The Sweetie had to move his car by 11 a.m. for street cleaning yesterday, so we decided to have a jaunt uptown rather than do the NYC dance of double parking for 1 1/2 hours. The immediate impetus was my interest in seeing the photos of Zoe Leonard at Dia at the Hispanic Society of America on Audubon Terrace. Luckily, I grabbed my 35-year-old AIA Guide to New York City at the last minute.
We parked at 155th Street and Amsterdam and I knew from reading the guide on the way uptown that the huge, old gated cemetery before us was Trinity. It turns out that J.J. Audubon, the naturalist responsible for all of those magnificent bird paintings, is buried there. He lived near the river on 155th, a fact that also explains why the Hispanic Society is located on a place called Audubon Terrace. This was all very unexpected and exciting information for a bird-watcher like myself.
We breezed through Zoe Leonard’s photos because the fabled El Cid was luring us onto the Terrace, and from that moment forward we felt as if we were in Spain.
Here are some of the things we saw on the Terrace:
The Hispanic Society of America houses the great collection of the
American scholar and philantropist Archer Milton Huntington who became
so fascinated with Spanish culture that he collected paintings by Goya,
El Greco, and other great painters, prints, glassware and ceramics,
textiles, furniture, sculpture, manuscripts, and books–all related to
Spain and Hispanic culture. He founded the Society in 1904 and would
be very sad to know that hardly anyone ever spends time there.
Let me tell you, if you don’t have enough frequent flier miles to get you to
Spain–or even if you do–take the A train up to the Hispanic Society. You will certainly have a buen viaje and you won’t have to go through security.