New York City, Here & There

It’s New Years Eve! If you are in New York City, stay warm! I will not be spending New Year’s Eve in the city or in Times Square, but yesterday was my annual city trip.  I love the two hour train ride along the LIRR into Penn Station and then strolling around the city in pursuit of whatever we want. New York City is an exciting blend of the historic and the modern, from new, modern glass skyscrapers standing next to brick building with water towers and ghost signs.

Building with water tower, view from Madison Square Park

Building with water tower, view from Madison Square Park

Juxtaposition of historic and modern, view from Madison Square Park

Juxtaposition of historic and modern, view from Madison Square Park

My favorite New York City Christmastime experience is always ice skating at Wollman Rink in Central Park. It’s a beautiful spot, surrounded by Central Park, New York City skyscrapers, and the hustle and bustle of people that you typically expect in New York. Skating here offers a chance to take in the sights and sounds in a new way. The perfect time to skate is after dusk, when the lights add to the splendor. The rink has been featured in many movies and can give you the feeling of being in a movie or can send you back in time, imagining many decades of ice skating.

View from Wollman Rink in the daylight

View from Wollman Rink in the daylight

Of course, a visit to Rockefeller Center to see this year’s tree is included on our itinerary.

Rockefeller Center, 2008

Rockefeller Center, 2008

And, on this trip, I even had a serving of roadside Architecture. In Madison Square Park, we visited the Shake Shack for lunch – a walk up and order burger, fries, shake joint. It’s delicious.  Madison Square Park is near the Flatiron building, just to let you architecture buffs know.

Shake Shack, Madison Square Park

Shake Shack, Madison Square Park

And on our way home, we walked past this roadside giant: the Fashion District’s giant button and needle.  For a better photo than mine below, click here.

Giant button and needle

Giant button and needle

And, if you didn’t know, we saw the setup for New Year’s Eve in Times Square as were passing through on our way to Penn Station for the ride home and they were testing the ball drop! So, technically, we did see the ball drop in Times Square. haha.

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone. I hope that no matter what city or town you visit, you find enjoyment and value in your surroundings.

The Time Warp Effect of Home

There’s a lot to be said for coming home for the holidays, reconnecting with family and friends, and spending days in your old bedroom.  To me, this is a holiday routine – I always come home and I love coming home. My house becomes chaotic (a total of four girls will have that effect) and we tend to fall into our same old sister roles, with slight differences over the years. What I like most is the fact that any old routine is possible. Of course, we are somewhat improved every year.

When I am at home, I feel as though I’ve entered a time warp – one that offers familiarity at all turns, security, family and friends, memories, and traditions. Home seems like a bubble. When I’m home, it’s almost as if I could easily step back into time at any point during my life, at any age.

My sisters and I unknowingly tested this theory last Saturday when we all arrived home. It actually snowed! It hadn’t snowed with all four of us home in at least four years. When we were little kids, we’d bundle up and head out the door, sleds in tow, dog following along, and play in the snow for hours. We did this that Saturday, playing at the schoolyard, making snow angels, running and sliding, racing, and all the time laughing and shrieking like little girls without a care in the world, except for cold fingers. This night has its place as one of my favorites in our sister history.

The time-warp of home enables me to imagine what it’s like for someone to return to their rundown town years later and still see it in its glory, with people out and about, shops open, and everyday life all around. It is easy to overlook the disparities of an old, drafty window or a less than perfect backyard because it is my house and yard, filled with my family’s memories, in all of which I easily slip into my rightful place.

I can only hope that everyone has such a place that allows them to step back into time, whether for moments or a few weeks. Sometimes it is hard for outsiders to see what is so special about one place, because they are not capable of looking past the imperfections; however, someone who belongs to that place can easily pass along its history and significance, whatever that may mean to the storyteller. And details of that nature are irreplaceable.

Gated Communities

Some first-impressions never change.

I don’t like gated communities, and I never have. The idea of having to check in with a guard or gate operator before you go to your house or the need to tell the guard about your guests just seems strange to me in a big-brother sense, perhaps. Or the communities that aren’t exactly gated, but still have a little hut at the front and a fence around the perimeter also baffle my mind. However, I attribute my dislike for gated communities to one particular instance.

I remember running one afternoon, when I was about 13 or 14, during my summer training for cross-country. I ran down my friend’s dead end block that used to lead to trails, but now led to a development. We would watch the townhouses going up as we rode our bikes through the remaining trails. At the end of the block was now a large chain link gate, but we could squeeze through the opening. We had done this before in order to add distance to our training runs. The loop in the new development provided a good mile extra or so. All we did was run on the streets, nothing else.

This time I was by myself but still wanted to run that familiar loop. As I approached the gate and inspected on how to squeeze through, some woman walking by told me that I was not allowed in there. I said that I just wanted to run, but she continued to tell me how I couldn’t come in. And then she wouldn’t leave until I ran in the other direction. My 13 year old blood boiled. How could she tell me where I was and was not allowed to run?

To clarify, this community is not “gated” in the sense of a guard at the gate. It’s one of those with a hut at the only outlet of the development and nothing else. It’s a plain townhouse development and always has been. And I was not the 13 year old kid who looked as if she were about to cause a lot of trouble.

Even to this day, that woman who yelled at me for wanting to run within those gates, has left a sour impression about these developments that claim to offer the good life, these collections of culs-de-sac with a center pool and townhouses or McMansions. I still do not like them, but for different reasons. Now I see them as impostors to good development. They are still developments that cater to the automobile, but trick people to believing otherwise and therefore are often overpriced. My biggest pet peeve is when the development is named after a farm that it replaced or if it has something woodsy in its title. It’s just misinformed remembrance, in my opinion.

Of course, this is a generalization and I’m basing this post on such developments that I know from around Long Island. Feel free to describe otherwise. But, I am going to continue to blame the woman who banned little 13 year old me from running in that development. Today I include a different townhouse fake-gated community on my running route, but I occasionally feel as if someone is going to stop me and ask me where I live in that development. What nerve.

A Note & A Joke

A quick note: check out the Contributors page. It’s a cleaner version that will allow you to click on the thumbnail photo for the bio of each person rather than having to scroll so much. Hope you like it! I know there are a few contributors missing, so if you are one of them, send along a photo and a mini bio whenever you get the chance. thanks!

A short joke that makes my day: {commentor left anonymous}

Every time you say SHPO, I only think of hippos!

For those out of the loop: SHPO stands for State Historic Preservation Office, but is pronounced like ship-o. It just goes to show that every field has its own crazy jargon. But what does hippo say about preservation? haha.

…and normal posts to return next week.

Merry Christmas!

from Preservation in Pink!

In honor of my favorite day of the year (Christmas Eve), this post combines three of my favorites things: flamingos and Christmas and cats. Here are photographs of the cats reacting to the flamingo, just in case you can’t get the video to play. It sings and dances.  I don’t kid about such things. (If you’re wondering – it was a gift, one that provides holiday amusement).

Fuzzy, intrigued by the Santa flamingo

Fuzzy, intrigued by the Santa flamingo

Lucas, conversing with Santa flamingo

Lucas, conversing with Santa flamingo

…and here is the entertainment for you. Click this link, which will bring you to the video (I cannot upload videos directly onto wordpress). It will be on Mediafire.com and you’ll know it’s this one because it is called “Santa Flamingo.” It takes about 2 minutes to download (5MB). Skip ahead or wait until the very end for a hysterical ending. Really. But, if you can’t wait, here are screen shots of the best parts.

Lucas investigating the flamingo.

Lucas investigating the flamingo.

Lucas realizing he's going to be embarrassed on PiP

Lucas realizing he's going to be embarrassed on PiP

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Newsletter Page Update

A short update. The “Newsletter” page is now updated to reflect the most recent issue of PiP, meaning if you are looking for the December 2008 issue, it will not be lost among old posts. Simply use the menu at the top of the page. Enjoy!

Thank you to everyone who has sent in feedback and thank you to everyone who has read this issue, and shared it with others!  This is a long ways away, but the next issue will be June 2009. So if you are thinking of contributing but worry about deadlines, have no fear. You have six months.

As Ali Ross would say, “Keep up the dream!”

White Christmas

Every year of my life, I dream of a white Christmas.  Every time I wished on a star during the holiday season, I would wish for a white Christmas. Snow may not be as important to some, and I know in many of parts of the world, people never see snow and have never seen snow on Christmas, but I’ll keep wishing nonetheless. Blame it on the Christmas songs, movies, images, and the classic ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas poem. Snow is a part of my Christmas tradition, even though part of that may always be wishful thinking.

Sadly, this year it will not snow on Christmas.  I haven’t seen snow in December (while I’ve been in New York) for the past four years.  However, to my delight, when Vinny and I arrived on Long Island on Saturday, there were already five inches of snow on the ground! And it kept snowing! In fact, days later, the ground is still covered in white (until it rains tomorrow).  Saturday night, my sisters and I ran around in the snow and jumped off swings for hours. That particular sister adventure has become one of my favorite Christmas memories, even if the snowy present arrived a few days ahead of schedule. I think it can count as a white Christmas.

Of course, as per my tradition, I will still wish for snow on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, regardless of the weather forecast. Traditions may be rooted in generations or they may be personal, but they are all important. May you enjoy your favorite traditions this Christmas – historical or new.

December 2008 Issue

I am proud to announce that the December 2008 issue of Preservation in Pink is now available!

Details: It is a 5MB pdf document, so if you have a high speed internet connection, it should  not take long to open. Notes on viewing:  (1) It requires Adobe Reader, available as a free download here. (2) To view it as you would a print publication, go to the “view” tab on Adobe Reader and click Page Display. Then choose “Two-up.” Then also choose “Show cover page during two-up”.  Of course, you are free to print and share Preservation in Pink with anyone.

Click for the December 2008 issue: pip-december-2008.

As always, comments and critiques are greatly appreciated. What do you like? What would you like to see? What do you dislike?  Thank you to all of the contributors! Enjoy!

-Kaitlin

p.s. for now, this document will only open in another browser window, not Adobe Reader. I’ll keep you posted. You can print the document, however. I will soon send an email with the pdf document. If you are not on the email list or would like one in the future, please let me know.

It’s almost here!

Get excited! Tomorrow you will be able to read the December 2008 issue of Preservation in Pink! It will be posted here tomorrow as a pdf document for easy downloading, printing, reading, etc. If you are in my address book, you will receive an email. Check back tomorrow!
 

In the meantime, you should know that I have many flamingo ornaments on my Christmas tree.  I realize that one day I will probably have an entire tree dedicated to flamingos, a la Preservation in Pink. This one shows my North Carolina side. Pardon the Christmas-y blurriness.

Outer Banks Santa Flamingo

Outer Banks Santa Flamingo

And, just for your entertainment, this pictures demonstrates just how much my cat Fuzzy loves the traditions of Christmas.

Fuzzy loves Christmas so much that he eats trees!

Fuzzy loves Christmas so much that he eats trees!

 Then again, he also likes to pretend that he will be mailed as a present.

Don't forget to cut holes in the box.

Don't forget to cut holes in the box.

Whatever your Christmas preparation traditions may be, I hope you are enjoying the holiday anticipation!

Lake Placid Olympic Complex

On Friday the 19th, the USA Skeleton team members on the Intercontinental Cup Circuit compete in Lake Placid, New York. Two weeks they were in Park City, as Annie O’Shea describes in her blog.  You, as spectator, could actually attend these races. The Lake Placid Olympic Sports Complex is not a gated community. It’s a tourist destination itself as well as being in a popular tourist region (the Adirondack Mountains).
The bobsled/luge/skeleton track at Lake Placid

The bobsled/luge/skeleton track at Lake Placid

A slider on the almost horizontal track, moving as fast as a vehicle (or faster!)

A slider on the almost vertical track (here), moving past spectators as fast as a vehicle (or faster!)

These athletes compete on the bobsled/luge/skeleton track from the 1980 Olympics. The 1932 Olympic sliding track remains near the 1980 track, but technology has since advanced and it is no longer used in competition.  You can take a (modified) bobsled or luge ride down the 1980 track if you so desire (not during competition, obviously).  Or, if you like the ice, but not the speed, you can ice skate on the outside speed skating track (at your own pace).

Also in the Olympic Complex, you can see skiing, skating, the biathlon, and other winter events. There is a museum dedicated to the 1932 and 1980 Olympics. If you’re a hockey fan, the Herb Brooks Arena is open for skating and viewing (as in the 1980 USA Hockey Team, featured in the movie Miracle).  To hockey fans, this is an important part of history, even though it dates to 1980, far from our typical historic benchmark of 50 years. It’s interesting to consider whether we, in the present, are capable of discerning places, events, and people who will be just as important fifty years down the road.   

Snow covered Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, NY

Snow covered Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, NY

Lake Placid provides a unique vacation in the Adirondacks with a lively historic downtown set on Mirror Lake and Olympians as your neighbors.

Good luck to Annie on Friday!  [Show your love of the red, white, and blue: Support Annie]

Annie, way back in 2005

Annie, way back in 2005