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.    


Saturday, April 21, 2018

N Is for the N Train

Today we're visiting the N Line. It runs from Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria, Queens through Manhattan and through Brooklyn to Stilwell Avenue in Coney Island. We stopped in midtown Manhattan on our way to our "P" stop. Yes, we're having a little weekend fun by putting the hint of the day in the middle of the post. Wild Saturday night in Buttercupland!
After my visit to the N Line, I spent time with my friend, Johnny Cash at the Opry City Stage.  Opry City Stage was a find for me this afternoon while I was taking pictures. There's a restaurant, music events and gift shop only five subway stops from home. The restaurant menu looks great and so does the musical programs.  

We're in the center of the Broadway theater district and you can see the neon marquees. The one closest to us is for the long-running musical, Chicago. 
We're making a quick stop for a photo at the legendary Brill Building. The building is named for the Brill family who owned a clothing store on the first floor and later bought the building. During the depression they began to lease office space to song writer and publishers and musicians. The Brill Building was the site for offices for many of the great song writers of the 1960s. Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller and Neil Sedaka are a few of the names that created many of the songs we danced to in high school. The building is under renovation now, but if you listen carefully you can still hear  "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"
 We've only walked for a few blocks, but when there's a Juniors around the corner it's time to stop for a piece of their iconic cheesecake. This is a branch of the restaurant that was founded in 1950 in Brooklyn. Good deli sandwiches and great cheesecake make it a fun spot for a snack or meal. The sandwiches and the slices of cheesecake are enormous and definitely made for sharing. As you can see from the picture, spring has finally arrived in New York City and it was a day to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine.
We'll be staying closer to home for our next A to Z Blogging Challenge,  but I've got a discovery there, too. I hope you'll be part of the fun. For more weekend fun please stop by the group at Pink Saturday. This has been my Saturday. What did you do this spring Saturday?
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a beautiful Sunday!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

M Is for the Museum of Natural History

 If we remember our subway history from just a few posts ago, this sign once read B and K. In 1988 the K line became the C line and it has stayed the C line for the last thirty years. We're now at the next stop going north from West 72nd Street and the Dakota. Central Park is on one side of Central Park West and on the other side of the street is the Museum of Natural History, which I highly recommend if you are visiting New York City.
The station has wonderful mosaics reflecting the collection and work of the museum.  This is a just one sample of work that includes casts of fossils.

The museum was begun in 1869. It quickly outgrew its original exhibition space in the Central Park Arsenal. President Ulysses S. Grant presided over the cornerstone ceremony for the present building in 1874. As a personal aside, I had the great good fortune to work at the museum for two years in the late 1970s. One of my favorite memories was walking out of the building in the evenings -- the staff entrance is  on a lower level in back of these stairs -- and passing the exhibits. It was a scene out of the movie, "Night at the Museum." I was spooked at first. The lights were turned down in the evenings and there were few people walking around. But as time went by I came to treasure the uniqueness of the experience.
The Hayden Planetarium  has a beautiful new home in the Rose Center for Earth and Space. The original planetarium opened in 1935 and for many of my friends -- and for me --  it was our first introduction to astronomy. In 2000 the Planetarium became part of the newly created Rose Center.
The next stop on our A to Z Blogging Challenge tour will take us to one of the busiest stations in New York City. No other clues, but we'll be joined by an estimated 200,000 other people on our visit. I hope you will join us for the subway ride. 
As ever, thanks for visiting. I hope we all get to see spring very quickly. I think the groundhog told us a fib and I am tired of my winter coat and gloves. Spring, please come soon!


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

L Is for Lincoln Center Station

The Plaza at Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera House

My subway line is the #1, and no, that's not a hashtag. I live near the station at West 86th and at least once a week I take the subway three stops to Lincoln Center and West 66th Street. There is a farmer's market on Wednesdays, my gym is two blocks south and one of the local movie theaters is two blocks north. Even though I've probably gone to this station at least 500 times in the last five years and perhaps a thousand more times in the years I've lived in the neighborhood, the thrill of stepping out of the subway and seeing Lincoln Center has not grown stale. I doubt if it ever will.  
Dante Park, one of my year round favorite places to sit and enjoy New York City 
Across the street from Lincoln Center is Dante Park. Established in 1921 to honor the Italian poet, the park includes a section with tables and chairs. It is a great place to people watch, drink a cup of coffee and enjoy a spring day. We haven't had many days yet to sit out and watch the world walk by on Broadway, but I'm hoping these almost late winter days -- Today, I'm talking to you! -- will soon be history.    

Dante Park at Christmas.

When I want to sit out and have a cup of coffee -- and for a treat, a perfect cheese Danish -- I head to Breads Bakery at 63rd Street and Broadway. Actually I head to Breads Bakery for a cup of coffee after I visit the gym, for a loaf of bread to bring to a friend's dinner party or to buy the best chocolate babka anywhere. I am greeted by the perfect aroma of butter and sugar, which next to the scent of lilac may be my favorite. The coffee is excellent and though I'd love a Danish (or two) at each visit I am content/delighted with the tiny samples that are passed around. I know citizens of Buttercupland who don't live in New York may be taken aback by the price of the Danish pastry. If it was an ordinary Danish, I wouldn't even share the photograph. But one buttery, flaky near-perfect Danish is rich and filling enough for two people and definitely worth the price. If anyone wants to do a taste test with me, it's my treat!

I'm getting hungry just looking at the Danish. Happily tomorrow is a gym day and I may just stop by Breads for coffee and whatever the sample of the day may be. I wish you all could join me.

I hope you've enjoyed this glimpse into the life of Buttercup and the Lincoln Center Station for our L post for Blogging from A to Z. Hint for M: We're going uptown!

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a wonderful Wednesday!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

K Is for the K Line

Central Park in the Spring
If you looked at a present day map of the subway system you wouldn't find the K Line. But for three years there was a K Line and it was the gateway to Central Park on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Throughout the history of the subway system lines have been renamed, usually as service is reorganized. The K started out as the AA line in 1932. It was the Eighth Avenue local -- with stops approximately every ten blocks -- and it ran from 168th Street in Upper Manhattan to Chambers Street/Hudson Terminal in Lower Manhattan. In 1985 the AA became the K line and in 1988 the K's brief time was over and it became the C line.   

I chose to feature the subway stop at West 72nd Street for its access to Central Park and because this station is on the same corner as The Dakota. The Dakota is a classic New York apartment building, completed in 1884. Legend says it was named for Dakota, because the area around it was sparsely inhabited. It's a beautiful building with a center courtyard and views of Central Park. It has had many famous residents including Lauren Bacall, Joe Namath and Lillian Gish.

It has become a tourist destination, though, for perhaps its most famous resident, John Lennon. Often groups of tourists are outside the building taking pictures.

The building's fa├žade was completely renovated in 2015.

 I've walked by many times -- it's less than a mile from where I live -- but I've never noticed the iron work before. It surrounds the building on Central Park West.   

The entrance to the Dakota -- and the tragic site where John Lennon was killed.
If anyone is keeping track of the A to Z Challenge, I know I am falling behind. I should have completed M yesterday and alas, I am just finishing K. I may be a little out of synch with the rest of my A to Z bloggers, but I'm optimistic about completing all 26 posts in April. Our next post will feature a world famous arts center and one of my favorite stations.
I'm joining this post with my Pink Saturday friends. I'm so glad you stopped by for a visit to the K line and I hope you have the opportunity to share the fun at Pink Saturday.
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a great week! 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

J Is for the J Line

City Hall at night

There are a lot of subway stops near New York City's City Hall. One way to get there from Queens, Brooklyn and the Lower East Side of Manhattan is to take the J line to Fulton/Nassau and that's what we're doing tonight. The J line starts in Jamaica, Queens, stops at JFK Airport and then goes through Brooklyn. It continues to the Lower East Side to Fulton Street and then ends at Wall Street.

Whether it's violet and pink...

Or blue and green...
The newly rebuilt Fulton Center is a great sight. Actually the Fulton Center is a transportation hub not only for the J line, but for eight other subway lines. After part of the downtown subway complex was destroyed on September 11, the maze of winding halls and stairs that was made up of five subway stations built in the first part of the Twentieth century was merged into one new transportation center that is connected underneath lower Manhattan. Above ground there are shops and restaurants in a beautiful glass and steel setting. After over a dozen years of construction the complex opened in 2014.
The Fulton Center is crowded during the weekdays, but during the weekend it's one of my favorite places to stop in for a snack or coffee when I'm in Lower Manhattan. I promise a post later in the year with photographs of the interior and snack recommendations.
Across the street from the Fulton Center is one of the best scenes of old and new New York. One World Trade Center is on the left and surrounding the steeple of St. Paul's Chapel. St. Paul's is part of the Parish of Trinity Church Wall Street. It was opened in 1766 as part of Trinity Church (which we'll visit as part of another subway stop). After George Washington took the oath office in 1789 at Federal Hall just a few blocks away the new President of the United States went to a service at St. Paul's. Despite its closeness to the World Trade Center St. Paul's was undamaged. It served as a center of the relief effort for first responders and volunteers. I worked about half a mile south of the Chapel at the time and I remember passing it many times. The iron fence around it were covered in posters people had put up of their loved ones.

We're going back to the Upper West Side for our next few subway stops on our A to Z Blogging Challenge. No hints this time -- let's have a little suspense -- but I think we're going to have fun.

As ever, thanks for visiting. We finally had a spring day here and I hope you did, too!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

I Is for the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT)

We're not late! We're just in time for I
In order to do this series I've spent time reviewing the list of subway stations. Some letters I didn't need to think about -- G was Grand Central and T will be Times Square. But a few of the other letters are challenges. My first challenge was "I." I couldn't find a station, so I dug into rapid transit history for the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT).  Generally referred to as the IRT this was the company that constructed and ran the first subway line in New York City. It opened in October 1904 and ran from City Hall in Lower Manhattan to 145th Street and Broadway. As the population of the city grew underground transportation was the only way to move millions of people every day and construction followed in the following decades. 
I chose the 50th Street station on the local line for "I." This was my stop on the way to work for almost ten years and I became very familiar with the wonderful Alice in Wonderland ceramic mosaics by Liliana Porter. 
 This is the scene when I climb the stairs out of the station and turn south, Times Square. 
We've gone from one wonderland to another very different wonderland.  
Tomorrow our  A to Z Blogging Challenge visit will be a station downtown and we'll get to see one of my favorite buildings in New York City. Please be part of the fun.   

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a wonderful Wednesday.

H Is for Hudson Yards

Welcome to Hudson Yards
In 2018 the far west side of Manhattan will have a new neighborhood. Hudson Yards is the largest construction development in New York City since Rockefeller Center. The project was begun in 2014 and when completed next year it will contain 18 million square feet of commercial and residential space. There will also be three parks, an arts center and the highest outdoor observation deck in North America.
The scene at the top of the escalator. It takes a lot of construction to build 18 million square feet.
 Xenobia Bailey's glass mosaics are the glittering welcome to the station
One of the newest stations in the subway system, the Hudson Yards station extends the "7" line to the far west side of Manhattan and the Hudson River. The line continues to Times Square, Grand Central and through Queens to Flushing. The station was opened in 2015 and will give access to the new neighborhood and to the Javits Convention Center.  
 Until the construction is completed, the station will remain uncrowded, especially at an off-peak hour. One of the office buildings is open, but I was there late morning yesterday and I had the entire platform mostly to myself.
It is one of the deepest stations and this is the escalator that goes to the entrance to the station.
I enjoyed visiting this station very much. I was last there in October for a photography show at the Javits Center and was dazzled at the number of new buildings going up. For the next post we return to a station in the center of Manhattan. Hint for the post: the murals are from a beloved children's book.
Thanks for joining me on my A to Z Blogging Challenge  journey. Have a great Tuesday!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

G Is for Grand Central

This is a slow day at a slow time at Grand Central.
Grand Central, on the east side of Manhattan, is one of my favorite stations. It has a rich history, beautiful architecture, one of my favorite places to get a snack and is home to my optician. I've never counted how many times I've been there, but in the 40+ years I've lived in New York, I've easily been there at least 100 times a year. I've seen it in its sadder and seedier days in the 1970s and 1980s and I continue to be delighted with the beautiful renovation that was completed in 1998.
  An exterior view of Grand Central. The "Pan Am" (now MetLife) building is in the background and the Chrysler Building is on the right.
In 1854 steam engines -- and their smoke and fumes -- were banned from Manhattan below 42nd St. The railroads of the time in the area cooperated to open a depot at East 42nd St. As train traffic grew the building was renovated (in 1901) and a new building opened in 1913. The building went from a depot in 1871 to a station in 1901 and finally Grand Central Terminal in 1913. During the 1960s designs were proposed to tear down Grand Central and replace it with an office building. After opposition to its destruction the Supreme Court upheld landmark status. The building was saved, but its condition after years of neglect was sad and shabby. 
Ultimately ownership passed to Metro-North -- the commuter railroad for Westchester County and Connecticut. Repair work began to stop the deterioration. In the 1990s an ambitious renovation project took place bringing back the beauty of Grand Central. 
I was at Grand Central today and was delighted to find this beautiful couple
 posing for wedding pictures.   
I've been somewhat remiss in food and coffee suggestions during this series, but I'm making sure to include Great Northern Food Hall at Grand Central. Yes, it's a food court, but with some of the very best choices. It offers food choices of the Nordic countries, with a focus on local ingredients. I'm a fan of the coffee at Brownsville Roasters, one of the vendors in the Hall, where this yummy picture was taken there. There are a variety of stands with flat breads, sandwiches, sweets and salads. 

I hope you've enjoyed our visit to Grand Central. I'm linking up with my friends at Pink Saturday, another one of my favorite places. My hint for H is a visit to one of the newest neighborhoods in Manhattan and one of the newest stations. Any guesses?

As ever, thanks for visiting. See you again soon!