How the Ruins of an Early NYC Skyscraper Live on in an Indiana Park

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The Ruins at Holliday Park

If you chanced on these odd ruins in the middle of an Indianapolis park, you might think you were looking at a former estate, or the remains of a particularly grand park building. The truth about the Ruins at Holliday Park is quite a bit more interesting.

It starts in 1898, when an early skyscraper–26 stories tall!– was built in New York City.

The St Paul Building- How the Ruins of an Early NYC Skyscraper Live on in an Indiana Park | Thought & Sight

Named the St. Paul building, it featured a set of three atlantes sculptures by Karl Bitter titled “The Races of Man,” depicting an African, Asian, and Caucasian straining to hold up the building together.

Bitter was no amateur: he was also responsible for parts of the facade at NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and multiple statues at Biltmore Estate in Asheville.

The Races of Man Sculptures on the St Paul Bulding- How the Ruins of an Early NYC Skyscraper Live on in an Indiana Park | Thought & Sightphoto via

In the 1950s, when Western Electric made plans to demolish the St. Paul building for a larger building, they fortunately recognized the value of the sculptures, and held a competition for their re-use. Indianapolis’ plans to place the statues on a reproduction of the building facade in Holliday Park won. This began a project that took twenty years to complete, thanks in part to artist Elmer Taflinger’s constant redesigns.

The Ruins at Holliday Park - How the Ruins of an Early NYC Skyscraper Live on in an Indiana Park | Thought & Sight

The Ruins at Holliday Park, Indianapolis The Ruins at Holliday Park, Indianapolis The Ruins at Holliday Park, IndianapolisFinally completed in 1973, The Ruins had fallen into disrepair by the time I first found this Atlas Obscura article about them. A fence had been erected to keep out vandals, and the monument was overgrown with weeds. I admit I hoped to visit this wild version of The Ruins, however, by the time they came onto my radar, plan to revitalize them were already in progress.

What you’re looking at in my photographs is the recently completed restoration. Too few weeds, and bit too clean to facilitate my Indiana Jones fantasies, but gorgeous and absolutely worth a visit!The Ruins at Holliday Park, IndianapolisThe Ruins at Holliday Park, IndianapolisThe Ruins at Holliday Park, Indianapolis

The Ruins at Holliday Park, Indianapolis The Ruins at Holliday Park, Indianapolis, Indiana The Ruins at Holliday Park, Indianapolis, Indiana The Ruins at Holliday Park, Indianapolis The Ruins at Holliday Park, Indianapolis, Indiana The Ruins at Holliday Park, IndianapolisThe Ruins at Holliday Park, Indianapolis The Ruins at Holliday Park, Indianapolis

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A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana

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 Indiana Medical History Museum

We recently took a quick trip to Indianapolis, and visited the Indiana Medical History Museum. It can be difficult to tell if a small museum is worth it, but I’m so glad I took the chance with this one!

The museum is located in the Pathology Building that served Central State Hospital, a mental hospital that first opened in 1848. Central State grew to massive size over the years, with two large buildings housing 2,500 patients at its height. As the buildings deteriorated, the huge, ornate patient wings were torn down in the early 1970s.

Luckily, the Pathology Building was spared. Central State did continue operation into the 1990s, but the Pathology Building was shut down in the 1960s, preserved as a time capsule of medicine!

Map of Central State Hospital | Thought & Sight

To give you a sense of scale, above is a map of the massive hospital complex, with the pathology building circled.

Indiana Medical History Museum | Thought & Sight
Indiana Medical History Museum | Thought & Sight
A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight

The Pathology Building was used for research and education, so it actually had its own small museum. The glass cases you see on the left line the walls of this room and showcase specimens.

A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight

A medical student’s project: painstakingly careful separation of the nerves of the arm, starting with the spine all the way over on the left. After removal, they were mounted on a board and lacquered.

A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight
A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight

There are gorgeous copper sinks everywhere in the building. They were installed with a coating that would prevent them from oxidizing and turning green.

A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight

Since Central State Hospital treated mental illness, many of the items in the collection are brain-related disease and injury. You can see examples of human brains with tumors, Alzheimer’s, peculiar injuries, and diseases that are far less common today, such as neurosyphilis.

A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight

The teaching amphitheater is beautiful, one of my favorite spaces in the museum–not least because it made me feel like I was stepping into The Knick.

A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight
A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight
A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight
A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight

The tiny morgue, which sits just outside the autopsy room. As part of the hospital’s research mission, deceased patients would be autopsied to search for any physical clues to the cause of their mental illness.

See that pipe to the left of the window in the autopsy room below? It’s a dictation tube that the doctors would use to dictate notes to a stenographer located in the records room above. We couldn’t take photos in the records room due to privacy concerns, but it is filled with beautifully handwritten and very detailed records of each autopsy.

A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight
A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight
A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight

An infant size iron lung–obviously not something that would have originally been in this room, but now displayed here as they’ve acquired more medical equipment from other area hospitals to expand their medical collection.

A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight
A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight
A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight

Old, stained tissue slides, used for both reference and research. Some diseases such as neurosyphilis were easy to identify in patients since they would have specific physical markers the doctors could identify. Others like schizophrenia did not exhibit physical traits that the doctors could identify using the tools they had available at the time.

A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight
A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight
A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight

Bottle from the many chemicals and compounds the doctors used in their research.

A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight
A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight

Cobalt glass apothecary cabinet. The dark glass protects the potions within from light damage.

A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight
A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight
A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight
A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight

Looking down onto the teaching amphitheater from one of the two upstairs balconies.

A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight

The doctors began using photography almost immediately, both for research and education. They even had their own darkroom!

A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight

An infant skeleton on display in an upstairs library.

A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight
A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana | Thought & Sight

Pearl Jam, anyone?

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What It’s like to Fly on a Private Jet

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Flying on a Private Jet

Flying is generally not my favorite experience. Can you say that you love “travel” without actually enjoying the process of getting from here to there? Except trains. Trains are awesome. But flying doesn’t have to be terrible, and we were lucky enough recently to take a trip on a private Gulfstream jet with JetSmarter (thanks Johnny Jet!).

Read on to see what it was like…

What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & SightGetting There & Checking In

Departure options are limited to major cities, so we opted to take the NY to Las Vegas flight for a short weekend in Vegas, a city we’d never visited.

That’s our car in the foreground of the photo above, 25 feet from the terminal, in a gated parking lot. We arrived early because I wanted plenty of time to take photos, but they request that you arrive 30 minutes before the flight departure time–and we could probably have gotten away with less.

Our suitcases were whisked away and checked, but there were no TSA pat downs, no porno-scanners. Just a quick visual check of the boyfriend’s backpack, and no one asked to check my purse.

Also: no tossing your reasonably-priced bottle of water in the trash so you can pay $5 for a new one once you’re past security. Your liquids are not a security threat in this magical world of leg room and free booze.

Flying on a Private Jet | Thought & SightWe hung out in the terminal lounge watching planes take off until it was time to leave. Passengers on other chartered flights passed through, and the parking lot gate facing the runways opened periodically to allow fliers to be ferried directly to their planes.

As the other passengers for our flight started arriving, the captain walked around and checked everyone’s ID’s. The whole experience was so weirdly pleasant.

I tend to be subjected to only the average humiliations when flying. The boyfriend, on the other hand, is nearly always “random” bag check. (He’s in the photo standing next to the helicopter if you scroll way down). I can only assume that the TSA buffoons responsible for profiling believe that large, luxurious beards pose the gravest danger to our skies.

Here, no one batted an eye.

Flying on a Private Jet | Thought & SightWhen it came time to board, our plane was waiting just a short stroll out the terminal door.

The Plane

What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & Sight What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & Sight

Above is the view from the back of the plane near our group of seats at the conference table. The plane seats 12 in large, cushy leather seats and a sofa. It’s staffed by 2 pilots and 1 flight attendant.

What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & Sight

You can turn around in the lavatory! And there’s classy gold accents. My iphone doesn’t capture a wide enough angle, but this is not the usual closet-bathroom.

If you’re wondering, that spray head next to the toilet below is labeled “bidet.” I did not try it.

What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & Sight What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & SightLounging in my seat. With a real blanket. And champagne. And waaaay more than the useless 3 degree tilt on economy airline seats. This calls for a nap.

The Experience

What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & Sight What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & Sight

Drinks, snacks and food were all included of course, and served with real glassware, plates and silverware. I got a prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich with a caesar salad, and they were both great.

What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & Sight What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & Sight

The menu from the return flight. The food wasn’t quite as good on this leg (but we’re food snobs). Still. Edible food on a plane! I ate plane food without the customary experience of self-loathing or gastrointestinal distress. So much for all those articles blaming your loser tastebuds for not enjoying disgusting plane food.

What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & Sight

What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & SightThe blueberry cookie was pretty good too.

What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & SightThe windows were larger than I’m used to on commercial flights…or maybe it’s just that this plane didn’t have those awkwardly crammed-in seats with a view of mostly wall and a third of a window.

Those dark outlines you see on the buffet are water, newspapers, and snacks (some of which may have found their way into my bag for late night munchies at the hotel).

Flying on a Private Jet | Thought & SightYay, arrived in Vegas!

Dealing with Problems

What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & Sight

A little over halfway through our flight back from Vegas, the captain walked back with an announcement. Because he’d felt the plane jerk to the right a bit on takeoff, he was concerned that one of the tires on the landing gear was low. After discussion–and out of an abundance of caution–they’d decided to divert the plane to Stewart Airport, whose larger runways would make it safer to land the plane if anything went wrong.

He took his time, addressed us by name, asked if we had any questions, and reassured us that there wasn’t anything to worry about. The plan was to have a mechanic take a look, then hop on over to Westchester airport if he didn’t find any issues.

As it turns out, our landing was perfectly smooth. However, the mechanic must not have liked what he saw, because they made the decision to transfer us to Westchester by helicopter.

What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & Sight

Can we stop here and discuss how weird it is to be treated like you matter when flying? I know that a commercial airline can’t realistically helicopter a plane full of people to their destination, but there are a lot of things they could do to make bad situations better and show they value passengers’ comfort and time. Yet, in my experience, they mostly don’t.

What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & Sight

What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & Sight

The helicopter pilot rearranging luggage to fit everyone’s suitcases in the helicopter (I was the jerk with the giant suitcase).

When flying out of Westchester, a lot of people take a helicopter from Manhattan, so most suitcases were within the size limit. There was just enough room for the luggage, and we were off!

What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & Sight

The window was so big that I felt less queasy looking through my phone camera. I think I was leaning away from the window– and into the lady next to me– the entire flight. Fear of heights aside, the sunset views were gorgeous.

What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & Sight What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & Sight

What It's Like to Fly on a Private Jet | Thought & SightWe quickly made it to Westchester, landing in front of our terminal. Our car was just outside the door, ready to take us back to real life, where flying is never this awesome.

 

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The 1930s Rookwood Ice Cream Parlor Tucked Away in Cincinnati’s Union Terminal

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Rookwood Ice Cream Parlor in Union Terminal

Union Terminal in Cincinnati is one of those happy examples of a defunct historic building finding new use. Rather than meeting with a wrecking ball, the art deco building now houses multiple museums– and features a priceless Rookwood tiled ice cream parlor. I’d seen the parlor pop up on a travel tv show ages ago, and had to stop by while I was in town. Take a look inside with me:

The 1930s Ice Cream Parlor Tucked Away in Cincinnati's Union Terminal | Thought & Sight
The 1930s Ice Cream Parlor Tucked Away in Cincinnati's Union Terminal | Thought & Sight

When the terminal first opened in 1933, this delightful space was a tea room, though it soon served as USO headquarters during WWII. In 1972, Union Terminal was shuttered, then re-born as a short-lived shopping center, during which time the tea room saw its first stint as an ice cream parlor. Today, the terminal has been successfully operating as Cincinnati Museum Center for almost 25 years, and the Rookwood Ice Cream Parlor serves local favorite Graeter’s Ice Cream.

(Apologies for the conspicuous lack of ice cream in the photos, I foolishly ate real food for breakfast, instead of waiting for an ice cream breakfast).

The 1930s Ice Cream Parlor Tucked Away in Cincinnati's Union Terminal | Thought & Sight
The 1930s Ice Cream Parlor Tucked Away in Cincinnati's Union Terminal | Thought & Sight
The 1930s Ice Cream Parlor Tucked Away in Cincinnati's Union Terminal | Thought & Sight

Rookwood Pottery was founded in Cincinnati in 1880 by the grand-daughter of a wealthy local businessman. Maria Longworth Nichols Store was inspired by Japanese pottery she saw at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Already an accomplished artist, her ceramics painting hobby became a full fledged business, employing 200 artisans.

The company added architectural pottery to their repertoire in 1902, and Rookwood tiles featured prominently in many Cincinnati homes and businesses. Rookwood also produced some pretty amazing large custom pieces, like the ram’s head fountain at the Netherland Plaza Hotel. The whimsical design of the tea room tiles is attributed to artist and Rookwood designer William E. Hentschel.

The 1930s Ice Cream Parlor Tucked Away in Cincinnati's Union Terminal | Thought & Sight
The 1930s Ice Cream Parlor Tucked Away in Cincinnati's Union Terminal | Thought & Sight
The 1930s Ice Cream Parlor Tucked Away in Cincinnati's Union Terminal | Thought & Sight

A couple historical photos of the tea room. As you can see, the furniture has gone through different iterations, but because the tiles have been so well preserved, the room hasn’t changed much:

The 1930s Ice Cream Parlor Tucked Away in Cincinnati's Union Terminal | Thought & Sight
The 1930s Ice Cream Parlor Tucked Away in Cincinnati's Union Terminal | Thought & Sight

You can find more vintage photos and info on Union Terminal here.

Enjoyed this post? You might like this post as well: A Time Capsule of Medical History in Indiana


Thinking about visiting? While there is a charge for parking, you can visit the Rookwood Ice Cream Parlor without purchasing admission to the museums in Union Terminal. Just turn to the right after entering, and you’ll see the parlor sign along the wall.


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Wacky vintage Japanese ads from the 1970s and 80s

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Sent off on a tangent by this little roundup of pre-war Japanese beer ads, I spent Sunday browsing the glory that is 70s/ 80s Japanese advertising– equal parts 80s nostalgia and “wtf Japan.” Here’s some of my favorites: 
  
(If you’re wondering why there’s so few actual Japanese people, it doesn’t seem to be so much a question of recycling ads, as it is selling a “cool” Western image)
p.s. if you’re looking for more, this looks like a fascinating read
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Recommended Read | How Paris Became Paris

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Truthfully, I’m only a couple chapters in, but I’m so enjoying reading How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City by Joan DeJean, that I had to share it with you! I’m not always great with history books. My eyes go blurry pretty quickly amongst a catalog of dates and names. But I’m really having fun reading about the development of modern Paris, then looking up old and current images to compare! (I even made Pinterest board for them).
 
If you’re interested, here’s some neat tidbits about the Pont Neuf (“New Bridge”) that I enjoyed:
 Completed in 1606, the bridge was the beginning of many changes that altered how Parisians interacted with their city. The most obvious difference between the Pont Neuf and other large bridges in Paris was the absence of homes and shops built on the bridge. Whereas is was previously common to finance a bridge by selling lots on it, King Henri IV instead paid for construction via a wine tax. Looking at the two paintings below, you can see how radically different the experience of crossing the Pont Neuf would have been: 
the pont neuf and earlier bridges in Paris, shown in old oil paintings
 The Pont Neuf was also the first bridge to cross the Seine in a single span, and at 75 feet wide, wider than any city street in Paris at the time. The raised sidewalks for pedestrians  were another new feature for the city–combined with the unobstructed view of the river, they turned the bridge into a communal social space.
Parisian from all classes went to the bridge to see and be seen, buy goods and be entertained–this all in addition to the cart and foot traffic from those simply trying to cross the bridge, resulting in some pretty gnarly traffic jams:
Public bathing became popular in the sweltering summer on the banks of the Seine near the bridge…so much so that by the early 1700s the city had to intervene and forbid men from sunbathing naked after an incident in which nude men stormed the ladies changing rooms! (apparently none of the painters of the time saw fit to record that incident for posterity).

The Whimsical Cup Noodle Museum (and Make Your Own Ramen Factory!)

Yokohama’s Cup Noodle Museum

The Cup Noodle Museum was our first stop on the day trip to Yokohama that included the Raumen Museum (see that post here).  Both were fantastic in their own right, but if I had to pick just one, the Cup Noodle Museum offers far more to do. Read on to see the museum, dining, and make your own ramen experience!

From the beginning, the Cup Noodle museum has a gorgeous, clean, modern aesthetic. My favorite display was the room of all their flavors and brands, arranged in chronological order.

Befitting a museum created to promote a brand, they lay it on pretty thick, fawning over founder Momofuku Ando. Fortunately, it’s exaggerated and stylistic enough that it simply becomes good, goofy fun.

The Cup Noodle Ramen Museum in Yokohama, Japan

Ramen art or Flying Spaghetti Monster origin myth?

Below, a recreation of the little shed in which Ando invented instant ramen.

After you’ve made your way through the museum (or before, if you’re hungry), the Noodle Bazaar awaits! Choose from 8 stands representing noodle dishes around the world.

You’ll order through the familiar ticket machines, then hand your ticket to the staff at the window. Don’t worry, there are English titles on the buttons, so you shouldn’t have any trouble ordering.

Make Your Own Chicken Ramen Factory

The museum offers a hands-on “Chicken Ramen Factory” experience for 500 yen a person. We had Japanese friends call ahead to make a reservation, but you can sign up on the day of at the ticket office as well, just keep in mind they’re likely to be busier on weekends and holidays.

There’s a bandanna (which you get to take home), and an apron waiting for you at the orientation tables.

You’re separated into small groups and assigned a staff member who will guide you through the process, from mixing and kneading your dough, all the way to cutting the noodles. Ours spoke limited English, but he was very sweet and patient with me when I was snapping photos instead of assisting my partner! There’s an English instruction sheet, and you’ll do fine with a little miming.

The cute elderly couple in our group…possibly the only other adults that weren’t accompanying children. Don’t feel self conscious about going, though! No one minds, and I’m sure there’s often groups with a larger concentration of adults.

The staff never stop moving! Above, rushing to clean up while we’re decorating our packaging and waiting for our noodles to be fried.

The staff handles the more dangerous process of deep frying the noodles to dry them in a glassed in kitchen. All baskets are numbered, so the noodles you take home are the exact noodles you hand kneaded, and you can watch your ramen going through the process.

They aren’t only holding out the noodles for my photo; everyone is welcome to crowd around the glass and the staff member who was assisting at your table happily shows you your ramen as it’s processed.

After all our hard work, the finished product!

Before you leave, you’ll want to stop by the gift shop, which has all kinds of fun Cup Noodle souvenirs.

They sell Cup Noodle gift sets, candles, pretty much everything that can be branded, and these fantastic Cup Noodle shaped cakes, a fun twist on a traditional Japanese sweet with azuki bean filling. Lots of these came back with me for gifts!


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