St. Luke’s in the Fields Garden

Posted April 3, 2008 by Famous Ankles
Categories: Greenwich Village, Manhattan, Wanderings

Right next to the Church of St. Luke’s in the Fields is the Garden of St. Luke’s in the Fields.  Those are long names, I tell ya.

It’s located on Greenwich Street in Greenwich Village.  (This is getting to be a double/repetitious post.)

It’s a walled garden, but only the front and back of it appears to be brick.  The rest is fencework, including my least favorite type:  chain link on the southern part.

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I really like this garden.  It’s wonderful.  And pretty popular.  I was there on a Saturday and it was relatively crowded.  The weather wasn’t bad, so that helped bring in people.  But this is just a beautiful place in and of itself.

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There’s a nice birdbath/fountain.

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It’s small, but the seating is nicely spaced out.  In the center are some seats and then at the four corners.  The tree below is at the center.

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And below is a picture of the southern side, looking eastward.

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The only problem with the place?  Traffic noise.  It can be described in a lot of ways, but anyone who calls it a “haven” from the City noise isn’t quite putting the full truth into it.  But it is nonetheless a wonderful little place.

-H

St. Luke’s in the Fields Episcopal Church

Posted April 2, 2008 by Famous Ankles
Categories: Greenwich Village, Manhattan, Wanderings

On Greenwich Street, in Greenwich Village stands the long-named “Church of St. Luke’s in the Fields“. 

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I have no idea if the limo is associated in any way with the church or its members.  It was just there and parking one of those monsters would make you want to park near an intersection or crosswalk.  Actually, the church appeared closed at the time so I presume it was just someone parking there.

I loved their front area, though.  Usually, I like to take pictures of the front doors, but this Cross to the side grabbed my attention.

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The next day was Palm Sunday, hence the foilage.  (Yeah, this is a delayed post.)

Okay, I had to get the doors, too.  I’m so predictable.

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Not imposing, so I presume they’re just old.

There was a plaque nearby.

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It reads:  “Landmarks of New York.  St. Luke’s Chapel.  This third oldest existing Church edifice in Manhattan was build in 1821 on farmland donated by Trinity Parish to the independent parish of St. Luke’s Church of which Clement C. Moore was a founder and first senior warden.  When that congregation moved uptown the land was bought back and the structure became St. Luke’s Chapel of Trinity Parish in 1892.”

Clement Moore was the author of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”.  Yeah, the real name is “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, but that’s not how people think of it.

There’s another sign that I couldn’t get too close to due to the gate being locked.

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It reads, “St. Luke’s Chapel 1892 Trinity Parish 1976.  The Old Village Church of Greenwhich Village build 1822.  Friends this village church open stands for thee, that thou mayest enter, think, kneel, and pray.  Remember who thou art and what must be thine end.  Remember us, then go thy way.”

-H

Washington Square Park Renovations

Posted April 1, 2008 by Famous Ankles
Categories: Greenwich Village, Manhattan, Wanderings

I received a recent comment from “Blayze” asking me to take a look at Washington Square Park and the status of the renovations.

The park, if you know it, is located at 5th Avenue and 1st Street what would have been 6th/7th Street if they hadn’t stopped the count just north of there (corrected, thanks to Cat).  It is considered part of the heart of Greenwich Village, although it is surrounded by New York University.  The great arch is an icon for the entrance to the park.

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The arch is now blocked off for the renovations.  They are taking place over the entirity of the northwest portion of the park.

And these aren’t minor repairs.  Not even close.  What do you think belongs in the space below?

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That’s where the fountain is supposed to be!  They’ve removed the whole thing.  An earlier commenter said they were moving it from the original location.  I don’t know how far it’s being moved, but here it is right now…in pieces.

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Here are other parts of the area being renovated.

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It looks like there’s a long, long ways to go.

-H

Persian Day Parade – Happy Norooz, folks – Part 2

Posted March 31, 2008 by Famous Ankles
Categories: Manhattan, Mid-town, Parades

So, where were we with the Persian Day Parade?  Oh yeah, more floats and dancing girls.

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I actually don’t mean to be too flippant with the “dancing girls” lines.  In fact, the ages of the dancers went from very young to women of a certain age.  The dancers, who were mostly female, were always modestly dressed and their dancing was really much more celebratory than anything else.  But the phrase “dancing girls” is stuck in my mind and the reader will have to bear with me.

This next group was perhaps the best of the bunch and perhaps the largest one, too.  I just couldn’t pick a single picture to show how well they did.

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As they pulled up just past me, they went into one of their routines.  They were wonderful to watch and couldn’t have been more enthused in the dance.

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And, despite what it looks like, they weren’t doing a Rockette’s routine.  I don’t know what it was, but it wasn’t Radio City Music Hall stuff.  Just girls dancing…dancing girls.

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Followed by another float…

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Followed by more dancing girls.  These were perhaps my best pictures of the day, at least in my eyes.

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And they were followed by….No, not a float.  Nope, these dancing girls were followed by more dancing girls!

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Including one in a wheelchair.

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You can’t keep a good dancing girl down.

Now, they were followed by a float.

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Which was followed by…dancing girls!

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Okay, there were some non-girls there, too.  (But why spoil a good line?)

Next was a bit of a surprise:  dignitaries.

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Followed by more dignitaries.

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Who was followed by…dancing girls!

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And then a float.

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Followed by another group. This one had male and females.

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Followed by Zoroastrians.

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And Zoroastrians on horses.  I don’t know the symbolism.

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Which was followed by floats dedicated to Cyrus the Great.

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and to the Sassinian Empire (226-651) and the Ctesiphon Palace.

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Followed by…more dancing girls (this is the Afsanch Ballet, a San Francisco group, doing a dance from Gilan).

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Followed by a float of dancing girls…

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Followed by more dancing girls…

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Followed by a float dedicated to children.  This was a very popular float as the kids had bead necklaces they were throwing out to the crowd.

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Followed by…wait for it….dancing girls!

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Which was followed by one of the other suprises of the day.  This was a float with the very non-Iranian inscription:  “Keep Christ in Christmas, Keep Persian in Persian Gulf, Keep the Caspian Sea Sovereign.”

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Which was followed by….dancing scholars!  They were holding the sign, but that didn’t stop them from dancing!

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Which was followed by…dancing Rumis!  Rumi was a mystical Persian poet.

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Followed by more dancers (some men this time).

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Which was followed by…the end of the parade.  A final float.

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The whole parade lasted about 90 minutes (well, I was at 39th Street and the parade went down to 27th Street so they marched for longer than I watched).  My Finnish friends took off after about 75 minutes when the cold got to them, but I was happy to stick it out.

In summary, the Persian Day Parade is a favorite of mine.  As I mentioned to the reporter a year ago, it shows the incredible breadth of the culture from that part of the country and reminds us that Persian culture and the Iranian people are so much more than we see in the current news.

-H

Persian Day Parade – Happy Norooz, folks – Part 1

Posted March 30, 2008 by Famous Ankles
Categories: Manhattan, Mid-town, Parades

New York is lousy about announcing some of its better events.  As I went to Church, I ran across a bunch of parade barricades on Madison Avenue.  There had been nothing about a parade in the Events Calendar, so I figured that it might be a protest.  Or maybe it was going to be something good… 

So, after Church I did a little searching and discovered that it was the annual (actually, the 5th Annual) Persian Day Parade.

No joke:  it’s one of my favorite parades in New York City.  Certainly in my top 5.  I couldn’t miss it.

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Last year was the first time I ever saw it and I actually had a “celebrity moment” when I was interviewed by a Persian TV crew who couldn’t figure out why this really, really white guy was watching the parade.  The reporter asked me if I knew what was going on and, smart aleck that I am, I started talking about how it was the Persian New Year which is celebrated at Springtime and how the Persian Empire stretches back thousands of years and Cyrus the Great and all that stuff.  I mystified that poor woman to no end.  If nothing else, my dicotomy between Persian and Iran (ancient versus modern) was really the point of my response and that this parade was a celebration of the ancient heritage that is one of Iran’s great treasures.

Besides, the Persian Day Parade is filled with dancing girls.  Not what you’d expect from modern Iran.

Here’s a picture of the dignitaries from near the beginning of the parade.

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This year, I struck up a long conversation with a Finnish couple visiting from Helsinki.  They had no idea of what was going on, but had left their hotel and found a big crowd.  They spotted me as an outsider, again, and thought I might know.  We had a long and terrific conversation.  Ultimately, New York City in late March is too cold for Finns!  (They’ve had their warmest winter in years whereas we’re having a cool one.)

The next picture is a bit of a mystery to me.  I think the women are carrying signs representing the months or seasons.  This is one of the few times that you saw Persian women who weren’t dancing.

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The next float shows one of the usual problems with other cultures:  spelling!  Is it Norooz or Nowruz?  I’ll just use both.  I don’t know what 1387 is, but I suspect that’s the Moslem year; which tends to contradict the Persian-centric angle of the parade.  In neither this nor last year’s parades was there a strictly Muslim celebration.  Instead, it was mostly Zoroastrian.

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Oh, and music.  Lots and lots of music.

And something very confusing.  This was very unexpected.  Take a look at these two characters and try to figure them out.  It took two pictures, but they were together (both dancing, of course).

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To my eye, they look like Santa and “Black Pete”.  Black Pete isn’t a well-known American character, but is a Dutch traditional Christmas character from the 1800s or so.  It makes no sense.  The only thing that is counter to it is that there is a character called “Rumi” who shows up quite a bit in the parade who looks very much like the Santa character.  But there’s no secondary character with any of them.  (In fact, there were often a bunch of Rumis at a time).

And then the Zoroastrians came with their slogan “Good thoughts, good words, and good deeds”.

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And then the dancing started.  Okay, it seemed to be entirely separate from the Zoroastrians, but the dancers were the next to show up.

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The music was from the float behind them.

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And then an old standby showed up:  the Mother Cabrini marching band.  These folks are in almost every parade in NYC.

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And then perhaps the strangest group in the parade.  I call them “the exercisers”.  Oh, and they dance, too.  Here are a couple of photos.

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As soon as they got past me, they went into pushups.

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And then…they DANCED!

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A float dedicated to the “Mofid Family” and their contrbution to Persian art and literature followed.

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And then a bunch of flag wavers.

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Big flag wavers.

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And handing out flags.

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One of the few political floats.  It says “Save Pasargad, Persian Gulf Forever, 50% of the Caspian Sea is OURS!”

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Well, Pasargad is an old Persian city, the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea are not connected (the Caspian is landlocked).  So, there are three issues raised and, other than proximity to Iran, I don’t know the connection.

The crowd this year was easily twice last year’s crowd and probably four times.  Last year, I stood for quite a while without anyone within ten feet of me.  This year, it was jammed.

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Next was the Aashtash Dance group from George Washington University.

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And then another float with even more dancers.

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Followed by…more dancing girls.

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Which was followed by a float with two dedications.  First, to “Yazd:  Pearl of the Desert” which is a very ancient Zoroastrian city in the middle of Iran.  And second, to the memory of Hassan Morshed.  There was a woman somberly sitting on the float.  I presume a family member, perhaps his widow?

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Followed by more dancers.

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And more dancers…

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Followed by a float…

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….which was followed by more dancing girls.

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And then another cycle of float and girls.  First, the Ferdosi who reminded me of Vikings but even the Vikings didn’t get that far (at least as far as I know).  The only Ferdosi I could find was a Persian poet, so I don’t know if they are related.

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And that cycle of float and dancers was followed by…another cycle!

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This is now an officially huge and long post.  To be continued tomorrow.  You’ll never guess what followed the group above.  Okay, more of the same!

-H