Metronome- the most confusing clock in New York

There are different clock  in New York  - some of them are  plain old-fashion street clock  and some of them are really confusing. I already  wrote about the clock installed last fall near the southern entrance to Central Park.   A 16-foot-tall clock  has a  face rotating counter-clockwise and its hands moving at correct time.

 Another unusual and maybe really confusing clock is located along the south end of Union Square.  A lot of people do not even know that this  installation is a clock. Some think that these fifteen  spinning numbers   represent  national debt, other think that it is the age of our planet in seconds....

 This numbers are a part  of the  installation    on the   face of One Union Square South was designed in 1999 by American artists Kristen Jones and Andrew Ginzel,  and it's called the “Metronome”.
Here is the description of this installation from the  site of the artists:
 "The elements that compose Metronome refer to and are very much a part of the place where the work exists: Union Square in the City of New York. The central element is a brick wall built in concentric circles(....). Gold leaf accentuates the center of the work.  At noon and midnight the hole erupts with a huge plume of steam that is accompanied by an explosion of sound composed to mark the exact instant and its passage, like a noonday whistle or a public clock that marks the time. Below on the wall is a massive piece of bedrock, displaying the millennia of geological history. A long thin bronze cone is poised at a diagonal on the rippling brick façade: a time indicator that suggests perspective.
On the right metallic façade is a sphere, half black and half gold, which turns daily in synchrony with the phases of the moon. When the moon reaches fullness, the entire golden face of the orb is revealed."

And on the left from the brick wall is the most confusing clock in New York.  Let's take a look at the picture that I made.   The  clock reads 134552673071410 , it means that 13 hours, 45 minutes, 52 seconds have passed since midnight. Therefore, it is 1:45 PM.   There are also 10 hours, 14 minutes, 7 seconds  until the next midnight.  And what about three numbers in between?  Here is the  answer: " The center three digits are a frenzy of intangible fractions of seconds, which reveal the pace of life in the city.  Like an hourglass that contains a specific measure of sand, the digital time piece counts up on the left and down on the right, measuring both the sum and the balance of the day."
Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel have worked collaboratively since 1985 on many commissioned private and public projects, as well as museum and gallery exhibitions.
At the same year the artists did another  installation in New York: three hundred  mosaic eyes  created in stone and glass  were inset on the white tiles in the subway stations  station in lower Manhattan. This installation was named Oculus.

 One of the stations were these eyes were installed, the former World Trade Center Station, was  flooded and closed to the public following the September 11, 2001 attack. The site was damaged but not destroyed, and it reopened eight months later with the work mostly intact.  You can see mosaic on Park Place station (2,3 trains)  and Chamber Street (A,C trains).

Central Park: Horses, pedicabs and De Blasio

Horse-drawn carriage rides have long served as an iconic attraction for many residents and visitors in the Big Apple. During his campaign for mayor at the end of 2013 Bill De Blasio promised to end horse-drawn carriage rides in New York City on his first day as mayor.  Mayor announced that the carriages would be gone for good by the end of 2014. He wants to replace them with “old-timey” electric cars.  More than two years ago in November 2013 I published a  post about the horses in  Central Park.  I also wrote about the horses a year ago, in January 2014.

This proposal to  save driver jobs by replacing the horse-drawn carriages with electric replicas of old-fashioned cars was rejected by the union and by council members who said Central Park needs fewer vehicles, not more.

The new plan was announced over the last weekend on Sunday, January 17 by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The compromise deal would reduce the number of horses from about 180 to 95, operating from new stables built in the park by October 2018, with room for 68 carriages and 75 horses.

The remaining horses rotate on furloughs outside the city.   The deal, effective June 1, 2016    also  limits their labor to nine hours a day by Dec. 1, 2016.    This proposal  also  ban carriages   from Manhattan streets.

But in exchange for slimming down their carriage fleets, the mayor also offered the carriages   an effective monopoly over the southern end of Central Park by barring pedicabs from operating south of 85th Street.

The deal, which must still be approved by City Council, would restrict the operations of pedicabs starting in June. 

In 2014 city’s tourism industry generated record $61.3 billion in economic impact, supporting 359,000 tourism-related jobs.  Fears that the strengthening U.S. dollar would reverse the steady increase in tourism to New York City have not been realized. In fact, international visits jumped 7% in 2014 from the prior year, while domestic tourism grew 3%.

Horse carriages and pedicabs were used mostly by the tourists.  In 2015 tourists had a choice- they could use  only carriages below 85th street.  So starting from next summer there is no choice- there is a monopoly.  I'm completely sure that the prices for carriage rides will go up. 
The solution is being widely criticized. Pedicab drivers are angry because the agreement would impose restrictions that could put them out of business.  The horse-carriage drivers are upset that some of them would lose their jobs. 

It's not clear whether the deal would include any compensation for carriage drivers who lose their jobs. What will happen with more than one hundred retired  horses? Nobody knows....

Its estimated that the city would spend $25 million to convert the park maintenance building into a suitable home for the horses. The move to use public parkland for a private industry has raised red flags with park advocates.  

 Does it make sense  to spend more than $20 million on a new  stable if there are already  working stables in a good condition? Why should the city use any of our tax money to pay for private stables?

What will happen with  privately-owned and operated stables in operation now that are between W. 37th and W. 52nd Streets, off of 11th Avenue?   This proposal  would  free up for new development the greatly valuable Midtown West buildings currently used to house the horses.  
A year ago
Curbed published an interesting article about the price of the stables: 
A 7,000-square-foot functioning stable on West 37th Street, purchased in 1979 for $90,000, could fetch up to $10 million. The West Side Livery, a 9,600-square-foot stable a block north, is in the same ballpark. The city's two other stables, west of Eleventh Avenue on 48th and 52nd streets, find themselves in the immediate vicinity of the Hudson Yards development.

The mayor’s office referred to the agreement as “an agreement in concept” and council hearings still need to be held. Still  approval is likely. 

As I know  a developer who was a contributor to the Mayor's campaign had designs on the land where the horses were stabled. So  we  wait and see what will be built on the place of the stables.

Titanosaur - the largest dinosaurs ever discovered is in New York Museum of Natural History

In 1904 the American Museum of Natural History brought a brontosaur skeleton to its galleries. The 67 foot-long 15,000-pound “thunder saurian” fossil that was greeted with tea parties once made open to the public in 1905. New York Times wrote:
"Sunday crowds poured by thousands into American Museum of Natural History (...) to gaze upon and speculate about the huge skeleton of the brontosaurus which had the place of honor at the society tea held in dinosaurs room. The visitors all want to see the monster whose arrival had brought J. Pierpont Morgan from his Wall Street office to join the tea drinkers. A replica of one of the largest dinosaurs ever discovered is now on display at the museum".
Picture of 1904

In 1898 paleontologist Walter Granger discovered a large set of fossilized bones at Wyoming’s Como Bluff .  It   took six years to mount it in the museum.  Since Granger and his team did not find a head  ,  they gave it a sculpted head of another type of animal.  
In 1990s, during the renovation of the fossil halls, the head of  Apatosaurus  ( a correct name for Brontosaurus)  was replaced with  cast of the skull from Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum.    Apatosaurus skeleton with a detached skull  was found just  a few years after the Apatosaurus was first mounted, but for decades paleontologists disagreed over whether the skull belonged with the body.

A replica of one of the largest dinosaurs ever discovered  was added to museum this January.

  The biggest dinosaur ever exhibited at the museum and among the largest ever discovered stretches 122 feet long and rise nearly 20 feet to reach the ceiling. It is twice as large as the brontosaurus from 1904.

 It is believed to have weighed, when walking the Earth roughly 100 million years ago, some 70 tons—as heavy as at least 10 African elephants.

It is life-size and is too large to fit into the hall and to stand up straight under the museum’s 19-foot-high ceilings. With its neck up, the titanosaur would have been tall enough to look into a five-story building. “We struggled with just fitting him in, and in order to do it, we had to crouch him down,” said museum president Ellen Futter. As it turns out, the hall also isn’t long enough to completely hold the dinosaur, as the titanosaur’s head protrudes from its exhibit room into an adjoining entranceway.

The fossils were accidentally discovered in 2011 by a farm worker in a remote area in the Patagonian province of Chubut, some eight hundred miles south of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The worker spotted the tip of a massive fossil sticking out of the ground. Researchers started digging and in 2014 discovered the most complete skeleton of a titanosaur, a group of gigantic plant-eating dinosaurs that dominated the Southern Hemisphere beginning about 90 million years ago. After just one day of digging, paleontologists had uncovered more than 220 bones. One of the thigh bones measuring 7.8 feet in length.

 “This is a true paleontological treasure,” a paleontologist at the Egidio Feruglio Museum in the southern Argentine city of Trelew said. “There are many remains and they were practically intact, something that does not frequently happen.” Titanosaurian dinosaurs were among the largest animals in the southern continents during the final 30 million years of the Mesozoic Era. Several titanosaur species are regarded as the most massive land-living animals yet discovered; nevertheless, nearly all of these giants were known only from very incomplete fossils.

What they discovered is a cemetery of dinosaurs the likes of which we had never seen in the history of Argentine paleontology," Ruben Cuneo, director of the Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio said The dinosaur is so new, it doesn’t have an official name. The term “titanosaur” actually refers to a group of giant dinosaurs of similar make and size, according to Don Phillips, president of the New York Paleontological Society and a lecturer at New York University.

Two  dinosaur halls  are located in the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing of the museum. David H. Koch is an executive vice president and a board member of Koch Industries, Inc., which owns a diverse group of companies. A long-time philanthropist, Mr. Koch has given generously to a variety of organizations and programs.
He gave $20 million to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City establishing the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing.

One of David Koch’s biggest hobbies, beyond his more general philanthropic pursuits, is paleontology. Dinosaurs are the things that interest him most. Koch caught the dinosaur bug at the age of 14, when his father took him and his twin brother, Bill, to visit the American Museum of Natural History. “I was just dazzled by the dinosaurs,” he told.

Lock Collection, one of the largest in the world

West 44th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues   in 19 century was   referred to as “Stable Street” because of the two- and three-story carriage houses that lined it.  Now  is informally known as Club Row because it houses the Harvard, Penn and New York Yacht Clubs.   The building of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, No. 20 West 44th Street,  sits on  the street  just  across the New York Yacht Club. Society was organized in  1785. I wrote about the  history  of the society  here.   Inside the home of the  General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen   is an excellent, but barely known museum of bank and vault locks.   

The balcony overlooking the Library’s open three-story layout with  columns with golden Scamozzi Ionic capitals, an embellished frieze, and a copper and wrought iron skylight,  houses the Society’s collection of over 350 locks, donated by member John M. Mossman in 1920.
The John M. Mossman Lock Collection represents one of the most complete anthologies of bank and vault locks in the world, with more than 370 locks, keys and tools dating from 4,000 BC to the 20th century. In 1903 Society member the famed Bank vault manufacturer donated to the society his collection of locks, keys and tools.  Mossman built bank vaults at the New York   Stock Exchange and Bank of America.

In 1928 year book, written by Albert A. Hopkins the chapter ' Memoirs of Mr. Mossnan' recounts:
Mr. Mossman's business being bank locks, especially time locks, it came to his hand frequently to replace old style locks with later one. In that way he accumulates a large collection of obsolete although highly inventive lock; locks made to order- not in commercial quantities.

New York was once at the center for the lock industry, along with other hubs such as Stamford, Connecticut , Cincinnati, and Chicago. A number of the New York lock companies were downtown near Broadway and Maiden Lane, including the one Mossman founded in 1977.

The most ancient artifact in the collection is the Egyptian Lock, or “dabbeh”, which is still used today within the older streets of Cairo.  Many of the locks on display are unique.  There are secret locks, a Newgate prison lock, bank locks, “A Very Complicated Lock,” a “Magic Key Lock,” combination locks and more.  One unusual lock in the museum's collection is  Fluid Time Lock (1877).   In the Fluid Time Lock   there is a water clock that drips water at a somewhat regular rate thereby rotating the lock and allowing the safe lock to be open.

 Mr. Mossman donated his notes and scrapbooks, known as the Mossman papers,  to the society.  “The Lure of the Lock” was published in 1928 and describes each lock in the collection. The  book has  500 pictures and illustrations that takes you from the very first locks and keys up to present times.

The curator of the Mossman Lock Collection  said: "The people who made these locks expressed their artistic creativity as well as their mechanical genius. What is so unusual,   is that they exhibited such exquisite craftsmanship despite knowing that few people would ever view their work behind bank doors."

Admission to The General Society’s Mossman Lock Museum, which houses the Collection, is a suggested $10 per person. I visited this museum during New York Open House weekend, when a lot of places usually closed for public,  were open.


New York Events January-February 2016

Museum of Modern Art-MOMA  Picasso Sculpture. Through  February 7
This is  the first such museum exhibition in the United States in nearly half a century. The exhibition features more than 100 sculptures, complemented by selected works on paper and photographs.
Timed tickets are required for entry to Picasso Sculpture. A limited number of same-day timed tickets will be available onsite, depending on capacity.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Celebrating Sax .  Instruments and Innovation  Through February 21, 2016
This special display of instruments made by three generations of the Sax family marks the bicentenary of the birth of Adolphe Sax
Metropolitan Museum of Art
 The Luxury of Time.  European Clocks and Watches.  Through March 27, 2016
Drawn from the Museum's distinguished collection of German, French, English, and Swiss horology from the sixteenth through the nineteenth century, the extraordinary objects on view show how clocks and watches were made into lavish furniture or exquisite jewelry.  

Neue Galerie    Munch and Expressionism  February 18-June 13, 2016
 An  exhibition  examines Edvard Munch’s influence on his German and Austrian contemporaries, as well as their influence upon him.   The Neue Galerie is the sole venue for the exhibition, where it will be on view through. The exhibition will be comprised of approximately 35 paintings and 50 works on paper from both public and private collections worldwide.

 American Museum of Natural History  The Titanosaur  January 15, 2016 - January 19, 2020
Museum added another must-see exhibit to its world-famous Fossil Halls:  cast of a 122-foot-long dinosaur came to the Museum .    This species is so new that it has not yet been formally named by the paleontologists who discovered it. The titanosaur cast,  installed in the Wallach Orientation Center on the fourth floor,  replaced a life-sized—but, by comparison, diminutive—fleshed-out model of a juvenile Barosaurus that has been on display since the completion of the fourth floor in June 1996.

The Jewish Museum  The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Film. Through February 7
In addition to a stunning collection of photographic and cinematic works, The Power of Pictures features a rich array of film posters and vintage books that employ radical graphic styles with extreme color, dynamic geometric designs, and innovative collages and photomontages. Also presented are examples of periodicals in which major photographic works were published.  Saturdays and late Thursdays are free.

NYC Restaurant Week January 18–February 5.
Participating restaurants offer three-course prix-fixe menus specially priced at $25 for lunch and/or $38 for dinner.
 The list of participating in NYC Restaurant is here

Broadway discount week  January 19 - Feb. 5, 2016
Get 2-for-1 deals on select theater shows during Broadway Week.
The participating shows include: Aladdin, Allegiance, An American in Paris, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Chicago, China Doll, The Color Purple, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Fiddler on the Roof, Finding Neverland, Fun Home, The Humans, Jersey Boys, The King and I, Kinky Boots, Les Misérables, The Lion King, Matilda the Musical, Misery, Noises Off, On Your Feet!, Our Mother's Brief Affair, The Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock. 

Barclays Center, February 25 through   March 6
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus.    The true stars of the show are The Ringling Brothers' animals. The circus has a large herd of Asian elephants and a whole menagerie of other beautiful creatures including lions and tigers. If you don't like animal acts don't go!

New York City Center, February 18 - 20, 2016
Cinderella ballet 

Les Ballets de Monte Carlo perform a dark and sensual version of Cinderella choreographed by Jean-Christophe Maillot  . The ballet  strips the classic fairy tale of its sugar and explores the untold story of Cinderella's mother, a vision of lost happiness, who returns from the dead in the form of a fairy godmother. It is a poignant meditation on love and loss, in which the departed shape the future of those left behind.

The Explorers Club , 46 East 70th Street . January 28-31
The New York WILD Film Festival.
This festival is  the first annual documentary film festival in New York to showcase a spectrum of topics, from exploration and adventure to wildlife and the environment, bringing all things WILD. This event offers 17 outstanding films, premieres, receptions, and conversations with some of the world's most creative, adventurous and heroic characters.

Snow sports in Central Park
January 23, 2016 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
Enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and sledding during Winter Jam, when the Central Park bandshell area is covered with blown-in snow. Bring equipment or borrow it free. Bring photo ID for sports. Free.

Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre
LITTLE RED'S HOOD From February 2, 2016.
Like many of today’s children, Little Red is a smart, young city slicker who is too focused on her smartphone to notice her surroundings. Wulfric is a misunderstood wolf with a sweet tooth. When Little Red travels from New York City to the country to deliver some cupcakes to her Grandma, she encounters a colorful cast of characters as Wulfric the Wolf tries to head her off at the pass.
Children 18 months to 12 years old $7.00. Grown ups ages 13 and up $10.00

Winter Carnival in Bryant Park.  February 5 and 6, 12pm-10pm
Bundle up and come on out for the 2nd annual Winter Carnival at Bank of America Winter Village! Embrace the frosty weather and join us for a celebration of the winter season. This jam-packed weekend will feature dancing, curling lessons, live skating and musical performances, photo ops, and more

Lunar New Year, year of the Monkey. 
 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Saturday, February 6, 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Met's Department of Asian Art with traditions from across Asia. Mark the Year of the Monkey, one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, with performances, interactive gallery activities, and artist-led workshops for visitors of all ages.

Performances from Chinese Theatre Works - Carson Family Hall, Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education Saturday, February 6, 11:00–11:30 a.m. at Carson  Family Hall, Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education.  Experience traditional Chinese live arts through opera, movement, and music. Space is limited; first come, first served. Tickets distributed 15 minutes prior at event location
Central Park Ice Festival  February 13, 2016 (3 to 7 p.m.)

On Valentine’s Day weekend, celebrate your love of Central Park’s sculptures the fifth annual free Ice Festival. See carvers make romantic statues with chisels and chain saws. At 5 p.m. trade ID for headphones and dance at a “silent disco” with DJs and colored lights during Ice Festival at Naumburg Bandshell. Free.

Chinese parade February 14, 2016 (1 p.m.) Sara D. Roosevelt Park East Houston Street to Canal Street
See colorful floats, marching bands, lion and dragon dancers, antique cars, beauty queens, and performers at Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival




General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen

20 West 44th Street
General Society was formed In November 1785 when  twenty-two   independent master cabinetmakers, shipbuilders, marble carvers, and shoemakers  met  in  the tavern on Pine Street ( then known as King Street)  in downtown Manhattan to found a society for mutual aid. The end of the 18th century was a   difficult time for New York City .   Last British troops and many Tory supporters and collaborators departed in November 1783. City was heavily damaged by war,  occupation and a massive fire.

The goal of the new organized group   was  to help each other out in times of need.  In  The General Society opened one of NYC’s first tuition free schools,  that would become later in 1820 the Mechanics Institute, .  At that time    there were  only two  free schools were to be found in the whole New York city - one in the almshouse, and the other open only to the children of freed slaves.
The  school opened with seventy students.  Children of members were admitted free of charge, and a small fee was required from all others. Later that same year the Society added a separate school for girls. The school, which became the Mechanics Institute in 1858, continues to provide tuition-free evening  instruction to individuals who are employed in the building and construction.

Between 1898 and 1903, Andrew Carnegie, a member, contributed over half a million dollars to The General Society. Generous gifts to create our present school came in from other members as well, and by 1913 enrollment at Mechanics Institute had reached 2,300.Today, the school has more than 180,000 alumni.   

The Library was established in 1820 - at the same year as the school.  By the end of the 19th century the Library had become the largest free circulating library in New York City. The Library now has more than 100,000 volumes of fiction, non-fiction, trade, and technical-related research materials.
The French observer Chevalier in 1830 made this comment about the American mechanic and tradesmen: "He dresses like a member of Congress, and his women-folk dress the same as those of a wealthy New York merchant. His house is warm, neat, and comfortable; his table almost as plentifully provided as that of the wealthiest fellow-citizen."

In 1885, the Society celebrated a landmark 100th birthday.  A banquet was held at Delmonico's Restaurant ( the first restaurant in New York- you can find details in my post).     The Society's growth continued, and in 1899 the organization moved to the current home at 20 West 44th Street.
Previously the building on West 44th belonged to  the private Berkeley School.  The School was organized In  1880 by   John S. White, a Harvard classics scholar. Eleven years later he built a four stories high and 100 feet wide house at 20 West 44th Street.

According to an 1893 article in a magazine called The Cosmopolitan, seniors in the school took five hours a week each of Greek, Latin, rhetoric and math, as well as English, French and science. Military practice was required for the 292 boys — the ground-floor drill hall is still intact, though it is now used as a library — and the cost was $350 per year. The 1893 edition of King’s Handbook of New York City reported that 90 percent of Berkeley graduates had gone to Harvard, Yale, Princeton or Columbia. In 1903 Dr. White declared bankruptcy and  Berkeley School passed out of his hands. The building was sold and remodeled for the Society of Mechanics. 
The Society is also home to the John M. Mossman Lock Museum. I will tell about the collection of the locks, one of the largest in the world, in one of my next pots.