travelswithkathleen

I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sunday bird blogging


Rooting around in the shadows under the trees, this grackle was barely visible. Then it moved into a patch of sunlight and BOOM! an explosion of color. I love that iridescence.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Saturday reflections


The lake in Central Park, where a month into autumn the leaves have yet to turn.

It's still warm enough to go out without a jacket, so the trees are probably as confused by the weather as the rest of us.

Geometries





I haven't revisited this theme in a while.

This new tower in Lower Manhattan is nicknamed the Jenga Tower, for obvious reasons. Officially, it just goes by its address, the much less whimsical 56 Leonard Street.

While I'm inclined to dislike on principal any high rise tower in a low-rise neighborhood -- Tribeca, where this is located, is mostly lofts and brownstones that top out at 6-8 stories -- at least this is more fun than the skinny ultra-tall towers going up in Midtown.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Urban poetry



Pink pajamas hung out to dry on Henry Street.

This is actually my favorite picture from last weekend. I was on my way to the Henry Street Settlement House, one of the original charities providing health care and education for the immigrants on the Lower East Side, but that building, while fascinating as a historical site, wasn't terribly photogenic.

These pajamas on the front stoop, next to the mop, on the other hand, were definitely something I don't see every day.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Astronomy Tuesday


NGC 1365 is a beautiful example of a barred spiral galaxy. You can clearly see the star-forming regions showing up as bright blue in the arms and at the ends of the bar. All that work, just to feed the supermassive black hole at the galaxy's core.

Image Credit & Copyright: Dietmar Hager, Eric Benson, Torsten Grossmann

Monday, October 16, 2017

Closeups of the mosaics


The Rolling Bench

Outside the mausoleum is where things get a little strange. There is a public art installation from the 1970's called The Rolling Bench surrounding the building. It's a series of mosaic-covered concrete benches, built with the assistance of the neighborhood children.

It's charming, but maybe more suited to a zoo or a playground than encircling the tomb of a war hero-slash-President of the United States.

Inside

Apart from the rotunda, the interior is simple and classical: a lot of marble, a little tinted glass, and the two sarcophagi on a lower level, with some busts of vaguely related historical figures (that's Sherman in the artsy shot between the two tombs.)

I am always a sucker for a good rotunda


Who's buried in Grant's Tomb?

This past weekend was Open House New York, the annual celebration of design and architecture. I missed last year because I was in Iceland, and though most of the places I really wanted to see required winning the reservation lottery, and I didn't, I saw several interesting buildings over the course of the weekend.

These are pictures from Grant's Tomb -- or more formally, the General Grant National Memorial -- which overlooks the Hudson River at 122nd Street. Despite having spent most of my adult life living in Manhattan, the only times I'd ever seen it had been through the windows of a car or a bus on my way to someplace else. But the Book Review had Bill Clinton's review of Ron Chernow's new biography of Grant on the front page this weekend, and I realized that I didn't actually know that much about him. All I remembered from high school history were the scandals and corruption -- none of them involving Grant himself. I didn't remember, or never knew, that he fought to get the Fifteenth Amendment passed, guaranteeing the right to vote regardless of race, and created the Justice Department to enforce Federal law in the South and oppose the Ku Klux Klan.

So I hopped on the M5 and went uptown to pay my respects.

(Who's buried in Grant's Tomb? is considered a trick question by the way not because the answer is obviously Grant -- and his wife Julia -- but because they're in sarcophagi and so not technically buried. One more thing I never knew until yesterday.)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday bird blogging

Just because they're common doesn't mean they aren't beautiful: a female house sparrow in Central Park.

I had an interesting experience yesterday; a young woman stopped me on a street corner and asked if she could take my picture. I said yes, of course, after laughing and showing her my camera and explaining that I'm usually the one asking. (I'd just walked through Chinatown, where I'd wanted a picture of one of the women selling lychees, but they all said no.) She said she liked my shirt, a flowery rayon more suitable for a tropical vacation than the Lower East Side of Manhattan on a gray but extremely humid day, as though she felt she had to explain why she picked me out.

It didn't really matter. At this point I certainly owe the random street photographers of the world my willingness to be on the the other side of the camera. So I smiled and she took two pictures, and she thanked me, and we went our separate ways.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday reflections


I am endlessly entertained by the spectacle of generic city office towers reflected in the windows of other generic city office towers, turning them into something Gaudi might have dreamed up.

These two examples are in Rockefeller Center.

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