Home and Subway Art

We are home, and in the usual post vacation frenzy! We picked up all three fur babies yesterday afternoon, celebrated Christmas a little bit more, and crashed around 10:00 p.m. I am now in the midst of the laundry rodeo, and decided to sit down and share some final thoughts and images.

I mentioned in several posts that we had taken the subway, and truly the NY subway system is amazing. I am pretty sure the entire city would shut down if anything ever stopped the subway. It’s a little surreal to think of using a system of travel that is over 100 years old! You see a little bit of everything in the subway stations, and certainly some are more elaborate than others. They are filthy, there are rats, musicians perform, the homeless seek shelter and handouts, and yet they are beautiful, hustling little microcosms of humanity. Glancing down a track before a train arrives does not even scratch the surface of the system’s vastness.

We usually ended up on some version of the R Train. What also struck me was the amazing variety in the art of the subway tiles in each station and stop. It’s truly amazing, and I regret that I did not capture more of it. Many stops, and I only saw in passing, or briefly as door opened and closed, and it was simply too difficult to snap a photo. However, I did manage a few..

The station we saw the most, was Astor, as it was the one closest to the apartment.

The next couple of images are taken from a beautiful little book titled, One Track Mind by Phillip Ashford Copolla. Copolla is an artist that began sketching the subway stations of NY in 1978. He self-published an encyclopedia of this work titled, Silver Connections. There is a 2005 documentary on Copolla and this work also titled, One Track Mind. You can find a copy of Silver Connections in the New York Public Library, but this little book I have takes small portions of it and presents it in a beautiful and easily enjoyed smaller copy. Here is an image of his pages dedicated to Astor station.

The entire book is detailed like this, and there are even images of his original sketches on the final few pages. I highly recommend this little gem to anyone who has, or will visit New York, history buffs, or art lovers.

That’s all on this recent New York adventure. I can’t wait to see where the next journey takes us.

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Final Day’s Explorations…

When Mauro first planned this trip, I thought “that’s a long trip! What are we going to do with ourselves?” However, these five 1/2 days have flown by, and we’ve had to drop some items from our list, because we simply could not fit them in.

We started this day exploring the High Line. I just cannot day enough about this new urban park built on an old raised rail bed. It is stunning- even in the winter. I imagine it is even more so when the plants are in bloom. It’s a must visit for the city.

Olivia found a couple little sweet treasures to take home.

A little bit of extra green to enjoy.

They even have several art installations along the line.

We left the High Line to find some lunch, and I finally had my NY pizza!!

Our next stop had me giddy as a child-The New York Public Library’s Main Branch!! Oh My Goodness, I was in librarian heaven.

Answering questions. It’s what librarians do.

I love the fire hoses tucked in the wall.

They had a small exhibit of A Christmas Carol by Dickens. The exhibit included notes made by Dickens and original copies.

I also loved the menorah standing beside the Christmas tree.

Another iconic building, but this one is still very active in the community. The outreach and resources available from this library system are awesome.

I have to admit I did not make it out without visiting the library store and doing some damage. At least I received the librarian discount!

We made our way from the library to Grand Central Station. This was one of the musts on the list of the architecture student. We roamed a bit, and then took our final subway journey back to the apartment from Grand Central Station.

It’s been a fantastic visit. Tomorrow we fly back to Savannah, and finish our Christmas 2018 journey.

Brooklyn, Bridges, & Remembering…

Christmas Day was quiet and relaxing. We did not get going until around 1:00, but neither did anyone else, apparently, because the streets were empty and silent until around noon.

We decided to explore Brooklyn a little bit, so it was off to grab that R train once again.

This was a set of container homes being designed for help after major disasters. It’s a fast way to provide shelter for populations hit by major storms.

It’s a beautiful area down around the bridges, and we managed to find a little restaurant open for a nice lunch. We popped into Peas And Pickles to buy a little soup to take back for dinner, and made our way back to the apartment.

Before heating the soup, Mauro and I made our way to the 9/11 Memorial. Olivia opted to stay behind. She was only a baby when 9/11 changed the world, and feels no connection to it. Frankly, she has zero memory of life before the attack.

The memorial is beautiful and touching. The sound of the rushing water in each pool is peaceful. It’s a huge juxtaposition with the actual events of that fateful day.

The white roses are placed to signify a Birthday. It’s a sweet and touching gesture done daily, and it really humanizes the names carved in the stone.

After several minutes of reflection and reading names, Mauro and I made our way back to the subway and our little apartment. A dinner of warm soup and a fun movie while lounging in PJ’s rounded out our Christmas Day celebration. Tomorrow will be our final day in the city. I already feel we are out of time to see everything on our list!!

A Holiday Market & Central Park

Christmas Eve! How is it possible that Christmas is here already, and 2018 will soon be added to our collections of memories? We spent this morning enjoying the festivities and treats of the Union Square Holiday Market. I love a good market, and this one did not disappoint. Olivia and I both walked away with special treasures, and we also snagged a great looking pumpkin loaf to enjoy Christmas morning.

Mauro could not resist a little surprise for Caterina.

And Olivia could not resist saying hello to these sweet kitty babies.

Even the local dogs are in their Holiday finest for the market!

Santa loves a good market, too!

We left Union Square happy and full of the holiday spirit, dropped our treasures off at the apartment, and then grabbed a subway train to Central Park. By this time, the sun had disappeared and the wind had picked up considerably, so our stroll through the park was brisk!

Central Park is stunning, no matter the time of year or temperature. Best of all, this time of year they add a skating rink. Even if you’re not feeling brave enough to lace up, it’s fun to watch, and creates a wonderful winter atmosphere.

We’re back in the apartment now and had our Christmas dinner delivered from a place up the street. It was delicious. We’ll find a church later this evening and welcome Christmas with music and the fellowship of total strangers. I’m looking forward to it…

Roaming

I am writing this post while enjoying a breakfast of toast with cheese and a slice of amazing salami picked up from a fun little shop in Little Italy. Yesterday was a day to roam and explore. We visited China Town, Little Italy, a small part of SOHO, and ended the evening at Radio City Music Hall with the Rockettes! We were out until well past midnight.

Mauro stopped to have a hotdog on our way.

And this man sitting on the curb reading brought me joy!

This man was dumping feed for the birds, and the flock gathering was impressive.

China Town was fun and Olivia found a little treasure in a store specializing in gems and stones. However, I have always loved the energy that resonates from Little Italy!

Olivia and I could not resist these beautiful little cannolies.

Little Italy was blinged out in the Christmas spirit.

After exploring a bit, we stopped back by the apartment, and then headed out to Times Square and Radio City Music Hall.

We loved the show-especially the sheep and the camels! This is a must see if you are in NY over the Christmas holiday! It is fun, upbeat, the theatre is beautiful, and the Rockettes are always amazing!!

Our walk to the subway was beautiful. The evening was peaceful, and our hearts were full.

Today is Christmas Eve, and I am not sure what is on the agenda. We are finishing breakfast, Mauro is speaking to the gang in Brazil, and Olivia is still sleeping. It doesn’t really matter, as long as I have my two loves here with me.

Cruising the Island

If you are looking for a relaxing and unique way to see the city, I highly recommend one of the American Institute of Architects sponsored cruises. We booked the All Around Manhattan several weeks ago, and it was a lovely experience. We boarded the Manhattan around 10:55 for a 2 1/2 hour waterway tour of the entire island. Our guide, Joseph, was knowledgeable and charming. The cruises are pricey, but include complimentary drinks and light finger foods. The crew of the boat was fantastic, and it was an engaging trip. We all thoroughly enjoyed, and I would recommend highly! Some of my photos are not the best, because I stayed inside the yacht, and the wind and choppy waters sprayed the windows with salty water. The yacht is covered and heated (also has air for summer months), which was greatly appreciated. Our first full day in NY saw 60 degrees and rain, but the second saw a 20 degree drop in temps with wind gusts up to 30 mph-quite a change in just over 24 hours!

We keep finding little hints of Brazil in this city! The flag was flying at the pier near the dock for our boat.

Our fantastic guide, Joseph. He really was a joy.

Notice how choppy this water is, and you can already see the spray on the window!

Lady Liberty!!

You get both the Manhattan and the Jersey side. The tall building in the photo above is nicknamed the “Jenga” building!

The Brooklyn Bridge!

This one in the photo above has terra cotta plates on the outside.

The water spray was really bad toward the end. The poor window was just grainy. However, the whole experience was amazing, and I would do it again!

After the tour, we set off on foot towards the Empire State Building.

I love the touches of Christmas throughout the city. We did pay to go up to the 80th floor of the Empire State Building, and then Mauro and Olivia went to the open deck observatory on the 86th. Y’all, it’s an iconic building with an amazing history, and the views are amazing, but that pricing to enjoy it!!! They have gone a little high, in my opinion. It was crazy expensive for just floor 80. They offer no student discounts. If you want to go above 86, it is 20.00 more per person! Every little thing is extra! I am not sure it is worth what they are charging anymore, and Olivia said this as well once we finished.

As you can see, by the time we finished the sun had set, so we decided to walk over to see the Rockefeller Center tree. On the way, we ran in to a crowd situation that was unlike anything I have ever experienced! Olivia referred to it as “the Sardine Mob”. All of a sudden, the crowd became so intense that you could not move. Any movement you did make was simply inching, sliding, squeezing through whatever little hole happened to open. I have literally never been so up close and personal with total strangers! I could not get a photo, because I was afraid to take my phone out! It took us over an hour to get through this! The following images are what I did manage to take of the Saks light show and finally (once we managed to get there) the tree.

After dinner, and a subway ride, we were all peopled out for the day. We arrived back at our little apartment some time after 10:00 (over 13 hours of being out and about). We made a quick stop for water and snacks, and Olivia also wanted to add lights to our tree. I was not willing to purchase a full light string, so we compromised and blinged it out with a couple of campy Christmas novelty necklaces. I LOVE the effect-Olivia is not so sure…

Rainy Day & The Met

Rain, Rain, and more rain. This is what NY gifted us today. Sixty degrees and tons of water. So what do you do in NY when it’s pouring? You get your art fix in! We spent half the day roaming through the massive amazing that is the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is impossible to see all the Met has to offer in one day, and they realize this. Tickets are good for three days, and students receive quite a hefty discount. The building alone is worth the visit. It was the perfect way to escape the deluge outside.

Our apartment is literally across the street from the subway, and that meant Olivia’s first Metro card!

Six stops later, we were mingling with thousands at one amazing museum.

When we finally finished, or more like, when our brains simply could not absorb any more, the rain had stopped. A chilly fog had settled over the city. It was eerie and gorgeous. We walked multiple blocks just soaking in the city. There is something magical about NY, even when it’s soggy…

And on the subway ride back to home base, you might just have some poetry, because NY understands that the soul needs little nuggets now and then.

Travel and Lodging

Our adventure begins on Thursday, December 20th with a two hour non-stop flight from Savannah, GA to JFK. The flight was far bumpier than I like, but we arrived ahead of the big storm system moving through, and for that I am thankful. After a raucous cab ride, we arrived at our chosen lodging around 3:00 pm. Once again, we’re going the AirB&B route, and Mauro has found a gem of an apartment with a prime location!

As you can see, the space is spacious, clean, and quite charming. It is a little weird coming through the shared common area of the main apartment, but so far our hosts have been gracious and almost non noticeable. They do have a beautiful grey cat, Cassie, who immediately charmed Olivia!

After settling in, we followed a recommendation from our host for a local Italian restaurant, Via Della Pace. Always listen to the locals! The food was amazing!

On the way back to the apartment, we stopped by a local grocery and a nearby Wal-Greens, and right beside the Wal-Greens was a little Christmas Tree lot. Olivia and I could not resist one of the tiny trees, so now our apartment has a little bit of festive! We’re so excited!!

I am not going to lie, the travel wiped us out, and we crashed early! It’s supposed to be nasty, rainy again tomorrow, so we’ll probably look for indoor options.