Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Harlem on my mind

"CCNY Gargoyle #1"
Oil on panel
6 x 6 inches

A friend recently moved to Harlem and I've been enjoying my visits to her new apartment and our explorations of the surrounding neighborhood. Hamilton Heights is the site of The Grange, Alexander Hamilton's country home. It has been restored and has been moved to St. Nicholas Park and is well worth a visit. Not far away is the campus of the City College of New York and for anyone interested in gargoyles, this is the place to be. I'd heard about them for years and was very excited to finally explore the stately campus and find many of the little, whimsical figures that dot the buildings. This gargoyle painting is the first of several I plan to paint. The variety of textures of stone and the one-of-a-kind figures make for an exciting subject.

In addition to Alexander Hamilton's home, the Jumel Mansion, which has not been restored and is showing its age, is a pleasant stroll away. I believe it is the oldest building in New York. George Washington spent months in residence planning the battle of Harlem Heights.

It was fitting therefore, to find myself in Harlem on President's Day, where many of the country's founding fathers spent their days. This time I was there not to explore the neighborhood but to celebrate my birthday, a big one this year as I enter a new decade. Thank you Debbie for hosting a wonderful birthday brunch spent with good friends in your cheerful apartment. I'm looking forward to future explorations of your nabe soon, camera in hand.

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