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West 85th Street (Thursday Doors)

The large building loudly walks the street.
Geometry, context, and beauty.
Why does the window repeat?
Why does the arch answer?
Why?  connection!
The dark door quickly gets the guy.

The Red House, designed by Harde and Short, was completed in 1904. At the time it was considered a luxury building, although now it’s a market-rate studio and one-bedroom apartment rental building. It’s striking architecture was landmarked in 1982. It is said that Dorothy Parker once lived there

Another distinctive building on West 85th Street belongs to Dorot, a non-profit that provides social services for older adults. Founded by graduates of the social work program at Columbia University, it has expanded beyond its original idea of alleviating the social isolation of the elderly to include programs and activities both inside and outside the home. Volunteers provide a vibrant inter-generational connection.

My poem is courtesy of the poem generator, which I recently rediscovered when going through old posts. I generated a few different ones, then picked lines from several to put my poem together.

This is the one I used, feeding it my own word list:

And here’s another one:

You can read more about The Red House here and find out more about Dorot here.

And, as always, visit Dan Antion the host of Thursday Doors, here to see more doors and share your own.

Pink (Thursday) Door

hard to miss–
door says come on in–
play with me

This pink door stopped me in my tracks the other day. I really like the portico over the entrances–the doors must have been the same when the buildings were constructed. I wonder why the owner on the right chose to make such a different statement about who they are and what might be inside. We know children live there because of the window guards. Perhaps they requested pink.

For Thursday Doors, where you can join in or just visit and enjoy.

Lions in Winter (Thursday Doors)

touch of red
a circle of warmth
offsets grey

I haven’t been taking many photos in the last month–it’s been rainy and gloomy–but this door caught my eye. I also took a few photos when I walked through Central Park to the dentist the last week in December. Luckily I made it home just before it started to rain.

black branches
pattern across clouds

paths become
unfamiliar, raw,

Haiku written for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday challange.

You can see more doors and join with your own here.

New Neighborhood: Favorite Thursday Doors 2021

The Other that defined
the Me that defined
the Where and How—

My heartmoor knows
the answer to the question
before it is even formed.

What is living but
a series of redefinitions?
A craxis.

Suddenly what was is no more,
and the Who finds itself
facing another set of doors,

hoping once again
to avoid the Over
that follows Start.

My favorite doors of the year are the first ones I posted, across the street from the apartment building I moved into last spring. It was my third move since the beginning of 2020.

Linda at dVerse provided some words from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig as inspiration for our poems. I used two:

Heartmoor: the primal longing for a home village to return to, a place that no longer exists, if it ever did.

Craxis: the unease of knowing how quickly your circumstances could change on you- that no matter how carefully you shape your life into what you want it to be, the whole thing could be overturned in an instant.

I hope this will be my last move, but life always seems to have its own ideas.

And you can see more favorite doors of the year at Thursday Doors here.

Wreathed (Thursday Doors)

We feel
the Yule approach–
long dark nights, short grey days–

the year–
the circle turns–
we say farewell, begin

come into warmth–
connections reaffirmed,

a wheel
of evergreen
and light—twining seeds in
to roots.

I have not seen many holiday decorations yet in my walks. But door wreaths have started to make an appearance. Although considered a Christmas decoration now, evergreen wreaths have an ancient history with the Yule season and Solstice. The door wreath has long been a sign of welcome and friendship as well.

This church has wreaths on both the railing and the door. You can’t see them very clearly in my photo, but the front doors are all wreathed as well.

I don’t know if my building will have a wreath or a tree, but we have Hanukkah lights.

My poem is in the Aquarian form, for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday seasonal prompt, poet’s choice.

And you can see more seasonal Thursday Doors here.

Urban Assembly School for Green Careers Garden (Thursday Doors)

The city is full of sudden plantlife, unexpected oases surrounded by buildings, sidewalks, streets, schools, gates.  A potted plant outside a doorway, a vibrant treewell, a median full of flowers, a community garden.  A classroom for curious students, a delight for the eyes of a walker, a home for busy squirrels, chattering birds.

colors change between
here and now—they are only
made of light you know—

each shining moment has waves–
none of them ever repeat

I’ve photographed this beautiful gate and looked inside at the garden many times, but I never knew anything about it until I stopped and read the sign on the Amsterdam Avenue side. To be fair, it’s partly covered by a tree branch, and the benches below it are often full of people chatting or just resting along their way. What I discovered is that it’s part of the high school down the block, the Urban Assembly School for Green Careers. An outdoor classroom! I like that idea.

The gate itself has wonderful details, reflecting the focus of the space inside.

The students evidently open the gates to the community on occasion to share both their knowledge and what they have grown. I will keep a lookout for announcements of such an occasion in neighborhood newsletters. You can read more about it here.

The poem is my first attempt at Tanka Prose, as prompted by Colleen for #TankaTuesday.

And here’s a look at Riverside Park, which has finally decided it’s Autumn in New York.

You can see more doors and join in Thursday doors yourself here.

Thursday Doors on Friday: Red Doors

In the beginning you can divide the questions
into a multitude of forms.
For your second act define your journey.
Offer your voice to the silence of light.
Remember to open the secret red door.
Do you know why?
It’s too early to be the end.
Simple, really.

For the Kick-About prompt this week I did a collage inspired by Leger’s painting The City. When I consulted the collage box Oracle, it gave me some cryptic advice about a red door. Which led me to search in my files for any red doors I had photographed–perhaps one of them was the secret city door of the message. The one above I had obviously noticed on more than one occasion, as I had multiple photos from different dates.

It certainly looks as if it could hold a few secrets.

Here’s a preschool door–on weekdays there are strollers parked both inside and out. Who knows what secrets reside in the mind of a 3-year-old?

And here’s a handsome red church door, in an old building that I’m sure holds many of its own secrets.

As always, you can see more doors and join in Thursday doors yourself here.

Thursday Doors:  Cover the Earth

a rainbow
repatterned into
a grid of
layered hues–
come closer, look inside now–
behind the door, more

The doors and windows of this Sherwin Williams paint store on Amsterdam Avenue always catch my eye and makes me smile.

The actual entry door is to the side, complete with the symbol and motto “cover the earth”.

Sculptured door update: this now appears to be a building lobby, with a central garden/atrium inside. But strangely, not only is there no address number to identify the building, but all the surrounding buildings have their own numbered doors with mailboxes for tenants inside. Is it possible they are sharing the inside space and this is the “package room” for multiple buildings? The buildings are all 6 story tenement-style buildings, most likely walk-ups, with businesses on the first floor, so none of them have lobbies or doormen. I like that idea, if it’s indeed the case.

It’s supposed to get to freezing here next week, but in the meantime the flowers in the park are still blooming.

As always, you can see more doors and join in Thursday doors yourself here.

Soldiers and Sailors Monument: Thursday Doors

just a
common soldier,
a young farmer dressed in
blue—more likely to discover
his death
through illness than in the heat of
battle—but death is death,
and war knows no

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument, in Riverside Park, is a memorial to the Union soldiers and sailors who fought in the Civil War. Designed by brothers Charles and Arthur Stoughton, with sculptures by Paul E M DuBoy, it was dedicated in 1902.

It has been in bad need of repair for many years. Despite several attempts by local officials to allocate money in the city budget, the monument remains fenced off, “awaiting funding”.

Nearly 100 feet high, it was patterned after the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens. Surrounding smaller monuments contain lists of New York volunteer regiments that served in the war, as well as the names of Union generals and battles.

I took these photos on two separate occasions, one a mid-morning last summer, and one on a recent early morning. The light was strange and kept changing on the recent day, at least as it appeared in the photos. It didn’t seem so at the time.

There are also three cannons on the walk way leading up to the monument.

While doing research on the Civil War troops, I discovered that most were farmers in their 20s, and that the Union soldiers were much more likely to die of disease than battle, as the camps were overcrowded and unsanitary. The reverse was true for those who served in the Rebel army–most of them died while fighting.

My poem was written for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday–the prompt was to use the butterfly cinquain form, and include a color in the text. But it was also written in remembrance, on this Veteran’s Day, for all those who have served their countries in the hopes of defending the dream of a free and just world for all.

As always, you can join in Thursday doors here.

Claremont Stables (Thursday Doors)

of course things
change—never the same–
what seems to
be always
travels through what was not there
before—shifts slightly–

doors open
to new forms other
shadows faint voices almost
glimpsed through altered light

I remember when Claremont Stables, on West 89th Street, was full of horses and you saw riders frequently in Central Park. Now the bridal paths are used for walking.

I did see a policeman on a horse the other day–but it’s been a long time since I saw anyone else on horseback in the city.

Although once scheduled for demolition as part of a “renewal” project, the building was landmarked in 1990 and thus spared. I think the architecture is definitely worth preserving.

Built in the late 1800s and closed in 2007, the stables are now part of a school, with Ballet Hispanico occupying the next door building.

Claremont Riding Academy has its own Wikipedia page where you can read a bit more about the history of the building.

My poem, a shadorma, is once again is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, poet’s choice.

And as always, you can join in Thursday doors here.