Sept 11, 2001-Etched in Memory


Sept. 11, 2001- Etched in Memory


At exactly 8:46 am EST, it will be 17 years since the tragic events of 9/11. I ask that today be a Day of Reflection not just of September 11, 2011 and the many lives lost; but a reflection of how our World as knew it then, has changed into a World of so many lives lost since then fighting for our Freedom.


Let us never forget the over 3,000 lives lost that day.  Eventually since that time we have lost more lives, those who so dedicatedly rushed to the Trade Center as the more than 1,000 First Responder’s, many of whom have since lost their own lives.



Last Fall, I visited the World Trade Center as it today. With the “Freedom Tower”, what made the most impression on me was the “Reflection Pools” surrounded by the names of each person lost that day, as well as the over 700 bones they have yet to identify.

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For more Reflections on this “Day of Remembrance” as I listen to the tolling bells for each person lost.  Attached is a link to my previous article (written last year on Sept 11, 2016).



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Heavenly Bodies


Fashion & The Catholic Imagination

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House of Dior.Galliano.White Angel


Last week I went to the “Heavenly Bodies” Exhibit at the Cloister’s in Upper Manhattan.  My son, his girlfriend, and I visited this Fashion Exhibit of the “Catholic Imagination” on a spur of the moment adventure. Although I have been going to the Cloister’s since I was very young, this was one of the most exciting exhibits I have experienced.

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House of Dior. Angelic Evening Ensemble

“Heavenly Bodies” features the work of many Designers’ whose work is based on the own interpretations, imaginations, and relationship to Catholicism. Their designs were influenced by their own imagery and symbolism, using as a reference specific garments worn by the Clergy and Religious Orders, hence “Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”.  An example is Versace’s interpretive designs of the various Medieval Religious Orders.

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Versace Designs. Fashion reflecting Monastic Nuns

For those who know of the Cloister’s, which overlooks the Hudson River; much of the architecture used in the construction in the early 1930’s. was from many Gothic and Medieval structures, Paintings, Statues, and Tapestries, many of which are over 800 years old.  The Cloister’s features various rooms with antiquities from the Romanesque Period (500-1500 `AD); Gothic Era (1500’s); to the Medieval Period of Art and Structures; all of which are reflected throughout the “Heavenly Bodies” Exhibit.

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View of the Hudson

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Medieval Gardens

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Gothic Nun’s Dress.  Medieval Gardens

With these images in mind, I will share many of the Designer’s Fashions shown throughout the Monastery, many of which I will compare with the iconic works of art, which are a part of the Cloisters.

One of my favorites, and most popular Exhibit is Alexander McQueen’s Red Velvet gown, entitled “The Annunciation”; inspired by the “Annunciation Triptych” (1427) which is just to the right of the Gown.

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Alexander McQueen “The Annunciation” Red Gown
(his interpretation of the Red Gown worn by Mary)

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Annunciation Triptych (1427)


Weddings also played an important part during these Monastic periods. Featured are many of the interpretations by these iconic Designers.

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       Wedding Dress. House of Balenciaga “Holy Sacrament I”

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                                              Wedding Dress. House of Balenciaga “Holy Sacrament II”


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 “Bride” standing at a 14th Century Altar



As one enters the Cloister’s Romanesque rooms, designed using part of a French Benedictine Monastery, including the original Monastic Columns from an 804 AD Benedictine Monastery and Romanesque Cloister’s.  All this inspiring Designers from the House of Valentino, using various Black fabrics, Velvet, Silk, based on the Nuns habits worn during this period. One Black Dress & Cape with the Gold Stars is based on the Painting “Black Madonna of Czechoslovakia”.

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Romanesque Dress & Cape w Stars. House of Valentino

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Black Velvet Dress. House of Valentino

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Black Velvet Dress. House of Valentino
**(Note the front of the Dress inspired by the Monastic Columns of the Cloisters
on the front of the Dress – see pic below)


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Monastic Columns in the Cloisters from 804AD

In the Early Gothic Hall with its 15th Century Stained Glass Windows, Statues, and Paintings of the Madonna and Child, in the center stands the fashion inspiration by the Designer, Gaultier titled “Lumiere”.  Note the Virgin and Child on the shoulder of this colorful Stained-Glass Dress.

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Gaultier “Lumiere” Virgin & Child Stained Glass Dress


My earliest memories of the Cloisters’ was the large room of Medieval Tapestries.  Obviously, Alexander McQueen was inspired as I was by the beauty and design of these Tapestries, in his “Angels &Demons” Collection.  His designs reflect the work found in many of the Tapestries hanging on the Walls.

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Alexander McQueen. Tapestry inspired Dresses


The Gothic Chapel is well known for its original 13th Century 7 Sarcophagus’ (tombs) carved in the likeness of the various Counts, Knights, who fought for the Crusades, and the Baroness of Neubourg.  The Designer, John Galliano, was inspired with his Design Gown with a Cross resembling the Crosses carried during the Crusades.


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Galliano Dress –  Woman on Sarcophagus

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Close-up View


The Late Gothic Hall is filled with many Medieval Sculpture and Altar pieces.  Adorning the entranceway to the Late Gothic Hall is a beautiful Gold Wedding Dress with a Gold Jeweled Crown designed by Dolce & Gabbanna.

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Dolce & Gabbanna. Gothic Gold Wedding Dress w Gold Crown

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Close up View of Dress & Crown


While this beautifully, artistic work of the Designers whose work is featured in the “Heavenly Bodies” Cloister’s Exhibit, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MOMA) also presented many more of these Designs of the “Catholic Imagination” of “Heavenly Bodies” among the Art at the Museum.  Many of the fashions explored the designer’s “imagination” of  the transcendence from earth to the spiritual.  One example featured at MOMA is the Designer, Thierry Mugler’s “ Madonna” with its sparkling pale Blue Dress and Crown at the top of an archway, representing Mary’s Ascension into Heaven. 


MOMA.White Wedding Dress w Jewelry Crown by Thierry Mugler

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Close up of the “Blue Madonna’s Crown

Although many may not understand these fashions in the traditional sense, they illuminate the many ways that one’s imagination can transcend those of the Catholic Church’s view into enchanting “Heavenly Bodies”.  What I have shown is just a small example of the many fashions being exhibited at the Cloister’s and the Museum of Modern Art. 







Posted in All Members, Along the Hudson Series, Art, BloggingBusinessArtisans, Cloisters, Fashion, History, MagdaleneJewelsBlog, MOMA, MuseumofModernArt, PamelaBaker Photography, Photography, WordPress Blog | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Purple Lotus Flower

Purple Lotus Flower

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The Lotus Flower figures prominently into much of the Eastern Religions. In Buddhism, the Purple Lotus is particularly significant.

The Purple Lotus is considered the mystic lotus and is not as commonly seen as the other lotus flower colors. Usually depicted as either a bud, or in bloom revealing the heart, they may appear on a single, triple or quintuple stem, and the eight petals represent the Noble Eight fold Path of Buddhism, and can be found in virtually every representation of deities, where they are often portrayed sitting or standing on a lotus, or holding one. The symbolism of the lotus is related to how it rises from muck and, while its roots are in the mud, it stills lies beautifully on the water. This is an image of enlightenment.

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                                    “Like a Lotus Flower we too have the ability to rise from the mud,                                            bloom out of the darkness and radiate into the world”
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Red Tea Roses

Hybrid Red Tea Roses

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Eleanor Roosevelt Rose Gardens-Red Hybrid Tea Roses

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Summer Solstice!

Summer Solstice!

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Today it is officially Summer – the “Summer Solstice” the longest day of the year began at 6:07 am EST.  “Summer Solstice” means “when the Sun stands still”, when the Northern Hemisphere reaches its highest point closest to the Sun. 




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NY Botanical Gardens: Rose Gardens



 “That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”
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Peggy Rockefeller Rose Gardens (Overview)

One thing I look forward to each year are the many blossoming Roses at the New York Botanical Gardens Rose Garden Exhibit. The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden is among one the most popular exhibits at the Botanical Gardens from May to October, when more than 700 varieties of Roses are in peak bloom. Sunday, was just the perfect day to visit the New York Botanical Gardens, located in the Bronx, NY.  Before entering the Gardens, one can view them from atop of a hill which overlooks the “fairy tale” beauty of the Rose Gardens.

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The “Peggy Rockefeller” Rose

The month of June produces the most vibrant and fragrant roses. The first weekend in June, in which the Gardens officially open, the many Roses are in full bloom! The hundreds of Roses planted include heirloom varieties selected for their intoxicating perfumes as well as their beauty. Even before reaching the Rose Gardens, we were entranced by the sweet scents filling the air!  The various species range from Roses exhibiting “Archduke Charles” China Roses, dating back to 1837, and the “Burgundian Cluster Roses from the 1600’s; to 2017’s “Miracle on the Hudson” in honor of Capt. Sullenberger, each with their own true beauty of color and fragrance!

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“Burgundian Cluster Roses” (1600’s)

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“Princess Alexandra de Luxembourg” Pink Double Roses

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“Miracle on the Hudson” Red Roses 

Designed by landscape architect Beatrix Farrand in 1916, this Garden was completed in 1988 with the support of David Rockefeller and named after his wife Peggy, a horticulturalist and conservationist who loved roses. The Rose Garden has received many International Awards and is considered to be among one of the world’s best, and most beautiful of Rose Gardens’.  There is even a special Tea Rose named after Peggy Rockefeller.  The architect also erected a Gazebo in the center of the Rose Gardens, adorned with Pink and White Climbing Roses, called “Awakening”.

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Gazebo covered with “Awakening” Pink White Climbing Roses

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“Garden Delight” Pink/Yellow Cluster Roses 

Hybrid “Tea Roses” bear one rose on each stem, and the vast majority of the flowers have a strong fragrance, many of which have been named after well known celebrities (note the roses shown below).  The “Peggy Roosevelt” Rose Garden produces highly fragranced golden-yellow roses, in flushes throughout the Summer Season.

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“Joan Fontaine” Off White Double Roses

“Rosa Julia Child” Single Yellow Rose

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“Purple Rain” 


Lavender Rose

                                                Single Lavender Rose: “Purple Rain”

 Walking along the many pathways winding throughout the Garden’s, my friend and I came across so many beautiful, unique varieties and species of Roses.  I think we managed to photograph almost everyone, many of which are showcased in my article of the Rose Gardens.

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Pathway through the Rose Gardens

The inner most pathways of the Gardens exhibit more modern hybrids of Roses, while the outer perimeters along the wrought iron fencing, enhanced by the beauty of hundreds’ of “natural, wild species” (or old roses) in a purely naturalistic setting. The cluster of Pink/Purple Roses along the back fence (shown below) are called “Cinqo de Mayo”, for it lovely vibrant colors!


“Cinqo de Mayo” Cluster Roses

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“The Poet’s Wife” Yellow Cluster Roses

As we were leaving this scenic presentation of Roses, my friend Susan, (a friend since elementary school!), and I couldn’t resist taking photos of ourselves under the Trellis covered with “Alexander Girault” rambling roses!

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In Flander’s Field – A Memorial Day Tribute

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“In Flander’s Fields” is a poem dedicated to the many fallen Soldier’s during World War I.  The symbol of the “Poppy Flower” refers to the abundance of Poppy’s that grew in “Flander’s Fields”, which was a cemetery used during World War I.   

                                         “In Flanders fields the poppies blow                                                                                     Between the crosses, row on row,                                                                                     That mark our place; and in the sky                                                                            The larks, still bravely singing, fly                                                                                     Scarce heard amid the guns below.”

“We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie 
In Flander’s Fields ”    

                                                                                                            … excerpt from the Poem
                                                                               “In Flander’s Fields by Colonel John McCrae



Poppy Watercolor Batik Painting by   MarciaMcKinzieArt

As today is Memorial Day, while many people are celebrating with barbeques’ (hamburgers/hotdogs, etc); partying with friends and family; how many, while partying, actually think of the true meaning of Memorial Day.  The first Memorial Day was celebrated on May 5, 1868, just after the Civil War.  This was a day to honor the many Soldiers and Veterans who fought for our Country. 

When growing up, I had always wondered why I always saw Vet’s wearing a Poppy flower in their lapels on Memorial Day, always celebrated on the last Monday in May.  Many times I have received a Poppy Flower from one of these Vet’s, never knowing the symbolism of it’s true meaning.  I have always loved the vibrant color of the Poppy Flower, but now I have a different respect of the flower when I see a “Field of Poppy’s”.

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Poppy Photography by Rose Clearfield

The origin of the symbolism of the Poppy Flowers goes back to the Civil War, where Colonel John McCrae was inspired by a Field of Poppies growing among the many bodies scattered across the battlefield.

In Flander’s Fields – A Memorial Day Tribute’ by MagdaleneJewels


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Here Comes The Sun!

Here Comes The Sun!

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Cherry Blossom. Harts Preserve, Hartsdale, NY


“Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun”

What better way to celebrate Spring’s final warmth than George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun”! He wrote this song on a Spring Day after a long, cold English Winter. Well after a long, cold, snowy Winter in NY, I thought his lyrics were a perfect compliment to the Photography I took yesterday showing the first signs of Spring!

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Walkway of Cherry Blossoms – Harts Preserve, Hartsdale NY



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Weeping Willow. Hudson River Park, Irvington, NY
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Throwback Thursday

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Ryan w his Godmother, Aunt Joannie (my cousin)

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McSorley’s Irish Taven

McSorley’s Old Ale House-Irish Tavern


Last year for my birthday, my son’s, Keith and Ryan, took me to McSorley’s Old Ale House. I thought it fitting that for St. Patrick’s Day I share a little about New York City’s oldest Irish Tavern in New York City.  Situated in lower Manhattan, in the East Village, where in the late 1800’s – early 1900’s many Irish immigrants who fled the “potato famine” in Ireland settled.

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McSorley’s Old Ale House  


Established in 1854, McSorley’s is recognized as the City’s oldest and still operating Tavern.  Some day’s, especially on weekends, it is nothing to stand in line and wait for an hour just to get in, as the inside of McSorley’s is very small, typical of the bars of yesteryear.  Besides me, everyone from Abe Lincoln to John Lennon have passed thru McSorley’s swinging doors. Woody Guthrie, with his guitar in hand, inspired the union movement from a table in the front tables of the bar. Walking along the “saw dust floors” one can feel the history that McSorley’s has shared with its customers for the past 164 years. 

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So pour yourself a mug of beer, and join me, as I take you through my experience at McSorley’s through the many pictures I took.


As one walks in, and steps through the “sawdust” floors, they are greeted by the Irish barmaids and waiters, who are more than willing to make your visit memorable. The walls are filled with much historical paraphernalia, artwork, and  newspaper articles, many dating back to 1854, which gives McSorley’s an atmosphere that many consider reminiscent of “Olde New York.”  No piece of memorabilia has been removed from the walls since 1910, and there are many items of “historical” paraphernalia in the bar, such as Houdini’s handcuffs, which are connected to the bar rail.  As you can see from the pictures below, they still use the original Cash Register and Beer Taps from 1854!

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A view behind McSorley’s Tavern


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The Original Cash Register & Beer Taps from 1854 


I also took this picture of Jack Dempsey, one of McSorley’s regulars, during his reign as the World’s Boxing Champion during the 1920’s.

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Signed Picture of Jack Dempsey  



So while drinking our beers, we dined on their “Irish” speciality of Cheddar Cheese, Crackers, served with their spicy mustard (I guess giving one the incentive to keep drinking!!!).



McSorley’s famous Cheese Platter 


With a treasure trove of New York City History filling the walls, what really caught my eye and attention were the very dust-laden wish bones hanging over the bar.  Apparently the “Wishbones” hanging above the bar were hung there by many of the young men going off to World War I, only to be removed when they returned, the remaining wishbones that are still hanging to this day, are from those who never returned.

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Wishbones left by Soldiers from WWI  


As noted by this sign, one of McSorley’s original motto’s was “Be Good or Be Gone”!

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It was finally dark when we left and took a walk around the East Village, at the corner was the sign for St. Mark’s Place. I had to take this picture, as growing up I spent every weekend hanging out on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village.  If you are old enough to remember, the “Electric Circus” it was on St. Mark’s Place. Of course those days will have to wait for a different Blog of my life!!

McSorleys.StMarksPl sign

Thanks to Keith and Ryan for making my Birthday, which was in November, a very memorable Irish experience!!!

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1912 Painting of McSorley’s – artist, John Sloan



Posted in All Members, BloggingBusinessArtisans, Family Life, History Science, Ireland, MagdaleneJewelsBlog, Manhattan NYC, McSorley's Old Ale House, My Personal Blog, PamelaBaker Photography, Photography, St.PatricksDay | Tagged , | 6 Comments