Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ellis Island Hospital: Part 4

I have thought about the incredible Ellis Island hospital tour many, many times since we took it in January. I don't imagine any tour topping it for a very long time—it was just so, so good. I've already shared my photos from inside of the abandoned hospital complex, the lonely chairs that I fell in love with and the beautiful JR art installation, but I never shared my photos from the hospital grounds.

The south side of the island isn't very large but it packs a lot into a relatively limited space. The main building, which houses the immigration museum, was restored in the 90s but the south side buildings remain in various states of decay and have never been open to visitors until now (and only as part of the hard hat tour that we took). It's kind of awesome to be able to see the unrestored buildings in the same view as the restored main hall—it's like a real-life before-and-after show.

The broken and boarded up windows, piles of forgotten construction materials, ivy-covered brick and even the lonely bird house all added to the eerie feeling of the complex. As much as I loved the buildings themselves, it's really the views from the grounds—of the Statue of Liberty, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and Lower Manhattan—that make the trip to Ellis Island a must-do.

I don't think I'll be able to stop thinking about this tour for a very long time (like, probably never) and I keep wondering if I should just pull the trigger and book another ticket. As cold as our tour was, I loved that we got to see it in the snow and bright winter light but I'm already dreaming of getting the chance to explore these buildings in the spring.

Ellis Island Hospital: Part 1  |  Part 2  |  Part 3

Hudson River Ice

On Saturday, after the diner breakfast, after the High Line and after I explored a bit of the West Side Highway, I walked back north along the Hudson River. I work on the east side of Manhattan, but I've always lived on the west side and north or south, the west side is the best side as far as I'm concerned.

The walk along the Hudson is one of my favorites, especially at this time of year. Last year it was cold enough for the Hudson to freeze (partially) and I went one day on my lunch break to check out the ice floes. This year it's been even colder for even longer and the ice floes are bigger and better than they were last year.

Although I'm quite over this bitter cold, I do love the arctic-looking landscape, and I could watch the ice bob up and down in the river for hours. It started to snow halfway through my walk and coated everything in a fresh layer of bright white—a welcome improvement to the gritty, trash-littered, black snow drifts that have been around for weeks. The East River Ferry has been experiencing problems due the ice recently—which must be frustrating—but if winter is going to stick around for a while longer, at least it's pretty to look at.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

West Side Highway

On Saturday, after meeting friends at a diner in Chelsea and walking a portion of the High Line, I decided to check out an abandoned stand-alone diner that I had read about. I walked about a mile down the West Side Highway, which I don't do very often but I really love the desolate and gritty feeling of the far west side.

Of course every neighborhood in New York has become impossibly cool and expensive and the west side is no exception (probably especially the west side), but the West Side Highway still feels a bit abandoned, especially on a cold, winter weekend. I only passed a few people—mostly walking dogs—and I didn't cover much ground, but saw so many wonderful things. There are some really great old hotels, abandoned and for-sale buildings, auto-body shops and so much amazing signage and vintage typography that I couldn't have been happier.

I only went as far south as the abandoned diner and then turned around. It was hard to take photos through the tiny openings in the chain link fence, but the inside of the diner is falling apart, filled with debris and is still totally amazing. All of the windows are out of the old dining car and it's in really bad shape, but you can still imagine how it must have looked in its glory days.

I hope someone resurrects the diner instead of just tearing it down—what a dream it would be to be able to bring it back to life—but its pretty incredible in its current state of decay.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Project 365: Days 48-54

48/365: Three co-workers and I went to a made-for-me free lecture at Cooper Union about gravestone lettering.

49/365: I had an early doctor's appointment in Midtown so I waved good morning to my favorite building and stopped at Grand Central to pick up sausage-egg-and-cheese breakfast sandwiches from Shake Shack. They were just as delicious as I expected them to be.

50/365: I hung up my Valentine's flowers to dry in one of the few cat-proof corners of the apartment.

51/365: I walked nearly a mile (from Grand Central) on the coldest day that New York has had since 2004 only to have my doctor tell me that they had rescheduled my appointment while awaiting insurance confirmation. A call to let me know might have been nice but  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

52/365: I met friends for a diner breakfast in Chelsea and walked down the West Side Highway to see an abandoned stand-alone diner. I passed by this old hotel sign which is 100% perfect to me.

53/365: I realize this is the second breakfast sandwich in this post, but it was incredibly delicious and definitely worth documenting. Lazy Sundays are my very favorite days lately.

54/365: I haven't been spending a lot of time in my apartment, and I think this ridiculous creature is kind of mad about it.