The Statue of Liberty and its replicas. Part 1

The Statue of Liberty, symbol of American freedom, is among the most recognized images worldwide.

Approximately 4 million  people visit the statue each year. The full name of the statue is "Liberty Enlightening the World” that's why  the woman has a torch in the right hand . The seven spikes on the crown represent the seven oceans and the seven continents of the world, indicating the universal concept of liberty.
The left hand carries a tablet upon which is inscribed: “July IV MDCCLXXVI.” MDCCLXXVI is 1776 in Roman numerals.  On July 4, 1776   the Declaration of Independence was  issued.   It is really funny that   Fourth of July is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the statue was  a gift from France.  The British and French clashed a lot over control of the North American interior during the 1700s.

The statue was made by the French sculptor Bartholdi, in collaboration with Gustave Eiffel, who was responsible for the steel framework.  The most well-known  project  of Gustave Eiffel is the  Eiffel tower,  erected   in 1889,  thirteen years after the Statue of Liberty.  The Statue of Liberty's face was said to be modeled after the sculptor's mother, Charlotte.
 Bartholdi had traveled to the United States and personally selected Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor as the site for the statue. The statue was the tallest structure in New York City for almost forty years until the Empire State building topped it in 1929.
The statue’s torch-bearing right arm and head were constructed before the rest of the statue, and were exhibited in both France and the United States in the 1870s in order to aid in fundraising.
The hollow copper statue was built in France - it was finished in July, 1884 and  was brought to the USA in 350 pieces on a French ship called the "Isere".   The statue was re-assembled in the USA and was completed on October 28, 1886. 

Starting in 1933, the statue has been destroyed in more than 30 movies. It was half buried in sand in the 1968 film “Planet of the Apes” and destroyed in the films "Independence Day" and "The Day After Tomorrow".

1916 when German saboteurs set off an explosion during World War One.  The torch-bearing arm suffered the most damage.  The statue’s original torch was replaced in 1984 by a new copper torch covered in 24k gold leaf.

Staten  Island Ferry
Statue Of Liberty ( from Google)
After the terrorist attacks of 9- 11, the statue was closed for security reasons opened only eight years later, in 2009. In 2012 the statue was again closed because of the  hurricane Sandy and reopened a year ago,   on Independence Day, July 4, 2013.

The best way to see Liberty for free is by Staten Island Ferry. The trip is about 25 minutes long.   The Staten Island Ferry leaves from Whitehall and Water St. every day of the year, every fifteen minutes during rush hour, and every half hour or hour during nights and weekends.

 On the way to Staten Island, stand on the right side of the ferry. On the way back, stand on the left side of the ferry.  From the deck of the ferry you will have a perfect view of The Statue of Liberty.

Or you can use the ferry directly to the Statue Of Liberty  Island. Statue Cruises offers departures throughout the day from both New York and New Jersey. The price with the crown visit is $21.

The Morgan General Mail, Geen roof and Abraham Lincoln

The Morgan General Mail Facility   is one of the largest mail-processing facilities in the country. The building was built in 1933 to connect with the High Line Rail Road  and create a seamless path for the more than 8,000 mail trains that crossed the country each year. The last 30 feet or so of their journey took the mail across Tenth Avenue on a specially constructed spur that led directly into the postal facility. The High Line Railroad opened to trains in 1934. It originally ran from 34th Street to St. John's Park Terminal, at Spring Street. The last train on High Line run in 1980 In 2009  High Line park was open.   You  can read  about High Line in one of my posts.

The plant  is large  with  2.2 million square feet  and  handles up to 12 million pieces of New York City’s mail every day.   The building was named     for Edward M. Morgan,  who was appointed Postmaster of New York City by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907.
The roof of the building  was constructed originally to serve as an additional mail processing location, supporting 200 pounds per square foot. When the roof was scheduled for replacement in 2007, it was deemed strong enough to support the weight of the soil, vegetation and other requirements of a green roof. 

 During construction, approximately 90 percent of the original roof was recycled. Living roof serves as the eco-friendly recreational space for employees.   The roof has  reduced the building's storm water runoff by 75 percent in the summer and 40 percent in the winter. It also    saves about $30,000 a year in energy costs. The roof will last up to 50 years, twice as long as the roof it replaced. The Morgan green roof is the largest in New York and one of the largest in the country.

Before this building on the same place there was a railway station owned by the Hudson River Railroad.  The first passenger to use the station was Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, on his way to Washington, DC in 1961  for his inauguration as President.  Lincoln's train reached   the Hudson River Railroad's depot at 30th Street and Tenth Avenue at three p.m. His waiting carriage was escorted to the Astor House, opposite City Hall Park, by a mounted platoon of the newly formed Metropolitan Police.  Four years later, on April 25, 1865, Lincoln’s funeral train passed through on its westward journey to Springfield, Illinois.  A 16-horse funeral car followed 18 bands as they marched slowly up Broadway from City Hall to 14th Street and Union Square, then up Fifth Avenue to 30th Street and across to the Hudson River Railroad depot. The Hudson River Railroad 30th St. Station was demolished in 1931 to build the Morgan Post Office

Mermaid parade on Coney Island, 2014

New York is the largest city in US and parades in New York are the biggest, flashiest, and most exciting. Almost all the most famous parades , such as Halloween Parade,  Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade,  New York St. Patrick's Day Parade are in Manhattan. But there is one parade that is very far from the center of the city, in the southern  part of Brooklyn- Mermaid Parade.
It  takes place every year in Coney Island on the first Saturday after the summer solstice. This year summer solstice date and parade date were the same- the 21 of June.
Hundreds of thousands of people celebrated in Coney Island on they watched a colorful seaside procession of marching bands, antique cars and revelers dressed as pirates or mythological aquatic creatures.  This year there were more mermaids than a last year maybe because   Chiara De Blasio, the daughter of Mayor Bill de Blasio served as   Queen Mermaid. I was there and made a bunch of pictures. Enjoy!

Summer Solstice 2014

Summer Solstice Music  at Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 4:30 AM
 1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street
The word solstice comes from Latin sol (sun) and stitium (to stand still). It was believed that at the moment of solstice, time, flowing in a circle, stopped, before ends of the year were joined. Each year  Summer Solstice Celebrations in   the Cathedral of St. John the Divine is among the most popular events in New York.

A seven-time Grammy Award-winning saxophonist, Paul Winter sais about his show: “People get a sense of community – a sense of the whole wide community of life, which is one of the best things we could do with our music. We begin playing in total darkness at 4:30 a.m. within the awesome space and acoustics of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. We embark on a continuous two-hour musical journey, with players stationed in distant corners or moving among the audience. Somewhere near the halfway point, listeners gradually realize that the Cathedral’s great stained-glass windows are beginning to illuminate. The light joins the sound to carry us into the first dawning of summer." The  ticket price is  price is $40.

Mermaid Parade  1PM, Brooklyn
The Mermaid Parade is 1000 people wearing glittery semi-nude costumes, floats with aquatic themes, and classic cars that drive east along Surf Avenue on Coney Island in Brooklyn. The Mermaid Parade is the largest art parade in the nation. The 32nd Annual Mermaid Parade  will start at West 21st Street and Surf Avenue in Brooklyn at 1PM.  Expect crowds. I was there last year and plan to visit this year.

Times Square Yoga, June 21
5:30am - 6:30am: Sunrise Vinyasa
7:30am - 8:30am: Salutations to Summer
9:30am - 10:30am: Power Yoga
11:30am - 1:00pm: Bikram
2:00pm - 3:00pm: Slow Flow Vinyasa
4:00pm - 5:00pm: Sun Sequence for Bent on Learning
6:00pm - 7:00pm: Breath Informed Vinyasa
8:00pm - 9:15pm: Sunset Flow

Old Westbury Garden, Long Island Midsummer Night 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
See the gardens illuminated with lanterns and decorated by the magical faeries.  General Admission: $15.00 at gate;  free for children 17 and under when accompanied by an adult
 This is a wonderful night for the entire family. In addition to the enchanting decorations, the evening features a series of live music and dance performances by The Isadora Duncan Dance Company.


Twenty years ago, Chelsea was best known as a relatively quiet residential community. Since then, the neighborhood has transformed dramatically into a cultural mecca.  Chelsea is  one of  the largest   art districts in New York. From 16th Street to 27th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues, there are more than 350 art galleries. C24 Gallery is a relatively new addition to Chelsea art landscape- it  was established in 2011.
When I was walking along the 24th street  on the sunny morning in the early June, the large balls with the moving pictured hanging from the ceiling of the gallery grabbed my attention.
It was BANG BANG, the first New York solo show of New York based Swiss artist Katja Loher (born in 1979).  Katja  projects her videos onto the surface of large shiny orbs hanging in the gallery space.  She stage her works as s Videosculptures, which she calls Videoplanets and Miniverses. They are created in the artist's New York studio, in close co-operation with dancers, choreographers, musicians and designers. The Miniverses are small orbs and the large one are  Videoplanets.
Katje said in her interview:  
I always start with the idea, or the message, and then I let it become its own creature. It forms in your head, matures in your heart, and then you watch it come alive. I tend to make beautiful things. Like a lot of nature, it's just how I choose to communicate.
"Bang Bang" is the start of a lot of things.... My friends and I have been using it quite often lately. We'll say, "This is so bang bang! He or she is totally bang bang!" There's no better word for things I really like.

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. Part 2

The Bishop of New York has his seat at the magnificent Gothic and Romanesque Cathedral of St. John the Divine, which was erected in the early part of the 20th century at the highest point in Manhattan. You can find the beginning of the story in my previous post.
The Cathedral was opened end-to-end for the first time on November 30, 1941, a week before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

On the western facade of the building, stonemasons have sculpted numerous scenes that seem oddly out of place for a Cathedral. The most striking one is the chilling depiction of the destruction of New York city and its landmarks.  The scene above was done in 1997, four years before the destruction of the Twin Towers.  Other recognizable skyscrapers are the Chrysler Building and the Citigroup center.

The 15th-century German choir stalls separating the narthex from the nave are on permanent loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

There are Seven chapels,  known as the "Chapels of the Tongues radiate from the ambulatory behind the choir.  Each Chapel  is dedicated to one of the New York nationalities or ethnic groups who worked on the cathedral .
The 3-ton bronze doors below this portal are decorated with relief castings of scenes from the Old Testament on the left and the New Testament on the right. The doors are opened only twice a year: on Easter and in October for the Feast of St. Francis.

At forty feet in diameter, Installed in 1932,  the Rose window High above the doors, is  the third largest rose window in the world and is made of over ten thousand pieces of glass.
According the tradition the Episcopal cathedral is oriented toward the East, facing the sunrise, which fills the southern windows with more bright light than those on the north side . If you take binoculars and look at the northern side stained glass window, installed in 1924 after the Paris Olympics , you can find   guys bowling and auto-racing, playing football, golf, basketball, baseball, and dozens of other sports.

On the pavement of the Choir is the Compass Rose, the official emblem of the Worldwide Anglican Communion. The text surrounding the central cross is in Greek, and translates as: “The truth will set you free.”

The cathedral houses one of the nation's premiere textile conservation laboratories to conserve the cathedral's textiles, including the Barberini tapestries to cartoons by Raphael.
The Cathedral's Poets Corner, created in 1984 to memorialize American writers, is modeled on the Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey.      At a dedication service  two giants of 19th-century American literature, Herman Melville and Edgar Allan Poe, had their names inscribed in stone. There are two poets in common: T. S. Eliot, an American who became a British citizen, and W. H. Auden, an Englishman who took American citizenship

There are  stones  dedicated to   Emily Dickinson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Mark Twain  Walt Whitman, and William Carlos Williams.  Held there were services for Poets Allen Ginsberg and  Joseph Brodsky.   

Brodsky's memorial service surprised some people.  Tchaikovsky's Winter Dreams were  playing at the background, and no words  were spoken about Poet. There were only   poems :    first in English  ( ``Letters From the Ming Dynasty,'' and ``Roman Elegy XII,'’ and after it in Russian: ``The Dominicans,'' ``Lagoon,'' ``The Hawk's Cry in Autumn,'' and, inevitably, ``In Memoriam.''

There's a beautiful 9/11 memorial by  New Yorker sculptor Meredith Bergmann to the right side of the main entrance.
The artist said:" I felt defiantly determined to make as non-Taliban a sculpture as possible: first of all, a nude woman from the tradition of the allegorical female nude, representing New York City as young and strong and alert."

The sculpture is  permanently installed in the Church of St. John the Divine, on a pedestal with glass sides that   holds fragments of the Twin Towers.

The Cathedral campus boasts six organs.The Great Organ, one of the most powerful organs in the world, was originally installed in 1911 and then enlarged and rebuilt in 1952. The 2001 fire damaged the instrument, but   a  five-year restoration brought it back.   All 8,500 organ pipes were taken out and shipped to Missouri for cleaning.  On Mondays at 1 pm cathedral organists provide a 30-minute break for mind, body and spirit.

The Cathedral is open 7:30 am – 6 pm daily. The Visitor Center and Cathedral Shop are open 9 am – 5 pm daily.

Saint John the Divine is one of the few places left in New York City that allows visitors to access to its roof and a unique vista of the City.  You have to climb more than 124 feet through spiral staircases to get to the top of the church.  Vertical Tour is one hour long and is offered on Wednesday, at 12PM.

Every year in June there is   AnnualSummer Solstice Concert. This year it will be on Saturday, June 21 and will start  at 4:30 in the early morning.  The audience will be seated in concentric circles under the great dome, surrounded by the musicians and instruments, including  nine huge Balinese Gamelan gongs, and other large percussion instruments.

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. Part 1

The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, located  on the upper West Side, is  the largest Gothic cathedral in the world.   Though it's still not finished, it's nevertheless one of New York's most impressive sights.
 A Guide to the Cathedral from 1921 posited that it might take 700 years for the Cathedral to be completed, since it was employing true Gothic building methods - blocks of granite and limestone are carved out by master masons and their apprentices.
The incompleteness of the church reminded me Sagrada Familia, the monumental Barcelona, Spain  church by  Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi.  When  Antoni Gaudi died the church was   less than a quarter complete. Construction began in 1882, and it still continues today.

In New York it is a different story. According to the Church’s website, a frequently asked question is “When will the Cathedral be finished?” The Cathedral’s response — “Although no new construction is planned for the immediate future, efforts have been underway to preserve the Cathedral and its auxiliary buildings for the enjoyment of New Yorkers and visitors from around the world for the centuries to come.”   That’s why St. John the Divine is also known by its popular nickname, Saint John the Unfinished .

The first stone  for the Cathedral  was laid in 1892, and construction continued steadily until 1941, when the attack on Pearl Harbor stalled progress for nearly 40 years. It was a big fire in 2001 and  it took more than seven years for the crew to clean smoke damage.

Cathedral stretches the length of two football fields, while the height of the domed crossing can accommodate Lady Liberty (without her platform). Measured by length or internal volume, it is one of the five largest church buildings in the world.   The tall, pointed Byzantine-inspired arches are the most striking feature of the interior, so vast it can comfortably fit 4,500 people  during services.

The first services in the Cathedral were held in the crypt, under the crossing in 1899.The Ardolino brothers from Torre di Nocelli, Italy, did much of the stone carving work on the statues designed by the English sculptor John Angel.  After the large central dome was completed in 1909, the original Byzantine-Romanesque design was changed to a Gothic design.In 1911, the choir and the crossing were opened, and the foundation for Cram's nave began to be excavated in 1916.

 In 1922  the Cathedral installed a stone parapet.  The parapet contained “one sculpture for each of the Christian centuries, each figure being that of the personage who in that 100 years did the most, in the opinion of the Cathedral authorities, for the uplift of the world.”
The twentieth-century niche was left empty with instructions that it was to remain empty for seventy-eight years in order to determine who would be worthy of filling the void for the century. Representing the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries are statues of William Shakespeare, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln

According to the New York Times, the front runners in 1922 were Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George, and Charles Evans Hughes. In 2001 the choir parapet was completed with the addition of a sculpture by Chris Pelletierri of a group of four figures: Martin Luther King, Albert Einstein, Susan B. Anthony and Mohandas Gandhi.

MAD museum

Columbus circle
  In the southwest corner of the Central Park, across from the Maine Monument ( look at one of my posts)   is the Columbus Circle rotary with a   Columbus Monument designed by Sicilian sculptor Gaetano Russo in the center. There is the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) on the south side of the circle( Columbus circle,2)
MAD was founded in 1956 by Aileen Osborn Webb as the Museum of Contemporary Crafts and later became the American Craft Museum. Mad is the  only New York museum with an Open Studio program that enables visitors to observe and interact with artists engaged at work within programming spaces.
Columbus 2 , April 2014

From  1986 until 2008 MAD was located at 40 West 53rd Street and in September 2008 opened its doors at Columbus circle.

Columbus 2 before 2008 renovation

 The seven-story Pabst Grand Circle Hotel, a combination theater, hotel and restaurant, designed by William H. Cauvet, stood at this address from 1874. In 1960 the hotel was demolished to free the space for the  New York Coliseum.  From 1964 to 2005 the site contained a 12 story modernist structure designed by Edward Durell Stone for Huntington Hartford, heir to the founder of A&P Supermarkets, to display his art collection.   Stone was the principal designer on the Radio City Music Hall and  Museum of Modern Art in New York.  The building at Two Columbus Circle  opened  as the Gallery of Modern Art.

In 1969   the Gallery of Modern Art  was closed , and the building used as an  art exhibitions center for Fairleigh Dickinson University.
In 1996 the building  turned thirty years old and became eligible for landmark designation. The New York City Landmarks Commission never held a public hearing on its fate and despite a serious preservation effort, the Museum of Arts & Design has radically altered the building for their occupation in 2008.
Architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff named the new building as one of seven structures in New York City that should be torn down because they "have a traumatic effect on the city."
Nicolai wrote: “... As a result, the facade is being utterly revamped. ... This was an atrocious betrayal of the public trust. ... A similar debate is unfolding in Berlin, where the German government plans to demolish the 1970s Palast der Republik. ... Both 2 Columbus Circle and the Berlin building represent important moments in their cities' collective memories.”
The redesigned building has the same massing and geometric shape as the original,  but the original white Vermont Marble has been replaced with a glazed terra-cotta and glass façade.

Museum has  four floors of exhibition galleries,  150-seat auditorium and a restaurant.  It also includes a Center for the Study of Jewelry,   Education Center   and three artists-in-residence studios. MAD is the only American museum with a gallery dedicated to contemporary and modern studio and art jewelry. Museum is open late on Thursday  and Friday when you can pay what you wish.

In July 2014, the Museum of Arts and Design will inaugurate NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial, an exhibition that spotlights the creative communities across the five boroughs today.

Various spaces in the Museum are available for private events, including our 7th floor, atrium, and our 143-seat theater.
There is a  modern American restaurant Robert   on the top floor of the museum building with an amazing view of Columbus Circle and Central Park. There is a live jazz music almost every night. Open Table has about five hundred  reviews with the  more than five stars- excellent result!

June 2014 Events

Museum Mile Festival  June 10th  6 – 9 pm Fifth Ave, 82nd – 105th Streets

The annual Museum Mile Festival offers free admission  the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1071 Fifth Avenue  at 88th Street), Neue Galerie(at 86th Street and Fifth Avenue)  and  6 other museums.   There are plenty of outdoor festivities: face painting, chalk drawing, live music and other block-party-type events.

A Philharmonic Festival 
Beethoven Piano Concertos Yefim Bronfman
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 7:30 pm
Thursday, June 12, 2014, 7:30 pm
Friday, June 13, 2014, 8:00 pm
Saturday, June 14, 2014, 8:00 pm
Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 7:30 pm
Thursday, June 19, 2014, 7:30 pm
Friday, June 20, 2014, 8:00 pm
Saturday, June 21, 2014, 8:00 pm
Open Rehearsal ( $20)
Wed, Jun 11, 2014 9:45 AM
Wed, Jun 18, 2014 9:45 AM

Free Shakespeare in the Central Park
New York' summer tradition, Free Shakespeare in the Park, celebrates its 52nd season in Central Park's famous Delacorte Theater.   You can see two plays this summer almost every day at 8PM ( for a full schedule look at the calendar )
  • Much Ado About Nothing Tuesday, June 3 - Sunday, July 6
  • King Lear Tuesday, July 22 - Sunday, August 17

You can pickup free tickets  throughout  five boroughs (a limited number of vouchers for that night’s performance will be distributed between 12PM) and 2PM, while supplies last)   or apply online.  Each person in line is allowed two (2) vouchers, and each voucher is good for one ticket. To do it online you can sign-in between midnight and 12pm (noon) on the day of each public performance and request two tickets to that night's performance.

Bryant Park Summer Film Festival (Free)

Monday, June 16, 2014 Saturday Night Fever 5:00pm
Monday, June 23, 2014 The Mark Of Zorro
The gravel area surrounding the Lawn opens at 4:00pm. The Lawn opens at 5:00pm.


The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus
May 30–July 10 Aperture Foundation, 547 West 27th Street
The Sochi presented to viewers for the 2014 Winter Olympics was essentially a Potemkin village—a false front built to distract attention from the region's poverty and separatist violence. In this exhibit, photographer Rob Hornstra and writer Arnold van Bruggen show us  the real Caucasus.  Putin would not approve.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art May 8- August 10 Beyond Fashion
The inaugural exhibition of the newly renovated Costume Institute examines the career of legendary twentieth-century Anglo-American couturier Charles James (1906–1978), and is presented in two locations—special exhibition galleries on the Museum's first floor and The Costume Institute's Anna Wintour Costume Center on the ground floor.