Sunday, March 1, 2009

Grant and Lee: Exhibit at The New York Historical Society

An interesting exhibit at the New York Historical Society: Grant and Lee.

General Lee was perhaps the greatest general in the history of American warfare, and the near-mythological embodiment of the so-called "Lost Cause" of the South.

General Grant, while not the tactical genius Lee was, commanded the Union army, perhaps the most powerful army ever assembled up until that time.

Here's a bronze bust of General Lee on his famous horse, Traveller:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The New York Historical Society

And if you're in the neighborhood of the Natural History Museum and you want to visit a less-well-known museum in the neighborhood, carve out a couple of hours to explore the New York Historical Society.
The focus of this museum is American history as well as New York history. The building may not have the imposing facade of the Natural History Museum, but it is actually an older museum, founded some 65 years earlier in 1804.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

New York's Natural History Museum

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City is located on 79th Street at Central Park West.

You can't miss it. There's an enormous statue of Teddy Roosevelt on horseback in front of the museum's gigantic white columns.
If you're a tourist bringing kids along to see New York, I'd certainly include this museum on your itinerary. Budget perhaps three hours to explore it. Admission is $15 for adults and $8.50 for children.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Time Warner Center

The Time Warner Center, located on Columbus Circle (intersection of 59th Street, 8th Avenue and Broadway), originally had a different name: The AOL Time Warner Center.

With construction beginning in 2000, this building was yet more proof of the so called erection effect: Cities, countries, and most notably companies, inevitably build monuments to themselves right at market tops. Construction of many of Asia's biggest skyscrapers began just months before the late 1990's Asia crisis. The Empire State Building was begun literally months before the 1929 stock market crash.

And in a fit of poetic irony, AOL had just made their top-of-the-market bid for the old media company Time Warner in January of 2000. And in one of the worst acts of timing from any tech company during this era, AOL announced plans for the combined companies' audacious new headquarters.
Construction on this building officially began in November of 2000, just months after the tech bubble had popped.

By the time the building was complete, AOL went from the "owner" of Time Warner to a despised and irrelevant subsidiary.

Now the building is not just a popular tourist destination, it features a number of excellent restaurants, lots of shopping outlets, and of course one of Manhattan's most popular Whole Foods Market stores.
We were here just before Christmas this year, and thoroughly enjoyed the enormous decorations suspended in the building's atrium. These stars changed colors in a beautiful and stunning display.
However, some people in this town still don't have much respect for this building:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Columbus Circle

Even on a rainy, cloudy day, it's worth making a trip to visit Columbus Circle in Manhattan.

The statue in the center of the Columbus Circle roundabout, is, not surprisingly, a statue of Christopher Columbus. It stands 21 m high, and includes a depiction of the three ships he commanded: the NiƱa, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.
Across from the southwest corner of Central Park is the recently built Time Warner Center:
And of course one of Donald Trump's monstrosities overlooks Columbus Circle too:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Dakota

Possibly the most exclusive residential building in all of New York City, the Dakota became famous in 1980 as the site of John Lennon's assassination.

Security has been tight at the building ever since.

Anyone famous had to rethink their way of life after Lennons' death.

Detail, railing in front of the Dakota:

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Architectural Details on Central Park West

Here are some more photos of some of the beautiful architectural details found throughout the exclusive properties on Manhattan's Central Park West:

Subway sign, 72nd and CPW:
Railing, 72nd Street and CPW:
Art Deco Doctor's Office, Central Park West:

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Utilitarian Buildings on Central Park West

Once again, it's amusing to see examples of the utter utilitarianism of New York City. Last week, we were admiring many of the beautiful buildings on Central Park West on a walk from Columbus Circle north up to 75th Street. Ironically, most of these supposedly "fancy" buildings only bother to dress themselves up on the first couple of floors. Most of them change into plain, old, unremarkable brick--once you get up above eye level!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Central Park West

On Manhattan's Upper West Side, alongside Central Park, there are some really beautiful buildings, many of which have interesting architectural details:
This avenue, Central Park West, features some of the most expensive residential real estate in all of Manhattan.
For a pleasant stroll of maybe an hour or so in duration, walk north from Columbus Circle (at 59th Street), up 8th Avenue/Central Park West, to 75th Street or so. You'll see a wide variety of buildings with many unusual architectural details.
And you'll see a lot of doormen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Overheard Near the New York Public Library

One tourist, shouting to another, outside the New York Public Library:

Tourist 1: "You know, here's the library from Ghostbusters."

Tourist 2: "Oh yeah!"