Category Archives: Gotham

Smart animals

Netting bats on the ashes of a Staten Island landfill, from Laura Bliss.

A lot of New Yorkers still think of Freshkills as a dump, [Danielle Fibikar] says, even though it’s coming back to life. The place is misunderstood, sort of like the bats.

“There’s a lot of stuff people don’t pay attention to in this city,” she says. “I think they’re scared of what they don’t know.”

Alas, the story is marred by a copy editing blunder:

In New York City, where nine species of bats are known to migrate during the summer, a single little brown bat is capable of devouring up to 100 percent of its body weight in insects, a diet that includes mosquitoes.

Devouring up to 100 per cent of its body weight… per day? per minute? per fortnight?

Posted in Annoyances, Gotham, Natural Sciences | Comments Off on Smart animals

99

Alex Vadukul visits the 13th Street Repertory Company, an Off Off Broadway venue in Greenwich Village from way back: equal parts Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in the old barn and You Can’t Take It with You:

… a man who was homeless before Ms. [Edith] O’Hara offered him a crawl space above the lighting booth. That man, Tom Harlan, 60, sat barefoot in the theater’s dimly lit office recently. “She took me in,” he said….

After Mr. Harlan moved in, Ms. O’Hara discovered he was artistically gifted, and she made him her resident costume and set designer.

Posted in Gotham, Theater | Comments Off on 99

Rounded corners

curlicuesWhen is a good time to stop for a fire escape? How about now? At left, he St. George, Lexington Avenue at East 78th Street. Forgotten New York thought it was worth a stop, too.

Posted in Gotham | Tagged | Comments Off on Rounded corners

New York Botanical Garden

what's the buzztiny whitesA few snaps from my trip to the New York Botanical Garden on a very warm, generally sunny day. The place is huge! I budgeted a good chunk of time in the Native Plant Garden, site of the memorial to Elizabeth Gertrude Knight Britton. A couple of less common plants in flower were a mountain mint, Pycnathemum curvipes (left) (hmm, USDA PLANTS says that this not native to New York, but only to North Carolina and south) and Flowering Spurge (Euphorbia corollata) (right). Newcomb points out that the delicate white flower parts on the spurge are actually bracts, not petals.

cascadeIn the nearby Rock Garden, this engineered cascade is quite lovely.

citizen scienceIn the less-tended bits of the grounds is the Thain Family Forest. An interpretive sign calls out the importance of citizen science, and just a few steps down the trail is a Picture Post.

cycad selfieAfter lunch break, I spent most of my time in the conservatory. I do love me some cycads.

Posted in Citizen Science, Gotham, In the Field | Tagged | Comments Off on New York Botanical Garden

On the 7 and the 6

From my East Side hotel, I rode the L over to the High Line for a quick stroll.

too muchartificial wetlandI budgeted an hour, and it wasn’t nearly enough. I wasn’t expecting a horticulture field trip. Moving north from 14th Street, I saw an artificial wetland supporting Typha sp. and Lobelia sp. (since everything was cultivated and it’s not my neighborhood, I’m not going to chance an ID to species or cultivar); Rhus sp.; Joe-pye Weed (Eutrochium sp.); Rudbeckia sp.; Asclepias sp.; Vernonia sp.;

sidingdetailDaucus sp.; Ilex sp. in fruit; some sad-looking Juniperus sp.; Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardi); Purpletop (Tridens flavus); as well as a few plants not native to New York state. But nary a Pawlonia tomentosa or Ailanthus altissima to be seen (or smelled)!

STAFFWith the exception of the red-cedar, all the plants were quite lush, thanks to the numerous gardening volunteers at work on a Tuesday morning.

PARKI love being able to get an different vantage point on streetscapes. On direct observation from the west, this PARK=> appears to be directing drivers into the lobby of a building.

work in progressToward the end of my walk, at 30th Street, I encountered a WTF WIP project.

another iconMuch more completed, the iconic Starrett-Lehigh Building, viewed from the north.

yardsThere must be L.I.R.R. trainspotters, but I didn’t notice any at this corner of the yards.

Posted in Gotham | Tagged | Comments Off on On the 7 and the 6

Long time no see

I visited The Frick Collection for the first time since high school, as far as I can remember. I came for the Vermeers, but my surprise find was the crazy intricate clocks on display, like David Weber’s clock with astronomical dials, and Jean-Baptiste Lepaute’s globe, still in working order.

In the library, of course there are many uniformly bound volumes on art and artists, as well as a set of Thoreau and Emerson. And Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy, by John Fiske. Who he? Late-19th century expositor of Darwin, abolitionist, and (alas) champion of the “Anglo-Saxon race.”

locked outThe grand front lawn, opening on to 5th Avenue, is unfortunately not open to the public. Likewise this nifty garden at the back of the property.

Posted in Gotham | Tagged | Comments Off on Long time no see

Passings: 3

George Belcher watches the slow fading of New York diner culture.

After the Cafe [at 97th Street and Columbus] succumbed in 2005, I spent months looking for my next “third place.” Diner regulars can be particular. The ambience has to be friendly but not intrusive, the sound level low but not funereal, the smell a little greasy but not cloying, and the décor more utilitarian than fussy. I eventually settled in at the Metro [on 100th Street and Broadway].

Posted in Art and Architecture, Gotham | Comments Off on Passings: 3

W is a mystery until you zoom in

From Molly Young and Teddy Blanks, a periodic table of New York street trash.

Posted in Gotham, Physical Sciences | Comments Off on W is a mystery until you zoom in

Optimal swiping

“…a speed of 10 to 40 inches per second (i.p.s.) is the valid range for MetroCard acceptance by the Swipe Reader/Writer (SRW) device of our turnstile.”

The Morning News

Posted in Gotham | Comments Off on Optimal swiping

Get that bunting!

Erik Eckholm chases migrants in New York.

I haven’t driven across two states to see a rare bird, although when that badly lost, gloriously hued painted bunting showed up in Brooklyn in late November, I did make the eternal subway ride from the Upper West Side to the far side of Prospect Park to get a glance and a picture.

Posted in Birds and Birding, Gotham | Comments Off on Get that bunting!

Token ring

Peter Kaszczak remembers New York subway tokens.

Posted in Gotham | Comments Off on Token ring

Glass-enclosed

Corey Kilgannon counts the last four outdoor phone booths in Manhattan.

Posted in Gotham, Tools and Technology | Comments Off on Glass-enclosed

300,000 relays

James Somers explains something that I should have understood before: why they call it an interlocking.

Posted in Gotham, Tools and Technology | Comments Off on 300,000 relays

George Bell, 1942-2014

A sublime (in the older, aesthetic sense of slightly frightening) piece by N. R. Kleinfield on the death and life of George Bell, who died alone in Queens. Memento mori, indeed.

Posted in Gotham, In Memoriam | Comments Off on George Bell, 1942-2014

31 July 2015

What’s the fastest way to get to Far Rockaway? (Or at least, the coolest?) Take the A train with Scouting New York.

Posted in Gotham | Comments Off on 31 July 2015