Do you ever see interesting people on your travels you would like to have a conversation with? Are certain people a fixture in a neighborhood? I recently stopped to chat with one such person.
Louis Mendes I have seen quite often on 34th Street near the corner of 9th Avenue in New York City. Since I love taking pictures, I see him when I visit my favorite camera store in the city, B and H. Louis is never without his camera. For street portraits he uses a 1940s Speed Graphic camera that he turned into an instant camera by rigging polaroid gear on the back.
Louis has taken many photos over the years of famous people. Some of those names include Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, and Hillary Clinton. He also has photographed some of the jazz greats such as Duke Ellington and Count Basie. He is from New York, but also he has liked visiting New Orleans to take photos. These days he makes money by taking photos of people on the street in New York.
Louis is an interesting person to talk to. He does move around, but I have seen him quite frequently on 34th. If you are visiting Manhattan and get down in the neighborhood of 34th Street and see him, say hello. Louis is truly an icon of New York.
Who can be found on many buildings in England? Whose image adorns the face of some buildings in Germany, France and others places? It is the Green Man.
Did you know it also can be found on buildings in the United States? There are at least three locations where the Green Man can be found in New York City. Below are some grotesque-like images I found on one Manhattan building.
See if you can find any Green Men in your locale. There seem to be more of these around than people know.
Did you know Manhattan has a Korea Town? Do you know where it is? Which restaurant has decor that makes you feel you are in Korea? Jongro BBQ can transport you to Asia.
Korea Town, also known as K-Town, is south of the Empire State Building. It is on 32nd Street roughly between Broadway and 5th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. The neighborhood has several restaurants. The first few I walked into that were on street level were packed on a Sunday afternoon. I decided to try Jongro- which was on the second floor of a building at 22 West 32nd Street. I was pleasantly surprised.
The decor of the restaurant brings you to Korea. I lived in Korea for two years and it reminded me of a restaurant in the country we stopped in on the way back from hiking a mountain. Jongro BBQ has antique items from Korea on the walls and on poles. They have old signage, a post box, and a vintage delivery bike to name a few. They also constructed areas of the restaurant to look like architecture you would find in Korea.
This is a BBQ, so you will find cooker areas on the tables. I am supposed to avoid beef and pork. A lot of items on the menu include those things. However, they did have my old standby, BeBimBop. This dish can be served hot or cold. I like it both ways. They only serve it cold at Jongro. It was excellent. I asked for it with egg on top instead of beef and they obliged. The rest of the dish is vegetables and rice. They had a couple of other items on the menu if you did not want a meat dish.
If you are visiting Manhattan and want to eat Korean food or something healthy, head to Jongro BBQ. Enjoy the decor while you are there. It is one of the gems of Korea Town.
Where can you find the highest concentration of grotesques in New York City? The answer is on the campus of City College of New York.
City College is located on Amsterdam Avenue near 138th Street. It is in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood of Manhattan just north of Harlem.
How Many Grotesques?
According to “The City College of NY 150 Years of Academic Architecture” written by Paul David Pearson (1997) the buildings are “encased with over 600 grotesque figures that directly relate to the educational function of each building. The figures were designed by Livingston Smith, a staff member in the post’s architectural office, modeled by G. Grundellis and cast in terra cotta.” I got this quote from another website. Scouting NY website says there are 1,000. I don’t think I was able to access close to either of those numbers walking around campus, however, there are a lot to see.
How to Get There
In Manhattan take the number 1 subway line to 137th Street- City College station. Exit and walk up Hamilton Place and turn right on 138th Street. When you cross Amsterdam Avenue you are there. Anyone can walk around the campus. There are not many people there on the weekend, but I was still able to walk around the buildings. There are areas you can not walk on campus. Some streets or alleyways may be closed off with fences.
If grotesques peak your interest, it is worth a trip up the 1 train. It may also be a good destination prior to Halloween.
When is a parade not a parade? When you think of a parade what usually comes to mind is people marching in groups on a planned route with floats and bands playing. The New York City Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival does not fit into that definition.
The Easter parade is more of a mingle. Fifth Avenue between 49th and 57th Streets becomes filled with not only parade participants, but also spectators. The participants wearing bonnets amble this way and that stopping for long stretches to pose for selfies with spectators and photographs. Spectators have short conversations with participants about their bonnets and where they are from.
It is not just locals who participate, but tourists from around the world join in. I met a group of women from Australia, I believe they said they were from Brisbane. There was a family group from Norway that also joined in. Some people even bring their canines with hats. You will see all ages participating, young children through seniors.
One can see a variety of bonnets during this parade. Some fall under traditional Sunday best hats, while other bonnets were constructed with a hot glue gun or even screws. You will see many spring or Easter themed bonnets, but not all fall under those categories.
If you plan to visit New York City during the Easter holidays join in or be a spectator to this long held NYC tradition. Just head to 5th Avenue near St. Patrick’s on Easter morning. It’s an Easter treat!