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Posts Tagged ‘New York’

I finally visited the High Line in May even though the park had been opened in 2009. It hasn’t taken me quite as long to get to the new extension, which opened in June, and it is still amazing to see what has been created out of a disused railway line:

Happily, the same elated reaction that greeted the first segment occurred again this summer, as the newly completed middle portion of the High Line revealed that rather than being simply more of the same, the park is evolving into a much more varied experience than many had anticipated. The newly completed half-mile stretch feels different from the first in that its route is straighter and narrower (two tracks wide as opposed to four in the southernmost section). It makes fewer jogs and lacks the extravagantly sweeping arc of the northern end of the viaduct, which will bring the High Line to a dramatic culmination when the entire project is finished. (The New York Review of Books )

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Around the watchers, the city still made its everyday noises. Car horns. Garbage trucks. Ferry whistles. The thrum of the subway. The M22 bus pulled in against the sidewalk, braked, sighed down into a pothole. A flying chocolate wrapper touched against a fire hydrant. Taxi doors slammed. Bits of trash sparred in the darkest reaches of the alleyways. Sneakers found their sweet spots. The leather of briefcases rubbed against trouser legs. A few umbrella tips clinked against the pavement. Revolving doors pushed quarters of conversation out into the street.

Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann

Out of all the books I have read that are set in New York, Colum McCann has done the best job in capturing the everyday energy of the city.

The passage above truly describes the constant noise that accompanies that energy, so it was very eerie when the city fell silent while waiting for Hurricane Irene. Unlike Vermont and the Catskills, Manhattan was lucky enough to escape without serious damage and the precautions, some of which are seen in these photos, proved unnecessary.

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The Atlantic’s In Focus has a selection of more professional images from Hurricane Irene and its aftermath.

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Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa has a site specific work in Madison Square Park:

Echo depicts a nine-year old girl from Plensa’s Barcelona neighborhood, lost in a state of thoughts and dreams.

Plensa’s sculpture also refers to an episode in Greek mythology in which the loquacious nymph Echo is forced as punishment to repeat only the thoughts of others. Both monumental in size and inviting in subject, the peaceful visage of Echo creates a tranquil and introspective atmosphere amid the cacophony of central Manhattan.

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You can also see a video of the making of the 44 ft sculpture (YouTube)

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High Line

Although the High Line was opened as a park in 2009 it has taken me two years to get there.

The High Line was built in the 1930s, as part of a massive public-private infrastructure project called the West Side Improvement. It lifted freight traffic 30 feet in the air, removing dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan’s largest industrial district. No trains have run on the High Line since 1980. Friends of the High Line, a community-based non-profit group, formed in 1999 when the historic structure was under threat of demolition.

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I have finally recovered from completing The Great Saunter on Saturday – the Shorewalkers 26th annual 32-mile walk around the rim of Manhattan.

Some photos from along the route. There are far more from the West side as that was far more scenic and we did that side first so I was far more tired on the East side.

We had perfect conditions for the walk – blue skies and Vivaldi on my ipod.

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Via The Infrastucturist, James Ogle’s time lapse piece on New York City:

He has made lots of other equally fantastic videos.

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I pass this Louis Vuitton window display most days of the week on my way to the gym and it never fails to make me smile:

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Manhattan maps

Yesterday marked the 200th anniversary of Manhattan’s street grid and The Wall Street Journal has a beautiful collection of historic, artistic and imagined maps of the city.

My favourite: geographer Howard Horowitz’s poem which forms an island of words in the shape of Manhattan.

On Grid’s Birthday, Beautiful Manhattan Maps – Metropolis – WSJ

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As someone with an absolutely terrible sense of direction it makes my life much easier that I live on Manhattan where the streets are laid out in a grid.

Although it seems very modern, the layout was certified by the city’s street commissioners with amazing foresight exactly 200 years ago on March 22, 1811.

The New York Times quotes 20th-century French philosopher, Roland Barthes, in an article on the anniversary:

This is the purpose of New York’s geometry. That each individual should be poetically the owner of the capital of the world.

via Manhattan’s Rectangular Street Grid Turns 200 – NYTimes.com.

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“Pictures must be miraculous” – Mark Rothko in 1947

I am lucky enough to live just a few blocks from MOMA so I get the chance to visit shows more than once and spend time with paintings that I love.

The  first few times I went to see Abstract Expressionist New York I couldn’t get past the rooms of Rothkos and Pollocks where you are surrounded on all sides by their paintings. The feeling you get is summed up by Hedda Sterne, the only woman in the famous 1951 Life magazine cover of the Abstract Expressionist painters, The Irascibles :

Leonardo drew things to explain them to himself…. That’s an essential quality of any work of art, the authenticity of the need for understanding. I once told Barney [Newman] a story which he wanted to adopt as the motto for the Abstract Expressionists: A little girl is drawing and her mother asks her what are you drawing? And she says, “I’m drawing God.” And the mother says, “How can you draw god when you don’t know what he is?” And she says, “That’s why I draw him.” (The New York Review of Books)

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