I'm obviously waaaay  behind on blogging, but I think that's a good sign. If I had energy to blog in the evenings, it would mean I wasn't running around the city enough ;) So prepare yourself for a twofer--one post covering two days. (I'll probably do the same thing tomorrow as well.)

Monday: Midtown

Okay, have we come to accept the fact that I spend a lot  of time wandering around looking at buildings? Because that's what I did for the majority of last Monday (and the next few days...). Like I said before, it feels like walking through history. I adore it.

Before my self-guided tour of Midtown architecture, I started the day off with a concert at St. Paul's Chapel downtown (one of the oldest churches in the city--George Washington went here to pray after he was sworn in as President just down the road at Federal Hall). Each Monday, the Trinity Choir puts on a program called Bach at One where, as you might infer, they sing Bach motets at 1:00pm.

This brought me back to my high school choir days, when Mr. Cannady would make us sing similar music. I always thought it was so boring! Can we sing something composed recently? As in, during the past 200 years? Although it was a pain to trudge through the difficult Latin and German songs that Mr. Cannady insisted on, they were always worth the effort we put into them. The Trinity Choir reminded me of that as four individual parts came together in one, harmonized voice in the last few measures of "Furchte dich nicht, ich bin bei dir." Exquisite.

George Washington's pew. I wondered what he said in that prayer.

One of the first paintings of the seal of the United States. Some say Benjamin Franklin heavily influenced this work, as the eagle's head looks much more like that of a wild turkey (Franklin campaigned for the wild turkey to be our national bird).

St. Paul's Chapel

Then on to Midtown. I moseyed around Rockerfeller Center for a bit and was happy to see the ice rink still up and running! It's officially on my to-do list this week.

47th Street between Fifth and Sixth is known as the Diamond District. This area came to be after Jews from Antwerp, Belgium started settling in the area (more than 80% of Antwerp's Jews work in the diamond business).

The Diamond District is the world's largest shopping district for all sizes and shapes of diamonds--fitting, seeing as how the United States is the world's largest consumer of them. Over 90% of the diamonds that enter this country go through New York City and most of them go through the Diamond District. The whole street glitters.

I saw a lot of historic buildings in Midtown, but these were my favorites.

The 1931 General Electric Building--one of my favorite Art Deco buildings in the city (in the background, you can see another--the Chrysler Building). I love the clock whose arms grasp at lightning bolts.


Beautiful frieze on the 1929 Chanin Building. (Yet another Art Deco icon.)

Optical illusion.

A massive revolving globe inside the old Daily News Building.

Naturally, I took a picture of Jordan ;) Can you tell this is an old globe?! Egypt hasn't been called the U.A.R. since at least 1971.

Tuesday: Lower Manhattan

More buildings, some sculptures . . . I lead a riotous life here in the city, lemme tell ya. Actually, the best part of my day literally knocked on my door. I didn't answer at first because my hair was a mess  (there is no such thing as sexy bedhead when you have short hair). To my surprise, the door opened.


"Oh, sorry! I didn't know anybody was here. I'm here to clean."

And so began my short-lived friendship with Dora from the Bronx. She didn't bat an eye at my Einstein hair (bless her heart) and we spent the next forty-five minutes together giving the apartment a good scrub-down.

Dora was the Bronx personified: No frills, all attitude. She was a stocky Puerto Rican woman in her mid-50s with a raspy voice that delivered the quintessential New York accent (she must've said "You know what I'm sayin'???" at least thirty times over the course of our conversation). It feels rude to say this, but she really was the female version of Danny DeVito. How she talked, how she carried herself, even her build.  Total legit sauce.

She carried on about her family (six kids, six of whom is fourteen!), her relatives, reasons why Puerto Ricans > Dominicans (They come here thinking they're so rich, so much better than everyone! And they are, compared to the people back in the DR. But really, they poor as hell just like me. Puerto Ricans--we remember our roots!), offensive ethnic stereotypes ("Those so-and-so's feed off the system like crazy--welfare, food stamps, you name it. I only ask for one thing from the government: Housing. ONE! That's it!), and the varying levels of cleanliness in ethnic apartments she cleans (So-and-so's have no idea in the hell how to work a stove. Like they don't know they can use settings other than "high" you know what I'm sayin'? I been in their apartments after they cookin', tellin' them they better air the hell out of the place before I clean it. I got asthma, man!)

Cleaning has never been so entertaining. I was sad to see Dora go.

I officially dubbed the rest of Tuesday "Screw You, Al Qaeda" Day because safety precautions taken after 9/11 meant closed lobbies everywhere I went. It killed me to read  about the dazzling lobbies of the Woolworth Building, Cunard Building, 1 Wall Street, and so forth without being allowed to see  them. Intricate frescoes, ornate mosaics, brasswork, gold, jewels, carvings--I'm sure there are architects rolling in their graves knowing that those lobbies are cold and empty!

I have no idea what this building is but I am OBSESSED WITH IT.

For three decades, this sculpture stood in the plaza of the World Trade Center. Entitled "The Sphere," it was conceived by artist Fritz Koenig as a symbol of world peace. It was damaged during 9/11, but now stands in Battery Park as an icon of hope and the indestructible spirit of the United States.

Bowling Green Park--New York's oldest. It was here that Dutch settler Peter Minuit allegedly purchased Manhattan Island from Native Americans with a variety of goods valued at $24. The fence around the green is the original one, erected in 1771.

Group of Four Trees  by Jean Debuffet, 1972.

This is what I love about Manhattan. You can be walking along, do de do de do, and BAM!  A gorgeous Beaux Arts building IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE. This used to be the old building for the New York City Chamber of Commerce in 1901, but now houses the Mega International Commercial Bank (over-named, much?).


  1. Thank you, Kristi, for keeping me entertained during my Data Fundamentals lecture class :) I love New York City. So much history colliding with the modern world!

  2. You had me at George Washington prayed here. Wow, what an experience!


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