Saturday, 27 August 2016

Long Day..

Our day started early and before the sunrise we had met up with others for a coach trip to New York - five hours later after one stop and a very slow drive for the last few miles in the city we were at our hotel.

We took the subway to the Metroplitan Museum of Art as it was too hot to walk.

It is difficult to do justice to the scale of the galleries at 'The Met' and the opulence of the exhibits.  I have lots more photos to share!!

Once we had absorbed as much as we could in the museum, we set out for a walk across Central Park, with s few rest stops along the way to admire the view.

We had booked a 'Harbour Lights' cruise for this evening so had to present ourselves at Pier 83 in good time.

The views at sunset on the river and after dark when the buildings were illuminated were quite spectacular.

It is not so very late but we have run out of steam so will post some more photos tomorrow.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Flowers at Phipps

There were many interesting and exotic flowers at Phipps Botanical Garden - but this little plant was new to me - it is a Globe Amarynth.  It was the tiny yellow 'stars' amongst the petals which appealed to me.

In the orchid house there were of course some beautiful and unusual plants...

In a cabinet at the end of the orchid house were some tiny miniature plants...

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Carnegie Mellon Museums

This substantial building in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh is part of the very large complex of nineteenth century buildings which together make up the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History and the Carnegie Music Hall.

Close to Carnegie Mellon University, and the Carnegie Library, which he also founded, these museums were created to house the collections of the millionaire philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.

Originally a poor immigrant from Scotland, he made his fortune in the steel industry based in Pittsburgh and set himself the task of bringing knowledge and education in arts, science and music to the American people - particularly those who were unlikely to be able to afford to travel.

The buildings are both grand and solidly built.  Here the grand staircase of one of the museums, below is the very ornate music hall - now a popular wedding venue as well as hosting concerts and shows.

The length to which Andrew Carnegie was prepared to go in order to bring history and culture from Europe to the people of America is perhaps most strikingly illustrated in the Hall of Architecture of the Museum of Art...

It was quite a shock, initially, to see these huge pieces of Renaissance and ancient architecture from Europe - bronze doors from Florence, stone porticoes from French cathedrals, classical pillars from Greece and Rome as well as pulpits, statues and tombs, all standing in a large gallery room.

Closer inspection of the descriptive labels reveals of course that these are replicas!

The 'plaster' casts were commissioned by Carnegie to be created from the originals then shipped in many crated sections to the United States.  Quite an undertaking in itself!

In a circle in the centre of the Hall of Architecture was a completely up to date exhibit by the Chinese sculptor Ai Weiwei.

A series of twelve rather fierce animal heads cast in bronze - and they are apparently valued at more than $3 million each, based on one or two that have been sold at auction.   So I took care not to reverse into any of them whilst standing back to try to capture the big pieces!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Downtown Pittsburgh

This morning, while David was attending his meetings, I visited the Carnegie Mellon Museums - Natural History and Art collections (more of those another day).

This afternoon we walked into the downtown area of Pittsburgh to 'The Point' where a park and fountain mark the confluence of three important rivers - the Ohio, the Allegheny and the Monongahela ('the Mon').  

The fountain is impressive from any direction..

It was also quite cool around the edge on such a warm day.

Pittsburgh has many iron bridges over the three rivers and the three valleys shape the city.

There is quite a mix of older and modern buildings in this part of the city.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Pittsburgh, PA

At dawn this morning we were at Dulles airport, in order to catch an early flight to Pittsburgh.

Just a short flight away, Pittsburgh is in Pennsylvania - a historic city of quarter of a million people which has been an important site for steel manufacturing in the past.  The buildings in the downtown area are full of contrasts.

As David had a meeting at the world-famous Carnegie Mellon University this afternoon, we headed out to that district.

This is the 'cathedral of learning' a massive Gothic style building dating from the early 20th century which was reminiscent of an oversized version of the Wills Memorial Building at the University of Bristol.  

Part of the University of Pittsburgh, the building houses many teaching rooms as well as hundreds of offices.

We walked over a high bridge, decorated with padlocks, and came to the park which was my destination for the afternoon.  Another great view of the cathedral of learning..

The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden is built in and around a Victorian greenhouse dating back to 1894.

Now substantially renovated and added to - there are 14 botanical room environments in addition to outdoor areas.  The thing that they all had in common today was that they were very warm indeed.

Here are a few of the interconnecting glasshouses which together make up the gardens..

There were of course many beautiful trees and plants, sculptures and butterflies in the gardens and I will come back to those another day.