More NYC Architecture As Seen Through the Car Window

National Guard Armory West 66th

Hey, may as well have a descriptive title for this post, right? As we were leaving the Hospital for Special Surgery the other day we were still checking out the cool buildings we could see. As I was driving it was my sister’s responsibility to get the photos, and my brother-in-law’s responsibility to try to find identifying signs. We crossed to the west side using the 66th street transverse. This is not an especially interesting photo but I include it for those of you who have never been in NYC – give you a sense of what it is like to be driving to and fro in the city. The transverse roads allow traffic to cross from one side of Central Park to the other, but without going through the park – they go UNDER the park. 🙂

66th St transverse entrance

My passengers came through with flying colors on the National Guard’s Armory on West 66th, the route we were taking to get to the West side to head back to the Lincoln tunnel. I see that the Daytonian in Manhattan has been here as well, with a great write up on the building. Read that description. *grin*

National Guard Armory W66

When we made it to the West side we headed down 11th Avenue, also know as West End Avenue north of 59th Street. (Hey – my parents expected me to KNOW these things. *grin* Don’t want to disappoint them.)

Golden Empire VIA W57 and Con Ed stack

We saw a VERY cool modern-looking pyramid, juxtaposed with an old brick smoke (?) stack. I think my sister got this one through the sun roof. 🙂 We didn’t know at the time what it was, but thanks to image search I found that the pyramid is the top of the NYC Golden Empire Pyramid on West 57th and the West Side Highway, known as VIA 57West. The smoke stack is part of the Con Edison power plant on West 59th Street.

Fleet week

It was Fleet Week in NYC that day. While I supposed there are all sorts of humorous architectural remarks I COULD make about this picture of the sailors, I’ll refrain. The last photo is obligatory, *grin* No matter how many times you take a picture of the Empire State Building, you can always take one more (much like my reaction to 30 Rock). My sister had plenty of time to take the photo because I was in the process of merging from 5 lanes of traffic feeding into 2 lanes of Lincoln Tunnel outbound traffic.

Empire State Building

Proper Cat Care

First you must exercise – work those hunting instincts. If you don’t have your own koi pond or flowing stream, you make do with what you can. After the strenuous hunt, relaxation & restoration on a warm, somewhat uneven, surface is necessary. It’s very rude when the paparazzi surface interrupts the rest time with camera clicks or reading material.

No, It’s a Flatbread

*laughing* This one is NOT a pizza, even though it’s round. This was curried mushrooms and onions, topped with cheese. It was so absolutely YUMMY that I forgave him for setting off the smoke detector. Sigh. I’d baked rolls the day before and we both noticed the “something is burnt in the oven smell” but neither of us remembered to set the oven to clean. Not only did the smoke detector go off but even when we set the fan to high and opened windows and doors it continued sounding. Obviously something had fallen off and was burning on the floor of the oven. As you can see from the pics – the flatbread itself was fine and we both ate more than we should have, it was that delicious. 🙂

look at how CHEESE-Y it is!!!

Good thing my husband felt like cooking because I was very unhappy. I’d gone out to survey my garden. I discovered that something, most likely the groundhogs, had eaten my sunflower plants. 😦 I grew those from SEEDS!!! They were starting to really look as if they might one day be big flowers. I’m sooooo tired of putting up nets. I thought netting the daisies and echinacea was the last net. While my husband made dinner I was putting up netting BEHIND the netting in the front. I put 4 stakes in the ground and wrapped the deer net around the stakes. Then I anchored the bottom with garden staples and bricks. Sure, the devil groundhogs could probably burrow under and up, but I’m hoping it won’t be worth the effort. And I’m hoping there is enough left of each plant to continue to grow. If not, well, I still have some cosmos I’ve not yet planted and I still have cosmos seeds. So far no one has been eating them. The tithonia seems to be intact as well.

you can see the original front net (right side) and the 4 added stakes & net behind it. 😦

Walking to, through, and from Central Park

Wonderful old architecture on the streets of Manhattan

As mentioned before I was in NYC at the HSS the other day. For hours. 🙂 Once we were situated at our FOURTH stop, over 90 minutes earlier than our appointment, I decided now was the time to head out for a stroll about the city.

I’d only want to live in the city if I could afford to be one of the people with a rooftop garden escape

I love walking about NYC. There is so much beautiful architecture and little treasures hidden on and in buildings if you only take the time to look.

Look at how GREEN this street is! And look at the 2nd floor
apartment – all those plants!

It’s about 7 cross-town blocks from HSS to Central Park. As my mother would have told you, the cross-town blocks are the looonnng blocks and the up/down-town blocks are shorter. It was a beautiful day, I had a lot of time, and I was in a lovely part of the city. As much as I love the theater district it is not quite as pretty as the upper east side.

Sign says it all

I don’t mind looking like a tourist. I AM a tourist really – I don’t live there. Even though I’m fairly adept at getting about and knowing some city ‘tricks’, I’m still only a visitor. That’s why I’m not embarrassed to stop in the middle of the street and point my camera up at rooftop gardens. 🙂

Inside Central Park just south of 71st

I’m not embarrassed to stop in the middle of the street and appreciate a row house with ivy creeping up the side and plants filling the sunny windows. I can relate to whoever it is that lives there.

Inside Central Park, looking south

I got up to 5th Avenue & 71st, just shy of the entrance on 72nd. I strolled there and talked to some native New Yorkers (he lived on 8th Avenue on the west side) and discussed my plan for driving out of the city – best crosstown approach, 9th or 11th to head downtown. 🙂 I LOVE talking directions and maps and alternate routes. Yes, I know I’m weird. Sometime I’ll tell you about the time my sister, father and I discussed in EXQUISITE detail, for over 20 minutes, the best route home from Boston to NJ, while our respective spouses slept on behind us. 🙂 We are a strange family indeed.

view of 5th avenue from inside Central Park

Central Park is beautiful. What an absolutely brilliant concept. As it was a lovely day in May, and there were apparently MANY graduations happening as well, the park was filled with people enjoying the space. Dog walkers, exercise groups, parties, play groups, strollers – we were all there, smiling, strolling, nodding at each other. You should see me as I’m typing this – I’m smiling ear-to-ear and recalling how good it felt to be there.

looking south to 59th from inside Central Park

I walked through the park and emerged around 65th street, where I had a great view of Temple Emanu-El. I first saw/learned about Emanu-El when I was in grade school and our religious class took a trip there. As I walked down the center aisle I told myself I was going to get married there – it was GORGEOUS. Emanu-El used to be considered (and maybe still it – I’m not that up on these things anymore) the “flagship” of Reform Judaism. I actually DID get married in Temple Emanu-El – but the one in central NJ, not NYC. *grin*

Temple Emanu-El

I went back into the park at 64th street to continue walking in the Park. That entrance takes you to the Central Park Zoo. I don’t remember the last time I was actually IN the zoo – must have been decades ago. I know that about 15 years ago I took a friend into NYC and we ate at the cafe there.

Entrance to Central Park Zoo

It was on that stretch of the park that I encountered the line for the Central Park horse-drawn carriages. My cousin and I took one of those decades ago. 🙂 The horses and carriages are so beautiful.

I know there are people who object to the carriages but every horse I’ve ever seen has looked well-fed and well-cared for and appreciated. Another moment where I smile just to see them.

When you come out of the park at 59th street you are looking at The Plaza hotel. I think I might have once walked into the lobby there but I’ve still never lunched or had tea at the Plaza. If I had a bucket list that would be on it. 🙂

The Plaza

There’s a statue of William Tecumseh Sherman and Victory on the plaza in front of the hotel. Yeah, that same ‘scorched-earth” General Sherman from the Civil War. I like the horse and I’m a total pushover for glitzy golden sparkly things.

Victory & William Tecumseh Sherman

By that point it was time to head back to HSS. I headed east on 57th but I did turn and turn and turn to make my way to 71st and FDR drive. I was on 63rd when I walked past a subway entrance. You may have seen photos of NYC subways, telling you that they are filthy, unsafe, crowded and a horrible experience. That is only one piece of the story. There are also attempts to make it a GOOD experience. I saw the tile work in this entrance and had to play tourist again. A kind gentleman waited for me so he would not photo-bomb my picture. 🙂

I found myself on 66th and 1st looking at a fascinating church. I couldn’t get a good picture of it – there was a moving van in the way, traffic. I got a closeup of the relief at the top (Ezekiel’s vision of the wheel – thanks to my sister for identifying it and explaining it to me – she is SO USEFUL!). There was a cafe along the sidewalk on 66th. If I could only get in that area I could shoot between the 2 trucks blocking my view. I confess that I asked the woman sitting at a table if she would allow me to stand next to her to take a photo. I apologized for being so touristy and annoying but she was very gracious. She smiled and said of course take a picture!

Church of St. John Nepomucene

The church is the Church of St. John Nepomucene, on 66th and 1st. I found a very interesting blog post when I was trying to identify the church: “Daytonian in Manhattan, The stories behind the buildings, statues and other points of interest that make Manhattan fascinating”. The author had a post on the history of this congregation and the church itself. I’d have liked a bit more about Ezekiel’s wheel but thank you to image-search for getting me this far. 🙂 My sister told me that there is a very large school of thought that believes that Ezekiel’s vision was Ezekiel seeing an alien spaceship.

Ezekiel’s wheel

After that I stopped to fulfill my promise to my sister & brother-in-law: chocolate candy bar for her and hot pretzels for him. 🙂 It’s not a trip to NYC if you don’t eat a hot pretzel!

that’s a good sunny day walk. 🙂

Groundhog Day

Some mornings it’s bunnies in the yard, some mornings it’s groundhogs. I watched this one for several minutes. It was munching its way across the lawn and back again. I don’t know what it was munching – it all looks like grass and maybe clover to me. It was having a very enjoyable breakfast until a car came by. Then it moved like lightening. 🙂

Hey – it’s more than welcome to munch whatever it wants on the lawn. I don’t pull weeds. I’m moving more violets there. If I can figure out what tasted so good this morning I’ll put more of that as well. Because as long as it’s eating my lawn, it’s ignoring all the plants behind the netting and in the planters. 🙂 Bon apetit!

Views of the East River

Looking north up the East River from East 71st street, FDR drive on the left, Roosevelt Island on the right

We were at the Hospital for Special Surgery the other day (not for me – I was the limo driver). We were sent from one appointment and waiting area to another. As we moved to the 3rd location my sister, who was first through the doors, called “Oh AHUVA!!! BLOG material!!!” *grin* She’s so well trained! We were on the 3rd floor of one of the HSS buildings. This waiting room was long and narrow, but with windows running the whole length of the room and one end of it as well.

East River looking South to the 59th Street Bridge (Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge), Roosevelt Island to the eat

HSS is situated between FDR drive and York Avenue on the upper east side of Manhattan. The last time I spent any time in upper east Manhattan was over 3 decades ago when I was pregnant with my son and “incarcerated” in New York Hospital – Cornell Medical Center. That has been renamed and is part of the same huge medical complex with HSS. I ultimately got a bed with an East River view (I was there for 2 months) but it wasn’t as spectacular a view as this.

Pigeon enjoying the sun and the view. It wasn’t moving and for a moment I was terrified it was dead. *grin*

I knew we were going to be at the hospital for hours, and that I would probably go out exploring at some point, so I had brought my camera besides my phone. This waiting area was a perfect opportunity to practice some more with my camera.

Pigeon got up and moved so that I could see it was Okay. 🙂

Although the human eye adjusts wonderfully despite tinted windows, reflections in windows, sun glare, the camera, or at least MY camera when *I* am operating it, is not as good. I tried, but I’m going to have to get better.

apologies but no way to get outside to avoid the guard rail

I love looking at water and boats on the water. There is a lot of activity on the East River. Such an original name, right? It’s on the east side of Manhattan, between Manhattan and Queens. The land you see is Roosevelt Island (which is a much nicer name than some appellations it had in the past). The Queensboro bridge crosses Roosevelt Island on its way from Manhattan to Queens. There is a story about that bridge, and our family excursions to HSS, but I’m not strong enough to blog that. *grin*

Driving Into NYC

photo is a link to CBS news report after a search on “Lincoln Tunnel Helix images”. It’s a still from a CBS video which shows the moving traffic

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to drive into New York City? I’m not talking about riding the bus, because someone else drives the bus. I’m talking about the rite of passage of driving The Helix (Rt 495 from the NJ Turnpike to the Lincoln Tunnel) and emerging in mid-town Manhattan on Dyer Avenue.

NYC skyline and a bit of the Hudson River as seen from the Helix

The very first time I drove in NYC I was in college. That means that I’d only been a driver for perhaps 3 years or so. My mother, who was an actress, got food poisoning after a rehearsal in the city. She couldn’t take the bus home. I needed to go get her. At night. I called her best friend, Cathy, and Cathy rode with me into mid-town Manhattan. Cathy served as moral support and navigator.

NYC skyline from the Helix, approximately 7am, May 24,2023 – through the car window

As intimidating as that trip was, it was decades ago. The roads got worse, the traffic got heavier, and people seem to have a lot more road rage. Not to mention the aggressive window-washers who accosted you as you were stuck on Dyer Avenue. Driving in NYC got a lot worse after my initial foray. A few mayors ago laws were passed to prohibit the incessant horn-blowing and “blocking the box” (sitting in the intersection because you didn’t clear it while you had the light). I think that since the very bad traffic perhaps 10, 20 years ago, the driving has gotten much better and the window washers are gone.

this billboard has been here for decades. always kept up-to-date. 🙂 you are looking south – Hudson River and NYC to your left, about to loop to the right to the tunnel entrance

If we’re going to the theater or some other event/excursion we often take the train. Now that we are Senior Citizens that senior discount is FANTASTIC. No WAY can you drive & park for less than 2 or 3 train tickets. 🙂

the cliffs along the helix, homes with fantastic views of the river and NYC. I assume they are high enough to avoid the noise and pollution. at this point we’re making the turn to head to the tunnel entrance

Sometimes, however, it is necessary to drive in. My brother-in-law needed to get to the upper east side of Manhattan for an appointment with several surgeons. He cannot drive. My sister, who could drive, wanted to be focused on her husband, not traffic. Driving in NYC is not something she enjoys at the best of times. I offered to be the limo driver.

and here we go….

Unlike Honour and my husband, my sister cooperates when she is a passenger. *grin* I told her to take pictures of NYC from the Helix. She went above and beyond, taking photos of what it actually looks like to get down the Helix and merge 7 lanes into 4 tunnel lanes, including the bus lane. There are 3 tubes, 2 lanes each. But 2 lanes are needed for traffic heading out of NY. In the afternoon the tubes switchover to provide more lanes for outbound traffic.

surprisingly little traffic this morning – it was about 7:00 am and I expected a lot more rush-hour traffic

As you might expect, while most people understand the rules of merging and patience, and understand ultimately we will all get through the tunnel and into NYC, there are always a few who are more important and in more of a hurry than anyone else.

yeah, yeah, we all need to just get along and merge

I actually LIKE driving in to NYC. Some people like playing video games. I like the real-life challenge of driving in rush hour, jam-packed traffic, with crazy people who are akin to video dangers and booby traps 🙂

don’t forget to remove your sunglasses

Yes, it is exhausting. But to drive into the city means you need the adrenaline flowing, your senses heightened AND your patience running at 110%. Fully charged but calm. Hey, it’s a crazy way to commute but someone’s gotta do it. 🙂

you do this for 1.5 miles. wondering how far the river IS above the tunnel ceiling

The Great Lettuce Experiment Continues

The lettuce kept growing in the bowl of water. I don’t know why but every time I looked at it I was enchanted. It seemed so magical. It had never occurred to me to take the base and regrow from it. I’d been turning the lettuce cores into compost. 🙂 Also a very fine use. I understand I can do this with leeks and celery as well. My next experiment!!!

We all decided, however, that sooner or later the lettuce was going to need additional nutrients. That meant either adding nutrients to the water or planting them. I opted for planting. This morning I took them outside, prepared two pots, and got them into the soil. This morning also revealed that I’d lost a skirmish in the great Deer Wars. Someone figured out how to remove the netting I’d place loosely over the echinacea along the driveway. It was chomped.

I got out the bamboo poles and the netting and fenced in that area. I figured that I’d better protect the lettuce as well. I needed to not only net them but raise them up to protect them from ground ‘critters’. I took two of my plant stands from my porch (used in the past for raising up palm trees) and put them in the ground, with the pots on top. Then I added netting. I have the aromatic herbs in front of that, and they seemed to have protected the echinacea that’s in that bed, but I decided to stretch the netting over the echinacea as well.

echinacea got munched on the left. one budding flower remained on the right

I may have lost a skirmish last night, but I believe I’m winning the war. My neighbor across the street told me she watched a deer yesterday come around the side of the house. It walked along the front netting. Then it walked through the gap between the pots and the front netting and down the driveway. Which is where and when it undoubtedly munched the echinacea. But the very fact that my hibiscus and other yummies were untouched is proof that my strategy is effective!

you can see the netting at the top of the poles – it gets lost with the plants as a backdrop

Trimmed But Undaunted

The rhododendron survived the construction of a window on the 2nd floor, and the installation of central air condenser unit. As I look at this photo I realize I need to hire a painter to match the trim on the new window to the old windows. Homeowners’ Motto: It’s Always Something. But I’m thrilled to see the rhododendron looking so happy. Lots of happy irises as well.