The Graduate Center on Fifth Avenue

Those early buildings, assured and unassuming. Their understated beauty is not eye-catching; you can walk past them day after day, without ever noticing them. Perhaps because they are overshadowed by their more famous neighbours, like the one here. CUNY Graduate Center sits diagonally opposite the Empire State Building so, obviously, there’s no comparison. But once you do notice the wavy art nouveau canopies, the adorned columns, the wood carved doors, you’ll inevitably begin to wonder what took you so long.

365 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan

November 19th, 2017

At the right place, the right time

At 10 a.m. precisely, the Chrysler’s famous spear is perfectly aligned with the corner of the MetLife Building.

At 1 p.m. the shadows recede and The Glory of Commerce, shines through. We are outside Grand Central Terminal on 42nd Street, walking past a masterpiece: the Tiffany glass clock surrounded by a sculptural group by Jules-Félix Coutan, representing Minerva, Hercules and Mercury – or to us Greeks, Athena, Hercules and Hermes.

Midtown, Manhattan

November 29th, 2017

Bye-bye Chicago

It’s been a great trip, started in Ithaca and Cayuga Lake, went on to Buffalo and Niagara Falls, round Lake Ontario to Gananoque and the Thousand Islands, a few hours spent in Ottawa and finally, in Chicago. Here we are in 120 North La Salle Street, under a Daedalus and Icarus mosaic, father and son together in flight, their wings spread wide, as if to tell us it is time to take off. And took off we did, so here we are, back to base with a little walk in Tribeca, taking in Manhattan’s crazy architecture. Hello New York!

November 5th, 2017 – Chicago: Daedalus & Icarus mosaic designed by Roger Brown and painstakingly installed by Costante Crovatto.

November 12th, 2017 – Manhattan: walking in Tribeca towards the One World Trade Center, here seen behind the wing of Oculus.

 

 

 

Chicago || In the Loop

The elevated Loop, part of the iconic Chicago ”L” circuit, looping around a rectangle in downtown Chicago. It runs right in front of many windows of shops, gyms, offices – thankfully, no private apartments. Sometimes so close, it might as well run through them.

From the moment we arrived here, we felt that Chicago is what Manhattan would have been, had it not been an island: orderly, clean, with enough space for development; where pedestrians need not fight for the last millimetre of  pavement space; and with its ”L” trains still running.  Still in the Loop, almost time to leave but not before catching glimpses into two more lobbies: this is the City of Chicago City Hall and, further down, the One North LaSalle Building, with its lavish art deco cathedral for a lobby.

Lobby hopping in the Loop, Chicago

November 5th, 2017

At the end of the day [four]

Just when you think it can’t get any better.

Airplane views of Chicago from The Signature Room at the 95th, a cocktail bar located, well, on the 95th floor of the 360 Chicago tower, better known as the John Hancock Center. The cocktails must be good but who would remember after experiencing these dizzying views?

As if to prepare us for the experience, an explosion of light at the lobby: Lucent, an installation by Wolfgang Buttress, representing the 3,106 brightest stars visible with the naked eye from the Earth’s Northern hemisphere.

And, finally, a smooth landing back to Earth, walking past the iconic Wrigley Building on N Michigan Avenue.

Chicago by night on November 5th, 2017

Chicago || Hill Street Blues and the Wickedest Police District in the World

From the waterfront and Grant Park, on our way to meet a legend – both cultural and architectural.

Meet Maxwell Street Station, aka the 7th District Station, aka UIC Police HQ, aka Hill Street Station. The red brick building that was part of Chicago’s history long before it became the signature image of the Hill Street Blues television series (which, by the way, was not filmed in Chicago but in Los Angeles – on location and in studio). 

I’m reading on the UIC Police website: ”The building, designed in 1888 by the firm of Edbrooke and Burnham, is a well-preserved example of an early Chicago neighborhood police station. It was built of red pressed brick and Joliet limestone, with walls three feet thick at the base — a true fortress.”

”The station was built during a period of tremendous growth after the Chicago Fire of 1871, as the city’s population exploded from 298,000 to almost 1.1 million. As late as 1850, the entire police force of Chicago consisted of just nine men. But the growing population, along with social and economic changes, created the need for more law enforcement.”

”In 1906, the Chicago Tribune called the district “Bloody Maxwell” and “the Wickedest Police District in the World.” The police station was considered a fortress in a precinct that had grown to 200,000 residents and boasted more saloons per capita than any place in town. Over the years, the legendary station played host to some of the nation’s most notorious criminals, including Sam Giancana and Al Capone.”

Listen to the theme song which took Mike Post two hours to write:

And now, try to get the tune out of your head – see if you can! 

943 West Maxwell Street, Chicago

November 5th, 2017