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Topiaries of jumping ponies mark entrances to Central Park Horse Show.

Topiaries of jumping ponies mark entrances to Central Park Horse Show.

It was a different New York, back when the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden opened the fall social season, and the swells dressed in black tie to attend. As the New York Times once pointed out, the 1887 registry for the show listing attendees and directors formed the basis of the first Social Register. But all that ended in 1996, when the National moved to East Rutherford, NJ, of all places, and ”the white-tie balls at the Waldorf-Astoria gave way to parties at the local Sheraton.” (Today the National is held in Wellington, FL.)

Now, amazingly, a few of the world’s finest riders and horses are competing at Wollman Rink in Central Park. Beginning last night September 18th, with the $210,000 Central Park Grand Prix through the Central Park Dressage Challenge on Saturday, Sept. 20th, and closing on Sunday, Sept. 21st, with the Central Park Polo Challenge, the Central Park Horse Show is giving New Yorkers a fine taste of the old days. Nestled among trees and wandering paths in the southern section of the park, the oddly shaped Wollman Rink is on the small side for Grand Prix jumping, much less polo. But the organizers have done a magnificent job of making it work, with the enveloping skyline of Central Park South lighting up the horses and riders.

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Leda and the Swan by Fernando Botero

The Marlborough Gallery has a history as significant as the number of artists they represent. Their string of galleries can be found in Madrid, Barcelona, London, Monaco and two in New York. The 57th Street gallery, located at 40 West, has a covered walkway that is a block away from 6 ½ Avenue (yes, you read that right), and it has proven an ideal setting for exhibiting outdoors.

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Historically, steam vessels ran along the Hudson River, connecting the Hudson Valley with New York City to bring visitors to the natural and cultural resources of both areas. As the Hudson Valley struggles with the post-industrial transition of other rust belt regions, an enterprising and little-known project with a passionate team aims to reconnect the valley with its strategic waterway. Just this week, America’s oldest surviving passenger steamer made the first leg of its journey from Detroit to New York City for service on the Hudson River, functioning as a floating mobile museum and cultural space and restoring a historical transportation link.

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In the late 1800s to early 1950s, Ellis Island was the “Island of Hope,” the final gateway before immigrants could enter the new world. For others, it was the “Island of Tears,” for after so many braved the harsh and excruciating journey, they were turned back (some of them being forever separated from their loved ones), their dreams dashed right at the gates.

Starting, October 1st, Save Ellis Island and world renowned street artist JR are hosting, for the first time in history, an art exhibition inside the island’s abandoned South Side hospitalsWhile 10-20% of the 12 million immigrants to pass through Ellis Island were temporarily detained for health-related reasons, only the 1% with incurable contagious diseases was sent home. The success of the medical facility was due to cutting edge building design, top-level medical staff, and significant government support.

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Have you ever walked by a particularly strong stench at a street corner and suddenly had the urge to give it a closer smell to really dissect its nuances? Well, us neither. But a few brave pioneers have taken it upon themselves to create their own smellmaps, fascinating guides that showcase a city’s range of olfactory experiences. In this interactive New York Times map of Manhattan (from 2009 but still awesome), Jason Logan provides encyclopedic entries for each neighborhood’s smellscape.

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Video via Kickstarter

Washington D.C.-based tech start-up GreaterPlaces and civic organization DoTankDC are launching “Cards Against Urbanity” the Card Game for Horrible Places, a direct play on the famous Cards Against Humanity, a Party Game for Horrible People. The game aims to teach city planning and design by making fun of cities, suburbs, and the colorful cast of people, “because planning is hard and full of jargon and math.” While players make off-color jokes, they’re also learning about real urban planning issues and some of the terminology associated with discussing urbanism. (more…)