Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Post’s Present

Old New York Times BuildingGeorge Browne Post should be a household name, but for most people, he is not. And that’s a shame. Post (1837–1913) was one of the United States’ most prolific, most creative, and most respected architects. We can curse the evil wrecking ball for shunting Post to the forgotten architects bin. If you were to scan a list of all his brilliant works, far too many would bear an asterisk with the note “demolished”: the Erie County Savings Bank in Buffalo, New York; the Cotton Exchange, Western Union Building, World Building, and Collis P. Huntington Mansion in New York City; the old Borough Hall in the Bronx, New York; the Bonner-Marquand Gymnasium at Princeton University; the Prudential Building in Newark, New Jersey; the Bank of Pittsburgh—all gone. Those that remain, however, are reminders of Post’s enviable talents that attracted such clients as Cornelius Vanderbilt, Joseph Pulitzer, and The New York Times. Read about the top five works by George Browne Post that still remain >


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Saturday in the Park

Unisphere, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, QueensThe lyrics from the Chicago song kept infiltrating my thoughts as I strolled around Flushing Meadows–Corona Park on a Saturday morning. It wasn’t the park they were singing about (Manhattan’s Central Park) back in the early 1970s, it wasn’t the fourth of July, and I didn’t hear anyone singing Italian songs. Yet, I did spy a man selling ice cream, and there were people laughing, so there was a bit of an overlap. Even without it, Flushing Meadows–Corona Park is a fantastic place to spend the day. The fourth-largest park in New York City occupies about 900 acres of land in northern Queens County. Far beyond just trees and grassy fields (of which it has an abundance), the park also is home to myriad cultural, historical, and sports facilities and attractions to keep you entertained for more than just a Saturday. Read about it >


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Back to School

Lawyers' Club, University of Michigan, Ann ArborClasses are about to start again (cheers from parents, groans from their children). For travelers, it’s the perfect time to visit college campuses as they return to life. These academic oases can draw you in with special events, performances, and exhibitions that are open to the public, whether it’s at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta or at the Nitobe Memorial Garden at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. But even if nothing is going on, I’ve found that their inviting grounds and attractive buildings remain appealing all year long. Read about the top five college campuses >


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Seeing Red

Japanese maple treeRed is an extreme color. For many, it’s all about love and passion. What would Valentine’s Day be without red roses or red heart-shaped boxes of candy, presented by the revered red-blooded American, perhaps, in some cases, to his red-hot mama? Those emotions, however, can lead to danger, another of the color’s associations—The Scarlet Letter, for instance, or stop signs and stoplights and code reds. You’ll see red if you’re angry and overheated, and if you’re a politician on the rise, you’ll need to don the requisite red power tie. But not everything red is so intense. Plenty of red things around the world have nothing to do with its common links, and they’ll make an equally strong impression on you. Read about the top five reds >


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In a Glass by Themselves

City Hall, Buffalo, New YorkWe rarely give much thought to the ordinary glass objects around our homes—our windows and mirrors, baking dishes and light bulbs, orange juice pitchers and cereal bowls. But once you start to consider its myriad uses, from the mundane to the extraordinary, you’ll develop a new appreciation for this versatile material that begins with melted sand and ends up as fantastic artwork. Read about the world’s best glassworks >


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Houses Give Horses a Run for the Money in Saratoga Springs, New York

Kilmer House, Saratoga Springs, New YorkYou may go to Saratoga Springs for the horses, but don’t forget about the houses. In this utterly charming small city of about 30,000, the racing season brings crowds of summer visitors. During the rest of the year, you’ve got two national museums (one for dance, one for horse racing), plenty of hiking opportunities, spas, a renowned artists’ community, and a massive inventory of gorgeous architecture in numerous historic districts. Read about the top five buildings in Saratoga Springs, New York >


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Fourteen Stops Around a Christian Church

Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, Buenos Aires, ArgentinaOne of the religious highlights of the Lenten season is walking the Stations of the Cross. Christians can follow Jesus’ last hours on earth via 14 stations, from His condemnation to death through His march to Calvary and ultimately His body being placed in the tomb. In Christian churches around the world, these images line the walls, often with seven on one side of the church and seven on the other. Regardless of their simplicity or complexity, they are all works of art. Read about the world’s best Stations of the Cross >


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Busted: The World’s Best Heads

Bust of Queen VictoriaAn artist’s ability to carve a human head and have the result bear an uncanny likeness to the model never fails to impress me. Such busts may very well cause you to do a double-take, as you question yourself whether that is the real flesh-and-blood person, or their image re-created in marble, copper, stone, or whatever other material the sculptor has chosen to employ. Some, of course, rise head and shoulders above the rest. Read about the world’s top five busts >


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St. Stephen Rocks

St. Joseph Cathedral, Buffalo, New YorkAt last count, there are at least nine St. Stephens, including a Byzantine monk, an English abbot, and a Russian painter and missionary. I’m familiar with only two: Stephen I, the man who united Hungary into one nation a millennium ago and served as its first king for nearly 40 years, and my namesake, the Biblical Stephen who was stoned to death for his faith, thus becoming Christianity’s first martyr. With the latter’s feast day coming up, on December 26, it seems like an appropriate time to take a look at how this Stephen is presented in art—very often, but not always, holding the rocks that were used to kill him. Read about the top five depictions of St. Stephen >


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Mediterranean Meals in New York’s NoHo

Originally opened in 1994 as an antique store in Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood, Il Buco has since morphed into a wonderfully satisfying restaurant. Creatively blending Italian and Spanish cuisine into a flavorful Mediterranean fusion, Il Buco will effortlessly transport you and your taste buds to Southern Europe. Read about it >