Completed in 1873,New York City is among the world’s great urban innovations. Bound by 5th and 8th avenues on the east and west respectively, and from 59th Street on the south, 110th Street on the north, these 843 acres encompass a lot to see and do.
With two skating rinks, horseback riding, and skating and bicycle trails, the athletic won’t want for anything that suits their taste. For those who enjoy a more leisurely pace, the many sculptures, lakes and bird species provide ample opportunities for just gazing.
Largely grass dotted with trees and shrubs, there are nonetheless sidewalks all around and through the park for strolls and people watching. Plenty of that can be had, since the park is visited by some 25 million annually. Even so, the once fearsome crime rate has dropped to at or below every other urban park in the world.
Winding through the park is a 6mi (10km) road along which travel cars as well as the occasional horse-drawn cart. The romantic ride is still a favorite activity more than a hundred years after the service began. It makes for an especially relaxing treat during the Fall when the leaves turn to red and gold. Read more…
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At 38 stories, the CBS building in New York isn’t anywhere near the tallest. Its location at 52nd St and 6th Avenue isn’t special. Even its design and construction were not – as buildings go – controversial. But, for what it offers both inside and out, CBS is a destination of choice for visitors of New York.
The Eero Saarinen designed edifice is at the apogee of the International Style. Saarinen, a Finnish born architect of world-renown, also designed the elegant Washington DC airport terminal. The CBS building is his only skyscraper.
The building’s dark gray exterior is formed by straight-to-the-sky concrete pillars clad in Canadian black granite alternating with darkened glass. It appears almost as a modern version of a medieval castle, with an inviting plaza substituted for a drawbridge.
Completed in 1965, the building still houses the CBS corporate headquarters where decisions affecting billions are made and the structure is as serious as its purpose. Yet its stark beauty is undeniable.
It was the first skyscraper to use a reinforced concrete support frame rather than steel. Departing aesthetically as well as technologically it deviates boldly from the strict International Style. It is not just another flat glass and metal box. It has panache.
CBS in New York has a lighter side, though.
Down the block at 524 West 57th St are the headquarters of CBS News and the main broadcast facility for both radio and TV. Here the outrageous and the serious share office and broadcasting space. Read more…
It’s rare to find an oasis of calm in frenetic New York City. The lights of Broadway, the zooming taxis and the throngs of people all suggest what New York is: a bustling, modern metropolis. Even lush Central Park is a buzz with skaters, Frisbee tossers and the odd car crossing from east to west.
But not far north, and surprisingly still part of Manhattan, is a zone of peace and quiet from the Middle Ages – The Cloisters.
Though constructed in the 1930s, on land donated by John D. Rockefeller, the museum was designed to closely resemble five medieval Cloisters. Most of the structures and collection center around two broad periods, the Romanesque (roughly from 1100-1150AD) and the Gothic (approx. 1150-1520AD).
The facility is owned and managed as a branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (at Fifth Ave and 82nd St), but geographically, artistically and in setting it is worlds away.
One chapel at The Cloisters New York shows the distinctive style of the Romanesque with its broad barrel vault ceilings and simplified paintings and sculpture. Here, the early Christian fresco (wall painting on wet plaster) dominates the apse, where Mary is depicted flanked by winged figures Michael and Gabriel. Read more…