Monday, July 13, 2009

Learning from Past Mistakes


One morning a couple of weeks ago you might have heard me tell you about a fire on "Harold Avenue" in Bridgeport. Photographer Lori Golias heard it too and corrected me. "Heather, it's Harral Avenue. Not Harold. I shot that video last night. Don't you know Harral was a Bridgeport leader?" 

No, I replied, what did he do?

"I don't know."

Lesson Learned

After correcting the writer's mistake in the copy, I googled Henry Harral and found he was Bridgeport's 8th, 10th and 12th mayor. There wasn't much else about the successful saddle maker. No biography. No Wikipedia entry. No campaign website. But I did find an old Time magazine article and a mention in Antiques and the Arts.

Harral commissioned the great American architect Alexander Jackson Davis to build him a grand Gothic-style home fit for a mayor. Davis was also the man behind  Lyndhurst, in Tarrytown, New York. Iranistan20model20233_1Work began on Harral's home in 1846 and was complete about a year after  P.T. Barnum's mansion, Iranistan, modeled after the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. Executive Director and Curator of the The Barnum Museum, Kathy Maher, points out how magnificent it must have been in Bridgeport at that time with two architecturally important structures. Iranistan was destroyed by fire in 1857.

Click to enlarge. Replica of Iranistan courtesy of The Barnum Museum.

Harral died of Tuberculosis in 1854. His family lived in the Gothic villa in Bridgeport until 1866 when it was sold to Nathaniel Wheeler. The mansion on Golden Hill Street came to be known as "Walnut Wood." Wheeler's son Archer lived in the home until his death in 1956. He willed the house to the city of Bridgeport, allegedly for preservation.


However, within a year, the longtime socialist mayor of Bridgeport, Jasper McLevy ordered the mansion torn down to make room for a new city hall. Running on an "urban renewal" yet "save the mansion" platform, democrat Samuel Tedesco beat out McLevy in the mayoral election of 1957. But within less than a year, Tedesco went back on his election promise, and the mansion was torn down in 1958.

There weWheeler20room20200_1re protests, but at least the city of Bridgeport, the Smithsonian and the Barnum Museum were able to save some of the molding, mirrors, art work, furniture, doors - and doorknobs- of the home. A room is recreated at the Barnum Museum. Be sure to look for the Tiffany clock from the 1860s and the famous semi-nude Pandora sculpture by Chauncey Ives.

Lesson Learned

If the Harral-Wheeler house still stood today, it was be of great importance to the city and the country because of the rarity of Gothic architecture in America. But according to Mayer of the Barnum Museum, the country actually benefited from the loss of the home. She says the destruction of such buildings led to the preservation movement in this country. Less than ten years after the Harral-Wheeler home was destroyed, in 1966, the Historic Preservation Act  was instated.  Just this year the city of Bridgeport was designated a Preserve America Community by the the White House for its role in recognizing the cultural heritage and realigning it with redevelopment and growth.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Live in the "Urban" Glass House

Live in the "Urban" Glass House

Urban_glass_house_009Take a close look at these two pictures to see if you notice anything similar about the basic design.
Of course the one on the left is architect Philip Johnson's famous Glass House in New Canaan. The one on the right is considered Philip Johnson's very last design before he died, 330 Spring Street in New York City. 
Click here for a look back at my tour of the Glass House, as well as some of Philip Johnson's architecture around the country.
Several units are available at 330 Spring Street. You can contact Core Group NYC for more information. In my last blog posting, I wrote about Trump Parc Stamford. From unit 11A at 330 Spring, you can see Trump Soho, which is also under construction. I was lucky enough to get a tour of 330 Spring this past weekend. Below are more views from that unit. As usual, click to enlarge.
Urban_glass_house_002_2 Urban_glass_house_001 Urban_glass_house_003_2
From another unit at 330 Spring, can see the Statue of Liberty.Urban_glass_house_004_2Urban_glass_house_005
On a historical note, 330 Spring sits on the line that marks the old shore line of the Hudson River and New York City.
The area was filled in with rocks so boats could unload.  The Urban Glass House is next door to Ear Inn, what New York Magazine says is "arguably the oldest bar in Manhattan."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Adopt a Dog Month

When people see the pictures I take of my dog Willamena, they often say, "You must have a lot of time on your hands."
No, not really.
20081_22008_220083_3Mena3 Red_9Dogsanta 
I have a dog, and that means I have to walk her and spend some time with her; I just take pictures sometimes when I do.
As great and fun and fabulous as having Willamena has been over the past ten years, believe me, there are times when the responsibility can seem a bit too much.
October is American Humane's Adopt-A-Dog Month and ASPCA's Adopt-A-Shelter Dog Month. While both organizations would love for you to take on the responsibility of a canine addition to the family, they want to make sure you are ready to do so.
Dogsnow  Love_dog 20082_2  20084_3 News12
The American Humane Humane Society reminds people that taking in a pet is for a lifetime.  It urges you to consider where you will be 15 to 18 years from now, considering most dogs, with good care, can live to be 15 years or older, and most cats can live to be 18 years or older. 
So as long as you are prepared, get ready for a lifetime of fun and love.
Here is a website with links to adoption places in Connecticut.


Great pictures !!!
You've got an uncanny knack for snappin shots of your perro with the backgrounds "just happening" to be faaantastic. The one with the Empire State building perfectly framed inside the tree'd ya pull that one off!!

Posted by: brn | October 02, 2008 at 12:52 PM

Willamena is lucky to have a lifetime friend in you.

Posted by: trent | October 02, 2008 at 02:43 PM

Boa noite Ms Heather. Tu cão muito bonita.
Muito amor, Señor B.Garcia
Posted by: Gael | October 03, 2008 at 08:51 PM

I don't know about adopting a Shelter-Dog but I'm willing to adopt your grandma! God bless her and your whole family for sticking together and being there for eachother during these hard times.

Posted by: Stanley Wimpowski | October 04, 2008 at 06:22 PM

Great golf pic..."the dogleg on the back 9".

Posted by: dr.bill | October 07, 2008 at 08:55 AM

Hey! Thrilled that "What's Bugging You" is finally archived. Just sat together and enjoyed the ones we missed. The Aug 12th show on Fantasy Football...loved it! One of your best. Not only did you look fabulous (always a great way to start & finish) but the whole piece was mint! Great topic, lighthearted yet very interesting and educational. Ya, we got a few problems you can help us a minute? or 100 !!

Posted by: bill & sandy | October 07, 2008 at 07:25 PM

Super Duper is very mint. Your friend looks pretty content like she had part of whatever you had..

Posted by: Eric Sundman | November 02, 2008 at 04:09 PM

Friday, May 23, 2008

Philip Johnson

Gallery_107001_2   Regular tours of Philip Johnson's Glass House in New Canaan are sold out again for the 2008 season! However, private and patron tours at $500 and $1,000 a person are still available. Click here.
When the famous home of the architect first opened to the public last summer, News 12 Connecticut Photographer Lori Golias and I got a sneak preview. Click here for that blog on the Glass House and a tour of some of Philip Johnson's famous New York City buildings.
However, during my recent trip to Houston, Texas, for Mother's Day, I couldn't get Philip Johnson off my mind. One of the first buildings that caught my eye as we drove towards downtown was Johnson's Republic Bank Center(now Bank of America.) It's across the street from Johnson's Pennzoil Place. Click on pictures to enlarge.
Sesquicentennial Park Bank of America Pennzoil Place BuildingsPennzoil Place
Johnson is also known in Houston for the Transco Tower (Now Williams Tower) and Water Wall in the Uptown District.
transco-tower-2aTransco Tower p5140137Water Walltransco-tower-1a
Students in Houston may be familiar with Philip Johnson. He did the campus of St. Thomas, including the Chapel of St. Basil. There is also a Philip Johnson monument at St. Thomas.
Shining StarSt. ThomasTheology of the Chapel and its Architectural ElementsChapel of St. Basil
Philip Johnson made his first mark in Houston with the  de Menil house in 1950,the same year he completed the Mrs. John D. Rockefeller House III Guest House on Manhattan's east side and one year after his Glass House.
Ready for another Philip Johnson TEXAS TOUR? Next stop: Dallas/Ft. Worth.
The JFK Memorial, Dallas, Texas JFK Memorial Crescent Hotel Crescent Hotel
Bankone2Thanksgiving Square, Dallas (far left)
Comerica Bank Tower 
Below: Fort Worth Water Gardens and Amon Carter Museum. 
        Ft Worth Water Gardens entrance        Amon Carter Museum of Western Art in Ft Worth                        
I hope you enjoyed your tours. This way, when you visit the Glass House, you'll have a good idea of Johnson's style. What you can do in New Canaan is visit the Glass House visitors center. It's right across from the train station.



Thank you, Heather. I enjoyed my tours.
In 1972-73, used to walk through the campus of St Thomas for lunch and then back to work.


Perillo Tours look out!
Heather, you're the best: )
Thank you for this wonderful tour
not to mention it was free!!

Angelo and Domenica

Ms. Heather . I am glad to write you for I was sick. my loving wife thouo always show me your writing and it to me much happines when I was not feeling good. I watch in the mornings the news also.
I someday will like to see these buildings in Texas but now I enjoy as you show me on my computer. Thank you. Happiness on this Memorial day.
ciao ciao

bill and sandy

Thanks for the tour.
So, tell us....whats the guitar that's
sticking up from the roof of the "short" building in the BankAmerica building photo? Sandy is tellin me "bill, there's a guitar cut& pasted into the pic" and I'm snappin back "no way dolly" ...but after a closer look, I see THERE IS a guitar & its REAL!
You've GOTTA fill us in on this one Heather because our curiostiy is drivin us crazy.
Is it a Guitar factory?


The guitar is for Hard Rock Cafe.
No comments:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Supermena the Halloween Hound"

Supermena isn't the only hound out haunting, or, in her case, protecting Metropolis this Halloween.

The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA), based in Greenwich, says 7-percent of dog owners have purchased Halloween costumes for their campy canines.

The association's 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey shows the number of dogs donning disguises is on the rise. Back in 2004, only 4-percent said they had bought duds to doll up the dog.

Here you see Supermena outside the Daily Planet. She was taking a break between deadlines to put out fires, lift buses over busted bridges and to help tourists find the subway.

The National Retail Federation also conducted a survey on doggie dressing. The NRF found a higher number of dog owners, 11-percent, had purchased a costume for the dog.

Pet parents also say they plan to offer TREATS in the form of Halloween toys and goodies. There was no information on how many owners dress up with their pets.

For a look back at Supermena's haunted NYC, click here for a tour.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Polo Lesson at Greenwich Polo

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