I’ve often passed the red plaque noting that 505 West End Avenue was once the home of Sergei Rachmaninoff, but it’s only recently that I really looked at the building and examined the door. The awning is a distraction, but above it there is a very large guardian keeping watch, which I noticed first and photographed from the side.
The building was designed in 1922 by architect Gaetano Ajello, who is responsible for many buildings on the Upper West Side. I think I may have even featured guardians from one of them–I’ll have to go back and check the exact address. An immigrant from Italy, he retired from architecture after 20 years to become an inventor, obtaining patents for airplanes, bicycles, and shoes.
A close up of the guardian makes me think he is yet another green man.
Rachmaninoff, in addition to being a well-known composer, was also a fine pianist and conductor. Also an immigrant, his family left Russia after the Revolution and settled in New York in 1918. He moved into 505 West End Avenue in 1926 and lived there until his death in 1943.
The building is also known for being the location of Barbra Streisand’s apartment in the film “The Mirror Has Two Faces.”
My poem is a lanturne, for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday form prompt, chosen by Lisa, the VerseSmith.
And, as always, find more doors here with host Dan Antion.
loud and clear
whistles penetrate far–
inside a dry tropical forest,
a bird sings perched upon a cactus–
under a clear sky, sun relentless–
orange, black, wings flash white when aerial–
kin to the oriole–
The Venezuelan Troupial is the national bird of Venezuela. Besides that country, it is found in Columbia and on some Caribbean islands. A relative to the oriole, its feathers stick out unevenly, often making it look ruffled. The troupial like to perch on high visible places to sing. They eat insects, fruit, and small birds and eggs.
Native to coastal desert scrub and thorn forests, they prefer arid lands, although they have proven quite adaptable to other ecosystems. Who knew there were cactii in Venezuela? Above is a photo from Mochima National Park.
The Venezuelan Troupial is a nest pirate, often poaching nests and driving off the original residents when they can’t find a suitable abandoned one to adapt to their own needs. They are not considered endangered, though some of their habitats are, and they are also captured to be sold as cage birds.
I had a lot of trouble focusing to work this week, and was not wholly satisfied with any of my drawings, but I do think the cactus one captures the personality of this bird fairly well. I keep reminding myself of the drawings of Matisse, who was always rearranging his lines, and letting the errant ones remain to show where he had been.
I summon the sun I summon the moon
God the Father Mother Mary
worship His light circle the seasons
above all intermingled
the beginning and the end always returning
St Ignatius Loyola Church, “designed in the Baroque manner by Ditmars and Schickel”, is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan on Park Avenue. It was dedicated in 1898 and landmarked in 1969. The front doors are large, angular, and imposing.
It houses several schools in the surrounding buildings.
The side doors are all different, but have half-moons above them to form arched entrances.
I really liked all the details of this one.
The parish, administered by the Jesuits, was founded in 1851 by Irish Catholics who fled the Potato Famine for a better life in America. This building was designed, according to the website, following the Jesuit philosophy of “honoring god through beauty and permanence.” The church has a well-known music program and contains a 30-ton pipe organ almost as large as a subway car. You can see interior photos here.
My poem is for the W3 challenge where Punam asked us to respond to her poem “Slavery” by writing about the moon from the sun’s perspective or vice versa. I’ve written a cleave poem, which doesn’t exactly answer the prompt, but gives both points of view. Many of the world’s major religions seem to take the patriarchal view of the sun, but they would do well, in my opinion, to pay more attention to the circular wisdom of the moon.
Find more doors here with host Dan Antion.
Responses this week to the work of Mervyn Peake.
From the percussive, delineated sound-shapes of a Sandy Nelson drum solo, our muse for our previous Kick-About, we are this week riffing on the appreciably softer tones of the drawings by Mervyn Peake, and likewise the richness of his imaginary worlds and all their eccentric inhabitants.
“It’s hard to resist that textural ink approach Peake was famous for. I recognised some of Peake’s work but didn’t have a great knowledge on who he was, or what his work amounted to. It’s wonderful to see that even in his more observational work, that gothic storytelling still feels present.”
“There’s much to explore in response to Peake’s work, and I don’t think I can do it on one hit, so let us see where it takes me. But to begin with, it has taken me back to two mediums I loved in earlier years but have neglected…
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neither brave nor free–
our leaders bow down to Mammon,
cast life aside
Find the cost of freedom
buried in the ground
Mother Earth will swallow you
lay your body down