New York City Library – Doors & Other Spaces

I really love libraries. 

But even if your not a big library fan, this place is worth a visit. There’s always something interesting going on at the New York Public Library Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 5th Avenue.  

If your lucky (like I was once), or a more organized traveller, you can take in any number of free public talks. I happen to walk off the street at the right time.  But I’ve also I’ve enjoyed a number of intriguing exhibitions here. Most recently I saw the Love in Venice show, which explores some of what sets Venice’s history apart from that of the rest of Europe. But …. I digress. This post is about Doors ….


There are so many extraordinary doors and doorways here!


That ceiling!!  Let’s peak inside …


What a space!!




If you do find yourself here, make some time to visit Bryant Park. Located directly behind the library, this park is actually built on top of the library’s collection (which is housed in a climate controlled space underground).


I’ve heard this place referred to as NewYork’s Livingroom. You can see everyone here: from tourists to locals, from businessmen to schoolchildren.


There’s a children’s area, complete with carousel and outdoor library. 


And plenty of lovely places to enjoy a glass of wine or a coffee, some conversation, have your lunch, or maybe some quiet solitude in the midst of the busy city. 

You could read a book!! 

Norm’s Thursday Doors

An Historic Edge

The edge of the roof on St John’s Anglican Church, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. 

Some of you may remember that this lovely lady suffered a devastating fire onHallowe’en  night, 2001. This site has been a place of worship ever since the Town of Lunenburg was settled in 1753.  It would have been an easy decision to tear down what remained, and build a spanking new church in its place. So, it is a great credit to the community (of the church, the town, the province and the country) that the decision was taken to do the right thing – not the easy thing. Instead, a massive and completely sympathetic restoration  was undertaken and completed in 2005.  

And here she stands. Lovely on a foggy September evening. 

Academic Reflection

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it” – Edith Wharton

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One of the beautiful buildings surrounding Harvard Yard is reflected in a window of the Harvard Memorial Church.  The church stands at one end of the Yard, opposite the Widener Library – to dramatic effect.

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Photos were taken in 2014 as I wandered the grounds. I felt smarter just standing there!  And looking at these photos makes me feel it’s time for another visit.

WPC – Mirror

An Admirable Restoration Project

Okay.  So I admit we didn’t do all the research we probably should have done before heading off on a short holiday in Curacao a couple of weeks ago.  And, yes, we regret that lack of research. No doubt, we’d have seen some things, or taken in some events that would have even further enhanced our visit.

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Instead we just arrived on the island and followed our noses as tourists.  And that has some value, too.    One unexpected, unresearched surprise happened while we were wondering around the Otrobanda quarter of Willemsted.  We turned a corner and discovered the Kura Hulanda Museum complex.

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This complex is an exquisitely resorted group of 15 buildings and their accompanying streets, alleys and public squares.  It now houses a “village spa and hotel” (complete with the casino which almost seems to be a required feature in the major hotels of Curacao), coffee shops, restaurants, and a significant museum.

IMG_5131The credit for this interesting development goes Dutch businessman, Jacob Gelt Dekker.  If I have the story right, he acquired an abandoned, old building and set to renovating/restoring it.  In the process, he discovered it’s connection to the early Caribbean slave trade. It was the site of a former slave yard and merchant’s home. He was so moved, that he changed his plans and made turned the building into a museum: which now houses the largest African collection in the Caribbean. Unfortunately for us, the museum had closed just 5 minutes (!!!) before we discovered it. This is where a little prior research would have served us well.

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After just 10 months of construction, the museum opened in April 1999. He then worked to acquire the surrounding buildings to create the complex which now span more than 16,000 square feet of neighbourhood. The name Kura Hulanda translates from Papiamentu (the local dialect) to mean Dutch Courtyard.

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It was absolutely delightful to walk through the lanes and discover museum displays, murals and admire the beautiful architecture and imagine life in this area back during the colonial days of Curacao.  That said, I daresay what we experienced was a cleaner, even brighter version of the original.

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The mission of the Museum Kura Hulanda is to acquire and exhibit collections related to the cultural identity of the people of Curacao, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Rim. I was impressed by this excellent example of urban restoration which perfectly marries form with function. What a way to preserve built heritage! Admirable!!

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WPC – Admiration

 

A Door in Pietermaai

  Cross this threshold to enter a law office.  It’s one of many popping up in the Pietermaai District of Willemstad, Curaçao.  

  

This neighbourhood is in transition. Beautifully restored buildings, like this one, stand side by side with badly neglected derilict structures.  

Small shops, bars, restaurants & boutique hotels have found their home in Pietermaai.  And, so have loads and loads of law offices and financial institutions. 
This one caught my eye.  

It always makes me happy to see grand, old, beautiful buildings restored. Stay tuned for more postings on our visit to Curaçao. 

In the meantime, if you like doors, check out Norm’s Thursday Doors.

Weathered Door

An uncharacteristically warm early Spring day calls us outside like nothing else.  On this day I met with a friend for a nice long walk in Feltzen South – a charming hamlet in Lunenburg Bay.

When I stopped to take this photo, my friend commented, “I wonder if that door will even open anymore?” We didn’t try to find out.  I suspect that if we had, we’d have had a bit of trouble getting it to close again.  And in a weathered building like this, it might be best to keep the stories inside.

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I’m a huge fan of board and batten siding.

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This is linked with Norm’s Thursday Doors….