Clyde Haberman's column (registration required) in the New York Times this morning was about the house Virginia O'Hanlon lived in at 115 W. 95th St. when she wrote her famous letter to the New York Sun in 1897 asking if there was a Santa Claus. The column is about efforts some people have made to have a plaque put on Virginia's house, or to find some other way to acknowledge her letter and Francis Church's replay. What the Times didn't do was publish a photo of the house. It also doesn't appear that Haberman made any effort to talk to the owner of the house. I was on the Upper West Side this afternoon, so I walked over to 95th St. and took this photo.
The candy selection is running low on the seasonal decorations so I went over to the Korean grocery store in Tappan for refills. How could I resist these plum candies given their description? They are as delicious as advertised!
I'm walking around town yesterday, doing some shopping, taking some pictures. It is cold out. I want something to warm myself up. "Hot Chocolate!" I say, startling some of my fellow pedestrians. Ahead of me next to the Virgin Megastore at Union Square is the Mudtruck. The Mudtruck is an orange and brown UPS-type truck that sells coffee. I don't drink coffee but I've heard their coffee is good.
The Mudtruck sign says "hot chocolate 'the best in ny' $2.00 small". I order one. I regret doing so as soon as I see the guy pumping chocolate syrup/sludge into a cup. One sip and it is in the trash. Another undrinkable New York City hot chocolate.
Why can't I find decent hot chocolate in town? There's no shortage of bad hot chocolate. There's no shortage of great hot chocolate. Where is the respectably good hot chocolate?
City Bakery - Thick and rich, this is good stuff. Sometimes has an unpleasant aftertaste. February is their Hot Chocolate Festival.
MarieBelle - Tried some today. Made without milk. Sinfully good. 3x the price of City Bakery.
Mary Anne has important work to accomplish. Like digging out the foundation for the residential building that Cooper Union is building at Astor Place. Cooper Union was founded by inventor and industrialist Peter Cooper (1791-1883).
Before there were cars and trains there were lots of horses in New York. Something had to be done with the horses when they died. Cooper bought a glue factory in 1822. In 1845 Cooper was issued a patent for flavored gelatin, possibly invented by his wife Sarah. Cooper's heirs sold the patent to Pearl B. Wait of LeRoy NY. Wait eventually changed the name to Jell-O.
Peter Cooper designed built the first steam locomotive in the United States. He was also instrumental in the laying of the first trans-Atlantic cable. He became one of the wealthiest men in America.
Cooper had almost no formal education and could not spell. He founded Cooper Union so that working class men and women could get an education. Cooper Union does not charge tuition.
Each year Columbia lights up all the trees along the walk where 116th Street would cut through campus. This is what the trees looked like this evening. I find them horribly pretentious, but this is Columbia. The university has a photo gallery if you want to see more.
Close-up of frozen puddle, Morningside Drive and 116th Street.
Dried seed ball of a sweetgum tree at 116th Street and Morningside Ave. The sap from sweetgum trees has been used to treat wounds, respitory ailments, dysentery, and as a chewing gum (from "New York City Trees").
It hasn't all been plastic animals this week. I climb Morningside Park's 116th Street stairs (159 steps!) every morning to catch the bus to campus.
There was much better light in the atrium this afternoon so I took more photos. It is fun to watch people's reaction as the walk up the stairs. Some people are amused, others are puzzled, while a few seem to get really annoyed. After a day or so, my co-workers and I, as well as other passers-by, begin rearranging the animals. The animals get posed or placed on top of each other.