23SKIDOO: FLAT IRON BUILDING

23SKIDOO: FLAT IRON BUILDING

Flatiron Building

Twenty-three skidoo was a happening at a triangular site where Broadway and Fifth Avenue meet. The juxtaposition of the streets and a nearby park caused a wind-tunnel effect.  In the early twentieth century, men would hang out on the corner of Twenty-third Street and watch the wind blowing women’s dresses up, so that they could catch a little bit of ankle. This entered into popular culture and there are hundreds of postcards and illustrations of women with their dresses blowing up in front of the Flatiron Building. And it supposedly is where the slang expression “23 skidoo” comes from because the police would come and give the voyeurs the 23 skidoo to get them out of the area.

After the end of World War I, the 165th Infantry Regiment passes through the Victory Arch in Madison Square, with the Flatiron Building in the background (1919).

The now familiar distinctive triangular shape of the Flatiron Building, designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham and built in 1902, fills the wedge-shaped property. The 22-story iconic office building has been one of New York City’s most dramatic enduring symbols of the city since its birth. It was designated a New York City Landmark in 1966 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989. It is popular with photographers, artists and illustrators.

Wind tunnel

The gold dome of the Sohmer Piano Building (1897) is a distinctive landmark of the Flatiron District

The neighborhood around it is called the Flatiron District . The designation is of relatively recent vintage, dating from around 1985, and came about because of its increasingly residential character and the influx of many restaurants into the area. Before that, the area was commercial, with numerous small clothing and toy manufacturers, and was sometimes called the Toy District. Later, the toy businesses moved outside the U.S. and then the area began to be referred to as the Photo District—because of the large number of photographers’ studios and associated businesses located there, the photographers having come because of the relatively cheap rents.

Steilitz Flatiron in winter

Popular photographers like Stieglitz and Steichen photographed the building, along with artists and illustrators who all took the Flatiron as the subject of their work.

As of the 2000’s, many publishers have their offices in the district, as well as advertising agencies. The number of computer- and web-related start up companies in the area caused it to be considered part of “Silicon Alley” or “Multimedia Gulch”, along with TriBeCa and SoHo, although this usage declined considerably after the dot.com bubble burst.

Today, the Flatiron Building is frequently used on television commercials and documentaries as an easily recognizable symbol of the city, and in scenes of New York City that are shown during scene transitions in TV sitcoms and other shows and publications.

What is your favorite place in NYC? Have you visited the Flatiron District? Quite interesting with its museums, restaurants and shoppes.

I need your help! Indigo Sky is up this week in Author Shout’s Cover War. You can vote daily. Any votes would be most appreciated! Just click HERE to vote!
INDIGO SKY
A historical romance

In a whirlwind romance, a lovely New York socialite marries a fêted, debonair author. But beneath the charm is a cheating husband addicted to hasheesh. Her dream marriage turns sour and the simplicity of her life runs amok when a handsome stranger, her husband’s business partner, threatens her staunch loyalty to her wayward husband.

When she faces the ugly truth about her marriage, her need to finalize her divorce sends her on mad chase across the wilds of nineteenth century America with a handsome stranger where she learns the hard lessons of murder, kidnapping, and more, that almost destroy her.

CONEY ISLAND PUMPING STATION FATE

CONEY ISLAND PUMPING STATION FATE

I wrote in an earlier blog, A Dreamland of Fun, Food and Folic, about saving the Coney Island Pumping Station. Here’s newsy news folks . . .

 Preservationists and Coney Island residents want the Coney Island Pumping Station to be landmarked, renovated and repurposed for the community's use. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan


Preservationists and Coney Island residents want the Coney Island Pumping Station to be landmarked, renovated and repurposed for the community’s use. Photos by Lore Croghan of Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Back in the day, the Coney Island Pumping Station saved many lives and properties by providing high-pressure water to firefighters.
Educator Merryl Kafka wanted to drive that point home visually — so she wore a firefighter’s helmet to testify at a city Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) hearing on October 8th.

“Coney has lost much of its architectural framework, but we can save this 1938 modern masterpiece preserved as public art … with a new purpose,” said Kafka, the co-founder of the Rachel Carson High School of Coastal Studies in Coney Island. “Let this building be the one.”

Preservationists from the Art Deco Society of New York and numerous other groups turned out to testify that they want the Coney Island Pumping Station to be landmarked, renovated and repurposed for the community’s use.
The pumping station at 2301 Neptune Ave. was one of seven Brooklyn historic sites that have been on the LPC’s calendar for consideration as landmarks for many years without a decision from the preservation agency.

The hearing was a first step in an intensive LPC campaign to clear up that calendar backlog. There are 95 properties citywide on the backlog list.
The lozenge-shaped Arte Moderne-style pumping station was the only public work designed by prominent architect Irwin Chanin. It boosted the water pressure available for firefighters in Coney Island, which was frequently stricken by devastating conflagrations.

Merryl Kafka

Merryl Kafka wears a firefighter’s helmet to the October 8th Landmarks Preservation commission hearing about the Coney Island Pumping Station. BEST HAT. EVER!

Decorative Art Deco-style limestone statues of winged horses were removed many years ago from the long-decommissioned pumping station and loaned to the Brooklyn Museum.
“The Elgin Marbles are waiting at the Brooklyn Museum for reassembly,” testified Sean Khorsandi, an alumnus of Cooper Union, like Chanin himself.
“The power lies with you,”  Khorsandi told commissioners.
“Give a landmark to a neighborhood that basically is NYCHA public housing,” Dick Zigun, known as the unofficial mayor of Coney Island, said at the hearing.

Does this interest you? What is your take on saving America’s history?

Coney Island Pumping Station’s fans muster at Landmarks hearing

This is a repeat of this blog today 6/8/16, with the Good news as of October 8, 2015. The Pumping Station has been saved. Here’s the building now, and my oil painting of the site.

Original existing pumping station and my oil painting

Top: Original existing pumping station on Neptune Ave in Coney Island and below: my oil painting on anodized aluminum 12×24″

ConeyIslandPumpStationweb12x24oil-on-anodized-alum122015

A Dreamland of Fun, Food and Frolic

A Dreamland of Fun, Food and Frolic

Coney-Island-Pumping-Station_1-1024x768Did you ever sign a petition to save a building? It sometimes seems futile, especially here in the states. We are a country that forgets about architectural history. Someday, we too can be like our European neighbors, who treasure antiquity, if we save these works of historical art.

Landmark this: The Coney Island Pumping Station is a 1930s Art Landmark this: The Coney Island Pumping Station is a 1930s Art Deco structure that could receive landmark status after an Oct. 8 hearing.

Landmark this: The Coney Island Pumping Station is a 1930s Art Deco structure that could receive landmark status after an Oct. 8 hearing.

This time, I have been asked to sign for the Coney Island Pumping Station. This gorgeous landmark was designed and built in 1938. It fits the Art Deco style perfectly, and is one of the few places left in Coney Island after storm Sandy. Would you please consider saving this building?

Here is a sample letter for your perusal. To send the letter, please see the address at the end of this post. Do it now, the deadline is coming up when the commission will vote on October 8th. Copy this letter, paste in Word, sign and send to the address below.

Dear Commissioner Srinivasan,

Please accept this letter in support of the designation of the Coney Island Pumping Station as a New York City Landmark.

The architect for the 1938 Coney Island Pumping Station was New York City architect, Irwin S. Chanin. Chanin graduated from Cooper Union in 1915 with degrees in both architecture and engineering. In 1926 he attended the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts. He returned to the U.S. with a new architectural and ornamental style that was known as Art Deco. By 1930, Chanin had established himself as a major designer-developed in New York City, having built theaters, hotels and office buildings. His most compelling works include the Century and Majestic apartment houses of Central Park West and the Art Deco Chanin Building located on 42nd Street, where he maintained his own office. The Coney Island Pumping Station exists as Chanin’s only public building and marked the change in his style from large Art Deco skyscrapers to low rise Art Moderne functional buildings. The pumping station remains a testament to the work of a Chanin, documents a turniing point in his career as an architect as well as the changing attitude toward public architecture, to design for the common good of all and to celebrate progress and innovation.

The beauty of the architecture as art and its purpose make the Coney Island Pumping Station significant and irreplaceable as one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in Brooklyn, NY and one of Irwin Chanin’s most evolved and streamline Art Deco designs. I commend the Commission for holding a public hearing to include this building and urge  you to designate the Coney Island Pumping Station as a New York City Landmark.

Sincerely,

Your name here

Send to:

Commissioner Meenakshi Srinivasan, Chair
New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
Municipal Building
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor, North
New York, NY 10007

Save this one . . . another piece of American History facing the bulldozer. It will take money to restore this, but this is Coney Island after all, a dreamland of fun, food and frolic and most important, American history. Let’s collect those letters and send them to Commissioner Meenakshi Srinivasan.

This has already been designated a landmark, preserve it! Thank you for taking this into consideration. Let’s preserve Coney Island. They lost so much in storm sandy and are rebuilding. Would you consider saving this beautiful part of American history? Then copy, sign and seal this letter and mail to the above address. Do it quickly, it’s a battle keeping those bulldozers

Coney Island Pumping Station Neptune Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Coney Island Pumping Station Neptune Avenue and W.23rd Street, Brooklyn, NY

Coney-Island-Pumping-Station_1-1024x768 away.

Not sure where the pumping station is in this photo, it must be behind that cyclone fence somewhere. If you can catch a sunset in Coney Island, they are breathtaking.

10/2/15 Just got this additional information:

“We encourage all stakeholders to submit written testimony in advance of the hearing by email to backlog95@lpc.nyc.gov.
All statements and materials received in advance of the hearing on October 8th will be distributed to the Commissioners and entered into the record. The record will remain open until October 22.”

DESIGNER FABRICS YOU CAN’T BUY-UNTIL . . .

DESIGNER FABRICS YOU CAN’T BUY-UNTIL . . .

Clarence House Fabric

Clarence House Fabric

Clarence House is considered one of the foremost style-setters in the decorative fabric industry and is the first choice of many of the world’s top interior designers. Many of their fabrics retail for well over $400 dollars per yard.

Headquartered in New York City’s famed D&D Building, Clarence House has been at the forefront of the decorative fabric industry for over 40 years. They were founded in 1961 by New York designer Robin Roberts, who envisioned a company that would fill a void in the decorative fabric industry, a void that was created by the vast majority fabric companies refusing to take the necessary design risks to move the home decor business forward. Since the very beginning, Roberts has filled Clarence House’s line of decorative fabrics with imported fabrics never before seen in America. It wasn’t long after that that Clarence House decided to get involved in all aspects of the creative process by starting their own in-house design studio and making the now famous Kazumi Yoshida their head art director. To this day Kazumi still controls the evolution of each design from its conception to the finished product.

Clarence House Fabric

Clarence House Fabric

Not long after becoming involved in the decorative fabric industry they were quickly becoming world renowned for their extremely unusual and opulent designs. Although they are most famous for their hand screen-printing of fabrics and wallpapers, Clarence House also offers the highest quality velvets, brocades, damasks, silks, cottons, linens, sheers, trimmings and leathers. Throughout their years in the decorative fabric business they have supplied the fabrics for some of the world’s most famous museums, residences, and historic sites. Their name appears in every issue of any important interior design magazine available– including Architectural Digest, Florida Design, and Veranda.

Ideas for left over fabric

Ideas for left over fabric

With 16 showrooms throughout the United States and additional showrooms in South Africa, Canada, and Australia—Clarence House is on a well-earned course to achieve world-wide design dominance.

Unfortunately, unless you are an Architect or an Interior Designer you cannot buy directly from them.

That is, of course, only true if you don’t know the Design Diva. Having known the people at Clarence House for over 15 years she is able to purchase large amounts of exclusive decorative fabrics from them and bring them to you at extremely discounted prices.

Now isn’t that Divalicious?

Close up for use of leftover fabric-fun

Close up for use of leftover fabric-fun

Designer Fabrics Below Wholesale

The people who run Design Diva Fabrics have been involved in many of the design communities most prestigious organizations for over 30 years. OUR LOVE of interior fabrics fuels us in our worldwide search for the most unusual fabrics and trims available. From the luscious Velvets of Belgium and the magnificent Brocades of Italy to the intricately Hand Embroidered Silks of the Far East, we have it all. And as if that was’nt enough, almost all of our fabrics are normally available exclusively to designers and architects.

Now you would think that the fact that we are able to acquire these fabrics at all would be impressive enough to be our claim to fame, but it’s not. Not only do we get our customers fabrics that are normally not available to them; we get our customers these fabrics for a fraction of the price that a licensed Interior Designer would pay for them.

Have you ever shopped at the D&D Building 979 Third Avenue, NYC?

 

MICHAEL GRAVES ARCHITECT

MICHAEL GRAVES ARCHITECT

Michael Graves

Michael Grave

  • Michael Graves, FAIA,* honored by Contract Magazine, with the Legend Award at their 2013 Interiors Awards, said in the article, Reflecting on the Legacy of a Legend of Design,** the April 2015 issue, “I’m very anxious in my own work to build up a life of experiences that are positive and get rid of the negative ones. And so, that idea of the practice of architecture for me is the fine-tuning of one’s aesthetic.” Graves died at his Princeton, New Jersey home on March 12, at age 80, after spending more than a decade in a wheelchair. Although he was paralyzed from the chest down and wheelchair-bound following a spinal cord infection in 2003, he continued leading his design firm and lecturing in a long career fine-tuning his approach to design. I remember as a student of architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, attending his lectures and panel discussions about his work. To me, Graves, a brilliant architect, was infallible. Reading about his passing was shocking.
Michael with one of his teapots

Michael with one of his teapots (I gifted this one to my cousin Yael, for her wedding)

Based on my client poll, almost all agree that the kitchen is the core of the home, a gathering place. Architect and designer Michael Grave’s philosophy rated the kitchen a workplace that is symbolic of the family. Graves changed how we see artifacts designed for domestic use, as his tea kettles and fabrics for Target and artifacts for JC Penny depict. He said in a 2003 article for the Miele Resource Group Design Forum, “In my residential projects, I emphasize the quality of “domesticity,” which for me combines my interest in culture with the design of physical artifacts. Nowhere is this more important than in the kitchen. The kitchen is a source of sustenance, warmth and camaraderie. We, and the artifacts we use, should be equally comfortable in the home.

Graves other teapot for Target (same as in the photo with MG)

Graves other teapot for Target. Same as in the photo with MG above.

 

For example, in our own designs for kitchen tools, we keep both the hand and the machine in mind.” In plain language that means use tools that work well and look great.

MG teapot (he designed both here) I gave the other one a wedding gift to my cousin Yael.

MG teapot, this one is on my stove, looking elegant. When it whistles, it comes out that little brown bird in the spout  on the right. Do you see me at the bottom?

Graves said in the 2003 article that he sees increasing value being placed on the ability to customize residences around lifestyle choices. He expects the future to bring new and exciting selections of well-designed systems and individual designs for houses in their entirety as well as for rooms, furnishings and artifacts based on how one wants to live.” Since the kitchen is the functional and symbolic heart of the house, it has become the forefront of this movement.

Kitchens connect the pieces of the home, as well as the people using the home. Le Corbusier said, “A home is a machine to live in.” Can you see the similarity between the kitchen, as a machine to run the home, to Le Corbusier’s, a home is a machine to live in? Have you kept up with technology? Is your home designed well and does it function for your comfort? Have you brought the outside in, and have you brought the inside out? Do you use LED lamping (bulbs), have you installed solar roof panels? In 2003, some of this power saving technology was only a dream.

Michael Graves, you were here long enough to see those things happen. For one of my architectural genius’s, he has accomplished much, influenced many, changed lives for all. Long ago, I stayed at the then brand new Swan Hotel and did a report about it for my criticism program at Parsons. I am thinking about reporting on the Swan next week. No promises though.

Thoughts?

*Fellow of the American Institute of Architects

**By John Czarnecki, Assoc. AIA, Hon. IIDA
Editor in Chief

To read more about the article and Michael Graves, click here: Contract Magazine

PAPER ARCHITECTURE

PAPER ARCHITECTURE

Architecture generally involves creating monuments to permanence from . . .  transient materials like paper tubes and plastic beer crates.

House of Cards Japanese Pavilion 2000

‘House of Cards’ Japanese Pavilion Expo 2000

The Japanese Pavilion for Expo 2000, held in Hannover, Germany, was a grid structure made ​​of recyclable paper tubes resulting in a building with honeycomb. Ban created the pavilion building in collaboration with the architect Frei Otto and structural engineer Buro Happold. The 72-meter-long gridshell structure was made with paper tubes. But due to stringent building laws in Germany, the roof had to be reinforced with a substructure. After the exhibition the structure was recycled and returned to paper pulp. Shigeru Ban, born in Tokyo, Japan, is an international architect, most famous for his innovative work with paper. His use of  recycled cardboard tubes affords prompt and efficient housing to disaster victims. In the aftermath of the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, Ban built temporary homes for Vietnamese refugees using beer crates filled with sandbags. In the mid-1990s, he was the first architect in Japan to construct a building primarily out of paper  and required special approval to pass Japan’s strict building codes. Ban has a romance with paper because of its low cost, recyclability, low-technology and replaceability. Another aspect of Ban’s influence is his humanitarianism and his attraction to ecological architecture. Ban’s work with paper and other materials is heavily based on its sustainability and its lack of waste.  As a result, Ban’s DIY refugee shelters (used in Japan after the Kobe earthquake, in Turkey, Rwanda and around the world) are very popular and effective for low-cost disaster relief-housing, as seen in the cardboard container housing in the image below.

Japanese housing complex

Japanese housing complex

Ban is referred to as an ecological architect, a modernist, an experimentalist and rationalist. Ban himself quotes, “I don’t like waste,” summing up his philosophy. He was profiled by Time magazine in their projection of 21st century innovators in the field of architecture and design. In 2014, Ban was named the 37th recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious prize in modernist architecture. The Pritzker Jury cited Ban for his innovative use of material and his dedication to humanitarian efforts around the world. If you are wondering about the use of paper in building–no worries–the paper tubes used for support in Ban’s buildings are protected from the elements  by a roof above and concrete floors below. Perhaps you would like to make your own paper architecture?

The Paper Architect: Fold-It-Yourself Buildings and Structures Hardcover-spiral, by Marivi Garrido (Author), Ingrid Siliakus (Author) can be found at Amazon. Here’s the Amazon link:

THE DELIGHTS OF DESIGN: 17th CENTURY ENGLAND

THE DELIGHTS OF DESIGN: 17th CENTURY ENGLAND

Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell

Cromwell was not a hero, but he is known for his religious fanaticism and his influence that changed England from industrial and artistic growth to stagnation.

Charles I, the King and Cromwell’s adversary, was tried and executed in 1649. The English civil war was a time of great destruction of ecclesiastical and private property that was followed by the Protectorate under Cromwell.

The trial of Charles I on 4 January 1649.

The trial of Charles I on 4 January 1649.

Art had been associated with corruption, immorality, and inefficiency. A ban was placed on everything that had any appeal to the senses during Cromwell’s rule 1649-1660.

In 1660 the monarchy was restored, and Charles II was called to the throne. Charles and Louis XIV of France were cousins. Charles loved the dreamy, romantic styles of the French King—in his reaction to the repressed and subdued spirit that had prevailed during Cromwell’s Puritan Protectorate, he endeavored to imitate the lavishness and extravagances of the French court.

Bakery

Bakery–A Twenty-First Century replacement

The Great Fire of London began on the night of September 2, 1666, as a small fire on Pudding Lane, in the bakeshop of Thomas Farynor, baker to King Charles II. At one o’clock in the morning, a servant woke to find the house aflame, and the baker and his family escaped, but a fear-struck maid perished in the blaze.

Great Fire of London 1666

Great Fire of London 1666

Detail of the Great Fire of London by an unknown painter, depicting the fire as it would have appeared on the evening of Tuesday, 4 September 1666 from a boat in the vicinity of Tower Wharf. The Tower of London is on the right and London Bridge on the left, with St. Paul’s Cathedral in the distance, surrounded by the tallest flames.

Advertisement for a comparatively small and manoeuvrable seventeenth-century fire engine on wheels: "These Engins, (which are the best) to quinch great Fire; are made by John Keeling in Black Fryers (after many years' Experience)."

Advertisement for a comparatively small and manoeuvrable seventeenth-century fire engine on wheels: “These Engines, (which are the best) to quench great Fire; are made by John Keeling in Black Fryers (after many years’ Experience).”

This disastrous fire that destroyed most of London gave impetus to the construction of new homes, public buildings and churches. Sir Christopher Wren, architect, as the leading influence, designed St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

St Pauls London

St Pauls London

Wren was strongly influenced by Palladio, the Italian architect. Palladio’s work was strongly based on the symmetry, perspective and values of the formal classical temple architecture of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. Charles II supported the art industries, as well as French and Flemish craftsmen.

Daniel Marot canopied bed

Canopied bed designed by Daniel Marot

Daniel Marot, French architect, came to England upon the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Issued on 13 April 1598, by Henry IV of France, it granted the Calvinist Protestants of France (also known as Huguenots) substantial rights in a nation still considered essentially Catholic.

It’s told that 40,000 French weavers came to England at that time.

Do you know any other great occurrences that came from fires?

To be continued . . .

State bed engraving designed by Daniel Marot for Louis XIV of France

State bed engraving designed by Daniel Marot for Louis XIV of France

ROMANCING A CASTLE

ROMANCING A CASTLE

Durham Castle

Durham Castle

Romancing a castle, or is it romance in a castle? We are fascinated with the idea of a castle. Kids create sand castles, sculptors carve ice castles and street artists paint 3-D images of castles onto sidewalks. Castles were built for the Crusaders as protection–designed for strength, not beauty. Yet their massiveness and skillful masonry convey a sense of grandeur and of style. There is no mistaking the character of a Norman Keep at the top of a castle.

Durham Castle Keep exterior

Durham Castle Keep exterior

Castles were designed to deal with weapons and tactics which changed  slowly, and the availability of materials, manpower and skills was also influential. The shortage of timber in Palestine, for example, encouraged the use of more stone than in Europe.

For some centuries, the security of life in towns depended upon their fortifications, and the constricting girdle of walls and towers did much to shape the architecture of cities. As with the island of Manhattan, they encouraged high rather than wide building. Castles were fortified villages, sheltering people of every level of society and providing a store for grain against famine as well as imminent siege.

Durham Keep Terrace

Durham Keep Terrace

Durham Castle is a Norman castle in the city of Durham, England. In 1837, the castle was donated to the newly-formed University of Durham by Bishop Edward Maltby as accommodation for students. It was named University College. Architect Anthony Salvin rebuilt the dilapidated Keep from the original plans. Opened in 1840, the castle still houses over 100 students, most of whom are in the Keep.

Castle Keep details (Dover Castle)

Castle Keep details (Dover Castle)

Click the Keep above for the details.

The castle stands on top of a hill above the River Wear on Durham’s peninsula, opposite Durham Cathedral.The castle was originally built in the 11th century as a projection of the Norman king’s power in the north of England, as the population of England in the north remained “wild and fickle” following the disruption of the Norman Conquest in 1066. It is an example of the early motte and bailey castles favored by the Normans. The holder of the office of the Bishop of Durham was a appointed by the King to exercise royal authority on his behalf, the castle was his seat.

Castle Bodiam moat

Castle Bodiam moat

The design of castles has always been a subject worthy of princes. Château Gaillard is a ruined medieval castle, located 90 meters above the commune of Les Andelys overlooking the River Seine in the Upper Normandy region of northern France, one of the most original designs, was the personal achievement of Richard I of England. The owners of most castles played a large part in their design.

Chateau Gaillard, France

Chateau Gaillard, France

The evidence is scanty, but we can reasonably surmise  there was a close working relationship between the princes and the peers who designed the castles and their usually anonymous master masons, who signed their work with their individual marks.

chest 12th century

English: 12th century oak chest iron wrapped. Original purpose-to store alms from sinners seeking remission

The styles of this period are known as Romanesque and Norman (800-1150). After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the new king, William the Conqueror granted protection and repose to the conquered Saxon Thanes. Medieval homes were sparsely furnished by modern standards. The most common items were chests. They came in a variety of shapes and sizes. Besides serving as easily transportable storage containers, the chest also served as tables and for seating. Wood of the day was oak, or whatever local woods were available. A visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, will give you a first hand look at this type of work.

chest-Tudor type (wood-oak)

Oak chest-iron wrapped

The seven Crusades that occurred between the years 1096 and 1270 were of great political, economic and artistic importance. The Crusades did not accomplish any lasting good so far as their original purpose was concerned. They brought, however, a great change in the thought and in the manner of living of the people of Europe that was first noticeable in the Gothic period. They awakened interest at home in the ancient civilizations of Greece, Asia Minor, and the highly developed culture of the Eastern Empire, and they developed a doubt concerning some of the doctrines of the established Roman church, that later formed the roots of the Renaissance.

Durham Castle is jointly designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, a short distance across Palace Green.

Would you like to live in a castle? Hmm, well, experience living in one for a day, a week, a year?

 

 

23 SKIDOO

23 SKIDOO

Flatiron Building New York City

Flatiron Building New York City

Twenty-three skidoo was a happening at a triangular site where Broadway and Fifth Avenue meet. The juxtaposition of the streets and a nearby park caused a wind-tunnel effect   In the early twentieth century, men would hang out on the corner of Twenty-third Street and watch the wind blowing women’s dresses up, so that they could catch a little bit of ankle. This entered into popular culture and there are hundreds of postcards and illustrations of women with their dresses blowing up in front of the Flatiron Building. And it supposedly is where the slang expression “23 skidoo” comes from because the police would come and give the voyeurs the 23 skidoo to get them out of the area.

Flatiron drawing by James Gulliver Hancock

Flatiron drawing by Illustrator James Gulliver Hancock

The now familiar distinctive triangular shape of the Flatiron Building, designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham and built in 1902, fills the wedge-shaped property. The 22-story iconic office building has been one of New York City’s most dramatic enduring symbols of the city since its birth. It was designated a New York City Landmark in 1966 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989. It is popular with photographers, artists and illustrators.

View looking south (downtown) from the Empire State Building at part of the Flatiron District. The Flatiron Building is the triangular building at right center. To the left is the Met Life Tower, with Madison Square Park in front. Between the park and the tower, at street level, Madison Avenue begins at 23rd Street and runs uptown (toward bottom of image). Madison Square is the intersection in front of the Flatiron, where Fifth Avenue and Broadway cross. (Fifth goes to the right, Broadway to the left.) The trees of Union Square Park can be seen in the top left of the image.

View looking south (downtown) from the Empire State Building at part of the Flatiron District. The Flatiron Building is the triangular building at right center. To the left is the Met Life Tower, with Madison Square Park in front. Between the park and the tower, at street level, Madison Avenue begins at 23rd Street and runs uptown (toward bottom of image). Madison Square is the intersection in front of the Flatiron, where Fifth Avenue and Broadway cross. (Fifth goes to the right, Broadway to the left.) The trees of Union Square Park can be seen in the top left of the image.

The neighborhood around it is called the Flatiron District . The designation is of relatively recent vintage, dating from around 1985, and came about because of its increasingly residential character and the influx of many restaurants into the area. Before that, the area was commercial, with numerous small clothing and toy manufacturers, and was sometimes called the Toy District. Later, the toy businesses moved outside the U.S. and then the area began to be referred to as the Photo District—because of the large number of photographers’ studios and associated businesses located there, the photographers having come because of the relatively cheap rents.

Flatiron photo by Steichen

Flatiron photo by Steichen

Popular photographers like Stieglitz and Steichen photographed the building, along with artists and illustrators who all took the Flatiron as the subject of their work.

As of the 2000’s, many publishers have their offices in the district, as well as advertising agencies. The number of computer- and web-related start up companies in the area caused it to be considered part of “Silicon Alley” or “Multimedia Gulch”, along with TriBeCa and SoHo, although this usage declined considerably after the dot.com bubble burst.

Flatiron by photographer Stieglitz

Flatiron by photographer Stieglitz

Today, the Flatiron Building is frequently used on television commercials and documentaries as an easily recognizable symbol of the city, and in scenes of New York City that are shown during scene transitions in TV sitcoms and other shows and publications.

What is your favorite place in NYC? Have you visited the Flatiron District? Quite interesting with its museums, restaurants and shoppes.

 

AMERICA’S OLDEST CITY

AMERICA’S OLDEST CITY

St. Augustine is the oldest city in the nation, so I have been told. America is not that old anyway. What, maybe six centuries?

That’s six hundred plus years. America is still a baby. Certainly not as old as the Middle East, or Europe or Asia. It was a fun place to visit and see where people had walked in the past.

Guys doing cannon demo

Today’s blog is not about American history though, it is about one of the cities founded at the beginning, in 1565 says history.  Fifty-five years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, the Spanish established St. Augustine.

Tom and historic sign

The Spanish bakery there is famous, on the famous George Street. It has been handed down through the  years and has stayed in the same family. They bake delicious breads to dunk in their delicious soups.

There is a fort, right on the water and in the town center, where they did a cannon shooting demonstration. We were able to see the dormitories for the guards.

We stayed at one of Marriott’s Autograph Collection Hotels in St. Augustine. It was lovely. The Casa Monica was opened in 1888, and is filled with authentic antiques only seen in museums. They were easily identifiable by their historic characteristics.

England’s William & Mary chest, 17th century, walnut with brass tear drop pulls, and bun feet.

The city’s skyline was dramatic with its spheres and domes.

Sphere & dome

Historic George Street was crowded with tourists as they looked, sought and ate the most delicious looking ice cream combinations you could want. The eateries and pubs were plentiful, as were the shops with their samples of wines and other goodies.

If you are a people watcher, this is the place. The tourists were a mixed bag of colors and faces, young and old. Some from New York, some from the Middle East, some from the Orient. Everyone was friendly and courteous. It was delightful to be in such an amorous atmosphere.

George Street walkway and shops

George Street is an old walkway in St. Augustine. In the evening it is so filled with people, you could rub shoulders. Could be a good way to make new friends.

I am doing some research for my book that I am writing and came across interesting information. The Spheres in the image below are the architectural elements of the former  Ponce de Leon Hotel, 1885-88, where Flagler College was located. It would have been great to visit the building to see Tiffany’s windows in the dining room.  The Ponce de Leon Hotel was designed and built by graduates of McKim, Mead & White offices and the Ecole des Beaux Arts. Famous, very famous architectural offices and school.

These spheres belong to the former Ponce de Leon Hotel, now Flagler College in St. Augustine

The streets had a horse and carriage on every block, sometimes two.

What’s the oldest city you’ve been to?

Lights at night

Shop window at night

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