355 Riverside Drive (Thursday Doors)
In youth, a burgeoning
investor, he savored
property that favored
Older, family absent,
weary of empty rooms,
his fine jewel was doomed
A tower was summoned–
an inelegant box–
he resided on top
with river views.
It isn’t illegal
to transform artistry
but it should be.
Above is the building that sits at 355 Riverside Drive today. The top photo is the house it replaced. Built by banker Samuel Gamble Bayne to replace a slightly more modest residence across the street, Bayne at one time owned the entire block between 107th and 108th street from Riverside Drive to Broadway. Both original residences were designed by architect Frank Freeman in the Romanesque style.
I don’t know if the actual door in the new building is what was there when it was built–it’s pretty but plain– but the door surround and the space between the first and second floor windows do have some interesting ornamentation, and I also like the raised brickwork on the bottom floors.
The window guardians (I think Green Man) are a nice touch.
One of Bayne’s daughters had married an architect, Alfred C. Bossom, and that is who the developer Bayne sold his house to, Harris H. Uris, used to design the new building. Bayne, whose wife had died after his four children moved out, no doubt found the house too large, but it’s a shame he couldn’t have found a buyer to preserve the house. He must have liked the location, as he moved into the new apartment building, occupying the entire 14th floor.
The two mansions to the right of the original house in the very top picture still exist, as do the brownstones on 108th street. When I get back uptown, I’ll photo them as well–I think I have photos of some of the doors from when I was just taking pictures of every door I saw, but none that have the details or entire building.
There’s a nice little courtyard garden in the back of the building. You can read more details, and see more photos of 355 Riverside Drive, here.
And here’s an apartment that was recently for sale in the building–you can get an idea of the views Bayne must have had from his windows.
I’ve written an abhanga poem, with synonyms for spring and green, for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday prompt. And I’ve also used some words from this week’s Random Word List.
And visit Dan Antion, who has lots of doors every week, here, at Thursday Doors.
More Lions (Thursday Doors)
The streets are my friends–
a concrete jungle, gridded
rampantly with doors.
I walk among guardians,
greeting them with a photo.
Lion spirits mix
garlands with mysterious
Hello, tell me your story.
Silence keeps their secrets safe.
I encountered both of these lion doors while out running errands. The first building is rundown with an unremarkable metal door and buzzer system–yet it’s heartening to see that the lion guardians remain to keep evil spirits away.
I was able to find out a bit more about the second building– it was constructed in 1890, designed by architect John G Prague, with storefronts on Amsterdam Avenue and five stories. Three more stories were added in the early 1980s. The building is a rental with 46 studio, one- and two- bedroom units. There doesn’t seem to be much turnover, so I expect it’s well-maintained. It looks that way from the outside.
John Prague designed many many upper west side buildings and brownstones, but I was unable to find out any other information about him.
And I was left totally in the dark as to the reason for the Stars of David above the doorway. They make sense as an accompaniment to the lion ornaments, as both are symbols of Judaism. But the building is just an apartment building now–was there originally a synagogue inside? A religious school? I could find no information about it at all.
Life is full of mysteries. This is just another one to add to my list.
The poem I wrote for the lion doors answers the W3 prompt from Jaideep Khanduja for a tanka with personification using the words “concrete jungle”. And I’ve also used some words from Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday Random Word List: mix, greet, walk, detail, and rampant.
And look for more doors here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.
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.
Winged (Thursday Doors)
I was not lost;
feathers pivoted me–
a serial habit—(I see
guardians and I pause)–
a fresh encounter, winged, recrossed
my feet–doorway the cause–
where angels watched
I think this is meant to be an angel, although it’s a dour one. The wings were what first caught my eye, and then I noticed the birds framing the window above. There’s another winged being in the triangle above the window.
As is often the case, from a distance the building is unremarkable. But now when I pass by every building I’m looking closely to see how it’s embellished.
Because it’s a garden floor entrance, the wings were at eye level. I backed up and checked it out.
The other window has faces for its flowers and a fierce bird or dragon with multiple wings in the triangle above.
My poem is a star sevlin, for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday which has as its prompt this week synonyms for the words new and experience. I’ve also included three podcast names for Merril’s dVerse Poetics, although I’m not totally sure adding and ed to pivot counts.
#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
What We Mean When We Say “The Met(s)” (Thursday Doors)
New York has multiple Mets–
a bloop and a blast
in Queens leads to victory–
what every fan dreams.
The Met of Lincoln Center,
its audience hushed,
awaits swelling arias
upon the lit stage.
Central Park surrounds the Met
in museum form–
inside, we reflect on how
art imitates life–
outside, life imitates art.
This somewhat nonsensical verse is a Kouta, with a theme that “reflects ordinary life and often uses colloquialism and onomatopoeia”. New Yorkers use the Met interchangeably for both the Metropolitan Opera and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And no one that I know of ever refers to the baseball Mets as The New York Metropolitan Baseball Club, although I’ve occasionally heard them (derisively) referred to as The Metropolitans. This form was suggested by Reena for this week’s Tanka Tuesday prompt. I’ve also thrown in a chiasma at the end which was Larry Trasciatti’s prompt for W3 this week.
And of course, doors, for Thursday doors. Last week I showed the side and back of the Metropolitan Museum, and the first two photos today show the main entrance at the front. Above is one of the front side entrances, the one where members (like me!) go for an exclusive early morning viewing hour on Thursdays.
Here’s some of the ornamentation on the roofline.
I realize I need to take more photos the next time I go–from across the street, to get a larger picture of the entire building if I can, and I didn’t photo the fountain either, or get all the steps in. Here’s the right front side entrance with some windows.
and one of the corners
to be continued…
In the meantime you can always see more doors here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.
Someone once told me the NY on the Mets logo stands for “next year”. But of course these days, one could say that about the Yankees as well…
one door many windows (Thursday Doors)
November walks are windswept,
open to shifting skies–
varying moods of sunlight
exchanged before my eyes–
magic captured by windows,
blues within which scries
earthsong—green gold russet–
reflections of change and reprise
I discovered this back door to the Metropolitan Museum of Art recently–it must be for people who work there–but it was the windows that caught my eye.
The style is quite different from the front, but there is the same care taken with the design. The windows were obviously meant to reflect the park across from them.
Here’s another window a bit further down the path.
The Temple of Dendur is behind these windows on the side.
I took some photos of the (very different) front of the museum, too, but that’s for another time.
My poem is in the Yeats Poem form for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday #tastetherainbow prompt. It’s also an acrostic using the word November which is Paula Light’s W3 prompt this week.
And you can always find more doors and share your own here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.
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.
Blue Winged Goose (draw a bird day)
to reveal blue sky
The blue winged goose, native to Ethiopia, looks greyish brown when its wings are folded, but in flight the reason for its name becomes evident. They live in wetlands with adjacent grasslands and are largely herbivorous, serving an important role in the ecosystem by keeping aquatic plants in check. They are considered endangered, due to loss of habitat and poaching for Chinese consumers, although no one is sure of their exact population numbers.
I could find out little else about them. Every piece written about them claimed this is because they are largely nocturnal, but I found plenty of photos of them online, obviously taken during the day. Their coloring is lovely. Perhaps they just haven’t been well-studied because they have a limited range.
I’ve written my poem for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday where the first Tuesday of the month we include color in our verse.
like a sudden flash,
green turns into fire that falls–
autumn paths open
like a sudden flash–
the retreating past
green turns into fire that falls,
exposing the skeletons
underneath the veil
autumn paths open–
the earth folds into itself–
Lisa, at Tao Talk, reminded me of the troiku form, which I’ve borrowed from her to use also for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday prompt, where the theme is lightning, suggested by Sangeetha.
It does finally feel like autumn here. Not much color yet, but it’s coming. We’ve had a wet day with the remnants of Hurricane Ian, and the building turned on the heat for the first time this morning.