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Lion in front of the Main Branch of the NYPublic Library – 5th Ave and 42nd Street.  

On Saturday, October 27th the NYC Urban Sketchers met in midtown Manhattan. First stop was at the NY Public Library which was called the Main Branch and is now called the Stephen A. Schwarzman building.  Who is he?  I had no idea so I had to look it up.  He is a zillionaire and CEO of a big financial firm.  He is married to a Hearst.  He is not even dead yet.  Now this annoys me. Why? Because the Main Branch of the NY Public Library says something.  It says what it is and if you’re a New Yorker you know where it is. What does the Stephen A. Schwarzman building say?  It says some really, really, really rich guy who is not even dead yet can get his name on a building. So far the only name I had on a building was a bodega on 5th Ave. and 3rd Street in Brooklyn when Charlie and I were still doing the night dog walk before he upped and moved to Maine.  It was the Carol C. King Bodega.   Ok, not really.  But it COULD HAVE been considering the amount of times Charlie and I stopped in there for a snack whilst walking dogs.   (BTW, if you’re not British, using the word “whilst” sounds really pretentious, but I don’t care.  I like that word.)

Now, my next question is why did they rename the Triborough Bridge the Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) bridge.  The Triborough Bridge said something!  You hear the name and YOU KNOW it goes to THREE boroughs.  (Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx).  What does the RFK bridge say?   A really rich dead guy’s family got his name on something.

I could go on and on.  In fact, I think I will.

The Interborough Parkway?   YES!  It goes between boroughs.   The Jackie Robinson Parkway?   I got nothing.

The Queensborough bridge?   Goes to Queens!   The Edward I. Koch bridge?   No clue.

The Westside Highway?  Gotcha!  Runs up the West Side.  The Joe DiMaggio highway?  Stop it!

The biggest problem is that New Yorkers still call these places by their old names.  If a tourist asked me where the Stephen A. Schwarzman building was all I would be able to do is stare.

SE corner of 42nd Street and 6th Ave looking towards the  Bank of America skyscraper on the NW corner.

Which brings me back to Urban Sketching.  (Yes, I was getting there.)   The group met between the two lions in front of the library.  They are called Patience and Fortitude.  Names given to them by Mayor LaGuardia during the Great Depression.  He believed New Yorkers needed both of these attributes to survive.  We drew Patience.  (Or was it Fortitude), then moved to Bryant Park which is right behind the Library.  There were already ice skaters gliding on the rink that’s there in the fall and winter.  Then to the Bank of America building on 42nd and 6th Ave.  That’s right.  6th Ave.  NOT Avenue of the Americas.  Tourists, take heed.  If you ask anyone where Avenue of the Americas is we will tell you we don’t know.  But SIXTH Avenue is conveniently located between 5th Ave. and 7th Ave.

The GRACE Building from the Bank of New York public space on the corner of 43rd St. and 6th Ave.

Ok,  I’m done with my rant.   The Urban Sketching was fun, but I had to leave early since I was meeting some friends for a Lower East Side gallery crawl.   Joan T. and her friend Susan can in from Long Island again, so that was fun.  I was a little distracted by all the holiday stalls that spring up in Bryant Park for the holidays.  (Yes, I’m also attracted to shiny objects.)

NYC is getting ready for Hurricane Sandy.  They have shut down the subways and buses.  The show must go on?  Not on Broadway tonight and tomorrow night.  The Husband is already working 12 hour shifts.  Last year Irene had us running in circles and it turned out it wasn’t that bad for us in the City.  I have a feeling this one may be different.  Full moon, high tide, another storm coming from the West to meet Sandy.  Yikes!  Wish us luck.

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