The Upper Room

March 30, 2008

Until the 1960s, this section of Lower Manhattan was the site of struggling small businesses, busy commuter ferry docks and dilapidated shipping piers. When the World Trade Center was being built, more than one million cubic yards of earth and rocks were excavated, moved across West Street and dumped here to create 92 acres of landfill. The newly-created area became a massive business and residential development known as Battery Park City.

The most attractive features of this prosperous planned community are the small harbor and 70 foot wide Esplanade along the Hudson River. The riverfront walkway contains rows of trees, beds of shrubbery, low iron fences, benches, lampposts and several significant pieces of public art.

If you were to walk south from the World Financial Center Plaza (about mid-point along the Esplanade), you’d soon come to the Upper Room. Created by Ned Smyth in 1987, the Upper Room stands at the corner where Albany Street meets the Esplanade.

In summer, when temperatures soar, the Upper Room will be shaded by nearby trees and filled with visitors. Early spring, before the branches burst into bloom, is the perfect time to see the Middle East-inspired details of this red-hued colonnaded court built of pebbled concrete, bluestone, brass and mosaic.

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View from the Esplanade

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The still-bare branches of the trees

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The view from Albany Street

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Looking toward the Hudson River

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Detail of bench

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Detail of mosaic

Battery Park City
The Upper Room
Battery Park City Parks Conservancy: Parks & Playgrounds
Culture Now: Battery Park City Map


Hi, do you wear a button?

March 24, 2008

This sign was posted at the top of a stairway inside the Clark Street subway station. I can’t help but wonder whether it worked.

Have you ever posted (or answered) an ad looking for love?

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I Believe In Harvey Dent


The Greatest Show on Earth

March 21, 2008

It isn’t just another traveling show — for 138 years, this company has been America’s biggest, best and most popular circus. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey describe themselves as “the Greatest Show On Earth” and hundreds of thousands of devoted fans agree. This show took place in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

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The arena is packed

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The show begins

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The trumpets blare

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Man on horseback

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An explosion of motion and color

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The cage is in the center of the ring

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Motorcycles riding inside the cage

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Centrifugal force prevents falling

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The tigers and the trainer

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The trainer and the tigers

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He turns his back on the beasts

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The acrobats

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Elephants sitting up in a row

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Elephant parade

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Trapeze artist

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The man on the flying trapeze

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The finale!

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey History


Spring is here!

March 20, 2008

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils

— William Wordsworth

The trees are still bare, the grass is still brown, but the winter is officially over and the signs of spring have appeared. These, the year’s first blossoms, appeared “all at once,” bursting out of the cold, hard earth of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

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Tree peony bud

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Tree peony buds

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Snowdrops

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Daffodil

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Daffodils

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Drift of crocuses

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Crocuses

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Crocus

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Small yellow flowers

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Blossom breaking through the winter cover

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Vinca

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Violet

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Iris

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Camellia

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Camellia

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Camellia bud

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Empty benches and bare branches

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Soon, these limbs will be covered with flowers

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Ducks swimming in the spring sunshine

Brooklyn Botanic Garden


When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

March 17, 2008

In New York City, St. Patrick’s Day is the day that everyone is — or wishes they were — Irish. Fifth Avenue is closed to traffic, the street’s center stripe is painted green, and thousands of marchers, dancers and celebrants make their way up the avenue in the world’s largest celebration of Irish heritage and culture.

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Dancers heading up 5th Avenue

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Pipers walk on the green striped roadway

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Cheerleaders from Utrecht High School

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Family with green hair

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Dublin girl with green eyelashes

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Woman with beer goggles

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Uniformed officers salute the pipers

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Marching band with shining brass

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Friends with green hair

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Mother & son celebrate

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Sisters in faux leopard skin coats

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Wearing a green tam o’ shanter

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Smiling in festive hats

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A band of pipers marching

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Pipers in kilts near 82nd Street

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Man with a drum

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Fisherman’s knit sweater and tweed cap

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Girl from Fordham in tartan plaid

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Friends in green

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Tiny leprauchan around his neck

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Her tiara says “Irish Princess”

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Today everybody is Irish

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Carrying American flags

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Man with green goatee and brows

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Girl with shamrocks

St. Patrick’s Day Parade


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