|Pigeon of Passage, plate from Catesby's Natural History of|
Carolina, Florida and Bahamas
Guy, our host, is a Sr. Knowledge Management 'Rock Star', native New Yorker, local historian, and a professor at Columbia University. He met us at the hotel and we walked to 31st and Lexington for some thin-crust pizza and Stella Artoise at Vezzo. We chatted and made plans for the weekend. Afterward, we walked to their apartment on Park Ave. and then around the corner to the historic New York Public Library. Robin was interested in seeing the map rooms, and Guy gave us a tour of the renovated Rose Reading Room. Gorgeous. We then headed back to our hotel for a quick nap before dinner w/ Guy and Andrew.
Guy met us at the hotel and we headed over to the University Club, one of New Yorks oldest and prestigious private clubs. There we met Andrew, who is the Curator of the massive literary collection in the building. After a brief tour of the main library, Andrew took us down to the vaults, where we got to check out some of the 'older' volumes.
|Temminck's Tragopan, plate XII |
from Beebe's Monograph of Pheasants
pheasants first published in 1918-22. Stunning paintings and prose by William Beebe, it was a joy to see the gorgeous color plates. The book can be viewed online here!
|Largest White-bill Woodpecker, plate from |
Catesby's Natural History of Carolina, Florida
Not to be left out, Andrew then treated Robin to a look at a 1511 copy of Ptolemy's Geographia. His maps of the known world showed only a hint of a Western Hemisphere. A cartogragher's dream!
From there we walked past the Chrysler Building, Waldorf Astoria, St. Patrick's Cathedral and other landmarks to the Century Association Club for dinner, a tour of their Reading Room, a Homer Winslow painting under canvas, and a tour of their Great Room. Founded in 1847 it was considered 'as the most unspeakably respectable club in the United States'. Ha, Robin even got booted off the steps 'after dinner' by the doorman as we waited for a bus.
We then retired for the night, knowing that Saturday would be a big day of touring the city. We weren't disappointed. After breakfast at Scotty's Diner on Lexington and 39th, we met up w/ Guy and Andrew for a walking tour of New York City. After perusing a street fair we headed to the subway toward City Hall, and a short tour of the Brooklyn Bridge. A Hermit Thrush made a brief appearance in the bushes lining City Hall.
Andrew was a delight. An architectoral historian, he dazzled us w/ his knowledge of city buildings and history. We quickly learned which buildings were considered 'gems', and which ones were designed by the 'Neo-Brutalists'. Ha! We wandered down toward Staten Island, passing by Wall Street, the Liberty Tower, and countless foot traffic. A ferry ride over to Staten Island took us past the Statue of Liberty and provided stunning views of the metropolis against the darkening skies of Sandy.
American Museum of Natural History. Along the way I managed to spot Golden-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Palm Warblers, and White-throated Sparrows.
I was interested in seeing the bird exhibit at the AMNH. Remembering how disappointed I was in the displays at the Smithsonian in Washington, I was not disappointed here. We checked out the numerous displays of American, as well as tropical bird displays. From there we headed to the large mammal displays, especially the elephants - Guy's favorite. With a pending trip to Kenya next summer we were all excited to see the African mammal displays.
It was impossible to wave down one of the hundreds of taxi cabs circling Central Park, so we settled for a very long bus ride back to our hotel in the late Saturday afternoon New York traffic. After a great swedish meatball dinner at the Scandinavian House on Park Ave. we headed back to our room just in time to watch the Tigers lose game 3 of the World Series....
Our flight back to Detroit was not until late in the afternoon on Sunday, so we met Guy and Andrew for Starbucks, and a tour of the Grand Central Terminal before having lunch at the Pierpont Morgan Museum just around the block from our hotel. We then headed back to Laguardia for an evening flight back to Detroit. Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on New York, so we were lucky to get one of the last flights out.
We had an amazing time, and cannot thank Mr. Guy and Mr. Andrew enough for a wonderful weekend. Thank you, gentlemen! and looking forward to our trip to Kenya next summer. Wishing you and the rest of the East Coast a safe ride through Hurricane Sandy.