Monday, May 11, 2009

NYC Walk 5 Miles Union Square to New Museum on the Bowery

Quote of the Day: After a day's walk everything has twice its usual value. ~George Macauley Trevelyan

With family plans on Sunday, our only hope for a hike in the hills was Saturday. As anyone could have predicted, Murphy's Law brought weather forecasts of clouds, rain possible with thunderstorms in the afternoon. We decided to clock our 5 miles on the old pedometer by combining shopping chores and a garden and museum visit. For the taller tramp, a walk between any two points downtown, even under gray skies, brings memories to share of times passed...

Heading east on 14th Street from the F Train Station, we saw that all was quiet in front of The New School where the week before angry students had stormed one of the buildings, demanding the ouster of the school President. He eventually did resign.

The Strand is one of the city's oldest and best-stocked bookstores. It boasts 18 miles of new, used, out-of-print and rare books.

Bowlmor Lanes, on University Place in the Village, is more than just a bowling alley--it doubles as a night club for the young and hip. During the 1970s, President Nixon spent some of his retirement days up in the lanes.

The venerable Filenes deep-discount department store on East 14th Street has filed for bankruptcy. The two trailtramps will indeed miss its otherworldly bargains. One of us recently treated himself to a $900 Hugo Boss suit for a mere $399.

We must have walked at least 2 of our 5 miles inside Filenes. Luckily, there are seats in front of the huge third floor windows where we paused and took in the scene below. The new condo building under construction at the left was the Tiffany Department store around 1901. Its original skeleton is being preserved and kept visible within new floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

We left Filenes and headed south on 4th Avenue where we saw a shopper entering the Exotic Fantasy Apparel store. Gargoyles are usually seen on the tops of buildings; this one must have escaped from his perch on nearby Grace School.

The old meets the new, as another building must have sold its air rights. We're seeing more and more unfinished buildings around town--how long will this "recession" last?

Grace School, on Fourth Avenue, is a private elementary school. It continues the Gothic Revival style of its famous neighbor, Grace Episcopal Church, which was designed by renowned 19th century architect James Renwick.

The view down Eleventh Street from Fourth Avenue in the East Village. It's interesting to see how the architectural integrity of the corner was preserved. The rounded facade of the Post Office at left, erected in 1936, is echoed in the facade of the apartment building at right, which went up 21 years later.
Webster Hall on east Eleventh Street, venue for rock bands past, present and future, famous and yet to be.

Looking south on 4th Avenue toward Astor Place, we were struck by the mirror images of old buildings captured in the glass of the new condo.

The Alamo, the cube sculpture is the gateway to the East Village. Erected in 1967, it used to revolve, to the delight of many late-night stoners who spent many hours pushing it round and round on its axis.

Astor Place and Fourth Avenue, site of the former John Wanamaker department store.

This view of Astor Place showing the contrast in architectural styles is typical of New York.

Cooper Union is an competitive, tuition-free college. The Great Hall at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art opened in 1859. Abraham Lincoln spoke here in 1860 during his presidential election campaign.

Cooper Union's newest building on Third Avenue and Cooper Square.

Down the street on the Bowery stands the Amato Opera, which celebrated it's 61st--and final--year in 2009.

The most rfecent home of the Village Voice, in its day New York's hippest alternative newspaper. Begun in the 1950s by Norman Mailer and Dan Woolf, it launched the careers of many journalists and writers. Voice personal ads were distinguished for their ingenuity: "Stubborn, penniless, aristocratic, unstable nitwit expects to hear from idiotic,
irresponsible, temperamental broad who can't keep her mind on anything. If
it's you, you might as well write back. I'll get hold of you sooner or later."

Liz Christy Community Garden at Houston Street and the Bowery is an oasis of calm in this busy area. It's completely run by volunteers, so if you've got a couple of free hours a week, they'd be glad to hear from you.

An expiring daffodil in the garden. Still beautiful on its way out.

Gorgeous tulips.
The garden is full of surprises, like this mystery flower. Anyone know what it is?

The white storefront across from the New Museum is a gallery called the BLT. The gallery's upcoming show (May 27, 2009), "Wiser than God," featuring artists born before 1927, is a riposte to the New Museum's current show, "Younger than Jesus."

Down the street from the BLT is this fascinating place, which specializes in Dough Retarders, whatever those may be.

The New Museum on the Bowery was completed in 2007. It's the first museum in downtown New York ever constructed from the ground up. The current show is "Younger than Jesus," which includes artists younger than 33.

We decided to follow this patron of the arts inside the museum.

One of the trailtramps appears about to leap from the roof of the New Museum. The view is to the southwest.

Again from the top of the museum, looking east.

..and north toward the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, if you can spot it.

On our way back uptown, we enjoyed the sights on Elizabeth Street. This art gallery is on the former site of a neighborhood butcher shop.

Across the street is a real meat market, Albanese's Meat and Poultry. It undoubtedly first served the Italian immigrants who lived here years ago.

This corner at Elizabeth and Houston Streets shows the zany character of downtown New York. If you look closely, you can see Santa Claus in front of a props rental store. The props are on display outside and inside the blue tent. Can those be the three amigos standing there beside all that orange and green?

As we got close to home, we passed Union Square. The Square has become a popular gathering place for young skateborders and others.

A gorgeous early Spring sunset from one of the Trailtramp's apartment, located near Union Square. It's good to be home. At least for now...

Thunderstorms are predicted for next weekend. Oh, no! When can we return to the wild, wild woods??

Monday, May 4, 2009

Hike in Fahnestock Park NY(click link for detailed route)

Quote of the Day: Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake. ~Wallace Stevens

We looked forward to this early spring hike in Fahnestock State Park that promised 8 miles of gentle, rolling trails through woods and high meadows with Alpine-like vistas. It was a great way to get in our 10,000-plus steps on the old pedometer.
For those here in NY who know it rained all weekend, we actually went on this walk on April 18th,
the week before Croton Dam (click for those gorgeous pics).

Just a bit over an hour after boarding the Metro North train at Grand Central for Cold Spring, NY, we met our AMC group and piled into cars of forever willing fellow hikers and rode to the trailhead on NY Route 301, just east of the junction at Dennytown Road.

We got out of the cars and the fearless leader gave us the logistics of the hike and appointed the sweep.

On our way!

Careful. Those stepping stones could be slippery. Glad the boots are gortex.

Lunch. Find the nearest rock and dig in.

At this point of no return, one of the hikers took a surprise visitor out of her shoulder bag. Arf, arf!

Having passed some fields and through a couple of gates, we made our way up a dirt trail toward the meadow.


Fearless Leader gave us 10 minutes to romp in the meadow.

Back on the woods trail, we came across a small stretch of rushing water.

That hole in the tree is the handiwork of a piliated woodpecker.

These remnants of rock walls mark the homesteads of pioneers who left this unproductive area to find better lives out west.

Getting lost in the woods can be a frightening experience. Luckily, volunteer trail maintainers from the AMC and other organizations stack these rocks into piles called cairns, which show the direction of the trail.

Too bad we'd already had lunch. What a great stop this would be. In warmer weather, this lake would be full of swimmers.

Could this be an early swimmer getting some sun or just a snake in the grass?

We could hear the sound of the traffic as we made our way back to the cars parked on Route 301.

A weary group waits for the train back to NYC.

Trail map of Clarence Fahnestock State Park, NY.

Next week is Mother's Day, so we're not sure if we will take our lunch in the woods, or if we'll be taken to a city restaurant.