Thursday, February 21, 2013

Roadside Attraction: World's Largest Chessboard - NY, NY

Interesting Places I've Photographed
World's Largest Chessboard
New York, NY
Topic: Roadside Attractions

GPS: N40° 45.256; W073° 58.268

Quick Description: 

A giant chessboard is on the blank wall of an apartment building located on 212 E. 48th Street east of 3rd Avenue on the east side of Manhattan.

Long Description:

An upscale apartment building at 212 E. 48th Street in the Turtle Bay area of Manhattan happens to have a completely blank wall on its west side and a small open lot used as a pocket park below which makes the wall very visible, a rare combination in midtown Manhattan. The owners of the building next door at 747 3rd Avenue, the Kaufman brothers, were unhappy with the appearance of the blank wall and decided to make this arrangement useful and unique by installing a four storey high giant chessboard and recreating great chess games of the past. The chessboard is claimed to be the largest in the world.

The board is constructed of large metal beams. 2.5' diameter blue and tan round disks, with the standard chess symbol inscribed, are used. Moves are made every Wednesday by workers using hydraulic cherry pickers. A flag next to the board signals who has the next move or the status of a finished game.
A nearby sign is inscribed:


For your information about the
Chess game in progress
seen the Concierge in the lobby.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Roadside Attraction: Big, Big Penny - NY, NY

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Big, Big Penny
New York, NY
Topic: Roadside Attraction

GPS: N40° 45.760; W073° 58.859

Quick Description: 

The Big, Big Penny sculpture is in the lobby of the 1325 Avenue of the Americas Building in midtown Manhattan.

Long Description:

The entrance to the lobby of the the 1325 Avenue of the Americas Building is not on the Avenue of the Americas, what New Yorkers still refer to as 6th Avenue. To find it you must, in fact, go to the north side of 53rd Street between 7th Avenue and 6 1/2 Avenue. Yes, there is a 6 1/2 Avenue in this area of Manhattan.

Big, Big Penny is one of renown pop art sculptor Tom Otterness whimsical creations. A 6' high by 5.5' wide by 1' thick giant copy of the tail side of a Lincoln Memorial penny is embellished with his signature mini-people. The Big Big Penny near the north wall of the lobby and is the same, tails, on both sides so you need not work your way around the back. The bronze sculpture was created in 1993.

As in much of Otterness' work, the sculpture goes beyond pop art. It is an allegorical and humorous depiction of the common man's struggling through life. The giant penny represents big money. Riding high, on top of the giant penny, are three mini-people who, with their top-hats and champagne glasses, represent the wealthy. A smaller figure, perhaps a domestic worker, is shown supporting the wealthy woman. At the bottom right of the penny are three workers, in hard hats, attempting to roll the penny while fourth person, on the lower right, is being crushed by the large penny.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Roadside Attraction: Berlin Wall with Graffiti - New York, NY

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Berlin Wall With Historical Graffiti
New York, NY
Topic: Roadside Attraction, Graffiti

GPS: N40° 45.611 W073° 58.494

Quick Description: 

Graffiti, spanning five concrete slabs of the Berlin Wall, are located in a pocket park on the north side of E. 53rd Street west of Madison Avenue in Manhattan

Long Description:

Five original graffiti painted concrete slabs from the Berlin Wall are on display. Noted graffiti artists Thierry Noir and Kiddy Citny painted the garish images of large heads on this section of the wall while it was the Communist built barrier between East and West Germany. Thierry Noir's is responsible for the left section and Kiddy Citny the right section.

Since the collapse of the Communist regime in East Germany, the wall was dismantled and parts, such as these, have been donated and sold around the world. There is a fascinating history behind the highly sought graffiti artwork that appears on the wall.

In the early 1980's simple graffiti including political slogans, began to appear on the wall. Then graffiti artists such as Thierry and Citny added their hastily drawn paintings, mostly of large human heads. Painting graffiti, or just being near the wall, was absolutely prohibited. So, Thierry and Citny had to quickly complete their work while the East German guards were not looking.

The artists were not trying to beautify the wall. Because so many were killed trying to get over the Berlin wall to escape to West Berlin, to them, the wall would always be ugly. Instead, they were performing a revolutionary act. By painting graffiti on the Berlin wall they meant to transform it, to make it ridiculous, and to help to destroy it.

Today, the Berlin wall graffiti of Thierry Noir and Kiddy Citny have become sought after symbols of the freedom achieved after the reunification of Germany and the end of the Cold War.

A small brass sign next to the wall is inscribed:

Artists: Thierry Noir - Kiddy Citny
these five original sections of the
Berlin Wall marked the border between
East Berlin and West Berlin from
1961 - 1989

Friday, February 8, 2013

3D Art: Hershey World - New York, NY

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Hershey World
New York, NY
Topic: 3D Art

Overall View
48th Street Side
Broadway Side
GPS: N 40° 45.613; W 073° 59.094

Quick Description: 

Hershey World is located at the corner of 48th and Broadway in Times Square in New York City.

Long Description:

Hershey World affords a bonanza of three dimensional art and a feast for the eyes. Many of their products are featured in large works of 3D art that wrap around the corner of the building above the their store in Times Square.

On the Broadway side there is a huge version of a box of Hershey's Cocoa above a large cup with the works HERSHEY'S COCOA written on its side. Below the cup are three Hershey's miniature chocolate products: Krackle, Mr. Goodbar and Special Dark. To the left is a round package of IceBreakers Mints

On the 48th Street side there is a six storey tall Hershey Bar above and to the left of a pyramid of Hershey Kisses. Below is a York Peppermint Patty and a roll of BreathSavers.

Several other products are depicted in 2D sign format.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Courthouse - Philipsburg, Sint Maarten

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
Topic: Philatelic Photograph

GPS: N18° 01.493; W063° 03.024

Quick Description: 

The Courthouse at Saint Maarten is located on Front Street directly north of the Captain Hodge Wharf at the north end of Cyrus W. Wathely Square.

Long Description:

The Courthouse building is the most prominent landmark on Philipsburg's Front Street. This white wooden structure with green trim is topped with a cupola, which is a bell tower housing a 25 bell carillon. It was built in 1973. The carved wooden pineapple above the cupola it the international symbol of welcome. A clock is located below a shuttered window on the cupola. The coat of arms of Saint Maarten is below the cupola. It features several national symbols.

Shield with rising sun
A brown pelican, the national bird
The Courthouse
The border monument
Orange sage, the national flower
The motto - Semper Pro Grediens - Always Progressing

The courthouse was originally the home of the town's founder, Commander John Philips. Over the years it has served as a jail, fire station, and post office. Today it is used solely as a courthouse. The bell tower houses a 25 bell carillon. The pineapple on the building's roof is an international symbol of welcome.

Saint Maarten is now independent and issues its own stamps and currency. Before 2010 it was part of the Netherlands Antilles. The stamp was issued in 2012 by the Saint Maarten as part of a three stamp set depicting national monuments. 

Stamp Issuing Country: Saint Maarten
Date of Issue: 2012
Denomination: 300 cents
Color: Multicolor