My sister Pamela and her good friend Billy visited NY the past couple days, and last evening she took us on a Classic Harbor Line cruise in NY harbor with an AIA-certified guide, Scott Cook, who spoke very knowledgeably about NY buildings and the Manhattan, Brooklyn, and NJ waterfronts. It was far superior to NY’s more well-known and trafficked Circle Line! The docent Cook, one of six architecture professionals who work these cruises for Classic Harbor, was very good, a fluent speaker, quick to deliver interesting information on individual buildings, their locations, the architects responsible for them, and details of their design and especially their ‘green’ features. He described NY’s waterfront as our “sixth borough,” an idea that really appeals to me, and he broached urban issues, from climate change to how the Hudson River Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park are permitting high-rise development in exchange for resources for upkeep of these newly created public spaces.
The docents have to be quick because the boats of Classic Harbor are so-called ‘motor yachts,’ and they cruise at quite good speed. The vessel we sailed on was the Manhattan II, nicely appointed with teak and mahogany and lots of clean, clear wrap-around glass. Inside was a lounge with many comfortable seats at wide tables, quite a roomy space. The copy on the brochure and map they handed out (pictured below) suggests that these NY Harbor cruises are the least crowded of all the lines offering these boat rides, and I believe it—nothing at all like being on the subway, an unfortunately apt comparison for the ride I took a couple years ago on the Circle Line. Out on deck there’s some bench seating, and enough room to walk and stand comfortably, though carefully, leaning on rails and holding on to pieces of the ship. The captain was a rather young mariner, who helmed the yacht very ably, coming to a floating rest a number of times, near the Statue of Liberty, the shore of Governors Island, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, and Battery Park City. Figured in to the price of a ticket is a free drink, so Kyle and I welcomed the discovery that Yuengling’s light beer is very drinkable!
A coincidental sidelight made me eager to go on this tour: when I was executive editor with Times Books at Random House in the late ’90s, I acquired, edited, and published the 4th Edition of the AIA Guide to New York City, an essential handbook that has been published continuously since 1967, with a new edition out roughly every decade. The edition I published—by architect and pithy writer about buildings and public spaces Norval White—included entries on more than 5,000 of the metropolis’s buildings in all five boroughs, a book I still treasure.
I hope at some point to take Classic Harbor Line’s cruise that circumnavigates all of Manhattan, a three-hour trip, twice the duration of the trip we took Sunday night. Given my personal interest in the GWB, aka The Great Gray Bridge, and The Little Red Lighthouse, I’m sure I will enjoy that tour even more. Here are lots more of my pictures, with commentary in the captions, though it’s a dead certainty I’ll come nowhere recalling most of the buildings and architects that Scott Cook named, but the day was so clear with abundant light, I think you’ll be able to appreciate many of the views and buildings anyway.
Pictures taken on walks in my Manhattan neighborhood March 5-6, 2015. On Thursday, there was wind-driven snow from midnight till evening with about 7 inches accumulation, when I took the first two pictures posted here. Today, Friday, was bright and sunny, a good day for a walk along the Hudson. All pictures here.
— Philip Turner (@philipsturner) February 4, 2014
The snowy winter of 2013-14 continued yesterday with an all-day storm. By late in the afternoon Kyle and I got out for a walk and found that a beautiful and unfamiliar landscape had been created by the snowfall. The snow defined the contours of tree limbs, rocks, paths, and walls. Please click here to see more photos.
Had a great time last night at a live music show put on by the Toronto trio, The Rural Alberta Advantage, my first time hearing them live after enjoying them the past few years on CBC Radio 3. They played a sold-out show in front of a boisterously appreciative full house at the Mercury Lounge on the lower east side of Manhattan. I have a full post with pictures at my other blog Honourary Canadian. Here are shots showing all three band members, first Amy Cole, keys with Nils Edenloff, guitar and lead vocals, then Paul Banwatt, drums. I hope you enjoy the rest of the post over there.
— Alamo Drafthouse NYC (@AlamoNYC) December 9, 2013
Despite earlier reports from Austin, Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse NYC that they would be renovating the Metro Theater on Manhattan’s Upper West Side on Broadway at 100th Street, word came today that actually the movie chain has abandoned those plans. This is a big disappointment for all denizens of my neighborhood who lament the lingering blight of recession upon our neighborhood, and had hoped that this new establishment would bring renewed life to this part of town. More’s the pity, since my wife, artist Kyle Gallup, had some years ago created a visual homage to the theater’s facade, which we hoped to see back up in lights sometime in 2014. Alas, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Below you can see images of the banner on the Metro marquee that will presumably come down soon, a photo of the facade, and Kyle’s painting.
Hundreds of New Yorkers found their way to Fort Washington Park yesterday, underneath the George Washington Bridge, aka the Great Gray Bridge, for the 21st Little Red Lighthouse Fall Festival, co-sponsored by the NYC Parks Dept and the New York Restoration Project (NYRP). The latter is Bette Midler’s organization, aka MillionTrees.org. I had no idea the festival’s been going on every year since 1992! I biked up there and had a fun couple of hours, marveling at the big crowd, including many families with young children, all enjoying a great NYC landmark, one that I’ve cherished a long time, though usually alongside only just a few other visitors to the site, not dozens.
As is the custom on the second Saturday of each month from May-October, the little red lighthouse was also opened to visitors yesterday, and long lines of people waited a turn to get inside and see for themselves this treasure of naval architecture and maritime history. I had toured the lighthouse and taken many photographs in August and September, and so happily left it to other visitors yesterday. Booths at the festival included such exhibits as Urban Park Rangers (a career I’m sure I would enjoy); NYRP and their Million Trees initiative; and such local businesses in Washington Heights, the neighborhood adjoining Fort Washington Park, as Word Up Bookstore and Storefront Science. Festival organizers had also printed poster-sized reproductions of Lynd Ward’s art from Hildegarde H. Swift’s classic children’s book The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, and from a stage that earlier sported a quite good cajun & roots band called The Amigos, the book was read aloud with help from teenagers from BuildOn.org and an NYC Parks Dept official. I was amused when the official announced the youth group as Move On, which sounded odd–it seemed a bit far afield for MoveOn.org–and the kids quickly corrected her, saying, “We’re from Build On!”
For a finale, an FDNY fireboat cruised up the Hudson, drifted close to the shoreline and then turned about so spectators could see the vessel from every angle. And then the crew provided a great water exhibition, shooting great arcs of water from the boat’s hoses and spouts, creating transparent scrims of water shimmering against the blue sky and bright sunshine. It was a splendid sight and an enjoyable festival. Below are my photographs from the delightful day.Please click here to see all photos.
As I began my workday this morning, I heard the mellifluous sound of massed bagpipes and knew that today must be a special day in the city for firefighters. My Manhattan neighborhood is home to the city’s Fireman’s Memorial, at 100TH Street and Riverside Drive. It’s one of the city’s sublime spots. When tragic events occur, or when anniversaries of them come round, like those for 9/11, hundreds of firefighters in full dress uniforms flood the area for remembrances that include fire engines and chief’s cars parked all akimbo on nearby streets, and dozens of bagpipers and drummers all marching in unison. With the sound of bagpipes drifting in my window, I went out for a walk to observe the ceremony.
October 9th–far as I knew, today was no anniversary of a specific incident. I asked one firefighter about the occasion and he confirmed what I suspected: this day is marked on the civic calendar as a general remembrance for all firefighters who’ve ever died in the line of duty, stretching all the way back through more than 250 years of New York history. Here are some pictures I took this morning, and one that I took of a child at the Fireman’s Memorial last month on 9/11, the last time that hundreds of firefighters made a pilgrimage to my neighborhood. Please click here to see all pictures.