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Artist Alida Whitney Morgan has been painting gardens and flowers for as long as she can remember. Recently Morgan took her fascination with flora and fauna and brought it into the real world; after getting a degree from the New York Botanical Gardens, she launched a landscape-design business, AMGardens. “Everything was weedy and overgrown,” Alida says of her own backyard garden, which featured a rotting wood deck that she replaced with salvaged New York bluestone. It was an attempt to rid the garden of feral cats that initially prompted Morgan to redo her backyard. As you can see, it still attracts the occasional feline visitor.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

This herb garden, located in a planter just outside the kitchen door, leads to a staircase down to the garden, where Morgan has planted hydrangeas, phlox, Lady Bells, roses, lilies, and Rozanne geraniums, among other varieties, and ivy that will eventually cover the cement walls entirely. “Gardens are living entities with minds of their own,” she says. “I strive for low maintenance and sustainable planting, though I am not a strict nativist. I want people to enjoy their gardens, not to be slaves to them.”

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Morgan lives on two floors of a brownstone in Spanish Harlem that was built at the turn of the century. Most of its original architectural details are intact, including the Portuguese tile floor of her parlor-floor landing.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

A Beatrix Potter–style mouse painting has lived with Morgan since childhood. Her apartment is filled with family heirlooms, including pieces from with her great-grandmother, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, the artist who founded the Whitney Museum of Art; her step-grandfather, Averell Harriman; and his wife, Marie Norton Harriman, who was Morgan’s maternal grandmother.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

The dining room is used as a studio and office during the day. Morgan’s still-life paintings are on the wall and in progress on the table.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

A portrait of Morgan’s father and grandfather painted by artist Lydia Field Emmet hangs above the living-room mantel. Two child’s chairs, which Morgan painted, flank the fireplace.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

This elegant desk and bookshelf was found in France by Morgan’s grandmother during her honeymoon with her first husband, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney. Morgan was able to retrieve it at auction a few years ago.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

The antique Kilim rug is from the Jacques Carcanagues Gallery in Soho, now gone, and was part of the estate of her mother, Nancy Marie Whitney. Morgan also re-covered this antique nursing chair with Italian silk, which had belonged to her mother as well.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

This painted screen was done by the late Robert Winthrop Chanler, an artist and good friend of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s. Chanler painted leaping red flames on his sculpted grand stucco fireplace chimney in Whitney’s studio on Eighth Street, now home to the New York Studio School, and where her fireplace can still be seen.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Upstairs in Morgan’s bedroom, she has installed one of her own painted screens behind the 400-year-old Portuguese headboard that belonged to her great-grandmother, Beulah Norton. Beulah was still doing swan dives into Averell and Marie Harriman’s Sands Point swimming pool well into her nineties.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Morgan is surrounded by family history at home. Here in her photo gallery in the stairwell is a photograph of Flora Payne Whitney sitting for the artist Joe Davidson.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Here’s another family photo of Morgan’s grandmother, Marie Norton Harriman, and her step-grandfather, Averell Harriman, at home in their New York City townhouse’s living room with their dog, Broomie, and some of the Impressionist paintings they donated to the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Note Picasso’s Woman With a Fan over the couch. You can see more photographs of Morgan’s apartment in Rizzoli’s Heirloom Modern: Homes, filled with objects bought, bequeathed, beloved, and worth handing down, by Hollister Hovey and photographed by Porter Hovey.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Elizabeth Padilla (left) Fifth Avenue and Prospect Place, Park Slope. Commuting to the Brooklyn Bar Association on June 9, 2005, Padilla swerved to avoid the open door of a parked P.C. Richard’s truck. She lost control of her bike and fell underneath the wheels of an ice-cream delivery truck.

Juan Luis Solis East Gun Hill Road and Bouck Avenue, the Bronx. Attempting to pass a double-parked car on June 22, 2007, Solis was struck by a box truck and died of severe head trauma. The truck did not stop.

Jeffrey Moore (left) Chauncey Street and Rockaway Avenue, Bed-Stuy. According to witnesses, on May 29, 2007, Moore was run over (twice) by his girlfriend Jeanine Harrington. She was indicted on charges of murder and criminal possession of a weapon (her Nissan Pathfinder).

Derek Lake Houston Street and La Guardia Place. On June 26, 2006, Lake reportedly skidded on a steel construction plate and was crushed underneath the wheels of a passing truck.

Elijah Armand Wrancher (left) Springfield Boulevard and 130th Avenue, Springfield Gardens. On August 28, 2007, 12-year-old Wrancher attempted to ride his bicycle while holding onto a moving truck. He lost his grip and fell under the truck’s rear wheel.

David Smith Sixth Avenue and 36th Street. On December 5, 2007, Smith was biking up Sixth Avenue when the passenger-side door of a parked pickup truck opened unexpectedly. He was knocked into the path of an oncoming truck.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Fall Fashion Features

The Beefcake in the Backcourt
Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.

 

The Beefcake in the Backcourt
Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.
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