As I return home from my travels across Europe and Egypt, I can’t help but think of the many connections I noticed to New York. Below are ten such connections, in order of easiest to hardest.
1) Pizza Time – Perhaps the only place more famous than New York for its pizza is Italy. Specifically, what city takes credit for inventing the pizza over 100 years ago?
My friend John prepares to demolish this pizza at Da Michele: the most famous pizzeria in the most famous pizza city in the world.
2) Egyptian Temples and Obelisks – New York can lay claim to exactly one Egyptian Obelisk and one Egyptian Temple. Both of which were gifts from the Egyptian Government (we didn’t steal them!) Where can you find and visit these antiquities?
An obelisk at Karnack Temple, in Luxor, Egypt.
3) Peace Sculptures – Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd is famous for his peace imagery, specifically Non-Violence, the sculpture of a revolver tied into a knot. This sculpture can be found in various places around Europe, including Luxembourg, where I stumbled across it. At what peace-promoting institution in New York can you find an original version of Reuterswärd’s Non-Violence?
Non-violence at the Jean Monnet Building, European Union headquarters, Luxembourg.
4) Frank Gehry – This Canadian celebrity architect has work scattered all across the globe, from Barcelona, to Hong Kong to Toronto. Name a building he designed in New York (hint: there are 3, plus two interiors).
Taking a bike ride along Barcelona’s redesigned coastline. Gehry’s Olympic Fish is in the background.
5) Neapolitan Mosaics – In addition to its Pizza, Naples (and specifically the ill-fated Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum) is famous for its intricate mosaics. Arguably the most famous mosaic in New York was a gift of the people of Naples—where is this mosaic and what does it commemorate?
A Roman mosaic on display in the National Archeological Museum. Beautiful mosaics like these were preserved after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79.
6) Venetian Gondola – Not far from the famous mosaic, one spots an authentic Venetian Gondola complete with gondolier for hire ($30/half hour). On what popular waterway can you find this little slice of Italy?
Gondola’s are a blast (even in the winter!) But the ones in Venice will cost you almost twice as much as their New York counterpart.
7) Florentine Palazzos – Florence is famous for its Renaissance art and architecture including its Palazzos, imposing fortresses designed as displays of security and political muscle. What Manhattan federal building draws on Florentine Palazzo architecture for the same effect?
Florence’s Palazzo Strozzi, begun over 500 years ago.
8) Bronze Doors – Still in Florence, among the most famous set of doors in the world are the bronze doors at the entrance to the Baptistery of San Giovanni, completed 1336. Over half a century later, 4 sets of similar bronze doors were designed by Statue of Liberty pedestal architect Richard Morris Hunt. In what NYC landmark were they installed?
Florence’s bronze Baptistery Doors…Ray for scale.
9) Don Quixote – While in Madrid, I visited the house of Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes. In the 1980s, the City of Madrid gave New York a statue of their most famous writer. In the Spanish department of what university does this statue stand? (Hint: You have to go down a back alley…this neighborhood is full of back alleys.)
Don Quixote painting at the Cervantes House
10) Close to home – New York was founded by the Dutch, as were many of the original neighborhoods that went on to become Brooklyn. Many Dutch words have worked their way into the New York vernacular–from Coney Island, to “stoop,” to Yankee. In Amsterdam, one of the prominent landmarks is the New Church, or Nieuwe Kerk. Where in New York can you find a Nieuwe Kerk reference to our Dutch heritage? (Hint: This is the name of MY subway stop!)
Amsterdam’s Neiuew Kerk
Scroll down for answers…
- In Central Park and inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art
- United Nations
- 8 Spruce St (AKA New York By Gehry, the giant, twisting silver building right next to the Brooklyn Bridge), IAC Building (the frosted, iceberg-esque building near the High Line at Chelsea Piers), and the Signature Theature on 42nd St and 10th Ave.
- Strawberry Fields, John Lennon
- The Lake at Central Park
- Federal Reserve
- Trinity Church
- Newkirk Avenue and Newkirk Plaza in Ditmas Park/Flatbush, Brooklyn!