From a Penitentiary to the PMoA


With just a wee bit of pre-planning, one can expect a day not easily forgotten in Philly!! A few days before our Amtrak departure, my travel buddy heard about Eastern State Penitentiary, or Cherry Hill as it was called. So serendipity played a small part in our itinerary for the day; as we decided to explore a site of which we would never expect to hear existed right in the city!

Charles Dickens is to have said that there were two places he wanted to visit in  Philadelphia – the Water Works and the Eastern  State Penitentiary (ESP). I, for one, truly appreciated my freedom to roam after hours traversing the halls of ESP– the first true penitentiary in the world; a model for over three-hundred prisons worldwide.

Philly, a city so conducive to walking, enabled us to quickly reach the Rodin Museum on Franklin  Parkway, only to find it was  closed for an upcoming installation. On to the Eakins Oval – one of the most imposing and yet inviting monuments. The tympanum was calling out to us as we approached the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As I had only visited once several years ago, I looked forward to roaming the galleries for hours before witnessing the sunset at the Water Works along the Schuylkill River.


It was a time for penitence, not cruel punishment for those prisoners inside this Gothic Revival castle-like prison. In 1829,  it was the most expensive structure ever built with central air, heat and flushing toilets even before the White House.




ESP entrance


Originally,  the prisoners had only one tiny door leading out to the yard, with a tiny slit for delivery of food through the other end of the cell.


Strategically places angled mirrors allowed one guard to look down all the hallways  – like spokes on a wheel


architect John Haviland designed the halls to resemble a church with a single glass skylight in each cell representing the “eye of God”.


A metal door covered by a heavy wooden door leading to the hallway  – these were added later. Designed to filter out all the noise as there was no talking allowed whilst inside the cell. It converted to a congregate prison in 1913.




Al Capone’s cell

surgery room – less of an opportunity for a prisoner to escape if all needs of the  prisoner were self-contained within the prison.


From the time it closed in 1971, the ESP was never touched again until it opened as an historic site in 1994. It is a National Historic Landmark, U.S. National Register of Historic Places and a Philadelphia Register of Historic Places
How times changed since the  opening in 1829.
faux windows
spokes of a wheel radiating from the hub
our super inexpensive Greek lunch with Greek wait staff right down the street from ESP
murals throughout the city
lovely architecture around every corner

We lucked out with such gorgeous weather this January day!

Rodin Museum

Eakins Oval on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, named for Thomas Eakins, Philadelphian, world-famous painter, and fine arts educator. It consists of the Washington Monument and two smaller fountains. Beneath the Oval are two tunnels, originally for rail traffic, and constructed in the 1920’s.




The  Philadelphia Museum of Art and its extension the Perelman Building, which is a landmark Art Deco

Building on Fairmont and Pennsylvania Avenues.

The Water Works along the Schuylkill River are an epic spot to admire a sunset!

When are you planning your Philly in a Day  from Penn Station? We even had time for some great pub dining before hopping on the train back to New York City.



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Wave Hill’s Winter Palette

Wave Hill is delicious every season of the year, but it is in winter that one can witness the shape and design of its trees. You get the sense that they are framing this lovely twenty eight acre gem in New York City.  Witnessing the barren appearance of these trees enables us to appreciate the promise of Spring that much more. I look forward to sharing the other three seasons with you in future blogs, but for now enjoy Wave Hill’s Winter palette.

Wave Hill has a very rich history with the interweaving of numerous families who have lived in Glyndor House and Wave Hill House. Today, the Georgian Revival style Glyndoor House, the third house to stand on this sight, is now referred to as Glyndor Gallery – showcasing exhibitions of the work of contemporary artists who share a deep connection between nature and culture. George Walbridge Perkins purchased it in 1895, from NY financier, Oliver Harriman,  renaming it Glyndor (a combination of letters from the names of his family). He and architect Robert M. Byers were responsible for creating an underground tunnel (lined with Guastavino tiles) leading to a two-story recreation building (whose sodded roof provided a viewing terrace), and greenhouses. The recreation building housed a bowling alley, squash court, and billiard room. Today, it is known as the Ecology Building, but the rooftop terrace still exists. Perkins acquired three estates  (one parcel was where Wave Hill House now stands) and designed the garden and terraces to better integrate these estates. A trained Viennese gardener, Albert Millard, collaborated on the layout of the grounds with Perkins blending in with the Hudson River highlands beauty. The Perkins and Freeman families gave the Wave Hill estate to the City of New York in 1960.

Wave Hill House was first a country home owned by jurist William Lewis Morris in 1843, and later purchased by publishing scion, William Henry Appleton in 1866. One of Appleton’s  scientist friends, Thomas Henry Huxley, was in awe declaring the Palisades one of the world’s greatest wonders. Many families rented or leased the property over the years. One notable resident was Teddy Roosevelt and his family. It is thought his deep connection with nature beginning  at the age of twelve here, lead to his love and  future preservation of millions of acres of American parkland.  Mark Twain was another resident who leased the home. The Perkins family purchased Wave Hill house in 1903, and they, too, chose to lease the property over the years to famed zoologist, Bashford Dean(who built Armor Hall- of which 197 pieces of his were donated to the Met Museum), conductor Arturo Toscanini, and chief members of the British Delegation to the United Nations.

Five years after the Perkins-Freeman family deeded Wave Hill to the City of New York, thanks to involvement from the community, Wave Hill was formed as the public garden we love and appreciate today. It consists of many diverse gardens, the Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory, T. H. Everett Alpine House, the Herbert and Hyonja Adams Woodland Walk, and of course the beloved Kiwi vined Pergola Overlook (an Italianate stone structure)  which offers incomparable vistas graced with riotously colored containers and hanging baskets after the winter season. Café at Wave Hill offers a delicious farm to table menu, and a myriad of cultural programs are held in Wave Hill House. The Perkins Visitor Center/The Shop offers unique gifts and art from local artists. Sunset Wednesdays and many other outdoor events are a joy to attend. Truly a splendid garden you will want to revisit again and again.

I enjoy taking the Woodland walk around the perimeter of Wave Hill as it is located right next to the entrance.  If it is your first visit, I suggest following the road to the left as you will witness breathtaking views of the Palisades and remarkable European Beech trees.



one might think they were in Scotland at this point


A feast for the eyes – hillside Squills alongside Glyndor Gallery with the Palisades in the distance


my favorite double trunk Beech near the entrance


Georgian Revival Glyndor Gallery


A most magnificent Hornbeam tree plays with light like no other tree here – so stately



In Spring these Wisterias will be in full bloom  – lavender, with white ones alongside the front entrance of Glyndor Gallery




Café at Wave Hill’s Chef Steven hand delivered my scrumptious piping hot Mac and Cheese with fresh bread crumbs (since it was Friday during Lent) and a Marble Coffee Crumb Cake! A terrific sense of humor he had, and he got back with me to see how I liked his creations! Knows how to promote return customers!!

Wild Garden and Gazebo offering stunning vistas


Gazebo views


Soon the Aquatic Pool will be teeming with lily pads and upright plants around its edges


intimate little bench devoted to Wave Hill’s friend, Netta Lockwood  – her favorite flower was the clematis so a sweet mosaic was designed


Hellebores of all colors kissed by sunlight by the Herb Garden


the Paper Bush slowly unfolds


Washington Bridge and New Jersey viewed from The Great Lawn by The Perkins Visitor Center/The Shop


I’ll  leave you with this image of the Staghorn Sumac and the N J Palisades is which formed from vertical columns of rock that look from a distance like a stockade fence or  “palisade.” A  Native American name for the cliffs was Wee-Awk-En “rocks-that-look-like-trees”.  Formed around 200 million years ago in the Triassic Period,  the rock diabase is made up of igneous rock. The salt/pepper look is  due to the two minerals light feldspar and dark augite. Glaciers also helped shape the diabase into the cliffs we see today.

Wave Hill is accessible by subway, Metro North Railroad, or bus. Most visitors to the city prefer Metro North since it is the quickest. Using a monthly MTA Metro card, I prefer the subway. Whether you take the subway ( 1 train to Van Cortlandt Park/last stop) or Metro North, Wave Hill graciously provides a free shuttle van that drops you off at the entrance  and returns you to your preferred mode of travel.  The drivers are friendly and knowledgeable so don’t be shy about chatting up with them as  you drive through the gorgeous neighborhood of Riverdale in the Bronx. There is a small parking lot provided for a minimal fee. Wave Hill is open every day except Mondays. @WaveHill

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Gothic Beauty of Fordham University


Now a bucolic setting nestled in an urban area,  Fordham University’s Rose Hill Campus in the Bronx  was once land called Rose Hill, owned by Robert Watts, a wealthy New York merchant. It was named in 1787 in honor of his family’s ancestral home in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In 1940, the Most Reverend John J. Hughes, purchased most of Rose Hill Manor in Fordham, New York, establishing St. Joseph’s Seminary. St. John’s College was founded  in 1841, paired with the seminary which consisted of a student body of six.

Receiving its charter  in 1846, the first Jesuits began to arrive. St. John’s College became Fordham University in 1907. The name Fordham refers to the village of Fordham; the name was derived from its location near a shallow crossing to the Bronx River (“ford by the hamlet”). Jesuit influences are still a part of Fordham’s academic ideals which are: Strive for excellence in everything you do, Care for others, and Fight for justice.

Notable graduates include: Andrew Cuomo, Mary Higgins Clark, General John Keane, Major General Thomas McMahon, Anne M. Mulcahy, Denzel Washington, and Vince Lombardi.

The Rose Hill campus is quite picturesque, boasting some of the oldest Elms in the city. Tucked away from all the bustle of the Bronx, these ninety-three acres are home to students from all over the world. I hope you enjoy the idyllic campus landscape and magnificent architecture on this tour.

Keating Hall clock tower strikes an arresting pose visible from many vantage points.


Excellent views of the Keating Building from the New York Botanical Garden across the street from Southern Blvd. on the northeastern end of the Rose Hill Campus.



Keating Hall  – “Neither time nor tide waits for Rams”  – after a long time frozen in place, the arms of the four-faced 78 year old clock are turning again. Weighing 50 lb. each, the arms were removed and refurbished.  The original gears had worn down and were replaced by stronger and larger custom-made hands made by  Verdin Clocks in Cincinnati.  Four-hundred watt speakers were added that will upgrade the ability to broadcast hymns and chimes.


The Metro Station adjacent to the entrance of the Rose Hill Campus on Third/Webster Avenue Gate – southwestern end



An interesting array of modern architecture off campus contrasting with the Gothic Revival University.
William D. Walsh Family Library is the first building that greets you at the Webster Avenue gate entrance. It was opened in 1997, one of North America’s largest university libraries and home to the Fordham Museum of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Art.


One cannot just walk into the campus. I was questioned as to why I was there. Honesty is the best policy – I simply told the guard I admired Gothic architecture, showed my license, and entered through this gate.
The adjacent Memory plaque
The interior of Duane Library now houses the Undergraduate Office of Admission, Department of Theology, Tognino Hall, and the Butler Commons.


cast in the style of Luca Della Robia


Duane Library built in 1928, underwent a $12 million renovation and is now a reception center for potential students, a performance space, and the home of several  academic programs.


The Rams became the official name of the sports’ teams when the Jesuit fathers said the word dam used in the sports cheer in the 1890’s  “One-Dam, Two-Dam, Three-Dam, Fordham!” was inappropriate. The  first live ram moved onto campus in 1925, and was it was named Ramses. Twenty-seven animals held this royal position, with the last one dying in 1975. Students were actually assigned to be Ram Watchers. Now the live ram has been replaced by a student dressed in a ram costume.



Blend of old and new architecture – Campbell Hall


Loschert Hall opened in 1987 and accommodates 240 students in four stories of corridor living.
The Alumni House  – Rodrigue’s is a popular café hangout for students inside


University Church


gargoyles on the elaborate Gothic roof of University Church


Evidence of the attention to detail in the bucolic landscape throughout the eighty-five acre green and gothic campus  – Queen’s Court


Collins Auditorium


June blooms





Cunniffe House located in the heart of the campus, was once called The Administration Building; i was renamed for alumnus and trustee emeritus Maurice J. Cunniffe.


Gabelli School of Business





Gabelli School of Business is the graduate and undergraduate  business schools of Fordham.


St. Ignatius statue


Rose Hill Gymnasium


Alpha House


elaborate traceries of Keating Hall


Seismic Observatory recordings from this location are the oldest in the region and among the oldest in the United States.








Freeman Hall across from Edward’s Parade – the huge green space used by students for relaxing, sunbathing, and light small group recreational sports. No alcohol or barbecues are allowed.


Rose Hill Campus is a perfect spot for a relaxing stroll connecting with nature.

The campus comes alive when games are being played; the announcing can be heard from  the New York Botanical Garden and surrounding areas.

Fordham University’s ranking in the 2017 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 60.


A Evening with Hal Rubenstein

One thing I know with certainty – any event that the Fashion Institute of Technology  hosts will be entertaining and informative. Dr. Valerie Steele, the Director and head curator of the Museum at FIT (MFIT) began the evening with a warm welcome for her dear friend, Hal Rubenstein. He is a respected and renown voice in the fashion industry and loved for his elevating views of women. Hal is the founder and served as Fashion Director of InStlye magazine for 15 years; then becoming editor-at-large. His other writing credits included Elle, Vogue, Interview, and The New Yorker.

Hal graced us with a witty, in depth look into the influence the fashion of the iconic 1960’s in film had on the demographic of people frequenting theatres. Covering a plethora of movies, it became quite evident through Hal’s expert eye, that fashion was wielded as a tool; becoming a vital part of the plot in the movie. He kept us on the edge of our seats, injecting humor and personal stories; transitioning effortlessly, using just a sentence or two, into the next iconic movie he selected.

When  his stories finally came to an end, we looked at each other as if to say – “Is that all?” Lucky for us, Hal will be returning in May to MFIT to again regale us with perceptions of beauty and what is needed to create that Red Carpet Style.

I was left with these words he spoke that bear repeating –  “You only have one version of you” – and  I agree with him that it is up to us to make the best of our assets!

img_9275I have nothing but extreme respect and admiration for this phenomenal woman – Dr. Valerie Steele –  I wish I had 1/10 the knowledge she has on fashion history. The author of many books on fashion, I especially  was drawn to The Corset: A Cultural History. As busy a woman as I’m sure Valerie is, she always greets me with a warm smile, instantly making me feel as if I’m the only one in the room. Now, that’s class and style in my book!!

It’s quite evident how passionate Hal is when it comes to fashion! He speaks at a quick pace; executing every work in an eloquent manner.


He began his conversation with the quintessential black dress, but I was so busy taking notes, I neglected to capture the first image of beloved Audrey Hepburn donning the chic cocktail dress designed for her by the incomparable Hubert de Givenchy for the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This next image (above) was the memorable evening Marilyn Monroe sang Happy Birthday Mr. President to John F. Kennedy. What many may not know is, that Marilyn wanted her gown to be a surprise to all. Jean Louis literally molded this knit soufflé fabric right onto Marilyn’s body; and  it was known Marilyn wore no underwear. He had to add 20 layers of fabric in some areas, as well as strategically sewing 2,500 sequins. Marilyn paid for these gown herself at the cost of $12,000! Imagine what that would cost today – more that 50 years later.


Banned even in France at first, Lolita, (1962) the movie, had to be altered somewhat from the book. Most male actors were afraid to touch the script, but James Mason had read the book and was not scared at all. Changing her age from 12 years to 14 years, Stanley Kubrick also shot it in London instead of the USA. The Legion of Decency did condemn it, but it  finally received an Adults Only rating. What an impact Sue Lyon’s clothing had on the fashion world!



Bye Bye Birdie (1962) forever changed the trajectory of of 22 year old Swedish born Ann-Margaret’s career.  Only her third film, the director, George Sidney, instantly realized her charisma and decided he wanted to increase her scenes. He pushed for a Prologue and Epilogue with just Ann singing on the screen. He was adamantly turned down; not easily deterred, he decided to pay for it himself. Premiering at Radio City  Music Hall with huge success, the film company decided to reimburse him the full amount – $60,000!
Belle de Jour (1967) immediately appealing – Severine, the emotionally distant stunning blond living out her erotic fantasies as a prostitute (usually they were called “belle de nuit”) except our character, due to constraints, works during the day. Catherine Deneuve – sublime and flawless, donning and disrobing at the drop of a hat, in fashions still iconic today – the YSL trench coat, “school girl dress”, and peacoat, and the  Roger Vivier Pilgrim pumps. Team YSL and Vivier was well cemented as a result of this movie. YSL adored Catherine as muse and dear friend.

There were many more movies presented, but maybe I’ll leave those for another time.  Indulge me in a few more images of the impeccable, energetic, brilliant-minded Hal Rubenstein – the consummate gentleman.

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