1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

Zentangle Diva Challenge #368 – Visit to New York City Edition

by Suzanne Fluhr on September 21, 2018 · 30 comments

Park Avenue Synagogue, New York City, dome

I participated in the weekly Zentangle Diva Challenge the day after returning to Philadelphia from a weekend visit to New York City, a/k/a the Big Apple, a/k/a Gotham, a/k/a the City that Never Sleeps.

(If you have absolutely no interest in doodling on steroids, scroll down to read more about our New York City Sojourn. Or, stick around and learn a little about Zentangle, a meditative creative art form).

Zentangle Diva Challenge #368 

Fortunately, the Diva went easy on us for this challenge. She challenged us to do a composition with straight lines only. The tangle Paradox immediately came to mind, so I used that as my “string”.

Zentangle Tangle Paradox

My “straight lines” string.

I then actually did 2 tiles using the Paradox string and tangles composed of straight lines. Like Laura Harms, the Zentangle Diva, I find straight line tangles somewhat calming.

Zentangle tile using Cubine, Keeko, tangleations of Knightsbridge. and Munchin.

This one is done on an “official” Zentangle tile although the color is a little darker in the photo. Of course, my baby boomer brain doesn’t remember the names of all the tangles, but from the outside in I used Cubine, Keeko, tangleations of Knightsbridge, and Munchin.

Later, in order to stay calm while watching cable news, I decided to do another “straight line” tile, but this time on white sketching paper that didn’t really have the a good “tooth” for shading.

Hollibaugh, Nekton, and Betweed.

I again used the Paradox string and Cubine. I also used Hollibaugh, Nekton, and Betweed (and one I don’t, but should, remember).

Sightseeing in Manhattan During our Visit to New York City

I live in Philadelphia, the 5th most populous city in the United States. In fact, I live in Center City Philadelphia on Rittenhouse Square — i.e. in and around the main commercial and retail area of the city. Consequently, you would think big cities wouldn’t faze me. However, Mr. and Mrs. Excitement find New York City overwhelming. Ridiculously, the two of us walk around somewhat like deer in the headlights. (Important Note to Real Deer:  Mid-town Manhattan would not be a good place for you to roam.)

This past weekend, we took the 100 mile train ride north to a family event in the New York City borough of Manhattan. As far as I can tell, only the brave, demented, and extremely patient drive in Manhattan.

We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Hotel next to Grand Central Terminal (Station). While not architecturally notable, the hotel had some interesting art in the lobby which was otherwise a sterile, unwelcoming space with no seating. (Seriously, you don’t want anyone to sit in the lobby?)

Jaume Plensa large white marble head sculpture, Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City

Upon entering the front door of the hotel, guests are greeted by this almost 10 foot tall, white marble head by Barcelona sculptor Jaume Plensa. The “halo” is one of the regular ceiling lights and not part of the installation. I don’t know if the sculpture placement under the “halo” was serendipitous or purposeful.

I was determined to do at least a little sightseeing in the short amount of free time we had. In so doing, I realize I’ve let the tall buildings, crowds, and crazy traffic cloud my ability to see the public art that is all around in Manhattan. Much of it would qualify as Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA), but then you’d have the sequencing conundrum of the chicken vs. the egg, so I’ll just in-artfully say there were engaging patterns everywhere I looked.

Right across the street from our hotel was an unassuming office building, except for this:

New York City office building bas relief

This building was seriously uninspired except for the intricate bas relief decorating the first two floors of the facade.

We attended a Bat Mitzvah ceremony in the historic Park Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The congregation was founded in 1882, but the current building was constructed in the Moorish style in 1927. I know my Zentangle peeps will appreciate this dome over the sanctuary:

Park Avenue Synagogue, New York City, dome


Grand Central Terminal (a/k/a Grand Central Station)

Amtrak trains use Penn Station, neither a welcoming nor attractive place through which to enter New York City. To the contrary, Grand Central Terminal (a/k/a Grand Central Station) located at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in mid-town Manhattan, is an august, massive Beaux Arts structure that opened in 1913. In addition to being a major public transportation hub, the station  is a destination unto itself. The station building has been designated a United States National Historic Landmark. Public tours are available.

Main concourse, Grand Central Terminal Station

The cavernous main concourse of Grand Central Station with its celestial ceiling mural, a 1945 replacement of the original.

The Main Branch of the New York Public Library

The main branch of the New York Public Library is also located in mid-town Manhattan at 42nd Street and 5th Avenue. Another massive Beaux Arts building, it opened to the public in 1911. Like Grand Central Station, the building is well worth a visit even if you are not planning to borrow any books.

Ceiling in the New York Pubic Library.

Ceiling in the foyer of the main branch of the New York Public Library.

Ceiling in the New York Public Library

A carved wooden ceiling over a corridor in the New York Public Library.












The ceiling of the main public reading room reminded me of the ceilings in Renaissance buildings we visited in Italy.

Main reading room in New York Public Library

I’m sure my eyes would be wandering all over were I trying to read here. Do you think the ceiling is high enough?

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum

I’d been wanting to visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in lower Manhattan and had Saturday afternoon free to do so. We took a not really necessary deep breath and descended underground to use the New York City subway system. With only one error (getting off before our stop and having to wait for another train), we arrived at the Fulton Street station stop for the World Trade Center complex.

I was impressed and touched by the respectful resilience with which the World Trade Center site has been redesigned and reconstructed from the carnage, ashes and rubble of that horrific day on September 11, 2001.

9-11 Memorial New York City

At the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, the original footprints of the World Trade Center twin towers are filled by a cascading water feature surround by black granite panels engraved with the names of all who perished that day. In a poignant display, on each person’s birthday, a white rose is left on the panel containing their name. Next to the Memorial and, in a sense part of it, is the now tallest building in New York City, the new One World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower.

We also paid the somewhat pricey entrance fee to visit the below ground 9/11 Memorial Museum, a truly sobering reminder of that terribly momentous day in September 2001. In the museum, the usually noisy environment in Manhattan is stilled. The only sounds are from recordings of contemporaneous news accounts, sure to take you back to where you were when you first heard them. Those who perished that day are also individually remembered.

911 Memorial Museum

Visitors descend to enter the exhibit area of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. The final column was signed by all the organizations responsible for the gargantuan job of clearing the site after the Twin Towers fell.

You can purchase timed tickets for the 9/11 Museum at automated kiosks around the outside of the museum. They are also available on line at the museum’s website, up to 6 months in advance. The cost for adults is $24 as the museum is essentially self supporting. (Mr. Excitement One of us scored the $20 senior entrance fee.) We toured the museum independently, but various tours are also available.


The World Trade Center Transportation Hub, the Oculus

The Oculus of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub.

If you are using the subway, you may enter through the World Trade Center Transportation hub in a building named the Oculus, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. (Even if you don’t walk through the Oculus when you arrive at Fulton Street, walk through it when you return to the subway.  The skylight of the soaring structure can open to admit light said to symbolize:

[T]he light that continues to shine through after the darkness of the tragedy, the Oculus opening allows light to fill the massive space as a memorial to the attacks on the twin towers.




I think this most recent trip to New York City may have has convinced me that I, and Mr. Excitement, need to let go of our irrational avoidance of New York City. There is so much more to see there.

Have you been to New York City? If so, do you enjoy visiting there? If not, do you want to take a trip there?

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Carole Barrette September 21, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Bonjour from Québec, Canada!


Gudrun Schlaphof September 21, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Love both tiles !!!


Josie September 21, 2018 at 3:56 pm

Hi Suzanne,
So glad you got to NY and enjoyed it so. It’s chock full of Zentangle inspiration, and lots of other stuff, too. I enjoy seeing your drawings, and as a fine arts major, I can totally understand the therapeutic aspect of drawing.
I’m commenting as a result of your request to see how many FB people were sent your post.


Suzanne Fluhr September 21, 2018 at 9:09 pm

Thanks, Josie. I wish I knew about the therapeutic effects of drawing when I was a practicing full time lawyer.


Sonja Lishchynski September 21, 2018 at 4:00 pm

Funny how when you zentangle you start to see it everywhere….


Suzanne Fluhr September 21, 2018 at 9:16 pm

I know. I think I exasperate Mr. E. sometimes. He realizes I’m no longer walking beside him and finds me half a block back taking a photo of some pattern that has caught my eye.


Sue Reddel September 21, 2018 at 4:02 pm

It was a nice change to see Manhattan through your eyes, Suzanne. I loved seeing all the design features of the architecture you explored. This Zentangle thing is quite remarkable. Why am I not seeing affiliate links to pens/books etc? 😉


Suzanne Fluhr September 21, 2018 at 9:11 pm

Always the social media adjunct professor. 😉 You can find some zentangle supply affiliate links here

I guess this is why blogging remains a “significant hobby” for me.


Danielle September 21, 2018 at 5:57 pm

Andrea and I have traveled to NYC together, yet we never got to do the 9/11 Memorial. It looks like it is well worth a visit!


Suzanne Fluhr September 21, 2018 at 9:15 pm

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum are definitely worth a visit. It’s easy to get to by subway too.


Elaine Masters September 21, 2018 at 7:05 pm

Love your Zentangle perspective of NYC. I was just there and loved wandering, walking (over 12,000 steps each of 2 days) and just looking. Sorry to have missed the underground 9/11 museum but the rest was wonderful. I hope you do return.


Suzanne Fluhr September 21, 2018 at 9:13 pm

I actually will be in NYC for a travel conference in January. Maybe I’ll try to do more than just go from the train station (unfortunately, Penn Station, not Grand Central) to the conference and back.


Lauryn September 21, 2018 at 8:51 pm

Saw your FB post. Thanks for sharing your highlights.


Dorene Karasick September 21, 2018 at 9:36 pm

Great post, as always!


Priscilla DeConti September 21, 2018 at 11:40 pm

As a former NY’er..i still love to visit from time to time. Usually for a play or some other artistic event 🙂 Your pictures are great..,I need to get to the memorial.
Love both of your tiles!


Rachel Heller September 22, 2018 at 2:24 am

Every time I’m in NY I notice more detail. I love wandering Grand Central Station, especially now that there’s a food hall downstairs! Love your zentangles!


Suzanne Fluhr September 22, 2018 at 4:11 pm

I’m trying to build a following interested in both Zentangle and Travel. There does seem to be some overlap.


Val Brandon September 22, 2018 at 7:05 am

I always love your stories. I see your posts through The Diva’s Challenge so this is the first time through FB.


Michele Wynne September 22, 2018 at 8:19 pm

I love your Diva piece❤ Great idea to use paradox as the string. Straight lines are so very Zen Thanks so much for sharing your NYC pics. I lived in NYC, then Brooklyn for 10 years total. I’m from San Francisco and moved back here 2 weeks after 9/11 (the move was months in the planning) so I didn’t directly experience the rebuilding but it touched me constantly for years and always does as the anniversary hits.
I love NYC and miss my friends. I’d love to go back for a visit but I’ve not been back since.


Suzanne Fluhr September 23, 2018 at 4:25 am

Thank you. I hope you make it back to New York some day.


Duchess September 22, 2018 at 9:41 pm

Lovely straight line tangles, and what an adventure you had in New York!


Annemarie September 23, 2018 at 10:01 am

I love both your tiles; great idea to take Paradox as a string.


Jeff & Crystal Bryant September 24, 2018 at 7:52 am

What an eclectic adventure. I never realized that doodling was so intricate, but it looks like it allows you to explore your creative side. Thanks for sharing the views inside of the 9/11 Memorial during your visit to New York City.


Joe September 24, 2018 at 6:38 pm

I saw it, Suzanne!

By the way, having lived in NYC for 7 years, I have to say I LOVE Grand Central. For a kid who grew up in Houston before it became the major metropolis it is now, I was completely blown away by Grand Central and its role as a transportation hub (and so much more) in the heart of the City. What a place!


Lois Alter Mark September 24, 2018 at 10:43 pm

Wow, this post sure has me missing New York. Though I’m definitely grateful for the quiet neighborhoods of San Diego, nothing will ever compare to the architecture and rich history of my hometown. Thank you for such a lovely nod to the city.


Tom Bartel September 26, 2018 at 10:30 am

I must say I do like your Zentangle obsession, and how it translates into architecture criticism. Lots of New York, especially Calatrava, in those ziggy lines.


Karen Warren October 1, 2018 at 11:22 am

I love all that architectural detail on the buildings in New York. Great inspiration for Zentangle!


Maggibee October 6, 2018 at 10:06 am

Hi Suzanne
the first time we visited New York was just over a year after 9/11 and it was too raw. Although we could have taken a bus tour that included the site, we avoided it because it seemed disrespectful to go rubber necking at such a place. During that stay we walked from Battery Park to Pier 17. On the way we passed a Fire Station, on whose wall was a small, understated plaque commemorating the men from that station lost on 9/11. I don’t know if it is still there but it made me cry then and remembering it makes me cry now. Somehow it connected with us at the time.

However, our visit to the city was in general a joyful one and I would go again if we could, especially since that visit was BZ (Before Zentangle) and I would love to explore it with Zentangle eyes.


Alexia Francis March 8, 2019 at 5:34 am

We were over in 2017 and visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Very moving. Greetings from Australia.


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