Objects of My Affection

[Apologies for posting this a couple of days later than I meant to, and happy belated Valentine's! —cat.]

If, like me, you find that the position of ‘Valentine’ is open at the moment (and maybe even if it isn’t), it’s worth noting that Valentine’s day is as good a day as any to celebrate all kinds of affection. With that in mind, I decided to spend part of the 14th visiting some of my beaus around the city. Logistics (no G train and limited 7 service—next time I think there will have to be a Zip Car involved) and time constraints forced me to limit the list to a mere three stops this time around:

Stop 1:  The Candela Structures

Is it possible that I haven’t been to visit since before the show went up last summer? I think that might actually be true… I wanted to check in and see how they’re doing and what they look like with snow on the ground. Well, howdy, I regretted not wearing my insulated hiking boots—there was plenty of snow to tromp through and some bonus slippery ice as well. I managed to avoid slipping on the ice and was able to spend a peaceful hour wandering around the marina, taking pictures, and just sitting under the Candela’s canopies.

I don’t know if it was my imagination, but it looked like the cracking had increased. Nothing major, but still worrisome—a hairline fracture can be pried open by expanding ice in no time at all.

They’re such summery structures—evocative of sailing and picnicking and the hot July sun—but they also seem to fit in February. Two snowbirds (and the memory of a third) perched on the edge of the bay.

There was no one around, and the rush of the Grand Central Expressway seemed like a roaring river. The sun reflected brightly off snow and structures equally, and I sat there until my toes got cold before heading to the next stop.

Stop 2: Grand Central Station

This one’s obvious. But when I was away in Boston for architecture school, particularly the first semester, I often called to mind Grand Central Station as an architectural touchstone for large spaces, for urban ingenuity, and for New York. I love the many spaces—mezzanines, hallways, passages, and of course the grand waiting room with its spangled ceiling and its famous clock, meeting place for generations of New Yorkers. And of course my favorite space, the huge glass windows that contain hallways (you can see them below behind the clock). Did I tell you I was in there once? Now they keep the doors locked.

Downstairs the low-vaulted tiled ceilings always take me back to Barcelona, ancestral home of their Catalan builders. Sadly, The Oyster Bar was closed so my yen for a half dozen on the half shell went unfulfilled. Also disappointing the new bakery upstairs was out of pistachio éclairs, so I consoled myself with a coffee and headed downtown.

Stop Three:  Beer & Sandwiches at Old Town

OK, it was really just one sandwich, but I like the sound of ‘beer and sandwiches.’ It just sounds festive and delicious, doesn’t it? I think so. In my imagination, it’s a plate piled high with triangular quarters of classic sandwiches like pastrami, Reuben, and club. I don’t know where to get such a delight, but I did get a Reuben with those fancy extra-long toothpicks with frilly bits on the ends (what are those called, anyway?)

And what better place for a lunchtime respite than Old Town? I don’t know one. This venerable New York institution is classic and comfortable and even when Pearl Jam is on the sound system (really? Pearl Jam?), it’s still a refuge from the frenzied city. You can’t miss the neon sign on 18th Street, just north of Union Square. Whether it’s a crowded Friday night, or a quiet afternoon it’s always worth a stop.



This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 16th, 2010 and is filed under architecture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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