Archive for the ‘New York City’ Tag

Checking out the Panorama at the Queens Museum   3 comments

The Panorama of the five boroughs of New York City at the Queens Museum of Art has been on my to-see list for many, many years. Finally, the occasion of a visit by my cousin Jeremey’s lovely friend, Jess, prompted us to make the trip out to the old World’s Fairgrounds in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. We were not disappointed by it and other exhibits at the museum.

First, a bit about the museum building. According to the museum website, the building sits on the sites of both the 1939 and 1964 Worlds Fairs and is the only structure to survive from the 1939 fair. Its original name was the New York City Building and it contained exhibits about city municipal agencies. Later, it became the home of the UN General Assembly from 1946-1950, during which time, among other events, voting on the partition of Palestine occurred. Much later in 1972, the building was turned over to the Queens Center for Art and Culture, later renamed Queens Museum of Art. Period photographs on the museum’s History of… web page.

Jeremey at the Unisphere fountain, east side of the museum

Earlier, for the 1964 fair, it once again became the New York City Pavilion and the primary display this time was the Panorama. To ensure every single building extant in 1964 was displayed, Robert Moses commissioned Raymond Lester Associates to build this model and assigned a 1% margin of error stipulation. It took three years to research and build. Updates were made through 1970 and once again in 1992 when 60,000 buildings were changed (the reason the World Trade towers still anchor lower Manhattan.) It’s a fabulous thing to see, truly.

View west across Jamaica Bay, Queens and Brooklyn toward Manhattan and the Bronx

Southwest-ish - across Brooklyn toward Staten Island (upper left) & lower Manhattan (upper right).

Lower Manhattan

My slice of the Upper West Side, looking east - Central Park lake (top), Natural History Museum (left)

Queens Museum of Art - Unisphere (silver ball), Shea Stadium (right)

Hi Tom (next to City Island)

It’s so worth the trip to see this Museum. For vehicle-challenged NYC dwellers, it is accessible by subway – take the 7 train to the Willets Pt.-Mets stop (you’ll see CitiField and the US Tennis Center). Be aware that the 7 does not run between Port Authority and Queensboro Plaza on weekends for the next couple of months. You can pick up the 7 in Queens – I took the R from the PA to the Jackson Heights stop and transferred there. It’s about a 15 minute walk to the museum.

Greenwich Locksmiths   5 comments

The weather the day of the Fire Museum’s Santa Rescue was quite nice, considering it was mid-December. Rather than heading directly home, I decided to take a walk in search of a place I had read about on Scouting New York’s blog. The museum is located on Spring street and a quick ten block stroll north on Varick found me in front of Greenwich Locksmiths.


Locksmiths in this city are a dime a dozen, typically claustrophobic little places of business situated in storefronts crammed between two larger buildings. This establishment is a bit larger but what’s really remarkable about it is the facade. Greenwich Locksmiths is completely covered by thousands of keys, arrayed in interesting patterns. Photographs on Scout’s and the shop’s own website show that the building’s original facade was rather bland. Not long ago, the owner, Phil Mortillaro, decided to liven the place up and this was his solution.

Greenwich Locksmiths

I love this little bit of graffiti:

What a job he’s done. It’s difficult for me to imagine how managed to glue thousands of keys to on the wall without going absolutely batty. My hat is off to both his patience and creativity.

I also appreciate his distinctly New York City sense of humor. Two large black safes flank the entrance and are named Patience and Fortitude (trust me, those little gold labels say “Patience” and “Fortitude” – I’ve found that WordPress does a real tough job in compressing my images).

The shop was closed when I stopped by during the weekend and the shop was closed. If you have a chance to wander around the West Village, stop by Greenwich Locksmiths, preferably during the week as more of his key artwork is visible behind the security gate. It’s truly a work of urban folk art. Scout’s website is also well worth the visit as he’s got tons of fascinating stories about New York and its environs.

Posted January 30, 2012 by Beth in Uncategorized

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Santa Rescue!   1 comment

After nearly a year’s hiatus, I am back to blogging. In the interim, I hadn’t used the camera all that much but last month saw my motivation slowly begin to return. I decided to head downtown for an event I’d heard about for years but hadn’t yet checked out.

New York City can be a disorienting place under normal circumstances but the holiday season seems to really throw a wrench into Santa’s sense of direction. Every December, he finds himself stranded on the roof of the New York City Fire Museum, in need of a way down.

As always, the FDNY, in this case, Ladder 1, was there to serve.  They skillfully pulled Santa from his perch, supported by the cheers from the relieved crowd on the street.

Santa always has his mind on own work so he was quickly whisked inside the museum to prepare to meet the kids who watched the rescue.

The museum also had available hot chocolate and hot dogs for the kids as well as a band playing a holiday-themed music. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it inside but judging by how well the rescue went outside, I’m sure the indoor festivities were just as great.

A few more images from the event:

Setting up the apparatus. It really is quite an impressive machine. (above, below)

Valiant firefighters

The press was in attendance

Gimme five!

The Ladder 1 crew

Posted January 16, 2012 by Beth in Uncategorized

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