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noun. a record of significant occurrences, experiences or observations.

Log: 21.8.19

‘Log’ posts will aim to provide a simple record of key activities. If a subject lends itself to more detail it may become a post in its own right & could be presented in a different form i.e. audio interviews, video, etc. We won’t post every day but will share daily details we think are relevant & might be of interest to you. It may take a couple of days to catch up with log posts. The log will require a little more ‘discipline’ & provide a thread to remember, track & map progress. The content might also provide a useful starting point for linking thoughts, random themes & seemingly disparate narratives. Some of the forays described may seem somewhat ‘off piste’ to begin with; please bare with us.* Although these ‘meanders’ might turn out to be blind alleys they may also provide a rich seam or useful cross reference to pursue. Hey, we’ve decided to do it anyway so here goes…

*Please use ‘tags’ to search, filter & focus on your interests.

Wednesday 21.8.19

Flushing, Main Street to Grand Central; MTA No. 7 Subway Line:

Flushing, Main Street; MTA Subway to Grand Central (Hudson Yards). No.7 Subway has been called 'the international express' as the neighbourhoods & stops reflect some of the truly incredible cultural diversity of NYC (or Queens & Long Island City anyway). Here’s a taste of the stops & communities along the way:

  • Flushing-Main Street: Shanghai, Taiwan, Chinese American (Central to South East Asia). Flushing is an emerging city in its own right.

  • 103 Street-Corona Plaza & Junction Boulevard: Mexican, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela & The Caribbean.

  • 90th Street-Elmhurst Avenue, 82nd Street-Jackson Heights & 74th Street Broadway-Roosevelt Avenue: South Asian, Indian, Pakistani & Bengali.

  • 69th Street, Woodside-61st Street, 52nd Street, 46th Street & 40th Street: Little Manila (Filipino Community), Korean, South Asian, Chinese & other Latin American ‘towns’.

  • 33rd Street: Turkish, Egyptian (Middle Eastern) & in Astoria, Steinway Street is known as ‘Arab Town’.

  • Also dotted amongst these neighbourhoods there are a fair few Europeans as well: Irish, Scots, Germans, Italians & English.

Grand Central Station:

“Yeh; been there done that”; OK it’s high up on the tourist ‘must visit’ list but it really is an incredible space or rather series of connected spaces. The focus for my visit today was another famed tile ceiling; Raphael Guastavino’s stunning vaulted ceramics & arches that grace the Dining Concourse & famous Oyster Bar. There are some photos in the gallery below to hopefully whet your appetite & if you want to find out a little more click here: Guastavino

Argosy Book Store:

Even more seemingly tangential than Grand Central to the core ‘Our Beth’ narrative is Argosy Book Store. However, it was an important part of the serendipity that ‘guided’ me to the Minton Tiles at Bethesda Terrace Arcade in the first place. It’s a story I will (re)explore & share at another time but suffice to say it involved books! Argosy is a Manhattan institution. It’s located in a fabulous old six-floor building in Midtown Manhattan (116 East 59th Street) & surrounded by soaring skyscrapers. It’s been around since 1925 & continues to defy it’s brazen neighbours to this day. If you’re interested click here: Argosy Book Store

The Central Park: Cynthia S. Brenwall with Sara Cedar Miller (NYPL):

New York Public Library (NYPL) is truly up there with the world’s best of course. The grand building is adjacent to Bryant Park. Its internationally significant collection forms the basis for public & academic research. It is custodian to some very special items* & promotes a lively exhibition programme. The Library is renowned for its extensive study rooms for anyone & everyone welcome to use desk space. The tour is a must if you ever visit; in the meantime take a peek at the excellent online resources by clicking here: NYPL Digital Collections

*Including Stoke-on-Trent related gems like this: ‘Pavement in encaustic tiles by Minton & co. of Stoke-upon-Trent’.

So back to our talk tonight. There is a talk about Central Park by two of the NYC’s eminent professionals; Cynthia L. Brenwall, Conservator & Art Historian for New York City Municipal Archives & Sara Cedar Miller, Historian emerita of the Central Park Conservancy since 2017 & author of the definitive ‘Central Park, An American Masterpiece’. Click here for more details & purchase.

Cynthia has recently published an important book; ‘The Central Park: Original Designs for New York's Greatest Treasure’ is the story of the creation of New York’s great public park, from its conception to its completion. New York City Municipal Archives conservator and art historian Cynthia S. Brenwall takes us back in time and includes details like the original winning competition entry, detailed maps, as well as the original designs for buildings, fixtures, and infrastructure. Click here for more details & purchase.

We will be visiting Cynthia at the Municipal Archives next week & will publish details of our ongoing conversation; specifically about the rediscovered original drawings including very exciting original designs for the Minton Tiles. We will also be connecting with Sara & will share her expert perspectives on the tiles & Terrace.