Archives for the month of: April, 2013
Greenacre Park

During my current visit to New York City, I visited two highly praised landscape designs: Green-Wood Cemetery, one of America’s first rural cemeteries, and Greenacre Park, a 1970s pocket park. One was a hit and the other a miss.

Greenacre Park, located on East 51st Street between Second and Third Avenues is a small oasis (only 60 by 120 foot) in Midtown Manhattan. Its spaces are well-defined comprising three levels of fixed and movable seating, a gushing 25 foot multilevel waterfall, and lush plantings. The park transports you from the urban intensity of NYC to a place of quiet repose and tranquility. It’s Landscape Architecture at its best, and is without a doubt, one of my favorite outdoor spots in the entire world! Central Park is wonderful, but Greenacre Park is magic.

Green-Wood Cemetery

On the other hand, Green-Wood Cemetery, located in Brooklyn, left me cold. In a sense, Green-Wood’s success was its undoing. Many of its innovations such as pastoral vistas, meadows, ponds, sculptures, and winding trails are now common features in cemeteries.

Green-Wood comprises 478 acres of hills, valleys, ponds, and winding paths. Founded in 1838, Green-Wood rivaled Niagara Falls as the country’s greatest tourist attraction by the 1860s. In fact, Green-Wood inspired the development of the modern cemetery from a place merely to bury the dead (graveyards) to a place of reflection, intimacy, and comfort. 

Today, Green-Wood is a National Historic Landmark, and is the final resting place for many celebrated politicians, artists, entertainers, and captains of industry, including Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Horace Greeley, and Samuel Morse. Its history is very special, but its innovative features are hard to appreciate since they’ve been commonplace for over a century. 

Advertisements
Greenacre Park

During my current visit to New York City, I visited two highly praised landscape designs: Green-Wood Cemetery, one of America’s first rural cemeteries, and Greenacre Park, a 1970s pocket park. One was a hit and the other a miss.

Greenacre Park, located on East 51st Street between Second and Third Avenues is a small oasis (only 60 by 120 foot) in Midtown Manhattan. Its spaces are well-defined comprising three levels of fixed and movable seating, a gushing 25 foot multilevel waterfall, and lush plantings. The park transports you from the urban intensity of NYC to a place of quiet repose and tranquility. It’s Landscape Architecture at its best, and is without a doubt, one of my favorite outdoor spots in the entire world! Central Park is wonderful, but Greenacre Park is magic.

Green-Wood Cemetery

On the other hand, Green-Wood Cemetery, located in Brooklyn, left me cold. In a sense, Green-Wood’s success was its undoing. Many of its innovations such as pastoral vistas, meadows, ponds, sculptures, and winding trails are now common features in cemeteries.

Green-Wood comprises 478 acres of hills, valleys, ponds, and winding paths. Founded in 1838, Green-Wood rivaled Niagara Falls as the country’s greatest tourist attraction by the 1860s. In fact, Green-Wood inspired the development of the modern cemetery from a place merely to bury the dead (graveyards) to a place of reflection, intimacy, and comfort. 

Today, Green-Wood is a National Historic Landmark, and is the final resting place for many celebrated politicians, artists, entertainers, and captains of industry, including Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Horace Greeley, and Samuel Morse. Its history is very special, but its innovative features are hard to appreciate since they’ve been commonplace for over a century. 

The Agatha Christie Challenge:

A chance encounter on a train, but where will it lead? So begins Murder on the Links (1923). It was Agatha Christie’s third published novel and the second one featuring Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings. Christie is still experimenting with plot and narrative techniques; yet, in this book, Christie’s classic trademarks are present: the marginalized woman, thwarted love, and unexpected twists. And even though Christie is still developing the Poirot character, Poirot is more multifaceted than in The Mysterious Affair at StylesHe’s funny, egocentric, compassionate, jealous, and petty. Likewise, Hastings is less a buffoon, and more the lonely heart in search of love. Women are also central to the narrative. Are they victims, murders, or possibly both?

It’s not my favorite Poirot mystery, but it has clever dialogue (especially the banter between Poirot and Hastings) and a surprise ending. It’s one of the few Christie books where I failed to guess the culprit. Overall, I enjoyed the book very much. It was fast paced, inventive, and spiced with humor. One criticism is the constant twists and turns. If anything, they were unnecessary distractions from the overall plot.

Rating: B+

Here’s an interesting study from Britain that divides people into seven social classes: Elite, Established Middle Class, Technical Middle Class, New Affluent Workers, Emergent Service Workers, Traditional Working Class, and Precariat. Traditionally, classes have been divided into working, middle, and upper classes. This new classification system evaluates economic, social, and cultural factors in determining social class. Take the Social Class Test (some questions refer to British Pounds, so answer accordingly), and see where you stand.

Here’s an interesting study from Britain that divides people into seven social classes: Elite, Established Middle Class, Technical Middle Class, New Affluent Workers, Emergent Service Workers, Traditional Working Class, and Precariat. Traditionally, classes have been divided into working, middle, and upper classes. This new classification system evaluates economic, social, and cultural factors in determining social class. Take the Social Class Test (some questions refer to British Pounds, so answer accordingly), and see where you stand.

I’ve used TurboTax to file my federal and state taxes for years without any problem. It has been fast, efficient, and moderately inexpensive. This year my TurboTax experience has been frustrating. A small glitch in the software program almost prevented me from filing my state taxes electronically.

Because I was unable to remove a “0” from the Schedule 1, line 3, the tax return could not be filed. It didn’t matter that the “0” was in the spouse column (I’m single), and that the “0” did not affect the tax, the program would not let me file.

The TurboTax (Intuit) help desk was useless, and the override function on the program ineffective. I was only able to remedy the problem after a time consuming Internet search. I will definitely think twice before using TurboTax again. 

To fix the problem:

  • click the override function (right mouse click) while hovering on line 3, spouse column;
  • enter a random number in line 3;
  • close the TurboTax program;
  • re-start the TurboTax program;
  • start the tax filing process again;
  • when prompted, delete the random number;
  • click transmit.
Now, your taxes will be transmitted and filed.
I’ve used TurboTax to file my federal and state taxes for years without any problem. It has been fast, efficient, and moderately inexpensive. This year my TurboTax experience has been frustrating. A small glitch in the software program almost prevented me from filing my state taxes electronically.

Because I was unable to remove a “0” from the Schedule 1, line 3, the tax return could not be filed. It didn’t matter that the “0” was in the spouse column (I’m single), and that the “0” did not affect the tax, the program would not let me file.

The TurboTax (Intuit) help desk was useless, and the override function on the program ineffective. I was only able to remedy the problem after a time consuming Internet search. I will definitely think twice before using TurboTax again. 

To fix the problem:

  • click the override function (right mouse click) while hovering on line 3, spouse column;
  • enter a random number in line 3;
  • close the TurboTax program;
  • re-start the TurboTax program;
  • start the tax filing process again;
  • when prompted, delete the random number;
  • click transmit.
Now, your taxes will be transmitted and filed.