The first point-of-interest was just around the corner from the subway. Morningside Park is a narrow strip of greenery stretching north-south for thirteen blocks. Covering a steep hill, it rises almost like a wall from Morningside Avenue on the east to Morningside Drive on the west. A series of stone staircases provide access to the upper road, turning the stroll from one side of the park to the other into an energetic work out. Fortunately the first signs of spring in the form of a profusion of daffodils and early blossom and the view from the top made the exertion worthwhile.
Fortunately a walk around the building revealed the magnificent front entrance on Amsterdam Avenue. A quick peek inside further revealed a wonderful sculpture suspended from the ceiling in the nave of the church. The two phoenixes were created by Chinese artist Xu Bing from disused construction materials which are illuminated by tiny twinkling lights, giving the impression the creatures are soaring towards the entrance. It was certainly an unexpected surprise.
Next to the cathedral is a small garden featuring the Peace Fountain, a sculpture which celebrates the triumph of Good over Evil in a battle between the Archangel Michael and Satan.
Around the base of the fountain there is a ring of mini-sculptures of animals, some of which were created by school children from the neighborhood.
My journey continued on down Amsterdam Avenue, past shops and restaurants of all nationalities. The street was bustling with activity, helped by the numerous outdoor cafes, which all seemed to be doing good business. It was definitely one of those days when the full advantages of living in the city were on display.
My next stop was 72nd Street and Broadway, at yet another small park, this one with a statue of Giuseppe Verdi, and a view of this beautiful building.
Lincoln Center, a prime example of modern architecture, which despite its concrete and glass surrounds does offer a certain charm and certainly a pleasant place to sit in the sun and while away some time. A one-stop cornucopia of the arts with music, theater, dance, film and exhibits all within a stone’s throw of each other, the theaters are separated by well-used plazas. At night the development is lit up like an artistic jewel-in-the-crown, drawing crowds with offerings of culture of the highest caliber--in summer months, both in and outdoors—but surely a few more ornamental touches could have been used in the design of buildings for the arts.
By the time I got back to Grand Central the earlier frustrations of the morning’s travel were long forgotten and not only had I still managed to get some exercise, but I also had another route to mark up on my walking map of New York City.