a thursday door from central park…

by grace on March 23, 2017

on our last day in NYC, bev and i spent a good amount of time at the met, then we walked through central park.  we walked by the central park zoo, which i’d never seen before for some reason.  i thought it was funny that it had a llama and a sheep…

…and a goat!  kids in the city don’t get to see any farm animals.

and then i spotted this great door there in the park.  it’s called the Arsenal, and this is the interesting stuff that wikipedia has to say about it:

Built between 1847 and 1851 as a storehouse for arms and ammunition for the New York State Militia, the building predates the design and construction of Central Park, where only the Blockhouse (1814) is older.

The Arsenal was designed by Martin E. Thompson (1786–1877),[1] originally trained as a carpenter, who had been a partner of Ithiel Town and went on to become one of the founders of the National Academy of Design. Thompson’s symmetrical structure of brick in English bond, with headers every fifth course, presents a central block in the manner of a fortified gatehouse flanked by half-octagonal towers. The carpentry doorframe speaks of its purpose with an American eagle displayed between stacks of cannonballs over the door, and crossed sabers and stacked pikes represented in flanking panels.

The building currently houses the offices of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the Central Park Wildlife Conservation Center, but it has also served as a zoo and housed a portion of the American Museum of Natural History‘s collections while its permanent structure was being erected. During the course of its lifetime it has also housed a police precinct, a weather bureau, and an art gallery.


here’s a cool old picture of the arsenal from 1911, although the label on the picture claims it’s from both 1911 and 1914.

i decided to look up the older building the Blockhouse, and here’s what it looks like.  i’ve never laid eyes on it. the funny thing is, that entry about the Arsenal says it’s the second-oldest building in the park, but the description of the Blockhouse is the 2nd oldest.

yet more interesting info from wikipedia:

Blockhouse No. 1, colloquially known as The Blockhouse, is a small fort in the northern part of Central Park, in Manhattan, New York City, and is the second oldest structure in the park, aside from Cleopatra’s Needle. It is located on an overlook of Manhattan schist, with a clear view of the flat surrounding areas north of Central Park. Finished in 1814, the fort was part of a series of fortifications in northern Manhattan, which originally also included three fortifications in what was then called Harlem Heights, now known as Morningside Heights. The fort is the last remaining fortification from these defenses. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the designers of Central Park, treated Blockhouse No. 1 as a picturesque ruin, romantically overrun with vines and Alpine shrubbery.[1]

The Blockhouse was likely built on a foundation of a structure dating back to a much earlier date. In 1776 during the Revolutionary War, British and Hessian troops sealed off lower Manhattan from colonial armies by controlling the pass and defending it through a series of fortifications. From trial excavations performed in 1995, it has been determined that the foundations of Blockhouse No. 1 date back to this time of British occupation of Manhattan.[2]

The current fort was constructed in three phases:

In the first phase, under the direction of General Joseph Gardner Swift,[3] the fort was hastily constructed by New Yorkers during the War of 1812 in anticipation of a British invasion. The building was assembled by volunteers who brought the building materials with them, hence the red sandstone blocks included with the Manhattan schist.[4] The fort consists of a two-story bunker surrounding a small area, inside which a wooden platform would originally have stood. The wooded platform was sunken with a revolving turret for a cannon. The sides hold small gunports. This structure was likely connected to the ground by a small staircase. Construction on the tower was completed in 1814, two days before the Treaty of Ghent was signed to end the war.

The second phase was during its use as an ammunition and storage building. During this time the top two feet of stone work were added. They are noticeably different in color, composition and stonework.

Later at the turn of the 20th century, the current entrance and staircase were added, as was the tall flagpole in the center of the fort.

This structure was initially built as a defensive fort for New York City and soldiers were stationed at the Blockhouse. At its height, nearly 2000 New York state militiamen garrisoned the fortifications.[1] However, the British did not attack New York City, and as such the Blockhouse never saw combat. The Treaty of Ghent was signed on Christmas Eve 1814, and the fort was abandoned almost overnight.[6] It was subsequently used for ammunition storage. In the early 1900s it was used as a place to celebrate patriotic holidays.[7]

it’s so fascinating to think of central park, this place where so many people go to hang out and enjoy nature, being occupied by the british. the place is crawling with history, and now i feel that i’m going to have to explore more of it the next time i’m in NYC.  the blockhouse is at the very top edge of the park, where i’ve never gone.

so then i had to look up the really really oldest structure in the park, and i don’t know why i’ve never noticed this one, Cleopatra’s Needle.  It’s very close to the met, so why have i never seen it???

Cleopatra’s Needle in New York City is one of three similar named Egyptian obelisks and was erected in Central Park , just west of the Metropolitan Museum of Art) on 22 February 1881. It was secured in May 1877 by judge Elbert E. Farman, the United States Consul General at Cairo, as a gift from the Khedive for the United States remaining a friendly neutral as the European powers – France and Britain – maneuvered to secure political control of the Egyptian Government.

Made of red granite, the obelisk stands about 21 metres (69 ft) high, weighs about 200 tons[1] and is inscribed with Egyptian hieroglyphs. It was originally erected in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis on the orders of Thutmose III, on 1475 B.C BC.[1] The material of which it was cut is granite, brought from the quarries of Aswan, near the first cataract of the Nile. The inscriptions were added about 200 years later by Ramesses II to commemorate his military victories. The obelisks were moved to Alexandria and set up in the Caesareum – a temple built by Cleopatra in honor of Mark Antony or Julius Caesar – by the Romans in 12 BC, during the reign of Augustus, but were toppled some time later. This had the fortuitous effect of burying their faces and so preserving most of the hieroglyphs from the effects of weathering.

so there’s my history lesson about central park.  who knew it had so many interesting things in it?  like i said, next time i’m going to seek out other things that i’ve never noticed.

ok then,

mrs. thursday afternoon hughes.

As always…Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time), by using the blue link-up button at Norm 2.0 .  Look for this guy at the bottom of Norm’s page

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more photos at the met…

by grace on March 19, 2017

the thing is, even though we were there for more than three hours, it felt like we’d barely been there at all.

i’d never seen this fabulous room, called the Wisteria Dining Room.  here’s part of an essay written about it.  The house with this dining room was originally sitting at the foot of the Eiffel Tower!

A solid (if somewhat late) example of the Art Nouveau style, the Wisteria dining room (66.244.1–.25) comes from a house in Paris at 10 bis Avenue Élysée-Reclus (at the foot of the Eiffel Tower) designed by the architect Lucien Hesse and built for Auguste Rateau (1863–1930), an engineer who manufactured turbo and internal combustion engines and was a member of the Académie des Sciences as well as an art connoisseur with a particular interest in the Art Nouveau movement. The room and all its contents were conceived as a unified whole and were created in 1910–14

under the artistic supervision of Rateau’s friend Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer (1865–1953), who was also responsible for a number of other rooms in the apartment including two salons, a library, and a study (appropriately decorated with a frieze of stylized turbines and engine parts). In 1950, the apartment was rented on an eighteen-year lease to Monsieur René de Montaigu, with stipulation that he purchase the by-then-out-of-fashion Art Nouveau woodwork and furnishings at the time of the lease signing. The dining room remained intact in Paris until 1966 when it was purchased—in its entirety—by the Metropolitan Museum from Monsieur de Montaigu; elements from other rooms of the apartment were later sold at public auction in Paris.

Despite early work as a lithographer, between 1887 and 1895 Lévy-Dhurmer served as artistic director at the ceramics factory of the well-known Clément Massier in Golfe-Juan (a town on the Mediterranean coast of France), where he became known for his experimentations with metallic luster glazes based on Middle Eastern and Hispano-Moresque pottery. Around 1895, he turned his hand to painting instead, establishing his professional reputation in an 1896 exhibition at the Georges Petit gallery in Paris; he later became a member of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. Around 1910, he began to explore the related process of interior decorating, leading to this commission.

Like many of his contemporaries (such as Josef Hoffmann in Austria, Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Scotland, Frank Lloyd Wright in America, Victor Horta in Belgium, and Hector Guimard in France), Lévy-Dhurmer worked as an ensemblier, conceiving interiors as “total works of art” by designing not only the architectural setting but also everything—down to the door handles and drawer pulls—that went into them so that no single element would offend the eye because it was inconsistent with the whole. One major difference, however, was Lévy-Dhurmer’s approach as an artist rather than an architect.

The wisteria motif, selected by Madame Rateau, may represent “welcome,” a theme appropriate for a dining room. Lévy-Dhurmer incorporated the motif throughout the room: the canvases painted in the pointillist style, depict herons and peacocks standing in wisteria-laden landscapes; the book-matched walnut-veneered wall panels are inlaid with purplish amaranth wood representing clusters of wisteria blossoms; further clusters of blossoms and leaves may be found carved on the furniture and stamped on the leather upholstery. It even appears in such details as the door handles, drawer pulls, and the gilded details of the fire screen. The standing lamps evoke the twisting trunks of wisteria vines. Lévy-Dhurmer took care to treat the flowering vine motif in a manner true to nature: climbing vines and leaves appear in the lower portions of the room, while carved clusters of blossoms hang from the crown molding as though from a garden trellis; further blossoms appear to have fallen to the floor, scattered across the carpet.

Because the Wisteria dining room is preserved entirely furnished as it stood when completed, even the rug especially made for it, and because contemporary documentation provides us with the names of the team of craftsmen responsible—even that of the man who upholstered the chairs with embossed leather—this Art Nouveau room is unique in an American museum. A small group of French Art Nouveau objects from the Museum’s modern design collection have been selected to augment the installation of the Wisteria dining room, including a mantel clock by Joseph Garino (owned by Monsieur de Montaigu), works in glass by Émile Gallé and Daum, ceramics by Auguste Delaherche, Ernest Chaplet, and Émile Decoeur, and metalwork by Jean Dunand. Today, the room is viewed through the original window embrasures.


here are a few lovely things from the Tiffany rooms.

these two were in the airy american wing.

lunch!  Deliciously overpriced.

out the window, some dogs enjoying the beautiful day in central park.  i had hoped to have a little time to sit in the park again, because that’s one of my favorite things to do in NYC, but somehow we didn’t have time.

the final thing we saw was a special exhibit called “Seurat’s Circus Sideshow.”  here’s a brief description from the met:

Taking as its focus one of The Met’s most captivating masterpieces, this thematic exhibition affords a unique context for appreciating the heritage and allure of Circus Sideshow (Parade de cirque), painted in 1887–88 by Georges Seurat (1859–1891). Anchored by a remarkable group of related works by Seurat that fully illuminates the lineage of the motif in his inimitable conté crayon drawings, the presentation explores the fascination the sideshow subject held for other artists in the nineteenth century, ranging from the great caricaturist Honoré Daumier at mid-century to the young Pablo Picasso at the fin de siècle.

well, we didn’t look at all the artwork, but this was one of my favorites.  i wish i could have gotten a better shot of it. it’s a japanese woodblock print from 1881; dad would have loved it.

this is a lithograph by paul signac.

i’m including this description of the lithograph because i think it’s interesting.

and this is the grand finale, seurat’s circus sideshow.

and here’s the description:

and that’s it for the met, whew.  it was a very busy last day in new york.

ok then,





as previously mentioned, i was in NYC with my friend bev for a week, ostensibly to help her daughter move, but then that didn’t happen so instead we did a bunch of stuff.  i came home and three days later kevin and i headed out for gulf shores, AL, and then new orleans.

we got back last night, and during our trip i’d mentioned that i was glad i hadn’t scheduled anything at all for today, so i could rest and do laundry and rest some more.

but then a couple people were pretty desperate for massages, so instead of sitting here on the couch for a good part of the morning, i have to get up and get ready and be busy for a while.

but it’s all good, it’s so nice to be home now.  no trips are planned, at least none leaving tomorrow.

here are more photos of a tiny fraction of the fabulous paintings hanging at the Metropolitan Museum.

this is by frenchman august renoir. i love the colors and the softness and i guess part of the reason i always love to take these pictures is because i’d like to try creating one of my own.

this is by camille pissarro, and is called “the boulevard montmartre on a winter morning.”

one more pissarro.

and oh, those van goghs…




Paul Signac. “Lighthouse at Groix.”




here’s a painting done by the only woman artist i found who was an impressionist – berthe morisot, and her mentor and brother-in-law was eduard manet.  why hasn’t anybody made a movie about this woman?  wouldn’t it have been something to have been one of the only successful woman artists during that time?

and a couple by henri fantin latour.

and that’s all the art for today.

ok then,

mrs. much too busy on a friday morning hughes.





thursday door on march 16th

by grace on March 16, 2017

here are a few more photos taken at the metropolitan museum of art in NYC in february.  i had high hopes of posting more photos from the museum this past week, but after being home for only three days i went on yet another trip, this one with kevin, and the places we stayed didn’t have strong enough wifi to enable posting any photos.  so instead i was forced to walk on the beach and stuff like that.  we just got back this evening and i can’t believe i’m even able to sit here and type, i’m so tired.

but more on that later – here’s the temple of dendur, in one of my most favorite spots at the met.  i love the huge floor-to-ceiling window, and i asked bev if she remembered it from the scene in “when harry met sally,” but she couldn’t recall.  i saw that movie many, many times, so it stuck with me.

it was tricky trying to get a good shot with so many people.  here’s what i mean by that.

i took this quickly, before the throngs got in my way again.  i bet if i’d asked her, bev would have been nice enough to shoo them all off to the side, but it worked out.

i really love these doors within doors.  it’s such an incredibly old thing, here in the modern glass room.  i love it.  i want to go back.  but not today.  i just read about the temple – it was built in Nubia in 10 B.C, where it sat until 1963!  and then they magically took it all apart and put it back together here at the met.  incredible.



one other door from the met, leading into the frank lloyd wright room they have on display.  i always enjoy looking at this room, but am also always pleased that we have our own complete Frank Lloyd Wright House here in springfield, and i can go see that whenever i want.

i can’t ever seem to resist taking too many photos of stuff in a museum, but i’m only going to post a few more of my favorites.  after getting a good night’s sleep.


As always…Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time), by using the blue link-up button at Norm 2.0 .  Look for this guy at the bottom of Norm’s page


the met the met the met – NYC, wednesday, march 1st

March 9, 2017

bev and i headed to rockefeller center and procured two standby tickets to see seth meyer – ours were nos. 5 &6, so we had high hopes that we’d actually get in. meanwhile, we had a whole lovely day to spend at the met. well…not quite such a lovely day.  as i stopped to take […]

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tuesday in NYC!

March 7, 2017

Monday was a great day, going up  in the empire state building, but tuesday was equally fantastic. we went back to erin’s fancy gym, but this time i got to take a yoga class which was really good.  i was a little intimidated at first, not knowing what to expect, but the instructor was not […]

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VIP Treatment to the Top!

March 5, 2017

the top of the empire state building, that is.  because erin’s roommate joe works at the NYC LinkedIn office there in the building he was able to secure us passes to get to the top. he’d already taken us on a tour of the offices, and then we went back down to the lobby to […]

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monday, february 27th in NYC

March 5, 2017

we started our day by going to two of erin’s classes at the eqinox gym.  it was very, very challenging.  after that bev and i strolled over to central park and sat around watching the people.  not as many people this time of year, but still, a good crowd. …back at home, lester was busy […]

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weekend in new york

March 4, 2017

after walking all over the place on friday, saturday wasn’t so busy.  we went to brunch, and then it rained, so we stayed inside.  that was nice and relaxing. on sunday, erin had to go into the city so we rode the subway with her, then went to times square to check out half-price tickets. […]

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March 4, 2017

I managed to post a few photos and a video of our first day in NYC, last friday, feb. 24th.  i used my cell phone to do the posting, and it was a little bit challenging, but somehow i did it.  but here are a few more photos of that day. but first, this is […]

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