The Weight of the World

Here’s another photo that was better in black and white than in color.  Atlas, an art deco sculpture by artist Lee Lawry, has stood in front of Rockefeller Center in New York City since 1937.  In the original photo, the statue was a bit lost in all the tan of the building and the shadows creeping in from the left.

I like the black and white version much better.  The shape and details of the sculpture show much better, particularly the muscles as Atlas struggles to support the world on his shoulders.  I also think the the way  the windows and doorways reach upward while the angles of the buildings center their weight on the globe are an interesting contrast. Finally, I like the way the tree branch frames the top of the photo and brings a bit of nature into an otherwise man-made environment.

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Brooklyn Bridge, NYC

New York’s Brooklyn Bridge is iconic landmark in one of the world’s most famous cities.  The Brooklyn Bridge was the world’s first steel-wire suspension bridge and is one of the oldest roadway bridges in the United States.

John Augustus Roebling, the bridge’s designer, was seriously injured before construction actually began, when his foot was pinned against a piling by a ferry while he was conducting surveys for the project.  Roebling developed tetanus from the injury and died in 1869, the year construction began.

Washington Roebling, the son of the designer, was designated to take his father’s position as lead engineer in what was, at the time, the largest engineering project of the time.  The younger Roebling became seriously ill from decompression sickness shortly after construction began and, for the next dozen years, supervised the construction of the bridge from his apartment, which overlooked the site.

He was assisted by his wife, Emily Warren Roebling, who did many of the complicated mathematical calculations required to make the great bridge come to life and acted as a link between the on site supervisors and her disabled husband.  Emily Roebling helped supervise the construction of the bridge for the next eleven years and, when the bridge opened in 1883, she was the first person to cross the bridge.

Originally named the East River Bridge, it was nicknamed the Brooklyn Bridge before construction even began.  The name stuck and in 1915 the City of New York officially changed the bridge’s name to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Interestingly, the two towers that support the bridge contain vaults that were rented out by the city to help fund the construction of the bridge.  Because of the constant temperature of the vaults, they were uniquely suited for the storage of wine.  How’s that for making use of available space?

The Brooklyn Bridge handles both automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic.  For more that 135 years the bridge has been a major thoroughfare in the city.  More than 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cyclists cross the bridge each day.  It’s a beautiful structure and a remarkable feat of engineering.

 

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Atlas, NYC

This beautiful Art Deco sculpture has become one of those lasting icons that are associated with New York City.  Created by sculptor Lee Lawrie and installed at Rockefeller Center in 1937, The sculpture depicts Atlas holding up the heavens.

According to mythology, the Titans, the older gods, fought the Olympians, a younger generation of gods, in a ten-year series of battles known as the War of the Titans.  When the Olympians came out victorious, Atlas, a Titan, was condemned to hold up the heavens for eternity.

If you’re a fan of television, you may have seen this work of art on 30 Rock, where it’s been shown many times.  If you’re a reader, you may have seen an artistic rendering of it on the cover of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.  Atlas is is a fitting image to represent the strength and power of New York City.

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Manhattan

This photo was taken in 2004 from the Circle Line Tour, a sightseeing cruise around Manhattan.  It was my first trip to the city and I enjoyed our visit.  Of course, New York City has so much to see and do that one could make many trips and never see it all.

We did most of the touristy stuff- Juniors Cheesecake in Grand Central Station, Oysters at 42nd Street Oyster Bar, MOMA, Central Park, the Delacorte Clock, and much more.  It’s a wonderful city with much to offer.

Manhattan

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

We had the opportunity to spend a couple days exploring New York City a few years ago.  I had the best tour guide ever; my wife is from Long Island and worked for a while in Manhattan, so she knew exactly where to take me.

One of our stops was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I love museums and the Met is probably the best museum I’ve ever visited.  We could have spent days there but we only had a few hours.  If we make it back to New York City, another trip to the Met is a must.

This photo is the Charles Engelhard Court in the North Wing.  I love how the shadows from the modern glass enclosure fall across the classical facade of the entrance.  I also like that they brought a little nature into the museum with the grass and shrubbery and natural light.  You can sit in what amounts to a tiny park inside the museum and enjoy the beautiful artwork.

Art Museum