Our trip to New York a few years ago coincided with a heat wave. It was too hot to think or walk far from the iced coffee stalls in Central Park, or the cooling air conditioned corridors of the Met. The other best place to be was riding the Staten Island Ferry. Nice breeze. Stunning views of Manhattan and dead cheap.
Thursday’s Special: please visit Paula and pick a word that inspires you. I’m going for ‘soaring’.
There was wall to wall sun when we visited New York in early June a few years ago. In fact it was so hot we spent most of our week there in Central Park trying not to melt. But the full-on sun certainly lit up these magnificent bronze bears. They are affectionately known as ‘The Three Bears’, and may be found at the Pat Hoffman Friedman Playground at Fifth Avenue and 79th Street. The work was gifted to the Park by Samuel N. Friedman in memory of his wife – a fine dedication all round.
You can find out more about Paul Manship (1885–1966) at this link.
It was so hot when we visited New York a few years ago we spent most of our time in Central Park, drinking ice coffee at every available opportunity. There’s anyway so much to explore. On one of our forays we set out to find the Imagine mosaic, laid in tribute to John Lennon who created the song, and was so sadly murdered outside the nearby Dakota Apartments.
It took some finding too, even though we thought we knew exactly where it was. Part of the problem, we discovered, was that it was surrounded with barriers to shelter the two artists who were painstakingly working on its restoration. I didn’t mind not seeing the mosaic in its pristine form. The fact that it was being so actively cared for, given the song’s message, was heartening.
This elegant artwork lies in the middle of Strawberry Fields, a two and a half acre oasis of quiet also dedicated to the memory of John Lennon and his work. It is a designated Garden of Peace, and 120 countries contribute to its upkeep.
It is a very beautiful place to visit, so not to be missed on any New York trip. You can find out more details HERE.
Paula’s theme this week at Thursday’s Special is ‘Park’
Doesn’t time just fly. I can’t believe that it’s nearly eight years since we sailed into New York on Queen Mary 2, star of the Cunard fleet. The Atlantic crossing takes seven nights, and seasoned Cunarders will be quick to tell you that this voyage is a crossing (The Crossing in fact) not a cruise. We docked at dawn in Brooklyn after a long and majestic glide up the Hudson River. The Statue of Liberty glowed through the mist. It was May, and a heat wave was brewing.
Over Brooklyn and the dockside cranes a huge red sun was rising. It gave a surreal glow to the instantly recognisable (to us that is) corporate blue and yellow of the new IKEA store (America’s first if I remember rightly). It was set to open the following month, and we later noticed much associated fanfare on bill boards around the city. Free sofa cushions came into it somewhere. I also remember feeling a bit offended that I’d been at sea a week, all pent up for the grand sail-by of the Statue of Liberty and that first stunning glimpse of the Manhattan skyline, only to have this bland blue furniture shed be the next landmark imprinted on my mental landscape.
They should definitely move it.
Anyway, for those visiting NYC by plane rather than ship, you can have the grand ‘sailing into New York’ moment for free, and thus as many times as you like, on the Staten Island Ferry. Pick your moment for the best shots. Sunset would be good.
It was just pure chance that made me look up as we were heading into Grand Central Terminal en route for the subterranean Oyster Bar. I was thus able to snap two landmarks in one – both the Terminal’s pediment and the top of the Chrysler Building. Between the two is the glassy face of the Grand Hyatt Hotel. We were not staying there I hasten to add, but at the upcycled Beaux Arts Hotel Belleclaire on Broadway in Upper Westwide. I can recommend it. I can recommend the Oyster Bar too. On the day I took the photo it proved a haven in more ways that one. The sea food and Brooklyn beer were not only delicious, but the place was so COOL. Out on the streets there was May heat-wave going on with temperatures of over 100 degrees. We had already spent most of our few days in the city sticking to the shade in Central Park, and drinking copious glasses of iced coffee at the Loeb Boathouse cafe. Very good it was too, but there’s only so much of this you can do when you have come thousands of miles to see Manhattan. Finally we forced ourselves out into the baking streets …
By the way, this reflected framing of the shot is a feature of Windows Photo Gallery which I use for writing my blog posts. I thought I would try it out for Paula’s challenge.
Andy Warhol became interested in China in 1971. “I have been reading so much about China. They’re so nutty. They don’t believe in creativity. The only picture they ever have is of Mao Zedong. It’s great. It looks like a silkscreen”.
The following year he began work on the portrait, which grew into ten variations, all based on the portrait that appears in Little Red Book: the thoughts of Chairman Mao.
In 2012 the portraits were part of the touring art show ‘Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal’. The exhibition, organised by the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, marked the 25th anniversary of Warhol’s death. The Mao portraits, however, did not make an appearance in either Beijing or Shanghai when the show went to Asia in 2013. The official Chinese view was that the portraits were disrespectful in suggesting that the former leader wore make-up. All the same, Mao Zedong’s legacy is currently undergoing some re-evaluation in China. There are even admissions that mistakes were made. It is a start…