Neontasmagoria

At night, the whole area along – and including – the falls, becomes a neon phantasmagoria.

 

The neon light show inside Galleria (shopping mall), mirrors that of the falls.

I wish I could have stayed awake to see whether the lights change all night.

I didn’t.

 

October 26th, 2017

Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane

If Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs are a little too ”light” for your taste, may I suggest a walk around the massive Richardson Olmsted Campus. In its original version, the 1880 ”Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane” incorporated the then most enlightened humane principles in psychiatric treatment. Over time, as technology and mental health care advanced, patients were moved to a new facility in the 1970s and the complex was gradually abandoned.

After years of neglect the buildings are now being restored, having lost none of their imposing sturdiness. I think they would make the perfect set for a scary movie. It was a sunny day when we visited – just imagine how frightening they would seem in the dead of winter, wind howling and rain battering against those huge windows.

Here are some opening scenes from the scariest movie you’ve never seen…

… in b&w

… and in colour

Buffalo N.Y.

October 26th, 2017

The Darwin D. Martin House in Buffalo

Upstate New York may be home to numerous natural wonders but some of the man-made ones are also a sight to behold. Like, for instance, The Martin House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for wealthy Buffalo businessman Darwin D. Martin and his family between 1903-1905. It was our first real-life encounter with a Frank Lloyd Wright building, besides the Guggenheim in Manhattan.

The house is actually a complex, consisting of six interconnected buildings which include the main Martin House, a pergola that connects it to a conservatory and carriage house with chauffeur’s quarters and stables, the Barton House, a smaller residence for Martin’s sister and brother-in-law, and a gardener’s cottage added in 1909.

But Frank Lloyd Wright didn’t stop at the building. He went on to design – or, at least have the last word of approval for – everything in the Martin House; that includes the landscape, interior furnishings, light fixtures, art glass, and selections of artwork and artifacts for interior decoration.

Apropos of the art glass, there are 394 examples – some original pieces – of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed art glass in the complex, including the famed “Tree of Life” window.

But, perhaps, the most surprising fixture, one that I had never expected to encounter in a prairie house in Buffalo N.Y. – even one as prominent as The Martin House – was a cast of the Hellenistic sculpture of Nike or Victory of Samothrace – Νίκη της Σαμοθράκης. A cast so large, it is visible from the front door, some 180 feet away.

According to our guide, Nike was one of Wright’s favourite sculptures and copies can be found in many of his buildings. But only in the Martin House did he place one of such magnificent scale.

The Martin House is open to the public but can only be visited on a tour. There are different tours available, including a ”Photography” one (which we didn’t take). Otherwise, photography of the interiors is not permitted, save for the pergola leading to the statue of Nike.

Buffalo, N.Y.

Taughannock Falls

Walking along the ancient path carved through the mountain by water and time.

Air. Earth. Water. Fall. Waterfall. Taller than Niagara Falls, less voluminous after the drier summer months, nothing short of spectacular in the changing light at golden hour.

All images from the Taughannock Falls Gorge Trail, except the very first one, taken from the Overlook View Point.

Ulysses, N.Y. northwest of Ithaca.

October 25th, 2017

Cayuga Lake

We almost missed the lake! Here we were, next to the longest, widest and second deepest of the glacier carved Finger Lakes and we had almost no time left to enjoy it. That’s how enthralled we had been by the beauty of Ithaca’s waterfalls! So, on our way to the most magnificent of them all, the least we could do was make a quick stop at the deserted Allan H Treman State Marine Park; and a second one in Taughannock Point, before entering the Park. It was sunny and cool and – at times – very, very breezy. It was also getting late and we still had a long walk ahead.

Ithaca, N.Y.

October 25th, 2017

Cascadilla Gorge Trail

”Ithaca must be one of the most picturesque towns on this side of the Ocean”, I thought, as we were walking past these well-kept buildings, down neat, tree-lined streets to join the Cascadilla Gorge trail.

”No, this is paradise”, I corrected myself mentally after the first few steps alongside the cascading waterfalls, over the footbridges and up the staircases. For this stunning trail crosses right through the heart of Ithaca, connecting its downtown with the Cornell campus.

Cornell, Cornell… no matter how long you walk you’ll be hard pressed to find a place in Ithaca that is not in some way connected with Cornell. I found it rather surprising, the fact that Ithaca has actually kept its name; if one day someone decided to change it to ”Cornell City”, no one would give it a second thought, I suppose.

Then, this newspaper caught my eye. ”Anti-Semitic posters appear on Campus Buildings”. How odd is human nature, always ready to show its ugly face as if unable to bear so much beauty!

Ithaca N.Y.

October 25th, 2017

We paid our respects

To Professor Carl E. Sagan whose brilliant mind touched and inspired millions and whose work brought a slice of the Cosmos within our reach. May his memory leave forever in humanity’s quest to understand the Universe.

Professor Sagan was laid to rest in the serenity of Lake View Cemetery. People still walk the ascending path that leads to his grave and leave all kinds of dedications. We found, among others, a button with one of his famous quotes: “The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be.” Here is the rest of the quote: ”Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.” – Carl E. Sagan (1934-1996)

Ithaca N.Y.

October 24th, 2017

Cornell Campus || Beebe Lake

  • A break for lunch at Manndible Cafe; located on campus, inside the Mann Library, but easily accessible to non-students, too; soups, burritos and such.
  • Walking past Bailey Hall
  • Back to the path toward Sackett Foot Bridge; wonderful views over Beebe Lake; fall yellows reflecting on water

Warm afternoon sun

Inner peace

Ithaca, NY

October 24th, 2017

Beebe Lake, Ithaca

There is a quite path going around Beebe Lake, loved by joggers and walkers alike, where we took our first steps in discovering Ithaca.

We walked over Sackett Foot Bridge, named in honour of Colonel Henry Sackett, a Cornell student who donated a considerable amount of his personal wealth to build these paths and help preserve the natural beauty of the two nearby gorges – Cascadilla and Fall Creek.

We walked towards Triphammer Falls and the Beebe Dam, designed and built by Ezra Cornell, the very founder of Cornell University. The whole area, the falls, the dam, the lake, the path, are all part of the University campus. Can you think of a more scenic campus, anywhere?

Ithaca, N.Y.

October 24th, 2017