Friday, May 25, 2012

Pet Sounds at Madison Square Park

A couple of weekends ago I was in Central Park and decided to head down to Shake Shack at Madison Square Park for lunch.  It was a great walk of about 40 blocks and there are a lot of interesting things you get to see walking along Fifth Avenue.

Madison Square Park is located on 23rd Street at the Flatiron district.  The Flatiron Building, which got its name from its shape, is right there in front of the park.  Here's a pic I took upon arriving at the park.

As usual the line of people waiting to order at Shake Shack is long, snaking up to near the park entrance.

While waiting in line I spied this bench plaque which gave me something to smile about.

The line also gives you a great view of the Met Life Tower rising among the trees in the park.

I had my usual Shackburger and fries .. yummy!

Entertainment was provided by the squirrels who were running up and down their favorite tree stump. Can you see the little guy at the top of the stump?

That English elm tree stump is near the park fountain.

And the Empire State Building can be seen from the park, even in the fog, 10 blocks away.

After lunch I walked around the park. The Robert Benmosche Lilac Grove looks beautiful.

I then followed some colorful tubes that lead to an open area at the center of the park.  These tubes connect to some shapes that makes sounds when you touch them.  This is the park's newest art installation Pet Sounds, an interactive, large-scale, mixed-media installation by acclaimed California-based artist Charles Long.  The installation will remain on view daily from May 2 to September 9, 2012.

The park website states:
Pet Sounds will introduce a snaking network of vibrantly colored pipe railings creating new paths as they wind across the urban oasis. As these railings converge around a common seating area, each railing begins to grow into a unique fantastic form. While the shape of each blob suggests a different set of associations, their uncanny semblances remain wonderfully elusive. As viewers smooth their hands over the undulating biomorphic surfaces, the act of touching produces a variety of sounds and vibrations coming from within the sculptural forms.
This was the first shape I came across.  Looks like a purple whale to me, what do you think?

The next shape looks familiar .. a pink elephant! When you touch it you can hear trumpet sounds, too.

I'm not sure of this next shape, though.  My niece said it looks like a rat but I was thinking of a seal. Hmm, what do you guys say?

The shape next to the above looks like a bird to me.

Opposite the first shapes are these two shapes, one of which I think is an ostrich or a large walking bird.

The yellow shape stumped me, though.  I really can't think of anything that resembles it.  I tried listening to its sound several times but I can't make out any specific animal sound.

It looks like a nose to me :-)

Going around the area, touching these shapes, listening to the sounds they emit, and trying to get what the shapes represent .. that was fun! I hope to visit again before the art installation is taken down.  It sure is a delight, both to kids and adults alike.
Here's my album on Flickr.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tiffany features Central Park Gems

Last month, Tiffany's Fifth Avenue flagship store paid homage to the Central Park Conservancy and the 30th anniversary of the Frederick Law Olmsted Award luncheon with five show window displays dedicated to iconic places in the Park, coupled with the brand's jewelry.

There are two show windows facing Fifth Avenue and the first one featured the beautiful Vanderbilt gate of the Conservatory Garden along with a dazzling necklace with a key pendant. 

Here's a pic I took of the Vanderbilt gate one summer day.

And a close-up of one of the gate's features.

The second show window featured the Central Park Dairy House.  It also showed a butterfly brooch from Tiffany's.

The Dairy House is now used as an information center and gift shop. From the park website ..
The Central Park Dairy was originally intended as a source of fresh milk for children in the late 19th century. It was constructed in 1870; at this time, fresh milk for children was difficult to find and desperately sought after by parents. The Dairy was built at the southern end on the park, originally the children's section, to provide milk and snacks for children in the cool and relaxing atmosphere near the Pond.
The Central Park Dairy at present time, a pic taken on a walk near the end of winter.

The above show window also has a sort of street map at the bottom of the Dairy House showing the streets and avenues bordering the Park and where Tiffany is in relation to the Park.  The store's address is marked by the famous Tiffany blue box with a jeweled bird on top.

The next three show windows are along the 57th Street side of the store.  The first one showed the Bethesda Fountain.  I couldn't get a decent pic of the Angel of the Waters as the show window is right in front of the Louis Vuitton store and its signage is reflected on Tiffany's show window, but anyway, this was how my pic turned out. Here's a better pic.

Close up of the fountain base with glittering Tiffany necklace.

The beautiful Angel of the Waters, I took the pic last month just when a pigeon was flying to rest on the angel's wing.  The four cherubims at the base represent Temperance, Purity Health and Peace.

The fourth show window featured the Jacqueline Onassis Reservoir alongside the North Meadow. Again, the LV signage was reflecting on the window so I took close up shots of the two areas. Here's The Reservoir, which also featured a dragonfly brooch.

 The Reservoir last March ..

The other half of the show window featured the North Meadow, with a brooch from the store which looks like some kind of flower.

The North Meadow is home to several ball fields.  Here's a pic I took during a walk near the end of winter.  The ball fields were still closed for the season at that time.

The last show window featured the Conservatory Water which is a popular model boat pond, and the Kerbs Memorial Boathouse. More dragonfly brooches adorn the model boat.

The Conservatory Water with model boats .. no, Stuart Little wasn't there.

Tried to put all the featured show windows in one frame ..

Last day of the window displays was last Sunday, May 6.  I'm happy I was able to enjoy these wonderful show windows. Thank you Tiffany and Co.! 

I've always loved the Atlas clock that adorns its building.

Click on the link to the clock, it has a great history!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hanami Time at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Three weeks ago I was at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to enjoy hanami time underneath the cherry trees gracing the garden's Cherry Esplanade.

Hanami as defined by wiki is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers, "flower" in this case almost always meaning cherry blossoms ("sakura") or (less often) plum blossoms ("ume").

Here's my first view of the Cherry Esplanade at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden last April 15.

The flowers were in full bloom and it was really great to sit or lie down on the grass and just while the hours away while enjoying the views around. 

I didn't stay long under the cherry trees, though, as I wanted to explore the gardens.  I had my BBG map with me but ended up not using at it.  I just walked and enjoyed whatever surprises came my way.

Right across the end of the Cherry Esplanade is the Rose Arc fountain with the Call of the Sea sculpture as its centerpiece. I'm sure it's a pretty sight to see when the roses are in full bloom.

The sweet scent of the lilacs were calling so I went to the garden's Lilac Collection.  Their colors range from white to various shades of green, blue, pink and purple. I tried to cram several of them in one frame and this was what I came up with.

Another garden is the rock garden which, even if there were a lot of boulders, was still full of plants and flowers.

Further to this is the Herb Garden where I got to see the cranberry plant up close ..

and the Children's Garden.  Hmm, is that a spider with a trunk?

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden also has several pavilions, the Tropical Pavilion, the Desert Pavilion, the Warm Temperate Pavilion and the Aquatic House and Orchid Collection, among others.  I missed my Mom's orchids back home seeing the vandas and cattleyas in the Pavilion.

There were also some terraniums at the lower level of the Pavilion.

The garden also has a Bonsai Museum ..

Outside near the Pavilions is the Lily Pool Terrace which showcases water lilies, lotuses and other aquatic plants. There was only a scattering of water lilies when I was there, but everybody was enjoying the Jenkins Fountain, the centerpiece of the area.

Tulips were blooming near the benches surrounding the Terrace. They came in so many colors and sizes ..

And there were double tulips, too!

Lots of open spaces and group of plants and trees at the Plant Family Collection.

I also came upon some little friends enjoying a bath by the stream.

They were near Patrick Dougherty's Natural History which was constructed in the summer of 2010 in honor of the garden's centennial.

Magnolias at the Magnolia Plaza were still in bloom.  It was my first time to see yellow magnolias, they were so pretty!

The magnolias were near the Fragrance Garden and Shakespeare Garden. Here are some of the flowers.

So after having gone all around the garden, I'm on my way back to where I started.  The Japanese Hill and Pond Garden is near the Cherry Esplanade but when you're there, it's like you're in a different world.

Ah, I could stay here forever!

There's even a waterfall ..

and a Shinto shrine dedicated to Inari and guarded by a pair foxes or kitsune.

Near the exit to the Japanese garden is the Tree Peony Collection which had some very large blooms.

I didn't want to leave but it was closing time at the garden.  The Osborne Garden is the first space you encounter upon entering the garden ..

and it's also the last space you'll walk out of as it leads to the the garden's gates.

I'll be back, BBG! More pics on Flickr - Brooklyn Botanic Garden