architectural tour around manhattan


A little of this and a little of that…

from the Classic Harbor Line tour…

Around Manhattan

on a perfect autumn afternoon…


The amazing architecture in New York City is one of many reasons for my love of this (my!) city…

Queensboro Bridge NYC

Queensboro Bridge


Views of the Palazzo Chupi building in the West Village of Manhattan…the pepto-bismal looking building…houses five condos built on top of an old stable with large wooden doors and clapboard sided interior walls making a unique lobby area I’m sure…

palazzo chupi nyc

West Village of NYC – “Palazzo Chupi”



gratitude in nyc



Once the U.S. Federal Archive Building…now called The Archives.  Houses 479 apartments – with 242 different floor plans!  I love seeing these old buildings saved and this one is the largest residential conversion in the history of New York City.  Imagine having arched windows in your apartment that are 16 feet tall!  <to die for>

Federal Archive Building NYC



wabi sabi on the east river, niece



 After years on top of the Pepsi bottling plant on the Queens waterfront, the landmark Pepsi sign has a new home…Long Island City in Queens.  What a vintage save!

Pepsi Cola - Queens - NYC


Recall my posting on Kara Walker’s art installation in the Domino Sugar Factory?  Well that building is no longer <sigh> and more of the factory will continue to be demolished to make way for a huge – yet another – apartment complex <double sigh> in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn.

Domino Sugar Factory


A different view of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island as we head north up the East River…


And then we have this swing bridge…The Spuyten Duyvil Bridge at the most northern tip of Manhattan…as seen through the Henry Hudson Bridge…

The Spuyten Duyvil Bridge  is a railroad swing bridge


If you’re into architect at all…and/or want to have a full view of the island of Manhattan…this is the tour.   There’s so much to see and appreciate.  Interesting that one of the participants was surprised that “locals” were on the tour.  Doesn’t everybody want to know more about their city?  I know I do!



bushwick, brooklyn, nyc

Bushwick, Brooklyn, NYC

I’ve had the Bushwick area of Brooklyn on my list to explore for a while now, mainly because I’ve read it’s changing from a serious high crime hood to hipster paradise.  So…field trip!  Seems cheap rent is drawing in the hipsters and with that comes lots of cafes, thrift shops and health food stores.  Now having said that it’s also filled with trash, crumbling buildings and abandoned factories making it the perfect setting for filming a street scene…think Kabul in Afghanistan.  There’s no way you’d find me walking around this neighborhood at night…but, your street art?  Fabulous!

bushwick, brooklyn, nyc

mural by ben angotti

Bushwick, Brooklyn, NYC

Bushwick, Brooklyn, NYC

Bushwick, Brooklyn, NYC

Bushwick…there is potential and I’ll certainly return one day…

…but perhaps a year or so from now to see how things are coming along.

the marvelous sugar baby

Short on words…as I’m off to Morocco today…but just had to share about the exhibit by Kara Walker,

A Subtlety or The Marvelous Sugar Baby.”

You can read all about it here.

This is a must see if you’re in the NYC area…

housed in Williamsburg’s Domino Sugar Factory…soon to be demolished and turned into condos…

An amazing exhibition!

Kara Walker, A Subtlety or The Marvelous Sugar Baby

Kara Walker, A Subtlety or The Marvelous Sugar Baby

Kara Walker, A Subtlety or The Marvelous Sugar Baby

Kara Walker, A Subtlety or The Marvelous Sugar Baby

Kara Walker, A Subtlety or The Marvelous Sugar Baby

Kara Walker, A Subtlety or The Marvelous Sugar Baby

Kara Walker, A Subtlety or The Marvelous Sugar Baby

Kara Walker, A Subtlety or The Marvelous Sugar Baby

Kara Walker, A Subtlety or The Marvelous Sugar Baby

Kara Walker, A Subtlety or The Marvelous Sugar Baby



Photoville 2013


Calling all photography lovers!  Check out Photoville in Brooklyn Bridge Park!  The “photography village” is a free ($3 suggested contribution) public event from September 19th through the 29th using 51 shipping containers for stand-alone photography and video exhibits.

Getting to the exhibit is like walking through the bowels of Brooklyn.  Lots of construction going on in the park area, so just follow the signs that continue to assure you that you’re heading in the right direction.  So just believe!

Lots of activities including lectures and workshops along with a beer/wine garden with different food trucks each day for variety.   So grab some grub, a couple of Brooklyn Summer Ales and sit back and take in their night time events of screenings and special events!  Great presentation Friday night by MediaStorm on digital storytelling and the cinematic narrative.

Hey, anything photography related has my vote!  Good job Photoville!


Photoville 2013


red hook, brooklyn

Red Hook, Brooklyn


Many people will only know Red Hook because it’s home to IKEA, the store known for it’s wide range of affordable furnishings.  But this little neighborhood nestled in Brooklyn has many treasures with the recent influx of restaurants, retailers and artists.  Many of its treasures that I’ve yet to experience…as my afternoon in Red Hook was on a Monday.  Guess what happens on Monday?  Nothing.  Most stores and restaurants are closed.  So it just means a return visit and a good lesson to read the fine print.  But, what I did see is certainly worth sharing.  Red Hook is unlike any other Brooklyn neighborhood that I’ve explored, so far.   As mentioned, very industrial yet a touch of a New England feel.  I’ve read it’s become home to artisans, musicians, beekeepers, rooftop gardeners and a host of creatives and entrepreneurs.  It also boasts some of the finest views of the Statue of Liberty and of course its share of decay, which is what I’m drawn to photograph!


Red Hook, Brooklyn

red hook, brooklyn


The little I did experience…

…Fort Defiance  – a cafe/bar named after an American fort built in Red Hook during the Revolutionary War.  Way back when the British decided to sail a bunch of ships through the harbor to finish off Washington and his troops, the intense fire from the fort discouraged the fleet…saving the day for the Americans.  Good food, cute atmosphere, great beer.

Fort Defiance is a Cafe-Bar in Red Hook, Brooklyn named after an American fort built during the Revolutionary War, and is operated by St. John Frizell, an award-winning food and drink writer. – See more at:

…a warehouse home to the pull lever voting machines – yep they still exist or either it’s a industrial grave yard for them.  Regardless, an interesting site to pass by.

…Baked  – oh my…the sweet and salty brownie…to die for.  Buy one and you’ll have desert for the next couple of days.  The owners, Matt and Renato, “tend to think of themselves as dessert archeologists – digging and researching and eating their way through the regional desserts of America” according to their website.  They definitely have it going on in the dessert department.


fort defiance, red hook

fort defiance, red hook, brooklyn


metal and thread, red hook, brooklyn

What I didn’t experience, but will next time… 

…Metal and Thread – the owners must have been on vacation, but from the store front window…it’s a must on my return visit list.  Local artisans with “hand-made” as their mantra.

…Home/Made  – this was my restaurant of choice, but it was closed for the day.  Small and quaint, one has the option of sitting on the couches at either a metal or wooden table, or in their little backyard garden.

…The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal – a must when the Queen Mary 2 is docked.  That ship is a beauty!

…plus many more…Steve’s famous key lime pie, a chocolate factory of sorts, distilleries, and Red Hook lobster rolls.  Oh my…can’t wait.

Red Hook was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, but it’s amazing how this neighborhood has pulled together and returned in full force in such a short period of time.  Living in the Upper West Side where I experienced zero impact from the hurricane…Red Hook is one of the many neighborhoods in NYC that I want to support.  I’ll be back!



farm fresh in nyc

farm fresh in brooklyn


Brooklyn Grange Farm.



It’s hard to even put the word farm in the same sentence as New York City.  But when you think of all the open rooftop buildings and you see what the folks at Brooklyn Grange Farm built, you’ll immediately see the potential of getting fresh high-quality produce right here in the city.  Brooklyn Grange Farm’s goal?  To provide an urban rooftop farming model that can be replicated anywhere in the world and to educate urban dwellers about where their food comes from.  Not to mention they operate the world’s largest rooftop soil farms, with two locations here in NYC, and grow over 40,000 pounds of organically-cultivated produce per year.  Having grown up on a fruit and vegetable farm, I was in awe at this operation.  The views?  Well I’ll let the photos speak to that!

Rooftop farm in Brooklyn

So when I read Bella’s weekly prompt for the 52 photos project was fresh

I knew it was time for a trip to the farm!


 And then I came across these…

farm shoes

And even though there isn’t one thing spectacular about this photo at all, it is my pick for my photo-heart-connection for the month of July.  My heart did a little happy dance when I saw these.  You see growing up on the farm when you’re not barefoot…you have your dressy shoes for church, your school shoes, and then your farm shoes.  Yep, just like these.  No shoe strings, just slip on and head to the fields…or in this case…the rooftop!  Love, love, love!

pratt institute

Pratt Institute in Brooklyn?  What would take me there?  Well the first reason…how about to accompany a good friend as she stepped back in time…forty years ago as a student of this specialty college of art, design, and architecture.  In addition, it was the lure of the on campus sculpture park which happens to be the largest outdoor sculpture park in NYC.  It helps when you have over 25 acres to dedicate to 50 sculptures each year from well-known and emerging artists.  Located in the Clinton Hill residential neighborhood in Brooklyn, Pratt is situated among quaint old brownstones with mature landscapes and open spaces.  So peaceful, one could only imagine it during the fall season or covered with snow.  There were a number of sculptures that were favorites, but sharing just a couple to get an understanding of the detail and the size throughout the exhibition.

donald lipski sculpture at pratt institute sculpture park

Donald Lipski’s circular sculpture presented how something we would never think of as being art – an every day object – a shovel – turned into a fascinating piece of work! (100 shovels to be exact!)  For those of you who have entered the Grand Central Market on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan and stood in awe at the chandelier in the entry, well this is one of Lipski’s pieces as well.  It’s stunning with thousands of hand-faceted Swarovski crystals…so check it out when you’re in midtown Manhattan.  And for those of you in Arizona…he is the creator of the three story tall “doors” that’s a giant walk-in kaleidoscope in downtown Scottsdale.  Man, this guy is creative!  His public art work is all over the United States.

sal romano's sculpture

sal romano’s sculpture at pratt institute sculpture park

Not sure if it was Sal Romano’s intention to place his sculpture of brass and copper beside this beautiful bush…but the combination certainly made for a fabulous natural diptych!  (Don’t confuse this Sal Romano with the Sal Romano on Mad Men! So love that series.)  I came across this video which is just adorable of Mr. Romano talking about his work.  He gives some heartfelt advice at the end of the three minute video for all of us who create.

After strolling the grounds, we checked out a few of the studios and classrooms, perhaps in areas we shouldn’t have ventured.*  I captured a few reminders of the visit to put in my own art collection.






So if you’re in the Brooklyn area, take the time to check out the sculpture park.  It’s just loaded with inspiration and there’s so much charm in the Clinton Hill area.   *Of course the thought was…she had paid her dues back in the day and she/we could go wherever she wanted to go!  And we did.  So fun!

vinegar hill, brooklyn

Vinegar Hill…never heard of it…but my recent visit to DUMBO to hear the Archway performance provided a little extra time to explore.  A little neighborhood in Brooklyn nestled between the hipster area of DUMBO and the Brooklyn Navy Yard amazingly continues to maintain its 19th century look while facing modernization and new development everywhere around it.  Even the cobblestone streets have yet to be asphalted, but I’m sure that will come soon enough.  By the late 19th century, the neighborhood was home to Irish immigrants and other ethnic groups who worked on the Brooklyn waterfront. The area was named after the battle of Vinegar Hill of 1798 when the British army defeated a popular uprising in Ireland.  Today the area is interspersed with new condo buildings amongst the adorable little brick rowhouses.  Seems the 1970’s brought revitalization to the area with many new residents, including quite a few artists.  (Even our little Sweet ‘N Low packets are produced in this area.)

vinegar hill, brooklyn NYC


Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn, NYC

Came across what appeared to be a Buddhist Center and sure enough after researching its the Dorje Ling Buddist Center.  Read that the center opened its doors for visitors to practice Tibetan Buddhist traditions within the sunny yellow building for the past 20 years, and remains the only one of its kind in the city.  (Note to self – gotta return to check this out…)

Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn, NYC

And speaking of returning…got to return to experience the restaurant – Vinegar Hill House.  Peeking through the glass of the front door…the vintage interior with non-matching furniture and mason jars had me at hello…not to mention their outdoor garden and great reviews.  (Big note to self – return! ASAP!)

Vinegar Hill Houe, Brooklyn, NYC

An adorable area and one that must be checked out soon before all of the quaintness fades away…

make music new york 2013

Archway Make Music New York

beginning to gather under the archway

Man…my city really knows how to throw a summer solstice party!  On June 21st, musicians descended throughout the five boroughs of NYC with over 1,000 free concerts on the streets, in the parks, on the sidewalks, under bridges, you name it.  The chosen one for me was Archway in DUMBO (Brooklyn) not only for the musical component, but as an architectural feat as well.  Piano wires were stretched and tuned with some up to 400 feet long suspended from the top of the Manhattan Bridge down to the street level, as well from nearby street lights.  Bolstered by mics hooked up to a PA system, the sounds produced were primitive and raw.

So Percussion

so percussion

NPR Music commissioned innovative composer and artist Eli Keszler and the percussion ensemble So Percussion to collaborate on the project Archway, named for the location…Manhattan Bridge Archway Plaza.

Definitely an interesting experience!  Stay tuned for more Summer Solstice activities!