Travels to New York City Via Instagram
October 21, 2013 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
It may be my backyard, but whenever I’m in New York City I like to view it as though I’m visiting it for the first time. Join me on a visual and virtual journey to one of my favorite cities. No need to wear comfortable shoes or make sure your tray table is in the upright position.
No matter how many times I have seen it–and there have been many–I feel a little rush every time I gaze at Grand Central Terminal aglow with the magnificent Chrysler Building as a backdrop. And thank you Hyatt Hotels, your glass facade frames the whole thing very well.
In Main Concourse of the landmarked Grand Central Station, the American flag hangs beneath an illustrious cerulean blue ceiling whose gold leaf mural of about 2500 stars depicts the zodiac backwards. Legends abound about why it’s that way.
Some say the ceiling’s artist, French Post-Impressionist painter Paul César Helleu, simply made a mistake but one legend says he followed a medieval manuscript showing the heavens from “God’s-eye view beyond the spheres” and another says he was painting from maps held upside down. Frankly, in the all the times I have looked up in awe at that illuminated ceiling, I never noticed the constellation was reversed…
Like many of the cities in which I have wandered, strolled, even headed deliberately somewhere, I always happen upon something interesting or quirky. I can’t remember where it was now, but when I walked by this hand-painted “Berried Treasures” sign, I had to capture it.
Yep, like I said, there is always a little something that stops me in my tracks–like this grass covered bike planted by some anonymous guerrilla gardener.
The outdoor promenade running the length of Rockefeller Center’s Channel Gardens is always filled with tourists but in the spring it is also filled abundantly with tulips. Water spouts from the mouth of a fish fountain, one the of many bronze creatures including tritons and dolphins, which are the work of sculptor René Chambellan.
I have admired many of Anthropologie’s wonderful window displays, but their store by Rockefeller Center always intrigues me for the natural double exposures visible when reflections of city life get juxtaposed with the goods inside, like the baskets of faux but pretty eggplants or the “support urban gardening” window below.
In Northern Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park, a short walk from The Cloisters museum & gardens, Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project runs the New Leaf Restaurant and Bar. When I was there for Sunday brunch (which I recommend) it was still too chilly to dine outdoors in the garden patio, but indoors through the bar’s arched window I noticed this city view peeking out behind colorful bottles of booz. Another Bloody Mary please.
The Divine Miss M’s green non-profit is dedicated to transforming the city’s open space in underserved communities to create green and sustainable spaces. In partnership with the city, the NYRP also leads MillionTreesNYC, an initiative aimed at planting a million new trees throughout New York City by 2017.
I love these sorts of experiences in which I get to feel like a tourist on my own turf!