Buenos Aires – November 2019 – Open House goes South

Out of sheer good luck we happen to be in Buenos Aires for their Open House. Their motto is 1 City, 2 Days, 140 Buildings and 760 Volunteers.




Without much notice I missed the sign up period for many of the more popular buildings, but we were still able to see some interesting examples of BsAs architecture.

Our first stop was the Casal de Catalunya. Built in the Barcelona style, the building dates from 1886. It has been home of the Catalan community in Buenos Aires for 130+ years.













Another building from the 1880s is Casa Bolivar. It is designed in a ‘Casa Chorizo (Sausage) style, so named as there are numerous small wings connected through a common hallway, much like links of sausage hanging in the butcher shop.

Casa Bolivar is in San Telmo, which was the main immigrant neighborhood for 100 years. These type of houses served as the first home for hundreds of thousands of immigrants – now it has been refurbished into an art studio and AirBnB.












The Instituto Superior Octobre is located amongst a number of 100 year old buildings, and from the outside fits in perfectly.

Inside is a completely different look – With the openness of the center court, and the steel and glass throughout, it is thoroughly modern.










The Teatro (Theater) Gran Rex is located along the main theater street in the city – Corrientes. It is modeled after Radio City Music Hall. I am unable to identify the statue in the lobby but for now we will call him the Argentina Dean Martin.




As noted previously it was designed to be similar to Radio City Music Hall with the shell roof, and lack of ornate decorations.

With over 3000 seats, it is one of the larger venues in town. On this day the roadies were setting up for a concert.










Our final stop was the Palacio Municipal, or City Hall. It is connected to the Edificio Del Diario La Prensa (a newspaper). Together they make up the Casa de la Cultura (House of Culture).

They are very impressive, ornate buildings.






























Brooklyn – September 2019 – A Day at the Beach

A sunny Sunday in the city – a perfect time to go to Coney Island.



Even though it was warm the beach was almost vacant.



As was the boardwalk.




A perfect time to stop for some Nathan’s Hot Dogs.



Back on the boardwalk we met a zombie baseball team.



There is currently a large collection of very unique murals on walls placed around a common space. The artists came from all over the world.













It was time to get back on the train to Manhattan….




But not before stopping at the Brighton Beach station where the MTA museum was running a number of vintage trains.







A great way to spend a few hours at the beach – Brooklyn style.






Buenos Aires – August 2019 – Retiro Train Station Tour

A quiet Saturday morning was a great time to take a guided tour of Retiro Station – in Spanish!



The station actually is comprised of 3 separate terminus’. The largest and most grand is Retiro Mitre, named for the line that terminates there.



The center concourse has an excellent vaulted ceiling.



Nearly all of the trains departing from here are commuter rail, so they come and go frequently. It is easily one of the busiest in South America (but not so much on a Saturday morning).







Why are we outside a Burger King?



And why is our tour all looking up?



At this amazing skylight in the middle of Burger King. Obviously it used to be a much more grand restaurant than Burger King, but at least they have retained it.



The second, much smaller terminal is Retiro Belgrano.





The final is Retiro San Martin – graced by a statue of the father of Argentina, General San Martin.



They have kept a great old schedule board.



But it is time to kiss this place goodbye.





Boston – August 2019 – Diverse Architecture for a Historic City

As one of the oldest major American cities, Boston’s architecture represents a diverse collection of styles. You can find Gothic architecture framed by a post modern glass and steel skyscraper.




A quiet Sunday morning is the perfect time to explore a city for the architecture as the streets are empty, and parking is plentiful.



Once we arrived in the financial district the contrasts between old and new became even more apparent.


















Our primary objective however was to find Art Deco buildings, and Boston did not disappoint.
























Lowell, Massachusetts – August 2019 – The Early Textile Industry in America

Lowell, Massachusetts was an early center of the textile industry in America. It was one of the first real industrial centers, with large cotton mills being built along the waterways.



By diverting the river into numerous canals they could power the machinery for the mills. The canals remain to this day, in various states.











One of the former mills houses a museum that shows the power plant that used the water to generate the power to run the machines.







Because of the flammability of the dust, they used wooden gears that didn’t create sparks.





It is when you go into the main production floor exhibit that you get a true feel for the sheer size of the operation.

While we were there they ran 2 of the looms, which was incredibly loud. One could only imagine what these young ladies went through with 200 of them running at the same time, while working their 12-14 hour, 6 day a week job.















The National Park Service runs a replica trolley around town to shuttle visitors between the sites. A visit to Lowell is educational, and worth the visit if you are in Massachusetts.








Montreal – July 2019 – Vieux (Old) Montreal

Montreal is a very old city for North America, and as such has many outstanding vintage buildings. Most are in the Vieux (Old) Montreal section, but some, like the Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, is downtown.





The main train station has reliefs depicting Canada culture with the words of the National Anthem ‘Oh Canada’ written underneath.



There are numerous vintage buildings throughout the area, with the usual cool details.











The Old Montreal tourist area has numerous shops.



Some very narrow passages.



The Port of Montreal Clock Tower dates from the 1920s. It is also known as the Sailors Memorial Clock, dedicated to World War I Canadian Sailors.



The original sections of Bonsecours Market date from the 1840s. In addition to serving as a market, it also housed government functions.



Place Jacques-Cartier is the center of Old Montreal tourist activities.









Finally a stop at Notre Dame Cathedral, and an amazing (but brief) light show.








Toronto – July 2019 – For This Collection You Need a Large Garden

In the 1960s Spencer and Rosa Clark started a collection that required a very large garden – they acquired architectural artifacts from large buildings in downtown Toronto that were being torn down and replaced with even larger ones.

This garden is located in suburban Scarborough, in what is now Guild Park and Gardens.



The archway from a long gone building leads you into the park.



What were once decorative pieces on the Toronto Star newspaper building are now giant building blocks.



Remnants from a Music Hall.



Smaller pieces are integrated directly into the gardens.



While others are added together to make a new sculpture.



Toronto’s second fire hall was located at Richmond and Portland Streets. Dating from 1871 it was torn down in 1968. In the background is a brand new events center.



The Greek Theater (also the featured photo for this posting). What was once the Bank of Toronto Building is now a theater in a park.




The grounds are immaculate, with the artifacts well spaced throughout.





The facing from the Quebec Bank Building has porcelain lions.



Additional random artifacts.












Easily the largest collection is from the former Bank of Montreal Building at King and Bay Streets in downtown Toronto. With this many fantastic items, this must have been an amazing building!