On Monday morning, I drove from my home in Bedford to Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City. It's funny, but it had been many, many years since I stepped foot on Staten Island. It just never occurred to me to go there. The reason for the journey was to be part of a new television commercial for Macy's. It was decided that the shoot take place at the Sailor's Snug Harbor, located on the north shore of Staten Island. Snug Harbor is a collection of architecturally significant 19th century buildings, once used as a home for aged sailors. Those buildings, part of an 83-acre property, are considered to be the finest example of Greek revival architecture in America. For more than thirty years, efforts have been made to restore and develop this enclave into the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden. It's quite a very interesting place to visit and I plan on returning in the spring.
1 Approaching the Verrazano Narrows Bridge from Brooklyn, NY on my way to Staten Island for a Macy's commercial shoot at a very wonderful place, The Sailor's Snug Harbor.
2 The Verrazano Narrows Bridge was built between 1959 and 1964 connecting the borough of Staten Island to Brooklyn at the Narrows. It is 13,700 feet long, the largest suspension bridge in the world at the time of its completion.
3 The span of the bridge is very graceful - the New York City Marathon begins here.
4 This majestic suspension bridge stands 693 feet above the high water mark.
5 Crossing the bridge from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
6 This is the second portion of the bridge - the towers are a monumental 693 feet high! Each tower weighs 27,000 tons and is held together with 3 million rivets and 1 million bolts.
7 The toll is steep - $11.00 round trip.
8 Battery Weed is a substantial three-tiered 19th century fortification guarding the Narrows - part or Fort Wadsworth - this abandoned military fort stands beneath the bridge.
9 One of the many many barges that pass by Staten Island - in and out of New York Harbor
10 A container barge passing under the bridge
11 Arriving at Snug Harbor Cultural Center, where the commercial was to be shot.
12 When we got there, the fire department had been summoned. The wardrobe crew had placed a clothing steamer too close to a fire alarm - luckily nothing ignited.
13 One of the crew, noshing.
14 Jim Gardner - stylist, Patsy Pollack and Jodi Gruber - part of the wonderful MSLO merchandising team
15 Here I am driving up with Nicole Sutliff - Susan Magrino Agency and Rock - my driver.
16 This is one of the cottages in which we worked. This row of Victorian houses was built in the 1880's.
17 This is another one of the small cottages rented for the shoot, originally built as staff housing for the property.
18 This row of cottages is quite charming.
19 There is much to see and do on the grounds of Sailor's Snug Harbor.
20 A detailed site map
21 The main entrance - Founders Hall - built in 1833
22 These buildings are the future home of the Staten Island Museum.
23 All of these stately buildings, like all cultural institutions, are in need of contributions from the public.
24 The Carl Grillo Glasshouse Botanical Garden is full of rare and beautiful plants.
25 A European hornbeam allee arch - it is brown in winter but dense green in summer.
26 This is part of the garden pavilion - built by Chinese craftsmen ten years ago. It is modeled after the scholars gardens of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
27 This is the 'pavement' inside the New York Chinese Scholar Garden.
28 A special rock from China - In Chinese literature, rocks are described as the 'bones of the earth.'
29 Another rock - bone of the earth
30 The undulating walls are magnificent.
31 This is the first outdoor garden of its kind in the United States.
32 There was a frozen koi pond - the curator promised that the koi beneath the ice were fine.
33 The roof is fine clay tile.
34 The Staten Island Ferry crosses New York Harbor between Staten Island and Manhattan. It is a non-vehicular 5 mile, 25 minute ride with majestic views of the Harbor - and it's free!
35 I was actually proposed to on the ferry, many years ago, with my youngest brother, George and sister Laura, as witnesses.
36 The tip of Manhattan lies off the bow of the ferry.