Liberty Tower

The Liberty Tower, formerly the Sinclair Oil Building, 55 Liberty Street at the corner of Nassau Street in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York City was built in 1909–10 and designed by Henry Ives Cobb in a Gothic Revival style. The limestone building is covered in white architectural terracotta ornamented with birds and alligators and other fanciful subjects.

In the building before Liberty Tower was the New York Evening Post under editor William Cullen Bryant, and the first headquarters of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, established by Henry Bergh in 1867.

President Theodore Roosevelt’s law office was one of Sinclair Oil building’s first commercial tenants. In 1917, an office was leased as cover for German spies seeking to prevent America’s intervention in World War I (“The Great War”). The plot involved an attempt to draw the United States into a diversionary war with Mexico and Japan. The plot was exposed on March 1, 1917, with news reports of an intercepted telegram (“Zimmermann Telegram”), decoded by British cryptographers, prompted President Woodrow Wilson to declare war against Germany a month later. Shortly afterward, the entire building was leased by the Sinclair Oil Company, responsible for the Teapot Dome scandal of 1922.

In 1979, the structure, renamed Liberty Tower, was converted from commercial use into a residential building by architect Joseph Pell Lombardi. It was designated a New York City landmark in 1982, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 15, 1983. Because the then new principles of “skyscraper” design were not yet fully understood, the building was overbuilt, with its steel foundation anchored into bedrock five stories below street level. This overly sturdy construction helped this tall, slender building withstand the collapse of two World Trade Towers only 220 yards to the west on September 11, 2001, with only minimal damage despite the impact which was measured at the time as a 3.3 magnitude seismic event.

Source: Liberty Tower (Manhattan) – Wikipedia

Image source: Manhattan Scout

View showing the ornate top. Image source: Manhattan Scout


Chihuly Squares

Rather than show my snaps of the gorgeous Chihuly glass on exhibit at the NY Botanical Gardens I cropped them to squares of colors and patterns. Please do take a look at the links for more information.

Irving Penn

I went to see a fabulous exhibit with the B&H Event Space group on May 23 at the Met museum: Irving Penn Centennial. Have a look at the whole set of prints and see how he developed as an artist Met: exhibitions objects.

Jeff L. Rosenheim, the chief Curator, generously gave us a half hour tour. His talk was very enlightening. The curator said Irving Pewnn printed limited runs, did all his own work and deliberately made the prints not the same. He was a workaholic and was always phtographing, printing or doing related work. Fashion photography was for cash, but that wasn’t his personal art. He trained as an artist and his sense of design shows in all he did. Apparently, his studio, was very raw and he made his clients pose the way he wanted them. For the series in Cusco he took over a local studio and paid the sitters; consequently, he had no shortage of models. He loved Matisse and knew him. His nude series explores shapes like Matisse did. I see Modigliani in them too. Rosenheim said most people didn’t like them. I like the series of flowers near the end of the exhibit. I love how he used positive and negative space and that all parts of the image are considered in the design.

After that we went to see some of his prints on sale at Pace/MacGill “Irving Penn 1950.” Also see the Pace/MacGill press release. I felt that the prints were not as good as the ones at the Met. The curators at the Met have first choice of the best of his prints and they chose well.

Irving Penn (June 16, 1917 – October 7, 2009) was an American photographer known for his fashion photography, portraits, and still lifes Wikipedia: Irving Penn.

Thank you Deborah Gilbert, B&H Event Producer, for making the event possible.

Here’s a couple of pics of Marc and I in front of Penn’s drop cloth at the Met.

May Birds 2

Last one of a set of 4 posts. The Grey Catbirds arrived in what seemed like one day. The little female Scarlet Tanager looks exhausted by the journey. It is getting very hot, time for baths. On May 16th, there was a huge termite hatch out in New York after the rains. This coincided with a record number of warblers (did they know this?). A feast was had by all. This starling kept coming for beakfulls at a time for its family. The bullfrog may have been hoping for a careless warbler to fly by.

May Birds 1

These are some of the larger migrants. Some will stay. Blue Jays are in Central Park year-round. I managed to capture a liquid drop at the end of the Oriole’s bill while it was feeding on the Tulip Tree blossoms. Nighthawks are rarely seen. Word got out, and we flocked to see it in a tree overlooking Azalea Pond.


May Warblers 2

Here is the second set. I need to get out there and photograph some more before Spring migration is over.

May Warblers 1

Tuseday this week was the best day for Spring warblers in Central Park. I will post my May photographs over the next few days. Hope you enjoy them.


Blue Grosbeak

A Blue Grosbeak (probably first year) has been staying by the bee hives in Battery Park, New York City this week. I was lucky, I didn’t nead to search or wait, there it was. The bird looks a bit scruffy and feather worn, but seems to be surviving well by bashing bees to death and eating them.