Archive for 10/25/2015

Blink and You’ll Miss it

manhattan-mapThe map of Manhattan that is. This eight-and-a-half map that dates back to 1811, drafted by John Randel Jr. to organize the future city.

Today it’s very washed out and one cannot see identify so well the “erratic character of the rural hilly island.” Between 1818 and 1820, Randel and his wife Matilda created a new map – the total antithesis of the original planned one of 1811. It is full of color and vibrancy, animated and easy to see the fascinating landscape.

This map – the Randel farm map – is today one of NYC’s “most beautiful and important – and one of the world’s most unusual,” measuring 50 feet long and 11 feet wide, it comprises 92 individual maps at a scale of 100 feet to one inch.

But most New Yorkers are not familiar with this piece of work at all. The maps are located at the office of the Manhattan Borough President. Occasionally they are looked at by an historian or surveyor. They have been digitized in recent times so that they can be looked at online but they’ve never been officially shown to the public.

….Until last week. On 17 October, the Open House New York showcased the maps in mylar covers, set on black-clothed tables and arrayed contiguously across a brightly sun-lit mezzanine at 1 Center Street, enabling New Yorkers to view them between 10am and 4pm.

This enabled New Yorkers to take a journey in a time travel back to the 19th century and see how their block used to be, topped with a marsh or the Hudson River waters….much has gone, but much remains.

The Pope’s Pizza

pizzaIt was recently revealed that Pope Francis wanted a slice of pizza in New York City. Greenwich Village’s Bleecker Street Pizza decided to go all out following that request (as relayed by Father Hernan Peredes) and made a pizza pie with a portrait of the Pope on it. It is being displayed in the store.

The pizza is a classic mozzarella and tomato flavored one (with some toppings) and on the portrait, Pope Francis is clad in a robe that is made out of ricotta cheese. The cross with Jesus is made from anchovies and pineapples are the yellow part of his hat. Red peppers and cucumbers are the red and green parts of his garments. Raspberries and ricotta cheese attempt to make his skin color – which, according to manager Tony Salihaj was the toughest part to create to accuracy.

The pizza pie took five hours to make.

Hispanic Day Parade

Last week New York streets were packed as thousands marched up Fifth Avenue for the yearly Hispanic Day Parade that has been taking place for more than half a century. Today New York City is home to around 2.4 million Hispanics. Last year – because it was the fiftieth year of the parade – close to 1 million took place in the march.

The annual march is timed to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 to October 15. It is not just individuals who march but also those associations connected to the Hispanic community as well as the NYC Police and Fire Department.

It is a fun event too. People enjoy standing up for their nationality and it is most colorful since each country that is represented shows up in their colorful native clothing.

Special guest at the parade of 2015 was Miss Universe Paulina Vega who hails from Colombia.