Thursday, July 27, 2017

Offbeat New York - PepsiCo Sculpture Gardens

Pepsico Headquarters, Purchase 
About thirty miles north of the busy concrete jungle of Manhattan, in a quiet upstate area, is the headquarters of one of the most famous food and beverages companies of the world. Tucked away in a arboraceous area called Purchase is the headquarters of Pepsico and this very place has become one of my favourite offbeat places in New York! Pepsico headquarters is not one of those corporate spaces where you gape at shiny high-rises, but it is a space where you feel close to nature and art at the same time – courtesy their world class sculpture gardens.

The very first look!

When I moved to New York for my internship, one of my professors suggested Donald Kendall Sculpture garden to me and said that it was her favourite place to visit for tranquil hours, back when she used to stay in New York. Till then, I didn’t even know of this place but once I started researching about this place, I just could wait to visit it.

I still don't know what they were but it sure fascinated me.

This unique 160-acre garden space houses a collection of 45 modern sculptures promoting 20th century structure art which is known for being a fusion of quirky abstract thoughts, earthly elements and cultural features. If you really love art you would be lost in searching these hidden treasures in the vast space. 

The red collection with that classic reflection!

And in case you do not understand art much, you would still lose track of time while enjoying the perfect harmony of Nature’s beauty and Human imagination.

Welcome to my kingdom

The place is called sculpture gardens and not garden for a reason. Apart from the 45 sculptures the area also has a number of distinct lawns, groves, ponds, and fountains, as well as landscaped gardens in the southern side. Every sculpture blends perfectly in the natural setting that is set around it and I just loved spending time at almost all of them.

The subtle play of metal and light

My personal favourite spaces were the mini forest near the totem poles, the pond near the grizzly bear and the harp pond where nature had its own way of displaying its love for music!

And some classic fusion are too!

The best part about this space is that it is offbeat and not well-known like the rest of the visit worthy places of NYC, even though it is just 30 mins by train from Grand Central. Also, I feel this place sure is unique since even after being house of world class structures and being so well maintained, there is absolutely no entry fees.

Totem trio.

And if you are still wondering why the place is called a world class collection of outdoor sculptures, guess what, famous artists like Richard Erdman, Henry Moore, Arnaldo Pomodoro and Alexander Calder (Knew his form of art from Seattle Olympic Sculpture Garden!) So, art lovers for sure you need to visit this place, and nature lovers like me – I think I have given you enough reasons to visit in this post, right?

And they soar...

How to get there?
The best way to reach Pepsico Sculpture Gardens is via train from Grand Central to – Port Chester Station or White plains. By road you can take the NY9A North from Manhattan to reach Purchase.

Unfortunately, now you can only visit the gardens on weekends from 10:00 AM TO 4:00 PM.


Things to remember:
Playing sports and taking pets in the garden is not permitted.
It is a no smoking zone.
The park is huge and you have to walk all the way, so carry water! Bicycles, skateboards, rollerskates are prohibited.

Bye for now!


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Postcards from Poughkeepsie

Where is Poughkeepsie?

The only constant in Poughkeepsie - The Hudson
After coming to USA, I think this is the first time I am staying in a small ‘town’ (not considering Grand Canyon Village). For most, the word Poughkeepsie only rings a bell if they have seen Friends and to be frank, I was also one of those till last year. And then Hidden Figures, the movie came out! I googled a bit around IBM Fortran and found out that IBM Poughkeepsie was its birthplace. Hence, I started thinking Poughkeepsie might be a type of Hi-Tech city with tall building – since it was a part of New York. But Poughkeepsie, to my surprise turned out to be a quaint little urban town, that seems to have crawled out of the cocoon of a village in the recent past.

Sunset over the Walkway over Hudson and Our Lady of Mount Carmel's Church
Poughkeepsie, is a small town in upstate New York, that is totally untouched by the Skyscraper craze you think of the minute New York is mentioned. A small old church and close by a bright white church – both talking about the time passed by in their own way, a small station that connects this sleepy town to the ever-busy city of New York, the constant company of the Hudson, spaced out historical sites like Franklin Roosevelt’s house - now turned into a library and museum, Samuel Morse’s house (scientist who invented Morse Code) – now turned into a wedding and exhibition centre, and some hiking trails – this was the Poughkeepsie I read about.

Where once Samuel Morse lived (Source)
At first, I thought it would be just the perfect way to spend a slow summer exploring, discovering and falling in love with nature, history and the quiet. But unfortunately, l am extremely disappointed with Poughkeepsie – probably I had some high expectations or probably because I had not been exposed to remote areas of USA, but sure I have struggled to settle down in Poughkeepsie. All the above-mentioned facts were not false but travelling in the town is a task if you do not own a car, and so is exploring history, because it isn’t as extensive as I expected or maybe not that well preserved.

One of the many old dying building of Poughkeepsie
But like every place, Poughkeepsie does have one highlight – the Hudson. Walkway over the Hudson turned out to be my silver lining and my area of peace in Poughkeepsie, or rather the park overlooking the walkway. Just off the town’s train station, one you hear a faint gurgle of a flowing stream. As you approach the sound, it gets louder and you reach a small waterfall and then there is the quiet – quiet of the expansive Hudson. 

The small stream that joins the Hudson from Poughkeepsie
Here, on the Hudson, one can see the old Cantilever bridge that still stands tall and has been a landmark of this town since 1889! Initially built as a double track railway track, this bridge was once the only fixed Hudson River crossing between Albany and New York City, but in the late 1900 it went out of function due to a fire accident. After a lot of legal and functional issues, the bridge was eventually converted to a pedestrian ‘walkway’ and has been the most visited place of Poughkeepsie ever since.

The Walkway over the Hudson!
I love spending my evenings in Upper Landing Park, the park from where you get the lift to this historic bridge and the park from I am sending out all these postcards from on my blog today.

The part of Poughkeepsie I loved
Despite my disappointment with the town, Upper Landing Park and Walkway over the Hudson are places where I feel close to history, nature and the quiet, I was expecting!

There always in a silver lining right?
Have you ever traveled to a place with a lot of expectations and met with only disappointment? How was your experience? Do let me know in the comments below!