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Arches with Wooden Doors (Thursday Doors)

vaulted tree spirits
bridges of transformation
gateways of between

This doorway is flanked by two arched phantom doors

There is something solid, welcoming, and protective about a wooden door, made even more inviting by an arched doorway. 

These are just a few I’ve collected while wandering around the Upper West Side.

I really like the ornamentation on the bottom of the stair railings here.

Find more doors and join in with your own with host Dan Antion, here.

Green Man: Thursday Doors

Green Man first appeared as an architectural element in ancient Rome, where he was associated with Pan and Bacchus.   As a symbol of resurrection, Green Man was incorporated into Medieval Christian architecture along with other Pagan images.  Victorian architects began adding representations of Green Man, along with other decorative elements, to secular buildings, where the Guardian of the Forest now protects the doors and windows of both public buildings and private homes.

many hands
gathered in circles,
tree dancing

illumination–
crossed over, bridged

When I began looking at my door guardian photos, I was struck by the recurring face of Green Man, a figure embodying the relationship of humans and nature. A spirit occurring in many cultures, he has been resurrected as a symbol of the Green environmental movement in modern times.

I did a collage of him in 2016 for Earth Day.

I like the way the paired doors, of two adjacent brownstones, work together. The doors themselves are different, but complement each other.

My poem is in the tanka prose form for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday.

And, as always, find more doors with host Dan Antion, here.

Thursday Doors: Zen Garden

the entrance is an enso  a glowing blue light
a form that contains nothing  inside of the whole
spirit absorbed by essence  emptied of ego
in silent simplicity  opening, complete

My younger daughter took a few days off from work before Memorial Day, and one of her requests was that I take her as my guest to early morning member hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which are on Thursdays from 9-10 am. I had told her and her sister about visiting the Winslow Homer exhibit that way.

One of her favorite places in the museum is the Zen Garden. It wasn’t open in the early hour, but even after the museum opened to the public at 10, we were able to visit without any crowding–it’s tucked away among the Asian art, and if you don’t know where to look, you probably only discover it by stumbling upon it. It’s a bright open empty room with a rocks and a koi pond with a waterfall on the edges.

I used to post about my museum visits a lot, and perhaps in the future I’ll do a post on the Homer exhibit and also the paintings of Louise Bourgeois which were inexplicably hard to find. We asked directions three times, and only found it by accident in the end. But that meant that only one other person was there so we could really look at the art.

The museum also has many wonderful doors and door-like structures, such as the tiled niche above.

My poem is in the Japanese imayo form, which consists of four 7/5 syllabic lines. There is a planned caesura (or pause) between the first 7 syllables and the final 5. Another feature of this form is that it makes three poems–the whole, and one each with the 7-syllable lines and the 5-syllable lines, similar to a cleave poem, except that somehow it seemed more natural to me and easier to construct. I’ve included the color blue for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday #tastetherainbow prompt.

You can read more about the enso here.

And, as always, find more doors with host Dan Antion, here.

Unemployed (Thursday Doors)

What is a door
without a wall?
What is it for?
It has no frame,
it has no floor–
no in or out,
no surrounding decor–
without a wall,
what is a door?

Another poem for the Thursday Doors Writing Challenge. I picked the theme for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday this week, useful, and Manja’s photo seemed well suited to it. My poem is in a form called “Magic 9”.

I’m still collecting walls that formerly had doors (or windows) and now only contain their phantoms.

This wall lost both its windows and its door.

The former entrance to Number 201 comes with a message and some ventilation.

And, as always, find more doors with host Dan Antion, here.

Hendrik Hudson Apartments (Thursday Doors)

camera

both
shoots and captures–
eye
hand lens in concert–
in or out of focus each subject

exposed
developed reproduced
in surprising ways–
transparent,
shadowed, magnified

I lived in various apartments within ten blocks uptown and downtown from this building at 110th Street and Riverside Drive for 30 years. I must have passed by hundreds of times. But never once, until a few weeks ago, did I look closely at the front door.

I observed to Dan last week that since I started looking for doors I see all kinds of things I never saw before. To be fair, I never knew anyone who lived in this building, so I never actually walked up to the entrance. But still! How could I have missed this?

The Hendrik Hudson Apartments was one of the first large buildings on upper Riverside Drive when it was opened in 1907. The architecture firm Rouse and Sloan were inspired by Italian villas, and the red tile roof was capped with two towers connected by a promenade for the residents. The building also contained, in addition to luxury apartments, a smoking room, a billiard room, a banquet hall, a restaurant with private dining rooms, and a barber shop.

the building as originally constructed

Interestingly, none of the articles I found about the building mentioned the doors.

After World War II, the building fell on hard times, along with the neighborhood. The owners, who had turned it into an SRO, were sued as part of a major effort by the city to get rid of slum landlords who allowed building violations to pile up while their buildings deteriorated. A new owner renovated it in 1960, returning the rented single rooms back into apartments, and even constructing a parking garage for residents on the lower level. At that time, one of the towers was removed.

In 1971, the building became a co-op. There is currently a 3 bedroom apartment for sale for $1,800,000. It’s come a long way back to luxury from its SRO days. As has the entire neighborhood.

My poem is written in the piaku form, which can consist of any number of lines, following a syllable count to match the numbers of pi. This one is 3.14159 26535 long. For Colleen’s #TankaTuesday where the prompt, provided by David at The Skeptic’s Kaddish, is the photo of his father (with camera), below.

And, as always, find more doors with host Dan Antion, here.

#Tastetherainbow with Thursday Doors

doors by Susan Kelly

suspended
between, doors open
to flowers–
play of pink
mixed with marigold—thresholds
inviting blue skies

A shadorma for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday Color Poetry writing prompt and Dan Antion’s Thursday Doors 2022 Writing Challenge. For today, I’ve chosen these colorful doors from Susan Kelly. You can see photos of all the doors available to write about here.

Here’s some colorful doors I saw recently at PS 84, on West 92nd Street.

And some blossoms in Riverside Park.

May 2022

we mark time
with numbers, naming
circles, lines–
converged
and then divided—each month
we begin again,

ending the
previous parcel
of days in
our minds—when
in fact they overlap—clouds,
sun, showers, flowers

A small shadorma chain for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday theme of beginnings and endings, picked by Yvette M. Calleiro. I meant to do something completely different with the circles of flowers I cut out, and perhaps I’ll explore that idea later. I got distracted with layering them in different ways.

When I was out walking yesterday I discovered a community garden on West 90th Street–full of tulips. I’ll be visiting it again, to see what’s in bloom in the coming months.

Wherefore art thou Romeo? (Thursday Doors)

Juliet
balconies they call
them—as if,
at twilight,
two voices linger on a
midsummer night’s dream

247, 248, and 249 Central Park West have a number of Juliet balconies, as the NYC real estate market has labeled any small terrace outside an upper floor window or door on which you can stand. Once there were 6 brownstones on the block between 84th and 85th street.

The entrance to 247 is the simplest. The original six homes were designed in the late 1800s by architect Edward Angell in a variety of styles, each with its own facade. When builder Sam Minskoff proposed demolishing all six in 1925 to build a two-tower apartment building, the owner of 247, architect W. Gedney Beatty, refused to sell. This saved not only his house, but 248 and 249 as well. They were landmarked in 1988, and so can not be demolished for any future development.

248 has a variety of stonework that includes owls on the side and what appear to be griffins over the door. Each side of the door surround is different. This house sold for $26 million in 2022–it has a lap pool, a landscaped rooftop garden, and 4 Juliet balconies.

The front gate is also quite beautiful.

249, the corner house, was divided into apartments in 1957. A lot of the facade ornamentation was removed and the house was painted white. After the Landmarks designation, because of building violations, the owner was forced to strip off the paint and restore the masonry. I wonder if the door guardian in the triangle is a restoration, or remained to be uncovered at that time. I remember the building being worked on for many months.

249 sold for 17.5 million in 2013 and again spent many years being renovated and turned back into a single home.

It too has a lovely front gate.

And beautiful ironwork on the side entrance.

Edward Angell designed many homes on the Upper West Side, and I hope to visit and photograph more of them.

My poem was written for Ingrid at dVerse, who proposed a celebration of Shakespeare. What better than a Juliet balcony?

And, as always, find more doors with host Dan Antion, here.

Naumburg Bandshell, Central Park (Thursday Doors)

Julia’s
Kiss
—he still longed for
her smile, touch–
he thought it
lost, but it surfaced, wistful,
as a song of love

Long a musical fixture in Central Park, the Naumburg Bandshell was the site of John Lennon’s eulogy in 1980.

We were much much younger then…

In 1904 philanthropist Elkan Naumburg began funding free symphonic concerts in Central Park with picnics and waltzing under the stars. They were so popular that the crowds grew too large for the space; the original cast iron pagoda bandshell was razed, the grounds were paved over, and Naumburg’s nephew, William, designed a new limestone bandshell. It was completed in 1923, with 10,000 attending the symphonic dedication.

Presented to the City of New York and its Music Lovers

I was wandering around the park recently (actually on my way to an appointment on the East Side, but I got distracted) when I found myself in front of the bandshell. It looked forlorn without any performers on this grey windy day. A few other people stopped to take photos then went on their way.

The Bandshell has a rich history, including performances by Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, and the Grateful Dead, as well as numerous orchestral and operatic groups. Martin Luther King Jr and Fidel Castro both gave speeches here. It was nearly razed in 1992 after years of vandalism and neglect, but preservationists, spearheaded by Naumburg’s grandson, won a court battle to save it. Renovation was delayed by the city until 2003, when the Central Park Conservancy raised funds to restore it.

Summerstage began its free concerts here in 1986. Because the park was considered so unsafe at that time, the concerts were only given during the day. The large crowds resulting from its popularity caused it to relocate to Rumsey Playfield in 1990, where it remains. Sun Ra and his Arkestra and Ladysmith Black Mambazo were two of the original acts that performed.

My John Lennon-inspired shadorma is for Merril’s prompt at dVerse, where she has given us a selection of English rose names to use in our verse. I chose Julia’s Kiss. John said when he wrote his song he was thinking not only of his mother, Julia, but his wife, Yoko. Love is complex.

You can read more about the Naumburg Bandshell here and the gathering for John Lennon here. I unknowingly lived for a couple years right down the street from John and Yoko in the Village, before they moved into the Dakota, and once saw John in the subway, running to catch a train uptown.

And, as always, there are always more doors to see on Thursday Doors. Visit host Dan Antion here.

Bricks and Stones (Thursday Doors)

Mirrored and split apart by space and time–
the architecture of a larger age
rises above instead of seeking rhyme.
Waves of the future on a bigger stage
eliminate most ornament–design
for residents desiring to upgrade.
No need for detail, guardians of stone–
clean lines, refinement, now adorn their homes.

I was walking along West End Avenue when I spotted some window guardians on a brownstone and took a few photos–then right down the street there was a mirror image house. This made me curious. Had it always been this way? Now there was a large mostly brick apartment building in between.

A little research showed me that yes, the block had once been all brownstones. Here’s what I found on Landmarks West: These two noncontiguous brownstone fronted rowhouses, each twenty feet wide, are four stories in height above raised basements and were designed as mirror images.

They go on: The houses at Nos. 605 and 615 West End Avenue are survivors of a ten house row which originally extended from No. 601 to No. 619. Designed by Thom & Wilson, this row was built between January and October of 1888 for Bernard Wilson, principal in the architectural firm. The row occupied the entire western block front of West End Avenue between West 89th and West 90th Streets and included large houses at the corners. The row was first broken in 1916 when Nos. 601 and 603 were demolished for a twelve story apartment building, again in 1925 when Nos. 607 to 613 were demolished for a sixteen story apartment building, and again when Nos. 617 and 619 were demolished for a fifteen story apartment building.

I do admire the way Rosario Candela, the architect of many apartment buildings in NYC, designed the larger building so that the bottom part echoed the lines of the two surrounding brownstones. I could not find a photo of the street as it originally was, but I bet there were more guardians to be found on those houses.

The brownstones have been slightly altered over the years, so they are not exactly alike now. But they still have their window guardians. This one, at 607 West End Avenue, is evidently still a private home.

615 West End Avenue is a rental–in fact the upper triplex is for rent right now for a mere $16,000/month. If you want to see the listing, and take a virtual tour, you can find it on Streeteasy, here.

I myself love to look at real estate listings. There’s nothing for sale right now in the larger building, but here’s the listing for the most recent sale if you’d like to see what the apartments are like. This is considered an aspirational-size apartment for all New Yorkers–“7 rooms”–most people occupy much smaller (and darker) spaces.

My poem is in the ottava rima form, for Muri’s April Scavenger Hunt.

And you can find more Thursday Doors at host Dan Antion’s site, here.