We stopped for a bite to eat at Bagel Boss in the Murray Hill neighborhood, one branch of an establishment that opened in 1935, an event that warranted inclusion in the Kitchen Project’s History of Bagels. I had one with light scallion and lox cream cheese, and it was yummy.
Our ultimate goal was a walk in Central Park, but we passed several other landmarks along the way, as we once again trod the streets of New York on increasingly strong legs and tired feet.
The Morgan Library & Museum – a complex that encompasses both the home and magnificent private library of banker John Pierpont (“J.P.”), the leading financier of the Progressive Era. The library was donated to the public in 1924 by Morgan’s son, J.P. Morgan, Jr.
Grand Central Station – Built in 1871, during the heyday of American long-distance passenger rail travel, it has 44 platforms, more than any other railroad station in the world. It is a gorgeous building, a National Historic Landmark, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. To many people, Grand Central is “not so much a train station as a metaphor for directionless mayhem, traffic run amuck, bodies barely dodging one another.” We had to move on from there to get towards our goal.
New York Public Library – an imposing Beaux Arts style building done in Vermont marble, completed in 1911. It too is a National Historic Landmark. Unfortunately the famous Rose Main Reading Room with its gorgeous ceilings was closed for renovation, but we still got to see the magnificent entry with its arched ceiling and grand staircases. The famous pair of lions guarding the entrance, nicknamed Patience and Fortitude, were sculpted by Edward Clark Potter. For once, an illustrious Potter that my family is not directly related to (as far as I know).
Public Eye: 175 Years of Sharing Photography” is an interesting look at how people have made their photos public over time: individual prints passed around or framed and displayed in venues, photo albums and scrapbooks, reproductions in books and magazines, slide shows, all the way to the latest mode of dissemination: social media.
Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store on – you guessed it – Fifth Avenue. Founded in 1898 by Andrew Saks, the luxury department store chain is now owned by the Canadian retailer, Hudson's Bay Company. The building housing Saks’ headquarters and flagship store was built in 1924.
Rockefeller Center – This complex of 19 commercial buildings, named after John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who developed it beginning in 1930 (another “Rock”: he’s the same guy the Rockefeller Library at Brown was named after), was the largest private building project ever undertaken in modern times. The original 14 buildings are in the Art Deco style. Rockefeller Center is a National Historic Landmark.
Atlas Statue in front of Rockefeller Center was created by sculptors Lee Lawrie and Rene Paul Chambellan and was installed in 1937. It is the largest sculpture at Rockefeller Center. The piece has since been appropriated as a symbol of the Objectivist movement and has been associated with Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged (1957).
St. Patrick’s Cathedral was the crowning achievement of architect James Renwick, Jr., who also designed Grace Church which we saw yesterday. It is a Decorated Neo-Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral, built from 1858-1878 (construction was halted during the Civil War).
Calvary Baptist Church is a historic church founded in 1847. The current building, dedicated in 1931, is an early example of urban high-rise, or "skyscraper" church. It is a 16-story building which also includes the Hotel Salisbury, an apartment hotel. Billy Sunday and Billy Graham have preached at Calvary. The inscription over the front door is “We preach Christ crucified, risen and coming again.” Emmanuel the “gate man” who let us in was very friendly and says it’s important for a church to always have a gate man, to let in anyone who may knock. He told us the story of one man who came wanting to be baptised, and he was able to send him upstairs to the pastor. He also thinks the end times are upon us and more and more people will be flocking to the church before Jesus returns. Not sure I agree 100% with his theology, but he was a sweet man and very earnest.
Carnegie Hall is a famous Art Deco style concert hall built in 1891, financed by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. It is one of the most prestigious venues in the world for both classical music and popular music. The New York Philharmonic was resident there until 1962. Part of the folklore of the hall is the rumor that a pedestrian on Fifty-seventh Street once stopped violinist Jascha Heifetz (or some say it was pianist Arthur Rubinstein) and inquired, "Could you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?" "Yes," said Heifetz. "Practice!"
Central Park, designed in 1858 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, whom we’ve met before in this blog. It is a National Historic Landmark and is the most visited urban park in the United States as well as one of the most filmed locations in the world. The Park’s lagoon, with its ducks, features in the novel The Catcher in the Rye.
This time we walked back to our hotel via the Queensboro Bridge. We saw the Roosevelt Island Tramway right beside us as we went.