New York: The Ephemeral City

New York: The Ephemeral City

Windsor Letterhead

New York is one of the few cities in the world that’s rich enough and diverse enough to be anything it wants to be, The Dutch first settled along the Hudson in 1624 and two years later they established the colony of New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island. In 1664, the English took control of the area and renamed it New York.

This same New York is my hometown, a place for immigrants, barons, and in short, middle America. I’ve combed the city as a kid, as a student, and as a designer.

Automat at 818-820 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1904 postcard, Wikipedia

Long ago, I loved the Automat (Horn and Hardart). A whole lunch for a nickel. Nickel in, lunch out, on a vertical turnstile, Hot soup and apple pie, yum. Whatever happened to those days? Naturally any place in New York is home to me, even the Catskills, where I spent many a summer and where my first historic romance couple, Rork and Leila, met in Indigo Sky.

My new and latest story The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, (Book 1, The Baldwin Family Series) takes place in none other than my hometown, In fact, the Baldwins’ live across the street from Central Park. What was it like to take a walk in the park in 1886? You’ll find out in my book.

An early stereoscope view of the Main Dining Room shows the frescoed ceiling and sumptuous chandelier.

Baggage entered the 46th Street side (right) and guests entered on Fifth Avenue. The arrangement avoided “cluttering.” — photo Library of Congress

Sadly, New York has been an ephemeral city. Many buildings were demolished or burned, one of which was the Windsor Hotel on 46th Street and 5th Avenue, conveniently located close to the Grand Central Depot, a short walk to the Windsor for those who traveled by train. The Hotel welcomed the wealthy, from Barons to Dukes, and according to the New York Times, the Windsor was “most luxurious and aristocratic hostelry in New York.”

Inside the hotel were the barber’s shop, grocery and general storerooms, vegetable kitchen, dining rooms, a separate one for children, and more. The hotel was considered a marvel in modern convenience. Every suite had a private bath and every room had a fireplace, according to The Times.

You’ll get an exclusive invitation to visit the Windsor Hotel in my book, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, out on Valentine’s Day 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the 1800s to Carrie Bradshaw: Autumn in Central Park

From the 1800s to Carrie Bradshaw: Autumn in Central Park

Autumn in New York City, Central Park Photo by Vivienne Gucwa

Thousands of people visit Central Park in New York City every day, but there is one time of year where Central Park is at its most beautiful. Autumn.

There’s nothing like autumn in New York. Just ask Carrie Bradshaw, the much-loved heroine of the hit HBO series Sex and the City.

“There is a time of year in New York when, even before the first leaf falls, you feel the seasons click.” Carrie Bradshaw.

Go back in time more than a 100 years and you find another funny, quirky, smart young woman who loves autumn in New York—Allie Baldwin. Allie is the heroine of my upcoming book The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin. Allie, 24, lives with her family in the Sandanko Apartments on Fifth Avenue, which is a fictional building I created that was inspired by the famous Dakota Apartments located across the street from Central Park.

You can see stunning pictures of Central Park in photographer’s Vivienne Gucwa book NY Through the Lens (released Nov. 24, 2014)

The Baldwin family in my upcoming book, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, loves their outings in Central Park. Allie walks her dog Captyn, a huge black and white spotted Great Dane, through the park every day. In the story, Allie spends time there with her best friend,  Frankie, and with the hero, Peter. I can’t wait for you to find out what happens on those outings!

Autumn in Central Park is all about the leaves. Mother Nature paints her most vivid colors when the leaves turn from green to gold, bronze and red. Flower beds of garden mums and asters in autumn’s colors of red and yellow dot the landscape.

History tells us that architects Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux painstakingly incorporated arches into their design of Central Park more than 150 years ago in a way that is still relevant today. According to research from the Central Park Arch Project, they “used arches not only as a safety measure (to separate what was at that time the bridle path from pedestrian crossings), but as an aesthetic tool to create a cohesive green space: keeping pedestrians immersed in the park’s surroundings while cleverly hiding bustling roadways on another plane.

Bow Bridge Central Park Courtesy Ephemeral New York

There are many beautiful bridges or “arch ways” in Central Park including the Gapstow Bridge, built in 1874 by Jacob Wrey Mould. It’s located between 5th and 6th Avenue and 62nd Street in Central Park, in the area known as the Pond. Visitors to New York peruse the Gapstow Bridge in order to experience one of the most beautiful views of the city. A photograph of my Gapstow Bridge painting in winter is in this post. The bridge figures prominently in a scene from my book.

Gapstow Bridge, Central Park Painting by Gail Ingis

Here is a picture of a painting I did featuring the Gapstow Bridge in Central Park. It’s a winter landscape but the magic of Central Park is always there, no matter the season.

I cannot wait for you to read The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin and also experience the beauty of Central Park in the fall.

 

Gail Ingis is the author of the historical romance Indigo Sky.
You can buy it on amazon.

Follow Gail on facebook, Instagram, amazon.

 

The Love Boat meets Disney Magic

The Love Boat meets Disney Magic

Pluto greeting on Disney Magic

Minnie and the Chipmunks

Remember The Love Boat – the popular TV show from the 1980s? Well, I fell in love with cruising from watching that show. Several years back, I took a weekend  cruise to nowhere from a local marina in New Jersey. it was a great way to get my feet wet, pardon the pun. And did I have fun! Since then, Tom and I were on one other cruise to New Brunswick, Canada, until recently. A few weeks ago we took a cruise on the Disney Magic (with the official Disney cruise line) from Spain to New York. Yup, we crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a dream boat! Taking a cruise is like being in a mobile country whose economy is dedicated to enjoyment. With a wide range of entertainment, kids’ clubs, spacious staterooms and more, the Disney Cruise Line is a wonderful way for families to spend time together . . . and a little time apart. There are plenty of adults-only spaces as well. Broadway style shows, dancing, the latest movies, fitness center, personal trainer, spa and lots and lots and lots of food.

First sunrise on Disney Magic, what a greeting!

Me in the porthole

Ya gotta love Disney with all the fun characters wandering around. You never know when Pluto or Mickey will show up! A big bonus for us is that the entire ship was SMOKE FREE, except for one small deck that’s hidden away. And if you think it’s boring being “cooped up” on a boat for two weeks – think again. We were busy all the time. We actually had to MAKE time to swim and relax. I even managed to carve out some time to work on my next book, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin. Disney is now our fav. Cruising is a great way to spend your vacation.

Nightly monkey made from towels

Between the rock, almost blown away, son Paul Ingis!

Holding on for dear life, me and Tom. It was a mite windy

Sailing into the sunset-through the Straits of Gibraltar

This ship did make some stops. One in Cadiz, another in Lisbon where we took a side trip to beautiful Sintra and charming Cascais, then a stop in the Azores, where my son  Paul and our daughter-in-law Joanne hailed a taxi and took a side adventure. Our final stop was supposed to be St. John’s in Newfoundland, but the Captain decided to head home early to New York, because of concerns about the Hurricane Maria at the time. We hope to visit Newfoundland in the future, since we’ve heard and read such beautiful things about Canada’s east coast.

One of my favorite and most exhilarating moments on board Disney Magic was having my Tom’s arms around me, and my arms wrapped around him, holding tight, up on the top deck, in a fifty-mile-an-hour wind, going through the Straits of Gibraltar at sunset. Behold nature’s beauty.

The fitness center and especially the personal trainers (we got to know a wonderful trainer named Olivia), were tops, as were the people in the spa. Laurabeth Fitzpatrick, an esthetician, was fun to talk with. I didn’t get a facial, but enjoyed discussing skin care and explained BeautyCounter‘s philosophy. (That’s the product line I use and it’s clean and free from more than 1,400 horrible chemicals.) Lots of people took advantage of the convenience of the spa, they offered a full range of face and body care, including a sauna and a beauty salon. I didn’t do any of that, but I did take advantage of the fitness center. Imagine exercising in an all glass facility overlooking the Atlantic ocean. Gorgeous! Talk about a view!

NY Sunset

Our dining room hosts and servers rotated with us for a different dining room experience each night. Animation Palette, Luminaries, and Carioca’s dining rooms and the buffet dining room, Cabana’s. The last night we dined in their famous upscale Palo dining room on the 10th deck, while we were docked in NY. So we got to see the gorgeous New York sunset and we can say we had a great Italian meal in an excellent restaurant on the Hudson River.

That’s us in Luminaires DR

 

 

 

 

 

Most important crew members. Lucio & Carolina, our excellent servers.

Cascais, Portugal

Sintra, Portugal

Paul&Joanne in Animation Palette

 

Mickey pop, our fav dessert

Time to go home, on our way to debark

 

 

 

Indigo Sky for the reader who enjoys historical romance! @AmazonKindle http://amzn.to/2nWqbcq Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE
Author page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA

Barcelona beauty to Disney Magic

Barcelona beauty to Disney Magic

Barcelona welcome

The Birds . . .

Hey, if you love to travel then have some fun while I take you on the start of our recent two-week trip of amazing sightseeing and cruising.

Our first stop was Barcelona, Spain. What a glorious city. It was good to be back. We spent three days there. Everywhere we went, there was beauty and delicious food. Especially the tapas! If you go to Barcelona, you have to eat tapas-style. It’s a fun way to eat with plenty to choose from. We all enjoyed the selection. My hubby, Tom, our son Paul, daughter-in-law, Joanne, and I did a pretty good job of trying many different tapas dishes.

Tapas are on every counter in every café and restaurant. And don’t ask how we got seated, because you can’t get served unless you are sitting down or taking it away. Every tapas place we visited was packed. We always wanted to sit at the counter, those were favored spots because then you could pick from the tapas close up. But it was tough to get those seats. The four of us ate our way through the most popular and delicious tapas. By the end of the three days, we were ‘tapased’ out.

Las Ramblas, the famous street that appealed to tourists and locals is the most popular, busiest street in Barcelona. A tree-lined pedestrian mall, it stretched for less than a mile connecting Plaça de Catalunya in the centre with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. Wikipedia.

Thoughtful memorial

Monument

Tom and I remembered the street performers from our 2010 trip. We wished they were there so we could all see them do their thing, maybe next trip. Flowers dedicated to those who lost their lives a few weeks before we arrived, were spread over the base of the Christopher Columbus Monument, at the entrance of the wide avenue. A beautiful and fit memorial.

Casa Batlló roof

We were surrounded by the designs of Antonio Gaudi,19th century architect who thought out-of-the-box. Nowhere else in the world will you see his designs as in Barcelona. His church, the most famous anywhere, the Sagrada Familia, which began construction in 1882/1883, is still under construction. Really!

If you like dragons, you’ll love the Gaudi apartments and rooftops. On Las Ramblas all streetlights and benches are Gaudi designed. His Art Nouveau creations are all over the city.

Barcelona’s main means of travel

Our accommodations were divine at the AC Marriott on the north side of the city. They had their own restaurant with great food and tapas, of course. Designs were contemporary and sleek in steel, glass and leather. Transportation was easy by taxi, metro or bus and walking. So many walked or motorbiked and sometimes you see manual biking.

Getting around Barcelona is easy on the metro. Clean and sparkling!

I have to tell you about the bathrooms and the subway. Everywhere we went, every one of them were sparkling clean. We can learn a thing or two from these Europeans, don’t you think?

Joanne finding polished glass in the sand, fun to look.

We loved our little jaunt to the beach. Joanne waded in the Mediterranean as we cheered her on, we picked polished glass from the sand, enjoyed the sand castles with fireplaces, and danced in the plaza with all the dancing couples. We didn’t want the dream to end.

 

Sand fireplaces

I forgot to mention the VIP greeting that we received when we arrived in Barcelona. Thank you to son Paul’s client. She took us through the airport and out to taxi service. Imagine VIP status, even temporarily?

Pluto greeting on Disney Magic

After our three-day whirlwind stay in Barcelona we boarded the Disney Cruise Ship for a ten-day cruise across the Atlantic. I’ll tell you more about that amazing “boat trip” next week.

 

Indigo Sky for the reader who enjoys historical romance! @AmazonKindle http://amzn.to/2nWqbcq Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE
Author page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA

 

 

 

 

 

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