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.

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