New York

A Current Project In Miniature

by Don Friedman on December 13, 2017

Another picture from the Botanical Gardens train show: Belvedere Castle in Central Park. Our project there, to restore the masonry and the wood pavilions, has recently gone to contractors for bids and should be in construction soon.

Belvedere is a unique structure, combining thick ashlar masonry walls, wrought-iron beams, and stone-slab floors. It was built before New York had a building code, which is just as well because there is no code that it could have met. It is one of the most prominent structures in the park and arguably the pinnacle – figuratively and literally – of the romantic design of the park. There is a small body of water – the Turtle Pond – with a hill nearby, and what could go on top of the hill but a castle folly?

I’ll be writing more about this project in the future, but for now: it’s an honor to work on the castle.

A Long-Overdue Designation

December 12, 2017

The IRT Powerhouse has been designated as a New York City landmark. First, as the pictures may make clear, this is a huge building that is quite visible: it fills the block between 58th and 59th Streets, and between 11th and 12th Avenues. In other words, it’s 200 feet wide and about 600 feet long. […]

Read the full article →

An Illustration of The Effect of Theory

December 11, 2017

Yesterday was my family’s annual pilgrimage to the New York Botanical Garden for the train show. The picture above shows a group of the model buildings that were highlighted by being placed in a fountain near the end of the show. (Click to enlarge.) That’s the Statue of Liberty and the main building at Ellis […]

Read the full article →


December 10, 2017

It wasn’t much, but the first snow of the season is still the first snow of the season.

Read the full article →

How Speciation Starts

December 9, 2017

This article on the rat population of New York is fascinating. There are genetic differences in the rats depending on where they live, with the relatively sparse population in midtown serving to separate the uptown rats from the downtown rats. Now that I have learned this fascinating tidbit, it’s unfortunate that there’s absolutely no place […]

Read the full article →

Reading New York

December 7, 2017

Curbed has put together a list of books about New York. They limited it to fifth books, but the list could easily be five hundred. There are about 36 non-fiction books on the list (“about” because some of the books are a little fuzzy on fiction versus non) and 14 novels; over the years I’ve read […]

Read the full article →

The Connection

December 4, 2017

Question: What do these blog posts have in common? See the purple numbers on the map above (click on the map to enlarge it) for the location of the pictures for all and the text for most. Blatant and Odd Fakery Then and Now – Pier A Arching Action, Too Brothers Bad Soil An Old […]

Read the full article →

Before It Was Put In Place

December 2, 2017

That’s the New York Stock Exchange’s Christmas tree, awaiting a crane.

Read the full article →

Everything In A City Is Manmade – Even The Water

November 30, 2017

Continuing with yesterday’s theme… New York is located on two medium-sized islands (Manhattan and Staten Island), a portion of a large island (Brooklyn and Queens are the west end of Long Island), a piece of mainland (the Bronx) and a whole bunch of small islands in the surrounding waterways. Those waterways include small streams (e.g., […]

Read the full article →

Everything In A City Is Manmade

November 29, 2017

Another great article from Karrie Jacobs, this one on Prospect Park: here. I’m not even going to attempt to summarize it. You should read it because it’s a fascinating look at how parks in New York have developed over the last 150 years. Jacobs’s painstaking descriptions of the work that went into the creation of […]

Read the full article →