July 24, 2020
New York City entered Phase 4 this week of recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic. Outdoor dining and retail are back. I have gone out to dinner with my husband a few times already. We have seen some friends and family too!
Continuing to show my photographs of the Upper Eastside and Central Park I thought about my connection to these images.
This week I feature statues and buildings that have stimulated my lifelong sense of whimsy. A lover of fantasy since childhood I re-discovered places in the park I needed to explore.
I hope they bring back your sense of whimsy as well….
The base of the Mother Goose figure has characters like Humpty Dumpty and Little Boy Blue carved around it. A homeless man sleeps on a bench nearby. As enchanting as this statue can be there are many experiencing hard times.
This statue shows the famous author sitting on a bench reading his classic, “The Ugly Duckling”, with his top hat placed to the side. You can see the details of this work in each image including the sculptor of the work, Georg J. Jober. The architect who designed the work was Otto F. Lancmann. The statue was dedicated in 1956. The Park Conservancy works hard to preserve all of its treasures.
Hans Christian Andersen (/ˈændərsən/, Danish: [ˈhænˀs ˈkʰʁestjæn ˈɑnɐsn̩] (listen); 2 April 1805 – 4 August 1875), in Denmark usually called H.C. Andersen, was a Danish author. Although a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems, he is best remembered for his fairy tales.
Andersen’s fairy tales, consisting of 156 stories across nine volumes and translated into more than 125 languages, have become culturally embedded in the West’s collective consciousness, readily accessible to children, but presenting lessons of virtue and resilience in the face of adversity for mature readers as well. His most famous fairy tales include “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Nightingale,” “The Steadfast Tin Soldier“, “The Red Shoes“, “The Princess and the Pea,” “The Snow Queen,” and”The Ugly Duckling,” our subject pictured above.
Alice In Wonderland
The centerpiece of this section is the statue of Alice. I took many images of this statue. On any given day the natural light cast many unique looks at this charming monument.
Above you see the entire statue large enough for children to climb on. You see close–ups of her Wonderland cohort: The Mad Hatter, The Rabbit who is always late, and the Cheshire Cat. If you look closely at the rear view you can find the Jabberwocky!
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson , better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, was an English writer of children’s fiction, notably Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass. He was noted for his facility at word play, logic, and fantasy.
At the base of the steps are engraved plates displaying verse from the classic book seen below…
One of a series of stately apartment buildings towering above Central Park West, The Eldorado is famous for its Art Deco-inspired twin towers that mirror its predecessor’s, The San Remo. Constructed a year after The San Remo, The Eldorado is a product of renowned architect Emery Roth, whose buildings are visible all along this stretch of Eighth Avenue. Its location, at 300 Central Park West is located near the reservoir.
Art Deco Twin Towers Rise Above Central Park West In Pre-War Grandeur. This is my favourite building.
The commercial corridor has declined over the past year. Several stores closed. A movie theater shut down. The Barnes & Noble bookstore is moving to a different location on Third Avenue, a much smaller space.
Restaurants have built outdoor dining areas on the street. The ones who had outdoor tables to start are expanded now. All servers wear mask.
The Metropolitan museum of art announced a return date of August 29, 2020.
Walking down any avenue you cannot avoid passing people. Wearing a mask is really the only thing you can do to protect yourself. Remaining indoors is only an option during horrid spells of excessive heat. As of this writing we are having our worst heat of the season.
New York City has proceeded with caution. This enabled us to flatten the curve. Now there are over 30 states with out of control numbers of virus cases. This did not have to happen. Wearing a mask is not a partisan issue. The largest problem now is re-opening the schools.
Will New York City survive? Can we invent a new economy? Do we really need to depend so much on tourism?
The retailers in our area include H&M, Best Buy, Staples, Old Navy, and Banana Republic. Independent shops are mainly services like shoe repair and dry cleaners. A major re–think must be done. New York City is not really as interesting a place as it was in the 20th Century. The internet is a powerful tool but this tech has ravaged our urbanity. If every corner is a fast food chain what is so special about living here? It seems in the past 20 years people have raised children without imagination. Just staring down at screens is Huxley’s Brave New World come to dystopian reality!
In the past 2 weeks I have witnessed a solitary officer and his car guarding a statue of Columbus in Central Park and 3 police vehicles in front of the Met museum with lights on. It was not clear to me what had happened accept perhaps a kid was playing in the fountain. We have collectively lost our marbles during this stressful time.
I have theorized our police are dispatched in groups like street gangs. This can never result in positive outcomes. We need to change how our city is protected.
People are in heavy denial. Understandably the shock of this time is powerful. But I have thought from the start that nothing will come back quickly. I do my part by wearing a mask. Such a simple thing.
I have seen horrifying results of people who think they cannot wear a mask and not get sick. The sacrifice is small yet people are unwilling in so many cases.
My photography continues in the coming weeks of Covid Summer 2020. These were just thoughts I have had while being out enjoying the weather.