Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Gilded Sky

Autumnal sunset. 6:30 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, October 7, 2015. Sunny and a little warmer yesterday with the temperature at 70, falling to the mid-50s by late evening.

After several months of renovation and refurbishment, the Grand Army Plaza with the gilded statue (bronze doré) of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, between 59th and 60th Street across Fifth Avenue from the Sherry Netherland Hotel, is now open to the public.

The statue, which was refreshed and cleaned up (or perhaps re-gilded), was modeled by Augustus Saint Gaudens in 1892 when the general was living here in New York. The bust was cast in 1902 and the following year the equestrian sculpture was completed by the sculptor in Paris.
The new Grand Army Plaza, now open to the public.
The work was originally placed at the main entrance to the Park. But in 1913, when the Pulitzer Fountain was completed on the southern end of the Grand Army Plaza, and in front of the Plaza Hotel, the Sherman statue was moved to its present location to make the two halves of the plaza symmetrical.

I happened to be walking by the statue with a friend, a Southern belle who is now a longtime resident of the city. I stopped to take the picture of the spot, and as I did, my friend said she couldn’t look at it because of what Sherman represented to her heritage after his famous 285 mile march of conflagration from Atlantic to Savannah in November/December 1864.
More street side. An NYSD reader submitted an opinion about the growing population of the Citi Bikes all over Manhattan. The bike racks occupy large chunks of the blocks on which they’re found. The idea evidently is to encourage people to travel by bike rather than motor.

Street lanes were eliminated and bike lanes have replaced them. Many main thoroughfares were even completely closed to cars and trucks including major junctions on Broadway, which happens to be the oldest road on the North American continent – created a millennia ago by the native Americans. Two thousand years later, some omniscient individual had a better idea: make it even harder for New Yorkers to get around.
Installing more bike lanes.
So where we were once a very crowded metropolis, we are now an even more crowded metropolis. And ironically, many who ride bikes instead of riding in cars follow no rules or laws and very often haven’t got a clue as to where they are and where they are going.  As described by this loyal reader:

I am a woman of a certain age who is fortunate enough to live on the Upper East Side. Part of my daily exercise routine is to walk 72nd Street. Imagine my surprise when I saw heavy equipment installing bicycle racks on 72nd Street between Park and Madison Avenues this mid-September.

Parking in this neighborhood is always an issue and double parking always exists on this thoroughfare.

"Oh my" I thought, "this is not going to go over very well with the area residents. Why are bikes needed when anyone can simply go into Central Park and rent one."

For the next few days I noticed tourists who had no idea how to navigate the complicated streets of New York almost cause many an accident between Park and Madison Avenues.

Imagine my surprise when I noticed the bike racks being removed the other day. "Why?” I asked.

The response: "We have to keep 72nd Street cleared for the Pope's visit."
The Citi Bike rack on 72nd Street that was installed and removed 10 days later only to be reinstalled.
"Why did you install bikes racks one week ago if you knew you had to remove them before the Pope's arrival," I asked.

“Go ask City Hall and your Transportation Commissioner," was the response.

I know there is much waste in city government but this lack of judgment was just too much. I am so angered with those who attempt to run our city. Doesn't anyone have common sense?

To make matters worse there are added bicycle racks on the Central Park side of 72nd St. as well while there is a bike concession in the park.
Bike crazy New York.
The town’s around. Last night over at the Rockefeller University, there was a benefit lecture and dinner “Celebrating Science” at which they honored James and Marilyn Simons. The evening, sponsored by Parents & Science, was hosted by Marc Tessier-Lavigne and special guest Alan Alda. The evening’s speaker was Dr. C. David Allis, Ph.D  His lecture was titled “Epigenetics Changes Everything: Revisiting the Nature Vs. Nurture Debate.”

Mr. and Mrs. Simons founded their foundation in 1994 and are deeply committed to advancing research in mathematics and the basic sciences furthering our understanding and treatment of autism spectrum disorders, and improving math and science education in our nation’s public schools.  If you didn’t know, Jim Simons is an American mathematician, as well as a successful hedge fund manager (Renaissance Technologies) and philanthropist. He also founded Math for America. All forward looking. For those who like such details, Mr. Simons is also reported by Forbes to be the 88th richest man in the world.
James and Marilyn Simons.
Catching up. This past September 27th, The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) presented The Edible Academy Family Garden Picnic, a celebration of organic vegetable gardening and cooking. Set in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, the afternoon of outdoor discovery featured special guests Chef Carla Hall, co-host of ABC’s The Chew, along with chefs from Mario Batali’s acclaimed restaurants – Andy Nusser of Tarry Lodge and Anthony Sasso of Casa Mono – for a delicious picnic and live cooking demonstrations. Kids of all ages enjoyed a boxed lunch, kitchen crafts, gardening activities, live music, and much more. All proceeds benefit the Botanical Garden’s Edible Academy, hub of the children’s organic vegetable gardening program.
The Chairmen of The Edible Academy Family Garden Picnic are Christina and Laurent de Marval, Emma and Todd Goergen, Sharon and Bill Jacob, Nathalie Kaplan, Annie and James Lansing, Kimberly and Jean Putzer, and Julia and Ted Weld. The Grandparents Chairmen are Anne and Tom Hubbard, Edie and Hamilton Kean, Susan Lynch, and Eliot and Wilson Nolen. The Honorary Chairman is Jill Joyce. The Founding Chairmen are Julie and Nick Sakellariadis.
Annie and James Lansing with Gregory Long.
Annie Novak, Anthony Sasso, and Toby Adams.
Bernard and Jennifer Adnet.
Carla Hall.
Susan and Cliff Yonce. Christina Rowe and Paula Hornbostel.
Chloe Aiken, Milo Carver, Chad Brown, Kyle Brown, Dylan Brown, and Freddie Carver.
Gregory Long, Carla Hall, and Caroline A. Wamsler.
Emma and Todd Goergen. Elodie Taittinger.
Jennifer and Beau Lescott.
Niki Cheng, Joanna Jordan, Scheyla Acosta, and Andrea Greeven Douzet.
The Thain family.
On the following Tuesday, September 29th, Choreographer Jonah Bokaer and the Chez Bushwick Board of Directors hosted their annual gala at The Russian Tea Room. The Music box-themed celebration honored contemporary artist Daniel Arsham. The evening was chaired by Claire Distenfeld, Michèle Gerber Klein and Tracy Stern.

Arsham and Bokaer first met in 2006 through the legendary Merce Cunningham, for whom Bokaer was dancing and Arsham was creating stage designs. The two began their own collaborative process a year later.
In the past eight years, the two men have built a unique scenic language exploring themes of spatial reorientation and disruption of the human body in relation to its surrounding environment, visual performance intervention, displacement of materials and a re-imagination of rectilinear stage space.

Their work has been shown at New York’s New Museum, and Lincoln Center, Jacob’s Pillow, the Arscht Center in Miami, IVAM in Spain, the Hellenic Festival in Athens, Greece, Rotterdamse Schouwburg in the Netherlands and at the Festival d’Avignon in France, co-produced by the Hermès Foundation. 
Jonah Bokaer and Michèle Gerber Klein. Patsy Tarr.
Matt Sukkar and Rachel Libeskind. Kara Tobin and Paul McCann.
Adele Nino. Usher Raymond and Daniel Arsham.
Sarah Calodney, Claire Distenfeld, and Jennifer Fisher.
Teri Whitcraft and Muriel Quancard. Daniel Arsham.
Also on the same Tuesday night, more than 200 members of New York City’s philanthropic, preservation and civic communities gathered at the Metropolitan Club as FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts (FRIENDS) honored renowned pianist and bandleader Peter Duchin at its 12th Annual Award dinner.

Proceeds from the event will support FRIENDS as it seeks to preserve the architectural legacy and livability of the Upper East Side, safeguarding the character of the neighborhood and advocating for sound preservation policy in New York City.  The dinner had more than doubled its original fundraising goal, and raised $260,000 for the organization.
Peter Duchin. Philip Howard.
Tara Kelly (executive director of the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts).
Philip and Alexandra Howard served as the event Chairs.  Serving as Vice Chairs are O. Kelley and Brenda Anderson, Kent Barwick, Tony Kiser and Lisa Atkin, and William and Katharine Rayner.

The evening featured the premiere of a short film celebrating the Upper East Side’s diversity from its little-known immigrant roots to its famed gold coast, highlighting the challenges it will face going forward.
Walter Melvin, Franny Eberhart (President, Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts), and Dan Strickler.
Grace Warnecke and Judith Churchill.
Peter Pennoyer, Carole Miller, and Richard Miller.
Hally McGehean, Joe Palazzolo, and Tara Kelly.
Angel Ayon, Britt Densmore, Nadezhda Williams, Daniel Allen, Hafina Allen, and Simeon Bankoff.
Sherwin Goldman, Janet Nelson, and Richard Miller.
Franny Eberhart and Paula Moss.
Andrew Steffan, Patsy Steffan, and John Chu.
Alice and Kevin Concagh.
Lisa Kersavage and Seri Worden Entel.
Franny Eberhart and Council Member Ben Kallos.
Seri Worden Entel and Matthew Coody.

Photographs by BFA (Bokaer); Sarah Greig (UES).

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