On Sunday I was a docent for Open House (www.ohny.org). It focused on tours and talks about New York buildings and sites. My building was the Judson Memorial Church, built by Stanford White in 1890-92 and situated at the south end of Washington Square Park. Since taking photos was allowed, people clicked away at the John LaFarge stained glassed windows. My favorites are the boys in the back room or the balcony, Peter, Paul and John.The rosettes that decorate the arches were later repeated by White in his design of the Washington Square Arch.
On Tuesday, I watched politicians congratulating themselves as Mayor de Blasio announced that Blackstone is buying the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village apartment complex, built in the late 1940’s. Blackstone will pay over five billion dollars for 80 acres that house thirty thousand people in eleven thousand apartments. Wow!
At the Arsenal, the Garden and Forest Book Club discussed Andrea Wulf’s book, The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World. Humboldt was an environmentalist, explorer, and naturalist. The list of his achievements is extraordinary and yet he’s forgotten. Wolf explains in her book that she want to re-ignite recognition of Humboldt. One of the fringe benefits of meeting at the Arsenal is getting off the subway at 57 Street and Fifth Avenue. MTA has done itself proud with murals of birds and other animals in the nearby Central Park Children’s Zoo.