Art Deco Hospital

I was born in a magnificent Art Deco hospital in Jersey City, the Margaret Hague Maternity (named after Boss Frank, “I am the law,” Hague’s mother) Hospital.  It was part of the Jersey City Medical Center.   The Art Deco medical center provided virtually free health care for all Jersey City residents.  Now it’s a condo called “The Beacon” and is not available to virtually all … Continue reading Art Deco Hospital

King Street Station, Seattle

The first time I entered the King Street Station in Seattle was when I stepped off the “Coast Daylight/Starlight in 1973.”  A couple of days later Suzi and I got on the “Pacific International” to head to Vancouver.  The impression the station left me was of a dark cave.  The ceilings were too low, made of acoustic tile.  It was a chintzy modern interior that … Continue reading King Street Station, Seattle

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Dale Chihuly is a glass artist from Seattle.  In the Seattle Center, the site of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair he has a museum and glass garden with fantastic glass figures set among plants in the garden and displayed with lighting that allows the glass to cast shadows on the walls of the gallery.  The garden is next to the Seattle Space Needle and the … Continue reading Chihuly Garden and Glass

Reclaiming Jersey City

My earliest memories are of Jersey City.  I loved Jackson Avenue in particular because I loved riding on the Jackson Ave Trolley Car.  I learned many lessons on that streetcar.  It was there I first remembered seeing black people and asking my mother about who they were, in a very loud voice, I am sure embarrassing her.  But the street car was the one place … Continue reading Reclaiming Jersey City

A Subway Series

I’ve seen the Yankees play the Mets before, but it didn’t count.  The Mayor’s Trophy game was an exhibition game where the results had no play in the standings and a home run was not counted toward a player’s total.  Sometimes players didn’t put out because of fear of injuries that would affect the “real” season.  With only 14 games left in the season Sunday’s … Continue reading A Subway Series

Home of Phoebe Snow

The Beaux Arts Lackawanna railway station in Hoboken, New Jersey went up in 1907, built at the site of an old ferry landing.  It was designed as an intermodal transportation hub serving trains, ferries, and street cars.  Today there are no street cars but you can add light rail, the PATH Tube (a subway rapid transit system between New York and New Jersey) and busses. … Continue reading Home of Phoebe Snow

You Have Built It, But Will They Come? St. Paul Union Depot

When I was in college I became familiar with St. Paul’s Union Depot.  I took Great Northern’s Western Star for spring break skiing in Whitefish, Montana.  The Star was Great Northern’s ‘ “second train.”  I couldn’t afford the flagship Empire Builder.  On shorter holidays, like Thanksgiving, Suzi’s family hosted several of her college friends who lived far away from Minnesota, including me, for Thanksgiving.  We … Continue reading You Have Built It, But Will They Come? St. Paul Union Depot

“Wait ’till next year!” The end of the season at Citi Field

It’s the post season, the end of summer.  A couple of weeks ago Suzi and I went to a Mets game during the last weekend of the regular season.  We arrived on the 7 train from Grand Central Station after spending some time in the City.  We would be going home on the Long Island Railroad to Penn Station where we would catch the Path … Continue reading “Wait ’till next year!” The end of the season at Citi Field

Keansburg, A Living Museum “Down the Shore”… But Not Too Far.

When I was a kid I loved to go “Down the Shore.”  Well, when I was really young, not too far down– as far as Keansburg, New Jersey to be exact.  You have probably seen Keansburg.  When movie makers need a rundown kind of seedy Jersey Shore location they pick Keansburg.  One of James Gandolfini’s last movies “Down the Shore” was filmed, in part, there.  … Continue reading Keansburg, A Living Museum “Down the Shore”… But Not Too Far.

New York’s Deco Towers

Growing up we could see the New York Skyline from the back window of both my grandparents’ flat and from our flat, although the best view was from Grandma’s kitchen fire escape.  The Empire State and Chrysler buildings dominated the skyline.  When I moved to Ridgewood the favorite spot for “parking” was on a ridge overlooking the skyline.  Again, those two buildings were the focus … Continue reading New York’s Deco Towers

New York’s World Trade Center in transition.

It looks like a giant Klingon Bird of Prey has landed in the middle of the World Trade Center.  It’s the skeleton of a new railway station, designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who says the design is that of a bird being released from a child’s hand.  Now, under construction, with welders sparks flying, it looks ominous, but I can see how, minus … Continue reading New York’s World Trade Center in transition.

On Broadway! (And Off Broadway)

On our recent trip to New York, working our way toward midtown we find half of Broadway has become a partial pedestrian mall from Herald Square to Times Square.   Broadway becomes one way southbound,  the old northbound lanes are a pedestrian zone with tables, chairs, food booths and sculpture.  Times Square itself a cleaned up, walking zone lined with theaters running stage version of Walt … Continue reading On Broadway! (And Off Broadway)

St. Paul’s Chapel, New York

St. Paul’s Chapel is one building near the site of the twin towers which was unharmed by the attack but, somehow, utterly transformed.  When, as a kid, I made my annual trip to Manhattan, we would always stop at St. Paul’s.  It is an 18th century Georgian chapel and is the oldest public building in continuous use in New York City.  When my grandfather took … Continue reading St. Paul’s Chapel, New York

Irish Hunger Memorial, Battery Place, New York

Whenever I visit the city I find something new and striking. This trip I thought it would be the 9/11 memorial, but it wasn’t– it was Brian Tolle’s Irish Hunger Memorial near The Battery.  It transports a stone cottage from Co. Mayo and integrates it with a modern building that has illuminated strips with quotes about hunger, drawing our attention not only to the Irish … Continue reading Irish Hunger Memorial, Battery Place, New York

St. Croix River Soo Line High Bridge

I love the iron and steel constructs built between the American Civil War and the First World War. Many were built by the railroads, the wonder train sheds of Europe. But the US has its share of railway architecture. The St. Croix River Soo Line High Bridge is a magical construct of steel latticework. I never tire of taking a boat down to the bridge … Continue reading St. Croix River Soo Line High Bridge

A Professor, An Art Barn and A Lifetime of Enjoyment

Liberal Arts educations are often derided in the popular press today.  Today the reason for a college education seems to be to find a job not to find a life or a vocation.  I’ve never regretted the broad liberal arts education I got at St. Olaf College.  Sure, it gave me skills to function in the workplace but more than that it gave me insight … Continue reading A Professor, An Art Barn and A Lifetime of Enjoyment