Thursday, April 17, 2014

Great Architecture and Events in Madison, NJ - I

American Dream: A successful shop in a great space

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

I was a reporter in Madison, NJ for five years, not just beating the bushes but tearing up the bushes for stories! One of the finest features of Madison that I wrote about was the 19th century commercial architecture. Madison applied for and received Historic District designation, and the town takes care of its architectural heritage. 


This building, which curves 90 degrees with the street corner it's on, has a wonderful pointy hat on!

This was built to be the town library. When the town needed a bigger library, this building was vacant a while, then became the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts. Hang on to your old kitchen gadgets, and tools, guys! They could end up here, on display for posterity!

A farmer's market takes up a usually busy street.

Two fine examples of commercial architecture from a previous era.

And yet another...

This building used to be a Methodist church! The false front, for me, evokes a Hollywood set for a Wild West movie. How about you? Are you gaga about great commercial architecture? Comment below! 
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

American Dreams: Performing in a Fabulous Space

American Dreams: Performing in a Fabulous Space

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

I went to the Beacon Theater in NYC, not far from Central Park West, to see a concert. Enjoyed the music but LOVED the theatre!


All this is going on ABOVE the stage, which you catch a snatch of (the blue-ish area at the bottom).

The walls...

The set-up for the band, and the crowd, anticipating a fun night.

I bet your local Regal Cinema doesn't have one of these!


Some of the trim...

The ceiling...

The band, heavy at it.

The person in front of me had a head like a beacon!

Lights, sound, color.

A chandelier.

The lobby.

Your local Loews doesn't look like this!

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Friday, April 4, 2014

A Fashion Designers American Dream

American Dreams of Glitz

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

I want to show you a fabulous place. Guess where?


Sixth Avenue, NYC,  of course! 

Pleated ribbon, buckles, buttons, spikes, nailheads, crystals, chains -- everything you might need to decorate your clothes -- or your home!

Another shot through the window -- everything a bride might need to dress up her dress or her hair.

…and more for brides (there's black spikes in the display, too, so don't hug her too hard).

…and more for brides. Wait! There's other fab stuff...

Need a button?

This is just part of the silver button department.

Then there's ribbons…thousands, needless to say.

This is just a small section of the tasseled trims.


This is just part of the cream / beige / gold section. See? I caught a person on camera! But she was heading away from me so she couldn't rip my camera out of my hand and stomp on it for taking her picture. I hate asking -- then people are on their guard.


Furry pompoms...


Lace trim...

A close-up of the previous shot. Can you believe the variety?

Attach crystals to your clothes, or in my case, quilts.

Pick a rhinestone.


Or a nailhead. Remember, be careful of those hugs...

More ways to decorate...

…and more...

You don't have to be a bride to cover yourself with rhinestone appliqu├ęs.

M&J is easy -- 37th and 6th, near Penn and Grand Central Stations.

Here's how those glitzy do-dads look on glitzy clothes. Where's my sewing machine! I want to create!

How about you? Do you get creative inspiration from places like M&J? Comment below.



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Artists' American Dreams: A Studio of One's Own

An Artist's Studio -- I Mean Machine Shop 

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft 

I LOVE artists' studios and photograph 'em whenever artists allow me.  Each studio I've seen has been radical, and here's another one, unique. (I won't say "totally unique" because "unique" already implies "totally," am I right, all you grammar wrist slappers? Comment below!)

It's actually a machine shop, set up by my former husband, actually. He's a craftsman with metals, creating machine parts that must be perfect to the thousandth of an inch.  We're friends, and he gave me permission to take pictures (confession -- sometimes I even snap shots without people's permission -- don't like to, but you gotta do, etc. That's why on my blog you see so many shots of houses, buildings, boats -- they don't complain [or sue] when their picture is taken : ).


Each machine has a unique function. This is one side of his garage...

…and this is the other.

Lots of ways to cut away metal -- and lots of ways to mess up! It takes a huge amount of concentration to machine things without making a mistake and having to start all over.

This studio has metal filings instead of splashes of paint...

Hey, it's a people! Yes, surprise!

The filings can be quite beautiful.

I'm thinking earrings, how about you? Comment below on whether you think that shaving is beautiful or not. 
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