Friday, May 18, 2018

T Is for Times Square

T is for Times Square, of course!
When I started to put together the list of stations for this year's A to Z, I wrote down the letters of the alphabet. Next to the letter "G" I wrote Grand Central Station and next to the letter "T" I wrote Times Square. I filled in most of the letters easily, though a few were challenges. I rewrote the list several times adding names and taking others away, but the choices for G and T never changed.
I've written about Times Square several times, but this history in a nutshell includes a different twist. Originally the area was called Longacre, after the area in London. But with the beginning of the IRT subway line real estate speculation began in the area. In January 1905 a new headquarters for the New York Times was opened between Broadway and Seventh Avenue and 42nd and 43rd Streets. Longacre Square became Times Square. The New York Times is no longer at Times Square, but over one hundred years later the name remains.  
Time to stop and hear the music
This station is one of the busiest in the system and it's also one of the liveliest. Music Under New York is an MTA program that brings a wide variety of musicians to the subways. This is one of my favorite spots in the subway system to enjoy the performers.
The Times Square Station has an extraordinary selection of art. Perhaps my favorite piece is New York in Transit by the distinguished artist, Jacob Lawrence. I may have passed this glass mosaic mural a thousand times -- I am often in this station -- but really "saw" it for the first time while I was taking photographs for this series a few months ago. 
New York in Transit by Jacob Lawrence
One of the scenes of "The Revelers," by Jane Dickson

This beautiful mosaic series, of which the mural above is a part, recalls the activity that comes to mind immediately at the thought of Times Square, its legendary New Year's Eve ball drop. After a few years of watching the excitement on television I experienced it on New Year's Eve of 1966. My memory was that it was an unusually warm night for December -- I just looked it up and it was 63 degrees -- and I was visiting New York with my parents. We stood somewhere on Broadway and did the countdown to 1966 with thousands of other people who were enjoying the balmy night. For New Yorkers, however, 1966 would not begin auspiciously. January 1, 1966 is remembered as the start of a thirteen day transit strike which affected all of New York and closed every subway station.

In our next subway post we'll begin a short trip at Chambers Street. Please stop by to join our excursion. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a fabulous Friday!   

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

You Can Go Home Again

Dartmouth Hall
Dartmouth College, Hanover New Hampshire
In what seems a century ago I had the great good fortune to spend my junior year at Dartmouth. In 1970 women were not accepted for degrees and I was there as part of an exchange program. The following fall the Trustees voted to permit women to matriculate as degree candidates. I would have loved to stay, but alas, it was too late for me. Nonetheless Dartmouth held a corner in my heart. I've been back to visit several times, but the trip from New York is just far enough to make it infrequent. I spent last week visiting my friend K, in Vermont. She lives about ninety minutes north of Dartmouth and suggested it would make an excellent excursion. As usual, K was correct.   
For much of the year Hanover is chilly, very chilly. One of my most vivid memories of the winter I spent there was the cold and snow, and there were a number of nights in January when the temperature dropped to thirty below, wind chill not factored in. The day we were there, however, was as perfect a spring day in New England can be. Students studied on the Green in front of Dartmouth Hall, one of the first buildings on the campus. The college was founded in 1769 and the original Dartmouth Hall was built in 1784.
Baker Library
I turned to the left from my view of Dartmouth Hall and saw one of my favorite buildings on campus, Baker Library. In a different college environment, I probably spent as much time here as in my dorm room. My favorite place to study was the reserve room in the basement. This may sound gloomy, but it is also the site of an extraordinary set of murals by the Mexican artist,  Jose Clemente Orozco. In 1970 there were times it was difficult to find a seat there, but now most things on reserve are easily retrieved via computer. There were lots of seats in 2018.

Bikes and blossoms on a perfect New England spring day
The reserve room might be almost empty and the stores along Main Street for the most part are very different, but Hanover felt familiar and welcoming. With my apologies to Thomas Wolfe, you can go home again, and for one spring day in New Hampshire, I did.
I hope you've enjoyed this visit back in time. Tomorrow we resume the A to Z, which despite some comments I've gotten, I haven't forgotten. There are seven letters left in the alphabet and very interesting stops. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and wishes for a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, May 7, 2018

S Is for South Ferry

Welcome to South Ferry!
For my absence this week, I plead a case of "SBF", aka Severe Blogger Fatigue. This little known malady -- too many pictures, too many links and way too much time in front of the computer for one brain -- coincided with the arrival of warm weather in New York City, causing said blogger to take to long walks and hours sitting outside and enjoying the soft breezes. I've got remnants of SBF, but I'm ready to resume the A to Z blogging about the subway system. S takes us to South Ferry, at the very southern tip of Manhattan Island. If I enter the subway system at my station at West 86th Street and just stay on the train, I will emerge at the very end of the #1 line in the spot above. It's about as close as I can get to "Beam me up, Scotty."
It's been a rough century for the South Ferry station. It was closed from 2001 until 2009 to repair damage from the September 11 attacks. It was then closed again in 2012 due to damage from Hurricane Sandy and reopened last year. This area of Lower Manhattan is at sea level and hurricane storm surge of fifteen + feet did tremendous damage to the subway station and the surrounding area. 

Directly in front of the subway entrance is the Staten Island Ferry terminal. The ferry runs every half hour during the day and is my favorite way of viewing New York harbor. Going out of Manhattan I like to view the Statue of Liberty. I've done it many times and it has never lost its thrill. On the return trip I like to watch the Brooklyn waterfront. If you visit New York City this ride is a must-do experience.
We looked south to the Ferry terminal and now we're looking north to the home of  the first native-born American citizen to be canonized in the Roman Catholic Church, Saint Elizabeth Seton. Canonized in 1975 Saint Elizabeth Seton founded the Sisters of Charity. This was the first congregation of religious sisters founded in the United States.
From a very different perspective the chapel and house are viewed
with their Financial District neighbors.

I'm glad to be a recovering blogger and moving ahead with the subway tour. I'm off on a quick four day adventure tomorrow. I hope to share photographs while I'm away and resume with T over the weekend.

As ever, thanks for visiting and enjoy the spring weather.   

Monday, April 30, 2018

R Is for Rector Street

Alexander Hamilton's grave in Trinity churchyard.
Our hint in the last post was the Federalist Papers, so it may come as no surprise that we're stopping to pay respect to one of the authors of the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, who is among many figures of Colonial and Federal New York buried in the churchyard. This site is just one block from the northern entrance to the Rector Street station on the Broadway local line, the #1.
The same view, but at twilight. In the not-so-far distance One World Trade Center.
I spent time searching for a historical fact about the name for Rector Street. My belief is that at one time the rectory for Trinity Church was here and hence the street was name. But, alas, I found no actual information to support this assumption. We'll just have to call it a theory. Trinity Church had its beginnings in 1696 when a group of Anglicans asked for a charter granting legal status to their worship. New Amsterdam became New York in 1664. The first church in New Amsterdam was a Reformed church founded in 1628.  
The original building for Trinity Church was built shortly after 1696 at the head of Wall Street, looking to the Hudson River. In 1705 Queen Anne made the land grant that the church had received permanent with a gift of 215 acres, where the church still stands. There have been a number of different buildings and there is a cemetery further uptown, but the site bestowed in 1705 by Queen Anne is still the home of Trinity Church.  
The northern entrance to the Rector Street station
When I worked in lower Manhattan this was my subway entrance. I didn't always appreciate the five block walk when it was cold and windy, the wind coming off the Hudson River. But I always appreciated the view of the church and the churchyard and knowing I was viewing history every day. 

The same view as above, but with a different perspective to include One World Trade Center. Walking north on from the station we come to the still on-going construction for the World Trade Center site.

It's April 30 and I am supposed to have completed my A to Z Blogging Challenge. Obviously, that hasn't happened. There are eight more letters to feature. I've enjoyed A-R and learned a lot about the history of New York. I've also discovered artists that are new to me. I hope to do S, U and V this week and finish the remainder of the alphabet later in May. There are a few books I'd like to share and photographs of a quick trip next week. Thank you all for coming with me as we've traveled the subways and streets of New York.

As ever, thanks for visiting and happy May! 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Q Is for the Q Line

One section of Jean Shin's extraordinary "Elevated" at the 63rd Street station on the Q line

One of the things I've most enjoyed working on this year's Blogging from A to Z Challenge is discovering the art in the subway stations. I've long been aware of the work the MTA -- the agency that operates the transit system for New York City and the near suburbs -- does for placing art works in the stations, but with over 470 stations there are many I've never visited. Even for those I've been to previously -- the last post's Prince Street -- I haven't looked especially closely. This project has been a great lesson to me to stop and see the art work.   

"Elevated" reflects the era of the elevated lines of the 1920s to 1950s. The last elevated line on Third Avenue in Manhattan was torn down in 1955 and in the Bronx in 1973.

The Q line in its present service pattern runs from East 96th Street and Second Avenue to Stilwell/Coney Island in Brooklyn. The line began in 1920 and before adding the newly built stations on Second Avenue terminated in Queens. During my years of working in Long Island City, Queens the Q was one of my commuter options.

Another scene from Elevated

I wasn't familiar with Jean Shin's work, but I'm very grateful to Blogging from A to Z for introducing me to this talented artist. If anyone is near Philadelphia, there is an exhibit of her work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art until July 15.
The escalator to the subway tracks at the East 86th Street station on the Q. As we saw at the Hudson Yards station the new stations are deep beneath New York City.
The art at the 86th Street station features work by the artist Chuck Close. This is "Emma."

I appreciate everyone who has visited this series, commented here, on Facebook or in conversation. One blog friend wrote that she will be sorry to see the end of this series. I will as well. We still have nine more posts and at least 440 more stations in the system. I don't plan to visit all of them, but I will be on the lookout for interesting art for other posts in the future.

I'm joining my friends at Pink Saturday and I hope you will stop by for more weekend enjoyment. The next post takes us downtown, and the hint is the Federalist Papers.

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a spectacular spring Sunday.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

P Is for Prince Street

Saturday shopping in busy Soho

After a few days hiatus it's time for our next subway adventure for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. The Challenge has moved on to "X," but we're still chugging along, albeit with "P." We're off to one of the most fashionable areas in Manhattan, Soho. Soho is the description for the area south of Houston (Street). It goes from Houston Street to Canal Street, where Tribeca -- triangle below Canal (Street) begins. That may be somewhat confusing, so I'm including a portion of the subway map to help out.  

The Prince Street subway stop is in the red circle on the map. The large green rectangle in the center of the map of Manhattan is Central Park and today's featured subway station is approximately three miles south of the southern edge of Central Park. Manhattan is on the left of the map and on the right, across the East River are Queens and Brooklyn.  

The subway mural at Prince Street was a discovery for me. It's entitled "Carrying On," by Janet Zweig in collaboration with Edward del Rosario. There are 194 figures, all carrying something. The figures are small and there is no vibrant color, but I found them captivating. In a city of walkers and subway riders, we are all often carrying much of our daily lives with us.     

P is also for Prada
Soho has some very elegant shopping and I had a great time window shopping during my visit. I especially enjoyed the window at Prada, with the Pop Art and the reflection of the classic Cast Iron building. The ornate facades were characteristic of Soho's grandeur in the later half of the Nineteenth Century. Fortunately many of them have been preserved after a long era when the neighborhood was in decline.    

Our next stop is back uptown. We're visiting my favorite subway murals. It's a difficult choice, but this next set have a place in my heart. I discovered them as well, during my subway station visits for the A to Z Challenge. I'm excited to share them with you.
As ever, thanks for visiting and hope you enjoy a bright and sunny spring Friday.  

Sunday, April 22, 2018

O Is for One Hundred and Third Street

Welcome to West 103rd Street and Humphrey Bogart Place
Our A to Z Blogging Challenge journey has taken us to West 103rd Street on the #1 line for our O post. This is one of the original lines of the subway system and two stops north of my "home" stop at West 86th Street. This station is a local stop and has a traditional tile pattern. If anyone has redone a bathroom or kitchen you may have chosen "subway tile" like the tile at 103rd Street. 
I chose 103rd Street because I knew Humphrey Bogart grew up here and I was familiar with the street sign. The house Humphrey Bogart grew up in is just a few doors down the street to the right. He was born here in 1899 and lived here until July, 1918 when he left to serve in the Navy. 
On the other side of Broadway West 103rd Street is Norman Rockwell Place 
When I came out of the subway on the north side of Broadway the street sign above caught my eye. I knew about Humphrey Bogart's connection to the neighborhood, but  I had no idea that Norman Rockwell had any connection as well. In 1894 Norman Rockwell was born in New York City and lived on West 103rd Street.
The story of the street sign was new to me, too. A group of students from Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School -- around the corner from Rockwell's home -- had visited the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge in 2014. When they came back to New York they looked for a sign marking Rockwell's years here and found nothing. They formed a committee, obtained signatures and created pamphlets and posters to educate the community. Finally, in 2016 the City Council approved Norman Rockwell Place. 
I can't resist a tulip picture.
 This was taken in the island that runs down the center of Broadway above 72nd Street. I'm standing between Humphrey Bogart Place and Norman Rockwell Place.
We're leaving the Upper West Side for our visit to our "P" destination. We'll have a fun mural and a very hip neighborhood. I hope you'll join me.
As ever, thanks for visiting and wishes for a great week.