Friday, December 30, 2011

Vini da Gigio a Go-go

The evening after our arrival, after checking in, braving the tens of thousands in San Marco's for the Angel's Flight beginning Carnevale, and stumbling jet lagged throughout the dark and cold, we arrived at this oasis of warmth and light.  Chestnut pasta with duck sauce, sarde en saur, razor clams - molte been!

We carried the warmth and light back to our beds and drank deeply of the wines of Morpheus.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Corte Sconta (the Hidden Court that we found)

After making reservations months in advance for Al Covo and wandering in biting February winds in the rather deserted Castello, we found out that Al Covo is closed on Wednesdays! So we went over to Corte Sconta nearby and had an unbelievable meal. The seafood appetizer was four courses of all types of seafood - bream carpaccio, spider crabs, razor clams and other assorted bits fresh from the lagoon.

The courtyard as seen above was a cheery, sunny space, but as it was too freakin' cold, we warmed ourselves visually.

Monday, December 19, 2011


A short street on the East Side of Providence, Stimson Avenue is a feast of fine design from the cornucopia of architecture era 1880-1930. Many styles, all done well. This big honkin' mama is an excellent essay in brick wing walls and green stained shingles well worth a careful reading.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Aardvark (Oops, I Mean Armadillo) & Guts

From a trip to the RISD Nature Lab, it seemed as tho this creature had an interest in the guts almost spilling out of the hominid model nearby.
BTW, both armadillos and aardvarks have no external testicles, unusual for a mammal. Seems like a good idea.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Observe Griffith Observatory

Griffith J. Griffith (the man so nice they named him twice) used his possibly ill-gotten mining gains to donate 3000 plus acres to Los Angeles to form Griffith Park (or more properly, Griffith J. Griffith Park).

After shooting his wife in the head (she survived) he spent two years in the pokey, and through his will gave money for the construction of the Greek Theater and the Griffith Observatory. The architect was John C. Austin, who also designed LA City Hall, and did not shoot his wife in the head or elsewhere.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lucky Thirteen

The Thomas Peckham House on Benefit Street was begun before 1824 with later additions. I am not sure how many family members the building housed, but it is now the repository of thirteen condominiums. Not a bad exemplar for a medium sized apartment building.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ventian Cafe California Style

Abbot Kinney had a vision for Venice California that would rival Venice Italy. Yes there are canals and yes there are arcades, but the depression and subsequent bad taste and development has left but a smidgen o' Venice left.
This purple-hued arcade with wavy gravy graphics at least has the right use in mind - caffe, per favore!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ventian Food Trucks

Ever on the hunt for food on wheels, I tracked down this cluster next to The Brig on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice CA. Very tempted by Dogtown Dogs and Barb's Badass Burgers, but had to go with the pork belly at Kogi.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Pick Your Church

As the sun sets in the west (where else?) tall pointy things are silhouetted in the Pawtucket sky. It is amazing how much detail can be seen from a distance and in fading light. Chalk one up for classical architecture. It is doubtful that the shards of today would provide such clear and understandable solids and voids.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wall of Italian Extraction

This is a sketch of a photo from Italy, the exact location lost in the mists of time (Venice?Florence?Lucca?). In any case, it exhibits all of the reasons we love Italian architecture and towns so much. Simplicity, proportion, hierarchy, detail, texture and sumptuous surfaces that cry out to caressed, or at least painted.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Nice Knockers!

Viterbo Italy has ironwork galore, including this fishy knocker above. I'm not sure what the fish are supposed to be balancing on their noses (do fish have noses?), but it keeps them locked in an eternal close-but-not-close-enough embrace.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Borgo San Lorenzo

The embodied sunshine in the surface of the Villa Pecori Giraldi gives off a warmth even on a chilly day. Home of  the Museum of the Chini Manufactures is an homage to Galileo, Chino and Tito  Chini, makers of (what else?) china (and other decoratives). Their quasi-Liberty style drew from Austrian and Far East influences and the interior of this Villa is full of decorative wall painting. Belissima!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy. Toledo.

Uno cupola de Convento de Santo Domingo Antiguo. A proud punctuation on the red tile carpet of Toledo. This Convent is El Greco's final resting place (he liked the ladies). We, however, could not rest and kept moving.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

East Side Trash

This tall, curvaceous former lamp whispered to me from the alley "Hey, sailor, want to take me home?"
I did, and I did.
Now what do I do with it?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

East Side Gables

At the corner of Governor and George, even with a plethora of gables, this fine English craftsman-like house is a solid citizen of the street.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Shadow of a Swan

Late winter light on the front porch. The recent supermoon brought out the real swans on the nearby river. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

127 Hours? Sorry, I don't have the time.

Despite the movie, it would be worth spending that much time enjoying this classic college cinematic retreat. Originally named the Toy Theater, built in 1915, it closed a few years later and was used as a parking garage until 1938, when it became the Avon Cinema. A treasure amongst the mixed-bag of Thayer Street and Brown University.
Good popcorn.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fish Pawtucket

Slightly to the right of the cool cat from the previous post is this bumpity, swirly fish/eel thing.
In warmer weather it expectorates into the granite spittoon for thirsty rats to slake their thirst.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cat Pawtucket

At the base of a sturdy granite memorial near Slater Mill in Pawtucket, this cool cat makes an offering of water, presumably to its fine feathered friends.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Four the Benefit of Mr. K

Four Benefit Street in Providence occupies a small wedge at the beginning of the 'mile of history' with its snub nose up against Main Street. However, my eye was drawn to the upper derrière with a jaunty Empire roof that composed the third floor. More curves in a rectilinear Yankee street.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Benefit of a Bracket

There are more than one bracket at One Benefit Street in Providence, but it is worth looking at them in a singular manner. The swirly scroll gives a bit of movement to this otherwise prim and proper  New England citizen.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Land o' Lincoln

Lincoln Massachusetts, that is. A Greek Revival church in the snow - white on white. Not much color, but magnificent form.
This church is the byproduct of a split in the the Puritan Orthodoxy leading to the Congregationalist camp and the Unitarian camp. The Unitarians left in a huff and de-camped into their spiffy new building in the late 1840's. It was an appropriate style for a humanistic values group.
Today they have merged back together and are one small happy family.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Run, Forest, Run!

Although, someone without feet and hands is not going to get too far, probably not even 5 mile per hour. The fetching mermaid perched on the boat-less rudder is certainly worth running the gauntlet of utility poles and beach shacks in this Cape Cod cottage community.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Arch You Glad to See Me?

Wedged between 3rd & Lex on 47th Street, this little fillip four stories above the fray may not be graceful, but it is most welcome on a walk of mixed bags.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chanel No. Soho

Soho never smelled so good (if you like Chanel). Many cast-iron facades were installed over existing building to tart them up and attract new tenants. At one time, the Soho area contained fashionable shops, as well as bordellos. So Chanel is not out of place in the history of the neighborhood.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Soho Cast in Iron

A tasty little morsel of pig iron slaughtered for the benefit of well-fed urbanism. The table is set and we are ready to eat.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Brown Angell

After residing peacefully at 147 Angell Street for almost 140 years, Brown University decided the Lippet-Guild house was in the way of where students needed to walk. So up on a trailer it went and moved 450 feet over to the corner of Brown and Angell. 

A good save and it  looks magnificent in its new, more prominent location. And it was able to get away from the noisy new neighbor of a building by Diller Scofidio, which is not worth sketching.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Liberty from Battery

A lovely Labor Day in Battery Park, enjoying the jauntiness of the ferry, Lady Liberty, and the distant cranes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Salt in Battery

A non-labored Labor Day stroll along the many parks on the west side of Manhattan starting at the tip in Battery Park. This solid, curved, cut granite bench / light is evidence of civic beauty and practicality. I was temped to linger, but I had many miles to go before I ate, drank and slept.

Monday, January 17, 2011

In-Between in P-Town

Provincetown on Cape Cod is a unique mash-up of Old Yankees, Portuguese fishermen, taffy-chewing tourists, self-described and actual artists, flamboyant queens and bare-chested steroidal beefcakes. All of this happens on the great parade route of Commercial Street. Unlike new developments on the water, Provincetown turns its ass to the water, initially to put its business end harborside, now to effectively corral the daily circus that traipses its narrow backbone.
Breaking many rules of current design, the street has narrow, cluttered sidewalks, one-way traffic and little on-street parking. But somehow this end-of-the-world party manages to dance its way along, sneaking peaks between the buildings to the eternal blue of liquid and air.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Economic Freedom in Bonet

In all the words that have been spilled about how Haiti can 'fix' itself, the wisest are about economic self-sufficiency. This has been achieved at various points in the past, but rice subsidies, killing pigs suspected (wrongly) of swine flu, and many other well intentioned schemes have taken away the most basic component of a vibrant Haitian economy - making and selling stuff.

Haitians are great entrepreneurs and should be allowed to sell to each other (and abroad with garment assembly) easily without distortions in the market that make it hard for a rice farmer to compete with cheap Arkansas rice (thanks Prez Clinton - who at least feels bad about it now - and Senator Blanch Lincoln - who must not feel bad because she continues to support this).

One interesting development is making it easy for Haitians to buy and sell things using cell phones (widely used). This makes it safer to not have to carry around cash (which was reported to day as one of the factors in our country of lower rates of crime.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fond of Parisien

This sturdy house on a back road of Fond Parsien Haiti represents a rebuke to those who disparage Haitians as unable to build strong houses that are more than shacks. There were many still-standing concrete reinforced houses with excellent verandas and interesting details around windows made with little more than the contrast between smooth and rough stucco and colors of the surrounding hills.
Nestled amongst clusters of cacti and shaded by Dr Suessian trees, this abode would make anyone Fond of this version of Paris.