A minor trip through Central Park

The weather was fine and I decided to take a little trip through Central Park and perhaps run an errand or two.  I wanted to see if any more of the “Frozen Zone” was freeing up, but was disappointed to find it unchanged from yesterday.  Well….actually the news isn’t even that good.  I was walking on 3rd Avenue and found construction crews setting up concrete barriers on both sides of the street.  They’re the standard 3 or 3.5 foot high barriers you see on major construction areas and it seems to portend poorly for the future.  I have no proof they’ve anything to do with the steampipe explosion, but I imagine they do.  They look like they’re going to be around for a while.

South view down Park Avenue around 77th

I took the subway up to East 77th Street and wandered over to the Park (the picture above is a view southward from Park Avenue).  I had no real destination in mind, but today I really just didn’t want to go into “The Ramble”.  I guess I was just a little more lethargic than I expected at the beginning.  This time, though, it seemed that the paths kept trying to get me up into it; an offer I refused at least three times.  I just kept pushing westward.

The only really memorable event while I was in the Park was during one of those “avoidance” manuevers.  I was walking and heard a saxaphone player playing “Take Five”, which has to be one of my favorite jazz standards.  He was playing under a stone bridge and I made a quick turn to go and listen to him.  The acoustics were amazing, of course.  Actually, I’ve heard the guy playing a number of times but his stuff usually is a lot more pedestrian and of no particular interest to me.  But this was very nice.  He didn’t play it well, and it really suffered for not having an accompaniment (it really needs some drums playing softly in the background); but he gets kudos for giving it his all.  I listened for a couple of minutes and when he finished I told him that I had enjoyed it and gave him a buck.  He then started playing something not to my taste and I moved on.

I continued and knew I was getting into an area I have some fondness for.  Below’s a picture of the Museum of Natural History on the West Side of Central Park.

View of Museum of Natural History 

It’s in this general area that “That Guitar Man” (http://www.thatguitarman.com/) plays every Saturday.  I just sort of listened and started following the sound of his music.  I once took my cousin Cathy to hear him and I have fond memories of that afternoon’s concert.

That Guitar Man

I listened for a while.  He’s really good and I always enjoy it, but I tend to prefer his covers more than his original stuff.  They aren’t bad, but I guess I’m just showing my pedestrian taste for the music of my youth.

I listened for a while and then moved on.

A picture of the area he plays:


When I exited the Park, I did so at 72nd Street and saw one of my favorite buildings:  The Dakota.  I always am amazed at the window air conditioners.  They are prevalent even in the most august buildings.

 The Dakota

As I left the Park, I did my big “errand” for the day.  I needed to get some money from the bank.  I normally use a branch right next to my office; but it is in the Frozen Zone so “no go” for using it for a while.  I know there are lots of branches, but since I was in the area I thought I’d go to one I used to occasionally use near my old stomping grounds.  While there, I ended up going to “Nick’s” which is a famous greasy spoon sort of place with wonderful hamburgers.  Actually, their menu is about 20 pages long and they have only about 15 tables for eating.  It was very, very good.

I wandered around a bit more.  That part of town always has a lot of book vendors on the sidewalks.  They seem to buy books at estate sales and the like and then sell them on the sidewalks on the weekends.


Explore posts in the same categories: Manhattan, Wanderings

2 Comments on “A minor trip through Central Park”

  1. […] One of my favorite buildings just because of its architecture.  I’ve posted about it before.  I’ve never been in it and never expect to […]

  2. Lisa Says:

    On the BridgeA Paper By Sean VitousekThe Bixby Creek Bridge of Highway 1 is California’s favorite castaol bridge. The bridge is technically sound, but more than being thoughtfully planned and well constructed; it is socially purposeful and symbolically important to its travelers. Building the bridge and Highway 1 were important public works projects which brought relief to California’s unemployed during the Great Depression, and which today connects travelers though this dramatic castaol region. This setting makes the projects’ environmental concern and aesthetics important to avoid detracting from the natural beauty of the region. While works of humans are often looked down upon by environmentalists, the bridge rises above these issues in its true concern for nature, and gives travelers a new perspective of nature viewed from above. This bridge not only connects travelers to their destination, but connects travelers with nature.Connecting California’s CoastThe California coast with its purple mountains dropping off into the sea is the end of the nation and the destination of historical westward travel by early pioneers. As California matured and grew in population, transportation engineers conceived a route running directly along the coastline to best serve the purpose of connecting California’s coast. This route, Highway 1 has become the symbol of the California coast. The highway serves purposes above and beyond those of the classic highway which provides a commercial network, linking goods and persons to their destinations as quickly and efficiently as possible. This classic purpose is aptly demonstrated by Inter-state 5, build on level terrain in California’s central valley and better suits high-speed transportation. Highway 1 on the other hand is unsuitable of mass transit because of its geographic characteristics; elevated, meandering and dramatic. Through accommodating and accentuating these characteristics into the design of Highway 1 a much different purpose is attained. Highway 1 serves to connect and conduct travelers though and to the natural and cultural environments in a manner perhaps more spiritual than commercial. As a journalist affirmed, Traveling Highway 1 is more than just a scenic drive, it’s a pilgrimage, a reconnection to California’s history, environment, mythology its spirit. Due to its character Highway 1 serves to uphold the spirit of this coastline. And there is no better example of this spirit in practice than the design and construction of the Bixby creek bridge.Building the BridgeThe completion of a castaol highway depended on spanning five canyons, one of which was Bixby Canyon. The construction of the Bixby Creek Bridges and Highway 1 to the south exemplifies an approach to these natural obstacles’ that gave the greater highway project identity and purpose and demonstrated the designers’ and builders’ great care of the environment.The first engineering concern was assessing how the highway would cross Bixby Canyon. The options were either a castaol bridge or a much smaller inland bridge and a 900 ft tunnel cutting though the Santa Lucia Mountain Range at the valley’s origin. This tunnel would not allow for scenic views, and would align Highway 1 in a way that would cut directly though the Los Padres National Forest, which local environmentalists wished to preserve. A bridge was a worthy option in the eye of these environmentalists as it preserved one area of resource value and did not adversely impact on Bixby Canyon or Creek. In doing so it became a symbol of passing above the environment, and of accomplishing a practical objective while still allowing the environmental processes such as the creek to run their natural course.The next decisions were what kind of bridge to design and where it should be located relative to the coastline. An arch bridge serves an aesthetic purpose as it heightens the affect of rising above the environment and reflects contours of the canyon. The decision to locate the bridge directly on the coast would help to define the rest of the Highway 1 project (completed after Bixby Bridge) as well as remain essential in its environmental concern. Near the coast, erosion and the castaol environment limit the further growth of forests like the inland forests the environmentalists wanted to preserve. As a castaol project was desirable in the eyes of both the developers and environmentalists, the way was clear for Highway 1.The final decision was what material should be used in construction of this bridge, steel or concrete. The decision to make the bridge out of concrete reflected both economic and aesthetic concerns. A steel bridge would cost more to build, be negatively affected by fog and salt spray and require expensive maintenance and painting. A rusting steel bridge would not be in harmony with the rest of the verdant environment. Building the bridge out of concrete would provide much less of an industrialist contrast (which steel would have) to the natural environment and echo the color and composition of the natural rock cliff formations of the area. Although the Gustav Eiffel’s steel Garabit Viaduct on the Thuyere River in France contrasts nicely with its surrounding environment, its poinsettia’ red color seems to standout against rather than harmonize with its setting which detracts from the overall aesthetics.In 1931, CH Purcell, the California state highway engineer and FW Panhorst, the bridge engineer and designer were given the job of making the project a reality. The bridge contract was awarded to the Ward Engineering co. of San Francisco for $203,334 and concrete placing began on Nov 4. Wooden false work, built up 240 ft from the floor of the creek, provided support for the arch’s concrete as it was hardening. Ocean swells pounded this false work and delayed the bridges completion until the winter swells passed highlighting how close this bridge is to the ocean. Upon its completion the bridge, costing $199,861, had the longest concrete arch span, 320 ft, on the California State Highway System and a rise of 120 ft. The bridge’s roadway: 714 ft long (only 45% of it lies above the arch) and 24 ft wide, cost $11.66 per square foot, which seems economic considering all the structure that supports it. The arch supports a live load of these 2 lanes of traffic at 640 lb./ft each and a dead load of the combined masses of all concrete used in the arch (per total length). All together the bridge needed to support a load of 28700 lb./ft*. Because the bridge is an arch bridge much of this load is carried to the sides of the canyon. The equations that govern the vertical and horizontal forces are: Vertical Force, V = qL = 28700(320) = 4,600,000 lb.2 2Horizontal Force, H = qL2 = 28700(320)2 = 3,061,333 lb.8d 8(120)From these forces we can determine the stress, f, put on the arch at midspan by the equation:f = H = 1530666.5 = 472.4 psiA 3240*-Where H = the horizontal force (in lb.) and A = the cross-sectional area (in sq. in.)-As you can see the H in the stress equation is half that of the initial H. This is because the bridge has two arches which support the load equally.And from the stress put on the system we can calculate the safety factor:Safety Factor, SF = fc = 3000 = 6.35f 472.4-Where fc is the breaking stress of concrete 3000 psi and f is the actual stress of the arch (in psi)This safety factor says that it can support more than 6 times as much weight as it was designed to support and is considerably safe.’

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