Lions and griffins and bees

I’ve been seeing animals all around the city – live ones certainly, but of course many representations of beasts in art, architecture and store windows. Though I love visits to the Central Park Zoo and the Bronx Zoo, there is always the tension between the excitement of seeing the animals up close and the realization of how compromised their lives are in captivity. I know zoological foundations do much to help the wild cousins of the creatures on display, but I can’t help but feel sorrow for the animals in the zoo enclosures. 

Upper East Side lions – there are so many in all the boroughs guarding  people’s homes!

  

  

Not a lion but a young snow leopard at the Central Park Zoo.

  

Griffins are all over the city too – this one in The Metropolitan Museum of Art is from a bronze cauldron. Judging from the griffin’s size the cauldron itself must have been enormous! Many of these, including this one, were from Olympia at the sanctuary dedicated to Zeus. It certainly makes sense that the king of the gods would merit a super sized one. According to Herodotus, a cauldron created for King Kroisos of Lydia could hold 2,700 gallons.

  
And bees – I love bumblebees and try to grow flowers that will entice them to my terrace. I found this fellow in a The Conservatory Garden in Central  Park.

  
And then this large fellow on Fifth Avenue in the Gucci window.

   
 

Not sure those are the types of flowers that would attract him, but as he’s holding a handbag he’d be hard pressed to gather pollen right now in any case!

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Eggs of many colors and fashionable Fifth Avenue bones

Nature on display in Bergdorf Goodman’s windows – expertly cast North American bird’s eggs and a diverse selection of skeletons are courtesy of Bones Clones, Inc. and featured on their website. 

https://boneclones.com/category/bergdorf-goodman-windows

The windows are the work of Bergdorf’s Senior Director David Hoey and overseen by Linda Fargo, SVP of Fashion and Store Presenation (who grew up in the Milwaukee suburb of Brookfield as I did!) and are always imaginative and a fun treat on my way to work – but these are spectacular.       

 Photo @ Ricky Zehavi

  

Photo @ Ricky Zehavi

  

Photo @ Ricky Zehavi

  

Photo @ Ricky Zehavi

  

Photo @ Ricky Zehavi  

    

I see a northern cardinal egg above and below is this gorgeous large male I saw in a Central Park just hanging out on a bench! Wasn’t even frightened off when I got very close to snap his photo.

  Refreshing to see nature in the city as always!    

F is for Falcon and H is for…

I read Helen Macdonald’s excellent “H Is for Hawk” this past winter. An engrossing novel of obsession and grief – one of the best I’ve read recently. What drew me to the book, in addition to the marvelous reviews, was the subject. I had just returned from a wintery trip to Vienna – complete with a blizzard to compete with the ones we’d been experiencing in the Northeast. And then several days after I arrived the Austrian and German television stations reported that Boston had been hit with yet another large snowstorm! Several times over the winter, after I had returned home to New York, I heard people remark “well at least we’re not in Boston!”

But back to falcons and hawks – while at the Neue Burg, which houses the Arms and Armour collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, I came across these Falcon Hoods.

  
And Hawk Hoods

  
I was fascinated and as usually happens, to me at least, once your are aware of a new object, word or topic you meet it again everywhere.

And thus, back in New York I came across this charming portrait at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

  
This Flemish portrait was painted by the artist Wallerant Vaillant, who was born in Lille and died in Amsterdam. It is simply titled “Portrait of a Boy with a Falcon”. But who is this elegantly turned out young aristocrat? I’ve no idea – another “art mystery” as we used to say in school.

I adore birds of prey and we can see many in New York – mostly red-tailed hawks like the famous Pale Male, but peregrines as well as the occasional bald eagle. Plenty for them to eat with a bounty of squirrels and pigeons available in our parks and the high perches we’ve built for ourselves all around Central Park are particularly enticing nesting spots – at least the older buildings. These new all glass towers are useless to our feathered friends – no where to rest or raise a family at One57! But a perfect hawk haven below.

 
Photo by Lincoln Karim posted at http://www.palemale.com

Paul the Octopus

Lots in the news lately about Paul the Octopus and his correct prediction of 8 World Cup match results. He has his own Facebook page http://tiny.cc/pt96e , he’s got a Widipedia entry http://tiny.cc/zagcd and of course an iPhone app. According to the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany, Paul has officially retired from his prognostications, but the endorsement deals are just beginning for this famous cephalopod. Enjoy the video and song!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftUvfi1J0QI