Archive for February 2008

Central Park in Winter

February 29, 2008

I recently wandered around part of Central Park.

It’s beautiful in winter.  Just a few shots to show it.


This is all from roughly the 66th Street level.  The sense of quiet and the desolation of winter are all about.


But there is always the knowledge that you are in NYC’s Central Park.



French Clapboard Houses on East 53rd Street

February 28, 2008

I wouldn’t have noticed them, except for the plaque.  On East 53rd Street, just east of 2nd Avenue are two more or less ordinary houses with a history.


You can see the plaque toward the center-bottom of the picture.  Here’s a closeup.


It’s a little hard to read, so here’s the text.

“312 East 53rd Street – This wooden house was one of a pair built in 1866, probably by a local builder.  Its mansard roof and heavy door and window encasements, all with bracketed cornices, recall the French Second Empire Style, popular in post-Civil War architecture.  New York Landmarks Perservation Foundation – 1989.”

Well, “clapboard” seems to be nothing more than a board on board siding: that’s pretty ordinary (well…not in Manhattan).  A “mansard” roof is a type of hip roof with the four sides having two different angles (the shortest one being nearly vertical).  It is designed to maximize the attic space.

So, the history of these houses is simply their age.  Well, that’s good enough for me.  They seem to still be used as homes and I have to admit I like the windows.


Ankling to the Church of the Incarnation

February 27, 2008

I recently checked out a new Episcopal Church to see their services.  It was The Church of the Incarnation located on Madison Avenue and 35th Street.  It’s a little closer to where I live than the Church of the Transfiguration and it boasts (well, that may be an overstatement) a history and architecture that is pretty impressive.


It was built in 1865 and holds works by Tiffany (windows), LaFarge (murals), St. Gaudens (sculpture), Burne-Jones (windows), William Morris (windows), and Daniel Chester French (sculpture – he actually did Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial).  That’s according to the historic plaque.  The Church’s website has a nice virtual tour that shows all of the windows and the like.

The service was interesting.  We didn’t do Rite 1 or Rite 2, instead it was straight from the beginning of the Prayer Book.  It was performed in the tiny Chapel of the Nativity off to the left inside the church.  I rather enjoyed it, but I was more interested in the architecture than in the service; not a good sign for me.

Anyway, it is a terrific building and worth a look.


Ankling to the Berlin Wall

February 26, 2008

Wouldn’t you know it?  The Berlin Wall is one of the swankier parts of Manhattan.  And no one seems to know it.


A section of the wall was brought to NYC in 1989 after the partitioning of Berlin broke down and East Germany (and European Communism in general) collapsed.  It isn’t a secret installation, but no one I spoke with at work had been aware of it.

Even on 53rd Street, they didn’t seem to know.  As I was taking my pictures, a gentleman came up and asked whether it was the Berlin Wall.  He had seen it a number of times, he said, and suspected it; but wasn’t certain.  I assured him that it was, but I don’t blame the guy.  It’s thinner than I suspected:


Obviously, it isn’t the entirity of the wall as my favorite memory of it is people standing on it, dancing on it, and (especially) swinging at it with a sledgehammer.  So, this must just be the facade.  There’s also a plaque that makes the history a little murkier:


It says that the “artists” were Thierry Noi and Kiddy Citny.  Well, the Wall was an East German construction, and not an art installation so I briefly wondered whether it was a “re-creation” or a simulation of the Wall done by these two.  But, it isn’t.  Apparently, they were responsible for the art work done on the Wall (as opposed to the actual construction – that is, they just painted the blank wall facing them when they lived in Berlin).

In any event, I’m delighted that the Wall is down and inhabits 53rd Street between Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue (right near a Burger Heaven, actually).



Washington Square Park in Winter

February 25, 2008

Just a follow-on to my recent post on Union Square in winter.

Washington Park, one of the great little parks, located in the heart of Greenwich Village, remains mostly closed for renovations.  That didn’t stop the snow, though.


There are still parts that are open, though.  It made for a pleasant visual as I passed by.


But most of the snow in NYC is now gone.  There are still pockets of it, but I wouldn’t count on even those pockets to hold out the rest of the week.