, it cost $12.5 million to construct. When the hotel opened, a room at the Plaza Hotel was only $2.50 per night ($59 in today's dollars). Today, the same room costs from $695 upwards.[4]
The Plaza was accorded landmark status by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1969; it was designated a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in 1986.[2][5][6] The Waldorf-Astoria is the only other New York City hotel to be designated as a National Historic Landmark.
Long the site for famous performers and guests, it has also been the meeting place for important political meetings. The nationally known singers Eartha Kitt, Liza Minnelli, Kay Thompson, Andy Williams, and Peggy Lee played the Persian Room; unaccompanied ladies were not permitted in the Oak Room bar; and women favored the Palm Court for luncheons and teas. The Beatles stayed at the Plaza during their first visit to the United States in February 1964.[4] On November 28, 1966, in honor of the publisher Katharine Graham, the writer Truman Capote hosted his acclaimed "Black & White Ball" in the Grand Ballroom.
In September 1985, ministers of developed countries met at the Plaza to consult on finance issues and affirmed their agreement by signing the Plaza Accord. It served as an agreement among the finance ministers of the United States, Japan, West Germany, France and Britain to bring down the price of the U.S. dollar against their currencies.
The hotel offers tours of its interior to the public.

The Plaza and its International Modern style neighbors, seen across The Pond in Central Park
The Plaza Hotel turned 100 years old in 2007, celebrating with ceremonies and fireworks.
Conrad Hilton bought the Plaza for US$7.4 million in 1943 ($94 million in today's dollars) and spent US$6.0 million ($76.2 million in today's dollars) refurbishing it. The Childs Company, a national restaurant chain which partnered in the development of the neighboring Savoy-Plaza Hotel,[7] (now the site of the General Motors Building), purchased the Plaza Hotel in 1955 for 1,100,000 shares of Childs common stock, valued at approximately $6,325,000 ($51.9 million in today's dollars).[8] Childs subsequently changed its name to Hotel Corporation of America, now known as Sonesta International Hotels Corporation.[9] Donald Trump bought the Plaza for $407.5 million in 1988 ($756 million in today's dollars). Trump commented on his purchase in a full-page open letter he published in The New York Times: "I haven't purchased a building, I have purchased a masterpiece — the Mona Lisa. For the first time in my life, I have knowingly made a deal that was not economic — for I can never justify the price I paid, no matter how successful the Plaza becomes."
After Trump's divorce from wife Ivana Trump, the Plaza's president, Trump sold the hotel for $325 million in 1995 ($468 million in today's dollars) to Troy Richard Campbell, from New Hampshire. He sold it in 2004 for $675 million ($785 million in today's dollars) to a Manhattan developer, El Ad Properties. El Ad bought the hotel with plans of adding residential and commercial sections. Since The Plaza Hotel is a New York landmark, Tishman Construction Corporation, the construction management company hired to complete the renovations and conversions, had to comply with landmark regulations.[10]

Metropolitan and Harmonie Clubs

The Metropolitan and Harmonie Clubs were both set up to provide clubs for people who could not get into others....except that originally the Metropolitan Club excluded Jews, which gave rise to the Harmonie.
From internet:
What perhaps is most remarkable about the Metropolitan Club (like the Harmonie Club across the street) is how unknown it is to most visitors and residents, particularly given its prominent location - one of the finest in all the city at 60th Street and Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park - and its prestigious neighbors. It abuts the Pierre Hotel with the Sherry Netherland to the South and sits across from Grand Army Plaza and the Plaza Hotel. One block south we have the Apple store with its huge glass cube and from there the familiar, iconic Fifth Avenue flagship retail institutions - Bergdorf, Tiffany, Cartier, etc. The private club was organized by J.P. Morgan for his coterie of friends unable to gain admittance to other private clubs. The 1893 building is a McKim, Mead and White extravaganza with the feel of an Italian palazzo. I have not been inside, but I understand that the interior is quite grand with Corinthian columns, scarlet carpeting and a two story marble hall with a double staircase. The entrance, at 1 East 60th Street, is colonnaded with a carriage entrance and courtyard - 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Central Horse buggy rides

Some people think horse drawn buggy rides through Central Park are very romantic.

Others think they represent cruelty to animals.

What do YOU think?

Lalique Glass

 Lalique is a famous glassware store in the heart of Midtown.

From the internet:

René Jules Lalique was a French glass designer known for his creations of perfume bottles, vases, jewellery, chandeliers, clocks and automobile hood ornaments. He was born in the French village of Ay on 6 April 1860 and died 5 May 1945. He started a glassware firm, named after himself, which still remains successful.

 Life and education

Lalique's early life was spent learning the methods of design and art he would use in his later life. At the age of two, his family moved to a suburb of Paris, but traveled to Ay for summer holidays. These trips influenced Lalique's later naturalistic glasswork. In 1872, when he was twelve, he entered the College Turgot where he started drawing and sketching. With the death of his father two years later, Lalique began working as an apprentice to goldsmith Louis Aucoc in Paris and attended evening classes at the Ecole des arts décoratifs. He worked there from 1874-1876 and subsequently spent two years at the Sydenham Art College in London.

 Art Nouveau jewelry designer

Meduse by René Lalique
Gold and enamel pectoral by René Lalique, Museu Gulbenkian, Lisbon
At the Sydenham Art College, his skills for graphic design were improved, and his naturalistic approach to art was further developed. When he returned from England, he worked as a freelance artist, designing pieces of jewellery for French jewelers, Cartier, Boucheron and others. In 1885, he opened his own business and designed and made his own jewellery and other glass pieces. By 1890, Lalique was recognized as one of France's foremost Art Nouveau jewellery designers; creating innovative pieces for Samuel Bing's new Paris shop, Maison de l'Art Nouveau. He went on to be one of the most famous in his field, his name synonymous with creativity, beauty and quality.

[edit] Glass maker

Dragonfly by René Lalique
In the 1920s, he became noted for his work in the Art Deco style. He was responsible for the walls of lighted glass and elegant coloured glass columns which filled the dining room and "grand salon" of the SS Normandie and the interior fittings, cross, screens, reredos, font of St. Matthew's Church at Millbrook in Jersey [1] (Lalique's Glass Church). His earlier experiences in Ay were his defining influence in his later work. As a result, many of his jewelry pieces and vases showcase plants, flowers and flowing lines.
On May 5, 1945 René Lalique was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France. His granddaughter, Marie Claude-Lalique (b. 1936), was also a glass maker. She died on April 14, 2003 in Fort Myers, Florida.

Paris Cinema

The Paris Cinema holds a very dear place in my memories.

During Graduate Film School at NYU and after, I would go to the Paris all the time to see the latest French films.

I am glad it has survived...but it has been a while since I have seen a movie there.

 As to internet about the history of the place:

The Paris Theater opened on September 13, 1948 when actress Marlene Dietrich cut the inaugural ribbon in the presence of the French Ambassador to the United States.[1] The Paris was owned and managed by Pathé Cinema until 1990. Loews Theaters then took over the operation and it underwent a name change until 1994 when the space was purchased by Sheldon Solow.[1]
The Paris has been a destination for many of the city's intellectuals and movie conoisseurs, as motion pictures by directors like Federico Fellini and Franco Zeffirelli were shown, along with many others.

Sherman Statue On Central Park South

This State devoted to Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman shines brightly at the South end of Central Park.

About Sherman (from the internet):

William Tecumseh Sherman (February 8, 1820 – February 14, 1891) was an American soldier, businessman, educator and author. He served as a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War (1861–65), for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the "scorched earth" policies that he implemented in conducting total war against the Confederate States.[1] Military historian B. H. Liddell Hart famously declared that Sherman was "the first modern general".[2]
Sherman served under General Ulysses S. Grant in 1862 and 1863 during the campaigns that led to the fall of the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River and culminated with the routing of the Confederate armies in the state of Tennessee. In 1864, Sherman succeeded Grant as the Union commander in the western theater of the war. He proceeded to lead his troops to the capture of the city of Atlanta, a military success that contributed to the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln. Sherman's subsequent march through Georgia and the Carolinas further undermined the Confederacy's ability to continue fighting. He accepted the surrender of all the Confederate armies in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida in April 1865.
When Grant assumed the U.S. presidency in 1869, Sherman succeeded him as Commanding General of the Army (1869–83). As such, he was responsible for the U.S. Army conduct in the Indian Wars over the next 15 years, in the western United States. He steadfastly refused to be drawn into politics and in 1875 published his Memoirs, one of the best-known firsthand accounts of the Civil War.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ginger Man

This bar is named I believe after the book "The Ginger Man."

From the Internet:

The Ginger Man is a 1955 novel by J. P. Donleavy.
First published in Paris, the novel is set in Dublin, Ireland, in post war 1947. Upon its publication, it was banned in the Republic of Ireland and the United States of America for obscenity.

It follows the often racy misadventures of Sebastian Dangerfield, a young American living in Dublin with his English wife and infant daughter and studying law at Trinity College.
This book may be considered part of the fictionalised roar of the end of the Second World War hiatus, also represented by the colossi of American literature: John Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck. Dangerfield is an American Protestant of Irish descent, commonly believed to be a thinly fictionalised version of the author, but is more broadly based not only on Donleavy but also some of his contemporaries at Trinity. The hero, Dangerfield, is a portrayal of lifelong bohemian and friend of Donleavy, Gainor Stephen Crist, as told by the author in "A History of The Ginger Man".
The book gives us the map of the terra incognita of late 1940s sexual encounters in Dublin. Donleavy's later books spell out the aftermath (particularly A Fairy Tale of New York, which later inspired Shane MacGowan's song "Fairytale of New York", recorded by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl).


On Stage

I am not sure what audience this store caters to.

Maybe something theatrical.

Summer Flowers on the Street

Rarer blooms on 36th Street,-- I don't know what flowers these are.