Sunday, December 26, 2021

More London Favorites


This Sunday I have a few more favorite photos from London.  These all have a bit of an architectural look to them.  Just perfectly symmetrical scenes that caught my eye.  First up the underground station at Canary Wharf.  

This is from the center courtyard of the British Museum.  That glass ceiling is breathtaking when you first enter the museum.

This one is the Undercroft below Lincoln's Inn Chapel in an area of London where you will find most of the legal offices residing.  I've seen this space used a number of times in movies and television shows.

Above is the Great Hall of the Natural History Museum.  The hall is guarded over by Charles Darwin seated in his place of honor.

Above is the very striking entrance to the Apex Hotel on Fleet Street.  I remember when I spotted this entrance.  It stopped me in my tracks. 

I'll end this group of photos with one from a cemetery.  This is the entrance to Egyptian Avenue at Highgate Cemetery.  Highgate Cemetery is divided into two halves.  The East side is open to anyone and it's most famous resident is Karl Marx.  The west side may be toured through scheduled tours.  The west side is where you will find this architectural wonder along with a few other amazing sights.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

My Favorite London Photos


Most of my readers probably already know that my favorite city in the world is London.  I've been there many times and if fate allows, I will visit again.  I thought for today's post I'd show you my favorite London Photos over the years.  This one above is from my 2016 trip.  It's of a famous staircase called the Cecil Brewer staircase and it's located inside a store called Heal's.  I saw a photo of this on Flickr one day several years ago and put it on my list of must-see places.  

This second photo was taken in 2013 when my friend Mo who lives in London took me to a very special church.  It is called The Priory Church of St. Barholomew-the-Great and it was founded in 1123.

The artist sketching inside the church was an added bonus.  I had this photo printed on canvas and it resides in my living room.

This next photo was taken in 1985 on my very first trip to London.  I was walking along a street when I spotted real live blacksmith shop right in the middle of town.  

This Tower Bridge Photo was taken in 2005 when I stayed in a flat in an area south of the Thames called Shad Thames.  I remember snapping this photo while I waited for my friends to get coffee at a nearby Starbucks.

A print of this one hangs in my kitchen.

As you might guess, I have many photos that I've taken in London.  Maybe next week I'll show you a few more favorites.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

A Few Observations in Chicago


Today I have a few photos taken over the years when visiting Chicago.  Just some observations I've made at various times of year.  Above is a photo taken near Lake Michigan on the very northern edge of the city.  I loved the look of those trees.  

On one trip, I was visiting a friend who was living in the same building I lived in back in the late 90's when I was working in Chicago.  I also happened to be there at the same time as the Chicago marathon.  We could watch the runners right outside her windows.

When I was working in Chicago, I had a great view of the Chicago River as it heads out toward the lake.  One thing I used to enjoy was the parade of boats on the river.  One weekend every spring, the boats would head out to the lake for the summer.  In the fall, they would head back in to a dry-dock location for the winter.  I enjoyed watching the bridges being raised to let the tall masts go by.  

This last shot is of one of the glass brick towers that make up the Crown Fountain at Chicago's Millennium Park.  When I was working in Chicago, this park was just beginning to be developed.  I didn't get to see the finished park until several years later when I visited the city.  

This fountain is a work of art by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa.  It's fun to watch the faces changing on the two towers and all the kids playing in the water between them.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

A Visit to the New York Times


The offices of the New York Times was just around the corner from the hotel where I was staying so one morning I walked over there to have a look.  I had read about the art display located in the lobby called Moveable Type.  The walls are lined with small digital screens that are supposed to contain words and pictures from the archives of the newspaper. There are 40 columns and seven rows of screens. Unfortunately, they weren't working.  I asked three different security guards and got three different stories.  One said they come on every hour another said every 30 minutes and the third didn't know what the timing was or if it was working at all.  I decided to wait around a while to see if they came on but, they didn't.

I spent the time waiting exploring the lobby area.  There is a central garden in the lobby that is completely surrounded by glass walls.  If the doors to the garden had not been locked, I would have gone inside for a wander around.  

I read that the garden contains seven paper bark birch trees surrounded by ferns and grasses.  It is a beautiful focal point for the lobby area.

The building was designed by Renzo Piano, a well known and respected Italian architect.  The ground floor also contained a restaurant and small shop.  There was plenty to see while I waited.  I'm glad I visited the building even if the art display was not working.  Now when I read my morning paper, I can picture some of my favorite reporters and columnists strolling through that pretty lobby.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Food & Art in One Afternoon


I'm not sure if I'd call it a late lunch or an early dinner but, my travel companions and I dined at a very fine Japanese restaurant in New York City last month one afternoon.  When we were finished eating, the restaurant was empty.  That made for a great opportunity to photograph the beautiful decor.  

The restaurant is called Kappo Masa and it was a delicious experience.

The kitchen was open so we could see the chefs preparing for the evening meals.

I had one of the lunch specials that started with this delicious kale gobo frisée salad. I ate every last bite.  

My entree was the steamed salmon on ikuro mushroom rice bento bowl.  It was another delicious treat.  I must admit that I did ask for a fork for this part.  I've never been any good at eating rice with chopsticks.  

Dessert came in the form of a green tea layer cake topped with soba ice cream.  We shared this treat and there was not a crumb left on the plate when we were done.  It was an outstanding meal with superior service in a beautifully designed setting.  The restaurant is owned by Masayoshi Takayama and Larry Gagosian.

Larry Gagosian is a well known art dealer with a chain of art galleries.  In fact the restaurant Kappo Masa is located on the lower level of his Madison Avenue gallery.  After that delicious meal, we stopped at the gallery to take in an exhibit of work by Tatiana Trouve.  This group of paintings is called "From March to May 2020" and represents the 55 days following the pandemic lockdown.  You can read more about the exhibit at the link above.  I only snapped this one photo inside the gallery.  I was impressed with the neat row of art works and how they were mirrored in the floor.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Landing In New York

I remembered taking photos while landing the last time I flew to New York so I was ready to do the same on this last trip in October.  I started snapping before we had even gotten close to the city.  I have no idea what part of New York or possibly New Jersey I'm seeing here but I liked all the lakes.

It wasn't long before heavily populated areas were beginning to show up out my window.

And then Manhattan appeared with its jungle of tall buildings.  

When the buildings of lower Manhattan appeared in view, I started looking for the Statue of Liberty.

And then, there it was.  I tried zooming in to get a better shot but I will admit it's almost impossible to get a sharp photo from a moving airplane and through a window.  However, there is no denying that I was seeing Lady Liberty!

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Rockefeller Center


Let's take a little walk around Rockefeller Center in New York City.  Not many people know that the center is composed of 19 commercial buildings.  It's mostly associated with NBC studios and Radio City Music Hall.

I like to walk around the area and look at the different art works that are incorporated into the building.  And, popping into the many shops is fun too.

It seemed like every door into the building and its shops was decorated in some way.

This one looks very elegant for an entrance to shoe store.

This one is even fancier leading into the Michael Kors store.  

I've wandered around this area many times but I've never made it up to the infamous Rainbow Room.  Maybe next time!

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Discovering Hudson Yards


When I was in New York three years ago in 2018, I noticed a building that I could see from the hotel window.  The thing that caught my eye was what looked like a triangular shaped structure jutting out from the side of the building.  I posted photos of it here but I didn't know what or where it was located. I just knew it looked like it was still under construction.

A little over a year ago, I read about a huge art installation called "Vessel" that was opening in New York and that article led me to learning the building I was curious about was part of development called Hudson Yards.

 When preparing for my recent trip to New York City, I did some investigating and found there was a restaurant located at the top of that mysterious building so I made a dinner reservation there.

The first thing I wanted to see upon arrival was the art installation.  I had been reading about it and the artist who created it, Thomas Heatherwick.  I was curious to see it in person.

It is described as a 16-story free standing structure of connected staircases.  When it first opened in 2020, people were able to climb to the top of it.  However, after a series of suicides happened from the top of the structure, they no longer allow people to climb it.

I enjoyed seeing it from my ground level view.  To me it looks a bit like a bee hive.  

Behind "Vessel" was another building I had read about, this one called "The Shed".  This one houses a space to be used for performances and exhibitions.  The thing that makes it unique is its retractable shell.  All of that area that is lighted, slides back to open the exhibition space to the outside.

After exploring this plaza, I took one last look at the "Vessel" before making my way to the restaurant for my dinner reservation.

The restaurant called simply "Peak" is located on the 103rd floor of the building.  It proved to be an excellent place to dine with excellent food and service. And of course, a fabulous view.

Before we were seated at our table, they asked if we would like to visit the observation deck located two floors below the restaurant.  That is where I got a few photos of the New York City skyline with a full moon in the sky.

There were quite a few people enjoying the views from the observation deck.  Some were even brave enough to venture out onto the section of the floor made of glass.  

All things considered, it was a wonderful evening.  I'd do it again.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

A Celebration of Halloween


I've posted before about a plant nursery in Newport Beach California called Roger's Garden.  It is one of my favorite places to visit when I go to California.  In addition to plants it also has a restaurant and a variety of items for sale, everything from gourmet treats to beautiful "objet d'art".

While I was there in September, they opened their annual Halloween store.  Stepping through this doorway, opened up a world of spooky things to enjoy.

All kinds of creepy-crawly things could be seen (and purchased).

Skulls and bones were everywhere.  One entrance to a room was framed in skeletal remains.

Of course, it wouldn't be Halloween without the appearance of Dracula.  On this occasion he was seated at a table full of ceramic pumpkins.  

And Frankenstein was also present he stood against a wall and reached out for people as they passed.

And in case you want to put a spell on someone, there was a book available with instructions.  

Hey, that book is watching me!

Happy Halloween everyone!