USA | NYC
 


Day 1605

Still walkin’

May 22nd, 2016

I'm still walking and still regularly posting photos — I'm just working through a big backlog right now. See below for the latest posts. (The dates on the posts are the dates I took the pictures.) The progress map linked at right is up to date, by the way, even though the photos aren't.

Day 1230

Fred Lebow

May 13th, 2015



Central Park, which hosted the first few New York City Marathons in the 1970s and is still home to the final stretch of the race, is a fitting place for a memorial to Fred Lebow, the marathon's founder. But when Mr. Lebow died in 1994, a moratorium on new monuments in the park prevented a permanent memorial from being erected. So a sneaky solution was worked out: his statue is allowed to stand here as a temporary installation — and what makes it technically temporary is that it's moved from its perch once per year, when it's set up to greet runners at the marathon's finish line.

Day 1230

Bertel Thorvaldsen

May 13th, 2015



According to the Parks Department:

This bronze, life-sized sculpture is a self-portrait of the esteemed Danish sculptor [Bertel] Thorvaldsen (1770–1844), and was dedicated in Central Park in 1894. It is the only statue of an artist displayed in the parks of New York City*, and honors a titan in his field who had broad influence in sustaining the classical tradition in art. . . .

The original marble self-portrait, on which this posthumous bronze replica is based, was carved in 1839. . . . Though in his seventh decade of life when he created this work, Thorvaldsen represented himself as a younger, idealized man draped in a workman’s robe, with his hands holding the tools of his trade: mallet and chisel. His left arm rests on a small female figure, a copy of his figure of Hope, modeled in 1817.
* The only statue of an artist in an NYC park? Not even close. It may be the only statue of a visual fine artist, but there are plenty of statues of other types of artists (musicians, writers, an architect) located in city parks. Here in Central Park alone, we have Duke Ellington, Ludwig van Beethoven, Victor Herbert, William Shakespeare, Hans Christian Andersen, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Fitz-Greene Halleck, Friedrich Schiller, and Richard Morris Hunt. At the Concert Grove in Prospect Park, you can find busts of Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Carl Maria von Weber, Edvard Grieg, Washington Irving, and Thomas Moore. There's a statue of William Cullen Bryant in Bryant Park and one of Antonin Dvorak in Stuyvesant Square. And there are probably others I've neglected to mention as well.

Day 1230

Cartas al Cielo

May 13th, 2015



This "poetic postbox" (there's a mail slot in it) in Central Park "invites passersby to send missives to those with no earthly address via a sculptural globe that reflects the earth and sky. Postcards provided."

Day 1230




Completed in 1927, the academy's building is home to, among other things, "one of the most significant historical libraries in medicine and public health in the world". The library, which was started back in 1847, now holds more than 550,000 volumes, including an extensive rare book collection that "contains 85 to 90 percent of the medical books printed in what is now the United States between the late 17th and early 19th centuries".

There are also many historical artifacts in the library's possession, such as the lower half of a set of George Washington's dentures, made from human teeth set in hippopotamus ivory and designed to fit around the president's last remaining tooth — which, by the way, the academy also owns!

You can view some samples of the library's holdings here (relatively tame) and here (relatively gruesome), and you can see a 360-degree panorama of the beautiful rare book reading room here. You can also go visit the library in person; it's been open to the public since 1878. Just make an appointment or show up for one of the monthly tours.

Day 1230




by James De La Vega

This memorial is located on East 100th Street. I wonder if this Tony Lopez is the same one mentioned in this article as being the superintendent of nine buildings on East 100th Street.

Day 1230

Yarn blossoms

May 13th, 2015


Day 1230




Dos Alas

You can view a 3D model of the whole mural here.

Day 1230

The former PS 168

May 13th, 2015



The East River Family Center, a homeless shelter, now occupies this old public school. In 1976, a teenager named Randall Dana removed some gargoyles from the dormer windows of the then-abandoned building, adding them to what was becoming a massive collection of salvaged architectural ornaments from around the city. He later sculpted his own versions of the original gargoyles (1, 2, 3, 4) and now offers them for sale along with other similar works.

Day 1230

Cage turned coffin

May 13th, 2015


Day 1230

HOME

May 13th, 2015



This mural by Axel Void is based on a 1978 photo by Martha Cooper.

Day 1230

And right next door…

May 13th, 2015



A chlorophyll-themed window display

Day 1230




Closer look here

Day 1230

Dominoes and fragrances

May 13th, 2015



In 1972, a young man named Hank Prussing visited East Harlem to examine the area's public art for a class he was taking at the Pratt Institute. After a local pastor suggested that he create his own mural in the neighborhood, Prussing started working on The Spirit of East Harlem, about half of which you can see above, in 1973.

Manny Vega, a neighborhood kid, regularly walked by the building and saw Prussing up on a scaffold, painting. He became his apprentice after calling out to him one day: "Hey, white boy! Give me a job!" Vega later restored the faded artwork in 1998-99, adding some touches of his own. Parts of the mural disappeared a couple of years ago when some sections of the brick wall were replaced, but you can view an interactive photo of the whole thing before that happened here.

From the book On the Wall: Four Decades of Community Murals in New York City:

Until 1973, people portrayed in New York City murals were either historic and contemporary public figures or symbolic representations of neighborhood residents. The earliest portraits of actual members of the community are found in the murals of Hank Prussing and Lucy Mahler.

For his grand The Spirit of East Harlem (1973-78), artist/architect Hank Prussing spent several days and evenings taking random photographs around the mural's location, on East 104th Street at Lexington Avenue. The character, pride, and individuality of the area's Puerto Rican residents is beautifully and sensitively rendered in his life-sized and oversized portraits. The neighborhood itself is represented by a trompe l'oeil landscape of tenement buildings. Prussing sought "to celebrate the people of this particular community as they were in everyday life" rather than to create "a mural that celebrates a people's heritage and/or aspirations."

Day 1230




This fountain in Central Park's Conservatory Garden honors the author Frances Hodgson Burnett. The two figures in the sculpture are based on the characters Mary and Dickon from Burnett’s The Secret Garden.