Monday, February 20, 2012

Broadway Delights from Peter Woytuk (Again)!

In my previous blog about the free public art in the city featuring Peter Woytuk's sculptures, I mentioned about the Hens which were missing from their place on 75th Street.  During the three weekends I spent walking to visit each of the sculptures, I tried to check out the Hens but never did get to see them.  Last Friday, Peter Woytuk tweeted this ..


I was excited to go see the Hens so last Saturday, I took a short walk from the corner of Central Park South (Fifth Ave and 59th Street) cutting through the Park diagonally and on to where the Hens are at (Broadway and 75th Streets).

However, I wanted to see A Kiwi again so instead of going straight to 75th Street, I headed to the 72nd Street subway where the big blue Kiwi is and took some shots.

I also took a shot of one big blue foot ..

and the blue beak with the silver ball against the big blue sky.

Then it's on to the Acorn Bench which is just a block away.  Wasn't able to take a pic of the whole bench as there were people sitting on them. I just took a couple of pics ..

including a close-up of the acorn.

Then it's off to the Hens! Here's my first view of them.

So plump and cute! They were along the median so I crossed the street as they seem to be facing the other side.

Here are a close-up pics of each of them.  This blue one is the baby Hen ..

I call the red one Mama Hen..

And the largest one in yellow is Papa Hen ..

Today we only have half-day at work so I took the extra time to visit two of the sculptures as I only took one pic each before.  So here's a new pic of Falling Apples ..

and the Bearcat balancing on an apple near the Apple store.

The weekend before last, I was able to drop by Columbus Circle and took some pics of the Elephant Pair. Here's one of them trying to play with Christopher Columbus.

And the other one seems to be a favorite of the kids.  The apple on the elephant's trunk has lost a little bit of its red color with all the playtime it's getting from kids and adults alike. On that Saturday afternoon, one little guy was trying to climb and ride on the elephant's trunk just as I was taking the shot. I had fun, too!

The sculptures are a hit especially with the kids.  From the Elephant Pair above up to the Two Bulls 109 blocks away ..

Everybody's having a great time enjoying the sculptures.

Thanks again to the Broadway Mall Association, the New York City Dept. of Parks & Recreation, and the Morrison Gallery of Kent, CT. for the exhibit, and to Peter Woytuk for creating the wonderful pieces. Each one is truly a delight!

The rest of my pics of the sculptures are in my albums on Picasa and FlickrCheck them out!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Say It With a Bench

Central Park has over 9,000 benches and during my walks around the park I noticed some have plaques on them. I didn't give this much thought before since I don't usually sit unless I need to, like when I'm eating lunch, or during spring or summer when it's nice to sit on a bench by the Conservatory Garden and read a book in the shade.

I was walking in the park a couple of weeks ago and saw a guy sitting on a bench and playing some drums.  I stopped for a while to watch and as I was about to leave, my eyes fell on the plaque on the adjacent bench. 

I love the message and that's when I started to read the different inscriptions on the bench plaques.

A plaque on a bench means that the bench has been adopted to help maintain and endow the care of all the benches. The Central Park Conservancy established the program in 1986 and to date more than 2,000 benches have been adopted.  

Most benches can be adopted for $7,500.00.  Since adopting a bench is not on my priority list for now, I will just share some of the plaques I've seen.  Most are a kind of memorial to a dearly departed while some are celebratory to commemorate a birthday or anniversary like this one ..

Some are cute ..

Some a bit funny ..

Some makes you stop and say a prayer ..

Some a little wistful ..

Some so romantic ..

Some don't even have the name of the sponsor but you don't need names with these words.

And I came across one with a sketch of a face in side view ..

I even found one with my name! I may not understand what the plaque means but seeing my name there was cool!

But the ones that really made me smile were the marriage proposals. It was so heartwarming to read the messages, and so fitting to share with you all on the eve of the day of hearts.



The answers to the marriage proposals made me smile even more.

While this one just warms the heart.  

My favorite bench plaque marriage proposal and response are these two, and the benches right are next to each other! ♥


There are still hundreds of plaques I haven't read and for sure the messages there are as heartwarming as the ones I posted above.  Thank you Central Park, you bring joy in so many ways.  I guess this plaque says it all ..

Love is what makes two people sit in the middle of a bench when there is plenty of room at both ends  
~ Barbara Johnson ~

Learn more about Central Park's Adopt-a-Bench program.

For the rest of my Central Park benches pics, here's my album on Flickr - Central Park Benches

I wish everyone a great Valentine's day! ♥ ♥ ♥  Cheers!

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Visit to the United Nations

The UN Headquarters complex is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan overlooking the East River.  It is along First Avenue and bordered by East 42nd and East 48th Streets.  When you look at the complex, the building that stands out the most is the 39-story Secretariat building.  It hasn't changed much over the years since I first saw it about 20 years ago.  This was a shot I took in June 2010 during one of my walks.  There were no more flags fluttering on the poles as it was already late in the afternoon when I passed by.

The building is undergoing a five-year renovation which is expected to be done by next year.  When I passed by the area last March 2011, renovation work on the building facade is visible from the outside.

By November last year, renovation on the facade was almost complete. 

I haven't gone inside the Secretariat building but I've been to the Visitor's Center several times.  Outside the Centre is this banner saying Welcome in several languages. It's not there so let me say it for all of you in my language, "Mabuhay!"

The Centre houses some gifts from different countries. My favorite is the Knotted Gun, the artwork was created by Carl Fredrik Reusterward in 1980 after his friend John Lennon was shot to death. 
"When the artist learned that his friend, John Lennon, had been murdered, he became so upset and angry over this senseless death that he went to his studio and started working on the “non-violence” project. “My first sketches in three dimensions were rather rough and simple, but the important thing was that the idea of the knotted barrel was with me from the very start,” he said.

The sculpture was bought by the Luxembourg government and given as a gift to the UN in 1988.  Another sculpture is the Sphere Within a Sphere which was a gift from the government of Italy. You could see a part of it on the above pic, here's a closer look.

The pic below was taken near the entrance to the lobby.  A big part of the ground floor area is used to display exhibits of UN projects around the world.

Inside the Centre are more gifts from member countries, as well as some symbolic items like this flag.

This was the flag which flew over the Canal Hotel in Baghdad when it was bombed on August 19, 2003.  At the time of bombing, the hotel was used as the UN Headquarters in Iraq.  The blast claimed the lives of 22 UN members and wounded over 100. 

Portraits of all the UN Secretary-Generals, past and current, hang on a wall near the exhibit area.

Also on display is the Nobel Peace Prize trophy and certificate awarded jointly to the United Nations and Kofi Annan in 2001 "for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world".

On the eastern side of the lobby is a stained glass window designed by Marc Chagall.  It was a gift from UN staff members, as well as Marc Chagall, to commemorate Dag Hammarskj√∂ld, the second UN Secretary-General. and fifteen other people who died with him in a plane crash in 1961.

The memorial contains several symbols of peace and love.

When I first came to the Visitor's Center in 1991 I remember there was a pedestal with a rock from the moon given by the US astronauts to the UN.  Now it's no longer at the Centre and has somewhat become an object of controversy

Another gift to the UN is a tile mosaic of the Dove of Peace, presented by Pope John Paul II on his visit to the UN in October 1979. 

I don't know if it's the same dove I see on shirts, mugs, keychains, etc. on sale at the UN shops but I love the design, simple yet meaningful.

The UN Visitor's Centre also has its own Post Office, located at the lower level, that issues its own stamps for mailing within the UN or for stamp collection.  You can even create your own UN stamp with your photo taken at the Personalized Stamp Shop.

There are a lot more artwork/gifts from member countries displayed at the UN gardens but I didn't have the time then to visit the area.  For sure, it will be worth another visit one of these days.

At the start of the blog I mentioned that I first came to visit the UN 20 years ago. I was able to find a pic from that visit, here's me and my sister Babette outside of the UN Headquarters in September 1991.  

It must have been serendipity that I found the pic, it's her birthday tomorrow. :-) Happy birthday sis! Love you! ♥