Saturday, September 28, 2019


We anticipated Autumn's beautiful golden days 
This is our favorite time of the year-long phase

Yet, summer's best of weather lingered on and on
Caressed us by warmer weather like a lullaby song

Alas the glorious September month arrived on cue
Autumn' s favorite time of the year this we knew 

Fall's Equinox announced the first day of autumn
When nature's luscious bounty was not forgotten

On  pristine days, the sun seemed evermore brighter
The sky more intensely blue, the clouds even whiter

Apple picking excursions to orchards way upstate
The pungent pure air tasted like apple peel of late

The gold of Autumn brings the gentle chill of fall
With verdant meadows and bird song most of all

Here and there a lone yellow leaf suddenly appears
The trees respond and wear tawny colors in their hair

In all its flaming glory trees perform their  foliage dance
The forest sings a new tune of Indian Summer romance

The scene  was painted like a Claude Monet picnic party
And Autumn was named the crowning glory, very arty

And new beginnings started up and rushed in again 
Back-to-school, our social calendars were in a spin 

I do so very much mind saying goodbye to September
Knowing that I cannot hold back the time I am resigned.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

POCKET PARK SANCTUARY in the Heart of New York City: By Polly Guerin

Finding a Lush green sanctuary is a rare commodity in mid-town Manhattan and just finding a place to enjoy your brown bag lunch is a challenge.  Yet, there is a half-acre, public plaza between West 45th and 46th streets known as Marsh & McLennan plaza.
     In this half-acre public plaza you can find calm and rejuvenation in the geometrically arranged garden, which includes a rare and dense grove of dawn redwood, white fir, weeping cheery and dogwood trees.  Such a
sanctuary attracts workers spilling out of 
massive office buildings and the city sparrows find sanctuary, too.
       Situated on the east facade of the Marsh & McLennan building, the plaza features an arcade,  
central garden area, and a peripheral walk. The geometrically arranged garden space provides tree-shaded tables and movable chairs for dining, reading or Internet work, a large central fountain, and those wonderful trees that make the air so pleasant. Circular planters and rectangular planting beds hold flowering shrubs, while easy access can be made from either 45th or 46th street. The space also becomes an easy walk through from either side.  The water channel is anchored by Tony Smith's sculpture"Throwback."

      REMEMBERING 911 At the north end of the plaza, bordering 46th street, a stone edged, glass wall of names memorializing Marsh & McLennan employees killed on September 11, 2001, is now a focal element where people linger and remember, some pray for their loved ones lost that day.
The September 11 memoria

        There are many food options nearly and 45th street itself is known for its highly diversified
selection of restaurants as well as the entrance to restaurant Gaby at the Sofitel hotel. This is a very pleasant pocket park with numerous seating areas for all ages. You are always welcome. just do not feed the pigeons.  
      By the way, just so you know,
Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. is a global professional service firm headquartered in New York City.    


Count yourself in for a night to remember. There's a delightful and elegant musical evening at the Canterbury Chorale Society's Gala fundraising GALA on Wednesday, October 2, 2019,  from 6 to 9 pm, on the upper east side at the historic House of the Redeemer, 7 East 95 Street.
     This is Canterbury's major event of the fall season. While grants and ticket sales are important portions of its budget, donations to the annual fund are the single biggest source of income for CCS's annual 
operating expenses. TO RESERVE please contact or telephone  917-579-2942. 
        On this GALA occasion the Canterbury Choral Society sends a big note of thanks to the SIX of CLUBS for generously contributing their time, talent and fabulous show, THE SWINGING 40'S, for our Gala Benefit Evening..
      This show is a homage to the Big Bands and Swing music and will provide such lively entertainment that we will swinging in our seats.
      Get in the Swing of a gala evening and remember the 1930s and 1940s were a time of musical innovation. Great bandleaders like Glen Miller and Tommy Dorsey delivered Swing music to the country and launched the careers of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Shore, and many others.  
       The show was produced by John Hargraves, conceived and narrated by Nick Firth and has musical arrangements by Jeff Klitz. Founded in 2010, Six of Clubs is a group of friends who are music aficionados and have enjoyed performing songs from the Great American Songbook over the past ten years
Cocktails and Hors D'Oeuvres will contribute to the conviviality of the evening and a SILENT
AUCTION of the most wonderful items will be on display for your perusal and purchas---just another way of supporting the Canterbury Choral Society.
       Under its current Artistic Director, JONATHAN DE VRIES, Canterbury presents three major concerts a year at the glorious Art Deco inspired, Church of the Heavenly Rest, where the CCS began in 1952. Founded by Charles Dodsley Walker with the mission as it was then and remains steadfast, "to perform sacred choral music with original intended orchestration."
     The upper east side FABBRI mansion has a rich and surpris-ing international history. The Italian Renaissance building was  given by Margaret Louis Vanderbilt as a wedding gift to her daughter, Edith Shepard Fabbri (the great granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt) and her son-in-law Ernesto Fabbri. The
Renaissance and Baroque furnishings and artifacts and architectural details contribute to
an eventful evening with the CCS.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Baron von Steuben: Revolutionary War Hero: By Polly Guerin-ARRT-NY-Media Outreach

The German-American parade on Saturday, September 21 not only celebrates German-American pride, but in particular it honors Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben. Though his name is little known among Americans today, during the American Revolution he created America's professional army with "Rules and Disciplines," that are standard for the United States army today.  
                                    Von Steuben was a Prussian soldier who was seeking to join the Continental Army and had been highly recommended by the American patriot, Sylas Deane. Armed also with a letter from American diplomat Benjamin Franklin in September, 1777,  the baron sailed from France to join the Continental Army.              
        Von Steuben arrived at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in December 1, 1777. with four French aides to translate for him and a large dog named Azor. His exaggerated reputation traveled fast . In Boston, he met John Hancock, who hosted a dinner for him, and he chatted up Samuel Adams about politics and military affairs. Next, von Steuben headed to York, Pennsylvania, the temporary American capital , while the British occupied Philadelphia. Aware that the Continental Congress had soured on foreign volunteers, von Steuben offered to serve under Washington and asked to be paid only if America won the war. They took the deal and sent van Steuben to Valley Forge.  It is interesting to note that Washington's confidence in von Steuben grew quickly and within two weeks, he made von Steuben acting inspector general and asked him to examine the Continental Army's condition, "Baron Steuben has arrived in camp," Washington wrote soon after. "He appears to be much of a gentleman, and as far as I have had the opportunity of judging, a man of military knowledge and acquainted with the world."
Steuben barking orders at Valley Forge
"What Steuben discovered was nothing less than appalling," wrote the famed author, Tom Fleming in Washington's Secret War.  "He was confronting by a wrecked army. A less courageous man would have quit on the spot."  Steuben was in charge of whipping the bedraggled troops into shape. 

       The baron found soldiers without uniforms, rusted muskets without bayonets, companies with men missing and unaccounted for. Different officers used different military drill manuals, leading to chaos when their units tried to work together. The baron warned, "If the army had to fight on short notice, he might find himself commanding one-third of the men he thought that he had. The army had to get into better shape before the fighting resumed in the spring.  So, von Steuben put the entire army through Prussian-style drills, he taught them how to reload their muskets quickly after firing, charge with a bayonet and march in compact columns instead of miles-long lines. Though von Steuben raged and cursed in a garbled
mixture of French, English, and German, his instructions and presence began to build morale.
Von Steuben' Manual
The baron's lessons didn't just make the American troops look impressive, under his stern

tutelage, they became a formidable battlefield force. At the Battle of Monmouth on June 28, the Revolution's last major battle in the northern states, American troops showed a new discipline. They stood their ground during ferocious fire and bayonet attack and forced the British to retreat. "Monmouth vindicated Steuben as the organizer. The Continental Army's new strength as a fighting force, combined with the arrival of the French fleet off the coast of New York in 1778, turned the tide of the war. 
     Von Steuben served in the Continental army for he rest of the Revolutionary War. In 1779 he codified the lessons into the Army's Blue Book.  Officially the Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the troops of the United States. It remained the Army training manual for decades. The Army still uses some portions
of it in training manuals today, including von Steuben's instructions on drill and ceremonies. After the war, the governor of New York granted von Steuben a huge wilderness estate in the Mohawk Valley as a reward for his service in the war. His importance to the Revolution is evident in Washington's last ac as commanding general. In December
1783, the very year when the last of the British were driven out of New York City, he wrote von Steuben a letter of thanks for this"faithful and Meritorious Services."
        Let's not forget Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben for herein is the primary reason to
make the German-American parade more meaningful.  This feature was written with reference to
Erick Trickey's, April 26, 2017 feature 
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Monday, September 16, 2019

One Million Specie Face Extinction: NYBG: Review By Polly Guerin

       The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) launches a new season of lectures and symposia on important and timely subjects that provoke concern NOT ONLY for a million species facing extinction but include concern for our own future existence.
      Featuring renowned authors, leading scientists, specialists in horticulture and the environment, and outstanding landscape architects and designers, the NYBG line up features a roster of luminaries in the world of science. On Thursday, September 26, 10-11 a.m., Ross Hall, NYBG features the author and activist Bill McKibben, whose 1989 best seller The End of Nature first brought the issue of global warming to public consciousness. Now the stakes are even higher as climate change shrinks the spaces where civilization can exist and technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics threaten the very nature of human experience.                
  McKibben has responded with FALTER; Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?, a powering and sobering look at these converging trends, the ideological passions that present us from controlling them, and some possible ways out of the trap. Audience Q and A and book signing to follow. Location: Ross Hall, NYBG, at 2000 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, N.Y. visit WWW.NYBG.ORG to select a lecture, register, and pay by credit card. Remember, it is less than a half-hour by Metro North Train, at Grand Central to NYBG and the stop, as you might expect, is "Botanical Garden."
      Another luminary on the environmental tract Sir Robert Watson will speak about the international research effort that he had reported earlier this year that one million species face
extinction if humanity does not act now to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity. His
talk, under the banner Andrew Carnegie Distinguished Lecture 2019: Sir Robert Watson will address the issue: Saving a Livable World on Thursday, October 10; 6 p.m., Manhattan Location, Christie's, 20 Rockefeller Plaza. Sir Watson will explore how vital ecosystem are deteriorating more rapidly than ever and if transformative change is not well under way in the next few years,
biodiversity will continue to be lost, and Earth's climate will continue to change.

Sir Watson, who chaired the IPBES and was Chief Scientist and Director for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development at the World Bank, will share the report's crucial findings nd then be joined by renowned conservation biologist and NYBG Trustee Thomas E. Lovejoy, Ph.D for a compelling conversation on biodiversity and current programs on global goals. 
Extinction Evidence
To access the complete fall 2019-winter 2020 line up of lectures including the 21st Annual Landscape Design Portfolios Lecture Series, Responding to the Land, and award-winning Caribbean-American writer Jamaica Kincaid, who is best known for her evocative portrayals of family relationships but who has also expanded the scope of garden writing in her essays and memoirs. 

       To access the full schedule of thought provoking and time sensitive subjects click on the Link for tickets and admission charges.    
     Ta Ta Darlings!!  Count yourself in at the International Global Climate Strike a world wide, call to action event, Thursday, Septemher 20, three days before the UN Climate Summit in NYC. Young people and adults will strike globally to demand transformative action be taken to address the climate crisis. Check it out at
Fan mail welcome at  Visit Polly's other blogs at

Monday, September 9, 2019

PARIS Capital of Fashion at FIT: Review By Polly Guerin

John Galliano for Christian Dior Haute Couture
Paris Fashion Week may be the place to be starting September 23, but for those fashionistas not so
lucky to be there in person  just parlez-vous over to the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) where the recently opened exhibition, PARIS Capital of Fashion, is not only a spectacular tribute to haute couture but a history lesson in itself.  On view through January 4, 2020.
        The dazzling 100 garments and accessories on display date from the 1700s to today. According to The NewYorker, "Paris remains despite the competition, the most glamorous and competitive of the world's fashion capitals."  Image: John Galliano for Christian Dior Haute Couture, autumn/winter 2000-2001 collection was inspired gy Marie-Antoinette; on the runway the model was bewigged and befeathered. Photo by Guy Marineau,.
         Valerie Steele director of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology and curator of the exhibition said, "This is the first exhibition that really looks at Paris in a global context and unique in the entire history and explains, historically, how it became so important, so really unique in the history of fashion and also how it creates and maintains an aura with a kind of brand image of Paris as the ultimate fashion city. The rise of the haute couture was crucially important to the consolidation of Paris as a modern fashion capital. HAUTE COUTURE It all started with Louis XIV, who viewed magnificent personal attire as as part of the grandeur of Versailles. "Fashion is to France what the gold mines of Peru are to Spain," declared Louis XIV's minister of finance Jean-Baptiste Colbert. The splendor of the French royal court at Versailles ignited the fashion explosion for
opulence and French fashion prestige.          
Robe a la francaise, 1755-1780, France
CHARLES FREDERICK WORTH: In 1858, when Charles Frederick Worth founded the first couture house at 7 Rue de la Paix, Paris was already home to many "petite" dressmakers and
design specific ateliers flourished where artisans created lace, sewed sequins and beads into merveilleux marvels of design or fashioned feathers, even flowers to alight on magnificent gowns. The British-born Paris designer, Charles Frederick Worth, was a business-savvy industry pioneer, often credited as the father of haute couture, he also founded of  the Chambre  syndicale de la couture and de la confection pour dames et fillettes in 1868.
         Worth created top of the line, "plus grande" Haute (high) couture. Elite women were attracted to the prestige of Paris fashion, and Worth recognized their importance as clients saying they had "the faces, the figures, and the francs." With seemingly demand- ing social engagements elite women changed their dresses up to four times a day, some purchasing their entire wardrobes from Worth. They paid homage to Worth as if he was the ruler of the fashion world and Worth did not disappoint but held court to an admiring entourage of faithful clients.
     Moving into the 20th century during World War II
when Paris was occupied by the Nazis, they threatened to fold Paris's couture industry into an organization of their own headquartered in Berlin and Vienna. Of special note, after the war,
the Chambre worked to revive its battered industry by launching Theatre de la Mode, a touring
exhibition of some 200 27-inch couture clad dolls dressed by prominent couture designers in
fashions and accessories, "la dernier cri de la mode." They were posed in elaborate sets, one, I remember, featured dolls in couture gowns among the ruins of a boomed out sitting room. 

Jacques Fath for Joseph Halpert 1952
As I wrote earlier, the exhibition is both a testament and celebration of Haute Couture, historically informative and a reminder to not forget PARIS Capital of Fashion and its legends and its permanent imprint on fashion, even today. Image: Jacques Fath for Joseph Halpert, cocktail dress, 1952, USA. The exhibition was developed in collaboration with the Chateau de Versailles, and supported by Chargeurs Philanthropies. a partner of the Fashion Institute of Technology and of the events sponsors along with the museum's Couture Council.  The Chargeurs group, which owns France-Amerique magazine, designed and provided the exhibition's decor, including a spectacular reproduction of the gildings in the chateaux's Galerie des Glaces. This exhibition transports you to Paris in a fairytale reincarnation of
fashion. It is perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Haute Couture and pretend you are traveling from Versailles to modern day couture.  The Museum at FIT hours: Tuesday-Friday, noon-8pm, Saturday, 10 am-5pm. Closed Sunday, Monday and legal holidays.  Admission is FREE. Location: Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, New York City through January 4, 2020. Ta Darlings!!! There is something, je n'est ce pas, about Couture fashions. When one wears a couture garment it seems that their whole personality changes and they take on the persona of an elegant lady.  I should know, I once worked in the press office at the House of Guy Laroche in Paris and was paid for my services with two couture dresses. Send Fan mail to: Visit Polly's other Blogs at on fashion, women determined to succeed, visionary men, and poetry from the heart.