Queen Anne Style (Thursday Doors)
but mirrored—until altered
by human hands, time
These two buildings caught my attention, due to the painted trim. I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not. But I took photos. A little research showed that they had been altered (a repeating story), each in its own slightly different way, since they were designed by Edward Angell in the late 1900s. You may remember Angell as the architect of two other buildings I’ve photographed for Thursday Doors–the brownstones with the Juliet balconies, and the building with Six Happiness door.
Originally private homes, but now apartments, the steps were removed, as so often happens, and the door placed on the garden level, with the original doorway becoming a window. In the case of #46, this was done quite tastefully.
Number 44 is a totally different story–I know Queen Anne style, the dominant architectural style Angell used for these houses, features asymmetry, but this takes it a bit too far. This door is under the original doorway, though, while #46 also changed the location of the door.
As you can see above, the upper floor of #46 has been raised, and one window made larger, but they kept the window surround. I think they should have enlarged the other window as well.
The houses were designed to be asymmetrical mirror images, and they mostly still are. Asymmetry is one of the main components of Queen Anne Style, along with cantilevered windows and decorative trim, often multicolored. The white window frames work better than the black ones I think. Notice that Angell once again provided Juliet balconies.
For some strange reason, not all the decorative trim is painted..
The Daytonian has another detailed history of both these houses. Number 44 was the headquarters of the Nippon Club in New York from 1905-1912, and then a music school for a few years. The residents of both houses had the usual complicated lives. Read all about it, and see a photo of how the houses originally looked, here.
And visit Dan Antion, the host of Thursday Doors, here, to see more doors and add some of your own.
Velez Blanco (Thursday Doors)
The patio is hushed, other-worldly, the door to an office space a jarring contrast to the feeling of suspended time. Only one other person is present, a woman quietly sitting on a bench nursing her baby. I walk around and around, taking photos and pausing in wonder at the artistry, the attention to detail, in the construction of the room.
I try to imagine the lives of the inhabitants of a castle in 1500s Spain. Was this a place for conversation, entertainment, dancing? or just a passageway to other, more practical, rooms?
My mind fast forwards to New York in the early 1900s—how did George Blumenthal fit this into his townhouse? and to what use did he put it? I see finely dressed men and women, members of high society, gossiping and showing off their latest Paris fashions. Servants discreetly move among them with trays of food and drink.
The arrival of two other people returns me to myself, surrounded by the stillness of the museum’s whispered air. If only the creatures carved into the walls and doorways would speak…
between then and now
I walk imagined pathways–
roots, branches, and trees
This room in the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the actual patio from the Castle of Velez Blanco in Andalusia, Spain. Built with the façade of a fortress in the early 1500s on the foundation of a Moorish castle, it fell into ruins in the late 1700s, and its valuables, including the entire patio, were sold off in the early 20th Century. The patio was installed in the townhouse of George Blumenthal in New York, the one where he displayed his art.
The doors and balcony contain many beautiful marble carvings by Italian sculptors working in Spain.
One of the doors serves as an entrance to office space, which is a bit disconcerting.
There are also sculptures scattered throughout the space, including Bernini’s Bacchanal
and this Siren which I found quite appealing.
You can read more about the Castle of Velez Blanco here, and see pictures of the exterior.
And see George Blumenthal’s art mansion and read about it here.
My haibun is for my own W3 prompt–Compose a haibun that contrasts past and present.
And Doors! you can always find more of them, hosted by Dan Antion, at Thursday Doors, here.
Liminal Deities (Thursday Doors)
don’t miss my gate
good luck god
From across the street the buildings don’t
look special—it would be easy to miss
the details—but I always cross with my
camera to look beyond the gate.
So many faces!—multiple voices ask Please!
make sure you take an extra good
photo of me! and I will send luck
from the spirit of my liminal god.
The series of six tenement buildings look nondescript from a distance, but if you’re looking at doors, as I always am, they suddenly come to life.
This building was designed by the same architects, Neville and Bagge, as the one containing the first door. They are both rental buildings, but obviously owned by two different landlords.
The next two buildings were also designed by the same person, in this case George Pelham, a very well-known architect who designed many many buildings in NYC–he even has his own Wikipedia page. Again, it looks like the buildings now have two different owners.
The guardians supporting the columns look like they could use a little surgery. I really like the placement of the lamps.
The last pair of doors were also designed by the same architect, John C Burne, another prolific designer of Upper West Side buildings. Again the doorways are full of wonderful details.
Other than the names of the architects, and the date they were all constructed, 1895-6, I could find out nothing about their history. But they are all in the Upper Westside Landmark District, so hopefully their facades will remain as is to delight those who happen to notice them.
The W3 prompt this week, from Angela Wilson, was to turn a haiku into a Golden Shovel poem. I chose the haiku under the first photo, by Japanese master Issa. If you look at the last word in each line of my poem, you will find Issa’s poem. Here’s some more information about his haiku:
kado chigai shite kudasaru na fuku no kami
don’t miss my gate
good luck god
According to Shinto belief, in Tenth Month all of Japan’s gods vacate their shrines to congregate at the Izumo-Taisha Shrine. Issa worries that his good luck god will go astray on his way back.
All translations © 1991-2023 by David G. Lanoue, rights reserved.
And you can find more doors and their stories here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.
Oh, and about those Liminal Deities–according to Wikipedia, “A liminal deity is a god or goddess in mythology who presides over thresholds, gates, or doorways; a crosser of boundaries. These gods are believed to oversee a state of transition of some kind; such as, the old to the new, the unconscious to the conscious state, the familiar to the unknown.”
I can always use some good luck with my transitions.
Lourie/Turaco (Draw a Bird Day)
Fertile branches of fruit, leaves, and flowers attract feathered families craving sweetness—their rampant appetites, bursting with greed, work every angle of every treetop.
If we imprison the tree in a net to protect it, will we make the birds disappear? or entrap them too?
Pests from one point of view look like integral parts of the ecological landscape from another. Can both coexist?
between seed and birth
roots gather inside darkness
holding a new breath
Robbie Cheadle recently wrote a poem talking about her experiences with her local birds. Eleanor, a tame hadeda, had come into her office for a visit. I discovered right away that the hadeda is an ibis, a bird I’ve painted and written about previously. It’s a magical bird, and Eleanor’s behavior reflects that.
The other bird Robbie mentioned was a lourie, one that she freed after it had become entangled in a net on one of her trees, a bird I knew nothing about. Lourie is a local South African name; these birds are known as turacos in other parts of the world. But the behavior Robbie described is typical of the species.
Louries are poor flyers, but are excellent at climbing, due to their mobile toes that can rotate backwards and forwards; they also use their long tails for balance. They spend most of their time in treetops, eating fruit, flowers, leaves, and small insects which is why they are often not welcome guests in human habitats. But they provide an important role in distributing the seeds of trees throughout the landscape.
Louries travel in groups, which can be loud and noisy. They do not migrate but wander around in an irregular pattern, though they often have favorite trees that they return to again and again.
The grey lourie is also known as the Go-Away Bird, dues to its loud “go-away” call.
The brightly colored green and red of some turacos contain the only true red and green pigmentation known in bird feathers. Although other species have feathers that appear red or green, it is due to the reflection of light.
You can read Robbie’s story and poem here, and also see photos of Eleanor.
And I’ve used some of Jane’s Random Words for my haibun.
Ring 1FE (Thursday Doors)
sign in the window
says Ring 1FE—tempting,
full of promises
the lure of crystal
balls, lines written across palms–
your past, your future
yield to the lions,
passing through their golden fire–
stripped of illusion
gingerly we climb
with hope and fear, hand in hand–
seeking Lady Luck
The first thing that attracted me to this building was the brickwork, but the gold painted lions were hard to miss. As I crossed the street to get a closer look, the window on the right also drew my attention.
Hands in the window? Crystal balls, too, and other mysterious devices. Ring 1FE the sign said. For some reason this made me think of Joni Mitchell’s song “Roses Blue” on her Clouds album. Combined with the lions the invitation seemed both fated and ominous. I could see young Joni walking down this street in Chelsea and shivering a bit at the door behind which her friend Rose resided.
I continued on my way.
I’ve written a senryu chain for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, and you can always find a wide variety of doors here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.
Christmas Tree (Thursday Doors on Friday)
all of our many seasons–
circle and return
When I went to the Metropolitan Museum a few weeks ago, I discovered a treat–they were in the midst of decorating the holiday tree. This was during early member’s hour, before the museum was open to the public.
I even got a view of the work room…now I know what’s behind that door when I pass it again.
The tree is in a large cathedral-like room filled with medieval Christian art. Here’s one, appropriate to the season, that caught my attention.
I’m always interested in the many different depictions of Mary and have done quite a few drawings from sculptures in various museums. I’m especially attracted to the ones with expressive hands.
I hope to get back to see the tree completely decorated and unveiled. I also took photos of the fountains and as much of the front facade of the museum as was possible with traffic, contstruction, and the width of the street–but that’s for another post.
You can always find more doors here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.
Tufted Titmouse (Draw a Bird Day)
not a sparrow, this
small bird—crested forager,
grey dusted with red
When I walk through Central Park I always see lots of sparrows on the ground, along with starlings, pigeons, grackles, robins in spring and summer, and the occasional blue jay, cardinal, or mockingbird. But the small birds always seem to be sparrows. Last week a flash of red caused me to look closer–a tufted titmouse! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen one, although I often hear them.
The tufted titmouse, a relative of the chickadee, is a common species in the eastern United States, although their range has been steadily moving northward, due to both rising temperatures and the presence of bird feeders. They do not migrate, so bird feeders have allowed them to live in colder climates. They prefer evergreen-deciduous woodlands with a dense canopy and many tree species.
In the summer they eat insects primarily, adding seeds, nuts, and berries to their winter diet. Holding the seeds with their feet, they open them with their beaks. They often cache food in bark as well.
The tufted titmouse does not excavate their own nesting cavities, looking instead for natural holes, or abandoned nest holes. They will also use nest boxes or pipes. They line their nests with hair, and have been observed plucking hairs from many kinds of living animals, including dogs. That is something I would like to see!
#share your day (starting with turtles)
needs salt in my world–
any wonder my favorite
snack food is popcorn?
It’s #ShareYourDay week at Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday. Today is stormy, full of wind and rain, and I’m hunkered down inside. So I made some popcorn and wrote a shadorma for the W3 prompt from Sylvia about one of my favorite foods.
So where do the turtles come in?
The Oracle is enigmatic, as always.
starting with turtles
dressed in thousands of skyclouds–
mountain water green
mirrors hidden behind
glistening gold light—self
the locus that gyres–
gravities of orbiting
become somewhere else
Elisa Ang provided the artistic inspiration, below, for my series of volcano poems appearing this week at Pure Haiku. Serendipitously, the Kick-About recently hosted a prompt based on Turner’s painting of Mt. Vesuvius, for which I made a series of collages and wrote a cadralor of volcano-themed poems titled “In Search of Venus”. And Jane’s Oracle 2 words provided further inspiration for me to write five Badger poems to go with the volcano theme.
You can read my fifth poem, which connects with the two above, at Pure Haiku, here. And see the posts and links to the first four haiku in the series at kblog, here.
Thanks, as always, to Freya Pickard for her continued support of my work.
with wings we could travel through time (Thursday Doors)
do stone faces dream?
recalling the other lives
that once moved within
the way the light translates time,
do stone faces dream?–
the breath holds itself between–
495 West End Avenue is another building I had passed many times without really looking at it until I started photographing doors. From a distance is looks like many other large apartment buildings on the Upper West Side.
The building was designed by George F Pelham in 1907. Originally called the Hohenzollern, after the developer Lorenz Weiner’s home country, the name was abandoned after WWI when German associations were shunned. As you can see from the original floor plan, there were three huge apartments per floor.
As is the case with many rental buildings, 495 West End Avenue has now been subdivided into 128 apartments, the largest being a two bedroom. Most are studios and one bedrooms.
But the exterior ornamentation remains, protected as part of the West End Landmark District.
The poem is a troiku, chosen by me as Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday form this week. I continue to enjoy playing with its possibilities.
And look for more doors at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.