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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Courtyard in Murray Hill

A scenic courtyard invites people eating lunch
into its enclosed space..

You can't tell from this photo, but darkened wall in center is small waterfall with a pool at the bottom...provides extra comfort to this escape from traffic and crowds in immediate vicinity.

Compare this courtyard to "Alphaville" one a few posts back...

"Modern " Sculpture

They've Been Redoing the front of this apartment building on Second Avenue in Murray Hill for over a year... 

They had ripped out whole area in front of building and then completely rebuilt it.

"Modern" sculpture is flanked by little fountains..

This whole project must have been budgeted long before the current economic downturn and they just plodded along with times it seemed it would never be finished. 

Don't know if I like sculpture or not...thinks it just takes a little getting used to.

Fast Food Establishment

Elaborate Fast Food Outlet at 40th Street and Second's big, it stretches way around the corner.  Think it's cheerful...

Don't eat much fast food myself..a lot of people are really down on it these days.

It certainly appeals to people on the run, however, and that includes tons of people in Midtown Manhattan...

Actually, I like Baskin & Robbins ice cream and Dunkin Donuts coffee ( avoid the ice cream and  donuts to save my waistline, which at my age spreads quickly).

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The First Green Shoots...More than the Economy!

Incipient Daffodils are just now starting to show in the neighborhood... in another few days or so, they will be the first real flowers of spring. 

Occurs to me I'm getting obsessed with the weather..
this hasn't been such a bad winter but it's been an awfully long one. 

Real Spring doesn't come in New York until late April anyway, after a lot of the famous April showers.


Jean Luc Godard  made a movie about 30 years ago or so (have been informed it was actually 44 years about people living in a futuristic world of apartment blocks ( such as were just then being built on the outskirts of Paris)...called "Alphaville"-- where the weirdness of life reflected the monotony and sterility of the architecture.

Alienating and monotonous especially compared to the classic Parisian neighborhood...

These buildings aren't so bad, actually, but what is this weird concrete ampitheater- like construction  supposed to be-- people sit on it in the summer, by the way...they have to sit somewhere.

On a grey day, it seems particularly unwelcoming... I wonder what my sister, who is a landscape architect, would make of all this. She probably knows the theory behind it...there must be some reason it was designed to look this way.

Dreams of Spring 2009

Spring is Officially Here, but true natural signs of it are still few and far between in Manhattan...

It's one thing to see live flowers for sale in Union Square, quite another to see them shooting up somewhere in the City...

March is going out like a lamb ( as compared to in the Middle West), and winter has lost its grip ( as compared to Upper New England)...but I have yet to see a single daffodil , for instance.

I am going to be going to Central Park and other places soon to look for the first signs of Spring... probably a little too early yet, but I may find something.

If Spring won't show, I'll just keep looking around for other points of interest.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Market in Union Square

Live flowers for sale are a sign of  early Spring in busy Union Square, where the vendors offer vegetables, fruits,
arts and craftworks  over a great area--
just how many acres I don't know, but it's big.

One of Manhattan's most successful and largest greenmarkets, a warm day brings out hordes of shoppers who have a yen for anything locally grown and particularly organic food..

Remember all the changes this Square has been through: from site of discount department stores  and left-wing rallies to drug dealing center to sterile strictly patrolled open space...

All the streets around the square are packed with shoppers and tourists too. Only the frenetic subway station ( where three lines meet) has never improved that much, just gone through some half-hearted renovations...the Lexington Avenue ( what we used to call the IRT) line in particular is a relic of New York's Public Transit history.

Emma Lazarus House

The Poetess Emma Lazarus, among others,
lived in this historic house on West Tenth between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

Her famous lines, " Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..." are inscribed at the  Statue of Liberty in New York harbor and have become associated with America's development as a country of immigrants seeking new aspirations in a new land....

Historic West Tenth Street- North Greenwich Village

West Tenth Street in the North Village has all kinds of historical associations, and associations with the Arts--further west, William Merritt Chase had his famed Tenth Street Studio; Winslow Homer had a studio, and the noted Salmagundi Club still exists nearby on lower Fifth Avenue.

"In A New York Minute" - (2)

This Florist Shop and Pretty Neon Sign also vanished very quickly...New York City used to be known for its neon signs, which went out of fashion and then came back in again..

Times Square, of course, is something else ( but I won't show Times Square because you see it all the time).

"In A New York Minute" - (1)

This Diner on 86th Street was there for 50 years or more and then got pulled down ( along with adjacent buildings) recently...

Loved the old neon sign of the "Comfort Diner"...and the typical NYC newstand that was in front of it. 

Flip side of the "New York Minute" is the "New York Decade (or More)" -- some projects take forever to get finished...or maybe never get done  ( will World Trade Center site be finished in our lifetimes?).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Dreaded Midtown Tunnel

The Midtown Tunnel affects a large area of this part of the East Side of Manhattan...its tentacles of exit and entrance streets cut through many city blocks and contribute to the constant traffic in the area.

Life around here is dangerous for pedestrians...

My windows are about thirty yards from one of the entrance streets. Hate to think how much traffic exhaust I am breathing when I have the windows open....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Local Public Library - Kips Bay Branch

I have heard the local branch library described as "that strange building" by some passing tourists...and it is unusual for public libraries in NYC, which are usually neo-classical in design.

It's very good for a small library, but is always overheated...understand it needs a new HVAC system which it is unlikely to get with all the budget cuts going on now...was looking first for works by Pico Iyer. Needed the librarian's help to put holds on them...

By the way, the whole NY Public Library has no books by Eric Tomb--(as I have been reminded, Eric's books are all in coloring book form and not liable to be found at libraries. If your bookstore doesn't have them, you can get them through AbeBooks). Meant to check on works by Deborah Eisenberg, which it more likely has, but forgot-- will look next time.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Keeping in Touch

Lately I have been contacting friends from high school --in some cases, people I haven't spoken to in 40 years or more.  The results so far have been great.

High school was "the worst of times, the best of times"-- and I was fortunate to know a large number of creative, usually renegade, personalities.

If you either know me from the past or are new to this blog, please post a comment on it...looking forward to your remarks.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Armenian Cathedral- The Great Gathering Place

Hard to get a good photo of local Armenian Cathedral, much less one that shows its gold roof glittering in the sun...

Didn't feel like braving the crowds on Fifth Avenue this St. Patrick' s Day and trying to get shot of parade or St. Pat's cathedral...

Armenian Cathedral is much more ecumenical gathering place.. their assembly hall is venue for labor union meetings and all sorts of ethnic gatherings..including Tibetans who frequently picket the Chinese Mission to the U.N. on next street.
Cathedral is busy all the time...has nice chimes that I haven't heard that often lately...think of famous Hitler quote, "Who remembers the Armenians" when generals were uneasy about mass destruction of the Jews of Europe...

To me, Cathedral activities and heritage are always reminders of need for religious tolerance and understanding in the world. We have so little of it...just look at conflicts everywhere .

Saturday, March 14, 2009

PineTree Lodge, West 35th Street

The Pine Tree Lodge is a friendly bar all lit up at night in an otherwise very dreary block...

I don't drink there ( I haven't had a drink in 15 years-- much easier than quitting smoking, by the way--maybe because while maybe not an alcoholic,  I am addicted to cigarettes--)--which reminds me, today is day twelve without smoking...went to Nicotine Anonymous meeting today.

People at pine Tree very friendly...checked with them first before I took photo and explained about my blog.

Funny, I am now living up to pledge I took when  I was confirmed as a Methodist 50 years ago in Evanston, Illinois-- I don't smoke, drink or gamble! Not going back to Church however ( like my sister, am a Unitarian Universalist but I rarely go -- )-- think people should practice any religion they want, or NO religion if that's what they want. World has been too wrecked by religious intolerance-- Mahatma Gandhi is one of my favorite heroes in history, as much as I have heroes...

For the Spy Who Has Everything...

If you want spyware of some kind, guess this is the place to go for it. 

Just one of many unusual shops around here.

Actually think this store is kind of unique..been all over New York and never seen anything quite like this one. It's like seeing an office for a Private Detective, or something else from the movies.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Connecticut Road

Connecticut countryside is both wild and cultivated at same time...rocky outcroppings, stone walls and white New England churches all over as you move back from the parents lived there for a while years ago...not that far from NYC, it changes greatly with seasons and mostly people usually paint it in fall when trees are colorful...this is from memory.

Smoking is always all of my mind but am going to try and mention it less and less.

Today is not good for photos in NYC, will wait until we get some more spring sunshine before I get some new neighborhood pix.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pizzeria Statue

This kind of street figure is disappearing in Manhattan as neighborhoods get gentrified a reminder of what the "old neighborhood" was like.

Is Rosa's Pizzeria better than its newer competitors? Possibly--will have to check this out.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Neighborhood Psychic

Rents are high around here and I wonder how much call there is for a psychic (they also read tarot cards).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Smoking Cessation

Quitting Smoking Again...this time I have joined a support group and using lozenges. Let's hope it works!