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Looking Up on East 38th Street

21 July, 2015

The Author took a stroll along East 38th Street in Manhattan, craning her neck upwards to view curiosities on high, of which there are certainly plenty.

The author wonders: why does this former carriage house feature a bust of a bulldog at the top? The horses flanking the entrance make sense, but the bulldog perplexes (but delights!) her. Another curiosity: the house has undergone a very interesting interior conversion, which has been characterized as ‘Miami Vice meets Bond villain‘. A slight departure from the Flemish exterior, to be sure.

carriage house with bulldog

Dog detail Horse detail

The Art Deco Towne House apartment building is more spectacular the higher you look, with very cheerfully colored details on the tower.

Towne House

Superior detail photo borrowed from
Towne House detail 2

Here we have the horribly named Jolly Madison hotel. Horrible name, but lovely Italianate tower. The Author’s new favorite website, NewYorkitecture, has links to a 1924 New York Times advertisement and an undated but probably 1920s photograph from the New York Library Digital Collection of the building, originally the ‘New York Fraternity Clubs Building’.

Jolly Madison hotel

The Corinthian apartment building certainly isn’t lacking in bay windows and reminds the author of the ‘corncob’ buildings in Chicago (formally known as Marina City)



A Pig Who Loves Pork

16 July, 2015

The Author found this advertisement outside a butcher shop in Midtown Manhattan to be slightly unnerving. Is the pig licking it’s lips at the thought of eating sausages?
2015-07-10 13.34.57

A Short Tour of East 35th Street Curiosities

7 July, 2015

The three avenue stretch of East 35th Street between 3rd and Madison Avenues is home to some interesting typography, facades and ornaments.  The three photographs below are just a few of the Author’s observations on a brisk walk to and from various engagements.

35th St - mischief and anguish

Anguish and Mischief

35th St church typography

Conjoined Letters at the Community Church of New York

35th St building front

May this building never be torn down for a high-rise apartment building.

Protective of His Puppy

18 June, 2015

Actually, on second glance, there’s something a bit sinister about this scene.

This detail comes from a large painting with lots of action and many characters located in the National Gallery in London. The Author regrets to report that she neglected to record the title and artist.

Protective of his puppy

Nineteenth Century Graffiti

16 June, 2015

A certain Mr. Charno took it upon himself to carve his name, the date, and most helpfully, the location of his crime, Provins, into the wall of the Caesar Tower in that charming Medieval town. Mr. Charno’s 1835 engraving pre-dates the graffiti found at Bodiam Castle by Mr. H. Wicks. Perhaps it should be comforting to know that there have been vandalising hooligans throughout history, and disrespect for historical monuments is not just a modern affliction.

All of this is positively modern compared to the graffiti that the Author witnessed at Krak des Chevaliers in Syria, where 12th Century Crusaders carved crosses into the castle walls. Alas, we don’t know how that marvelous castle stands today after being caught in the crossfire of the Syrian Civil War.

Provins graffiti

Liver Pills in Newark

11 June, 2015

Charming ghost advertisement in Newark, New Jersey.  At lease the pills are little!

The Arithmeum in Bonn

27 May, 2015

The Author adores museums devoted to a single category, such as the Clock Museum in Vienna. The Arithmeum in Bonn is another favorite. Completely dedicated to calculating machines, the Arithmeum has an array of devices ranging from ancient Mesopotamia to 17th Century Europe to our modern day. The beautiful intricacy of the early devices, with their hand cranks and delicate metal innards, is fascinating to the math-challenged Author. Fast forward a few hundred years and we have microchips, which when viewed through a microscope look more akin to modern art that mathematics.

The Arithmeum also hosts concerts. A delightful idea, but the Author’s poor, unfortunate ears weren’t sophisticated enough for the contemporary classical music on offer the night she visited. Three contemporary Hungarian composers (Zoltán Jeney, László Vidovszky and Balázs Horváth) performed together. Thus commenced a screeching racket of the dueling sounds of flute, violin, clarinet, cello, drums, piano and Lord knows what else. Suffice to say that, although the Author embraces her Hungarian heritage, contemporary Hungarian music isn’t quite to her liking.

A microchip magnified. Postcard from the Arithmeum gift shop


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