Lake District

30 Jun

I spent last fortnight on holiday in Lake District (aka The Lakes or Lakeland). Lake District is a National Park located in Cumbria (Northern England), between Lancaster and Scottish border. It’s a land full of lakes, fells, castles, ruins, sheep, kirks, forces…

Cette année, je suis parti en vacance au Lake District. Le L. D. se situe dans le nord-ouest de l’Angleterre, grosso modo entre Lancaster et la frontière écossaise. C’est très peu connu en dehors de la Grande-Bretagne mais en Angleterre, c’est une destination très prisée. Cette région est un immense parc national d’environ 2300 km², au relief montagneux avec des lacs, des châteaux, des moutons, des ruines…

Le L. D. est associé aux ‘Lake Poets’, un groupe de poètes romantiques de la première moitié du XIX s. ayant tous vécus au L. D. Parmi eux, citons William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge et Robert Southey.


Interesting building in Brooklyn (III)

31 May

Soaring more than 500 ft. above Hanson Pl., the former Williamsburgh Savings Bank with its striking silhouette is the most prominent feature of the Brooklyn skyline. Situated at the intersection of two main thoroughfares –Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues–, it was the tallest building on Long Island for many years.

The setback and the fine ornamental details and rich carving of the lower two stories are the Byzantine building’s most striking features. The crowning gilded copper dome was intended to recall the dome of the bank’s first building on Broadway (in Brooklyn). Beneath the dome is the famous illuminated four–faced dial clock, one of the largest in the world.

The interior, a simple and elegant Romanesque and Revival space, imagines baking as a quasi–religious act. The great banking room –112 by 73 ft., 63 ft. high– is a basilica–like three–bay space set on a nave–and–aisles plan. The walls and floors of the banking room are finished in polished exotic marbles, and it is highlighted with golden mosaic vaults and enameled steel.

Erected in 1929, the bank remained in continuous use until 2005, when the upper floors were converted into luxury condominiums.

Interesting building in Manhattan (XI)

30 Apr

The northernmost of the four twin-towered apartment houses that give Central Park West its distinctive skyline, the Eldorado is one of the finest and most dramatically massed Art Deco residential buildings in the city. The form of the building, with its massive base and twin towers set at the Central Park West corners, closely resembles the massing of the nearby San Remo, which was also completed in 1930.

The Eldorado towers rise free of the seven stories base for twelve stories. Each is six bays wide on CPW and faced with tan brick. Futuristic, rocket–like pinnacles crown each tower and an angular frieze runs above the third floor. There are stylized brick spandrel panels below many of the windows, and angular balconies with zigzag panels.

Construction of the Eldorado coincided with the stock market crash of 1929, which led to the collapse of the real estate market. Despite financial and labor problems, the building was completed in 1930, but the owners experienced rental problems and finally defaulted on loan payments. The Eldorado has attracted many residents of note, particularly people associated with the arts, such as Milton Avery, Carrie Fisher, Groucho Marx and Marilyn Monroe.

Brooklyn Museum of Art

27 Feb

Today, I publish pictures from the B.M.A.

Interesting building in Manhattan (X)

27 Jan


Located on W 44th St. between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, The Algonquin Hotel is a very fine piece of architecture from the beginning of the twentieth century.

The twelve-storey building is five bays wide, with a lightly rusticated two-storey limestone base. Above it are 8 stories of brick with terra cotta trim below a projecting cornice. Two stories at the top work together to function as an attic. The ten top stories have three sash windows in the center flanked by a pair of projecting bays on each side, except for the twelfth storey where the bays are replaced with simple sash windows.

But it’s the building’s social history that distinguished it from its contemporaries. Since its opening in 1902, the Algonquin has been associated with New York’s literary and theatrical worlds. The hotel was host to such notables as Sinclair Lewis, Douglas Fairbanks, Orson Welles, and dozens of other artists. After WW I, as home to the Round Table (a daily luncheon gathering of some of the city’s brightest wits) its fame became national.


In 2008, $4,5 million interior renovation of the hotel was completed, including all of the guest rooms, the lobby, Blue Bar, and Round Table Room.

1903 Algonquin prices
– sitting room, library, dining room, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, private hall: $10/day
– bedroom and bath: $2/day

In memoriam…

18 Dec

Today, I have very sad news: my mom passed away Wednesday morning. For me, she was more than just a mother. She was like a friend. I’ll miss her so much.

Aujourd’hui, j’ai une nouvelle très triste. Ma maman est décédée mercredi matin. Pour moi, elle était plus qu’une maman. Elle était comme une bonne amie avec qui je partageais plein de choses. Elle me manquera vraiment beaucoup.

Mot de l’année 2014

26 Nov

Après “selfie” en 2013, l’Oxford English Dictionary (O.E.D.) a élu “vape” (i.e. “vapoter”) mot de l’année 2014, notant que l’usage de la cigarette électronique était “entré dans les moeurs”. Le mot de l’année couronne un mot ou une expression “qui a fait l’objet d’un grand intérêt au cours de l’année écoulée”. En anglais, “vape” désigne à la fois la cigarette électronique et le fait de s’en servir. Pour plus d’info sur le mot de l’année on peut consulter le blog officiel du O.E.D.: