-- --

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kicking Back on Firm Ground

NYC Pedicab
Photo by myself near Macy's, at 35th Street and Sixth Avenue.

A pedicab driver on break gave me a nice smile and a victory sign. In the background, cabs speed by.


My mom called me from LA Tuesday night, saying there had been an earthquake.

My dad had felt the house shake for several seconds. She had felt nothing. A family friend in a nearby town definitely felt something and was sent scurrying under the nearest table.

I think if we New Yorkers had to deal with the traffic and work stress and rising rents and small apartments and earthquakes, life here would be insane. We are awfully lucky to be located on top of firm bedrock.

Related posts: How's About A Ride? and East Coast, West Coast.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Trains are Hopping

Subway performer
Photo by myself in the subway, in Brooklyn.

Tonight, the fellow in the doorway and the blurry guy inside the car were two street performers on my subway ride home. I wish I'd been able to take a photo of them in full action, but the ride was stop and go.

Dancers bring along their own boom box. They often do back flips, handstands, push-ups and splits in the middle of the cars. For some reason, I rarely see kids dancing in the subway stations these days, but I've run into many of them performing in the cars, where there is often just a sliver of space between the aisles.


Little things make each day interesting.

Tonight, it was the dancers on the subway. Yesterday, it was the police car pulled up at the house next door for the fourth day in a row. (Mark and I suspect domestic problems).

It's easy to feel that life is routine, when you overlook the subtle details. I wonder what little thing will make tomorrow special?

Related posts: On If You're Happy, Clap Your Hands


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Moving On Up

125th Street Subway
Photo by myself of the subway station on 125th Street and Broadway, in Harlem.

What looks like a bridge in the middle of the city are the elevated tracks of the subway. A 2003 article in The Times describes how the structure was being renovated.


Mark and I drove through Harlem this weekend. We're not in that neighborhood often, but we noticed something interesting - lots of tourists. There were people wandering around, looking obviously out of place.

It used to be that the word 'Harlem' meant 'great unchartered territory not to be traversed by non-residents'. It was known for the Apollo Theater on 125th and Fredrick Douglas Boulevard and for its being a thriving Afro-American neighborhood. Harlem was popularized by the television show 'The Jeffersons', in the 70's and 80's.

People made the trip to Sylvia's, a soul food restaurant at 126th Street and Lenox Avenue. Then Bill Clinton located his New York City offices there, in 2001.

And now there are tourists sauntering the streets. I have to wonder what it is they're looking for - a more authentic New York? a remedy for their curiosity? a bit of grit and danger? (Rest assured, Harlem seems rather safe).

I hope they found what they were looking for.

Related posts: On Looking Like a Tourist On Holiday and Tourists For a Day


Monday, July 28, 2008

A Work in Progress

WTC Progress
Photo by myself of the construction at the World Trade Center, along the West Side Highway.

Several cranes were on the site, having completed the basement levels. The only direction now is up.


Mark and I drove into the city on Sunday for errands and lunch. We passed by the World Trade Center where construction is in full progress. Several cranes were swinging to and fro, carrying building materials.

Later we drove down Second Avenue. For blocks, traffic was reduced to one lane, due to street repairs. Steel plates were being positioned in place, new bus shelters were being installed and a policeman directed traffic.

The city is a living, growing thing. It's not just the fabulous mix of people, but their backdrop as well.

Related posts: The Beginning of The End, Building For a Greener Environment and Six Years Ago.


Sunday, July 27, 2008


Hot Dogs
Photo by myself in midtown.

There is nothing like a package deal in terms of food.


Mark and I have had a rough couple of days, with some iffy food experiences from places out here, in Brooklyn.

One manicotti dinner did not sit well with us, and the next night some tacos caused a small stomach riot. We're both moving slowly, but are too stubborn to give up happy hour and being social.

I look at our cat Dida sometimes and wonder how life would be with a bowlful of kibble each day. There'd be no dilemma of what to eat each night.

You would just eat and move on. No anticipation, no hankering. Just quick stops to refuel.

Life would be so efficient!

Related posts: Food on the Brain and Heating Up The Summer.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Read All About It

Sitting on Sidewalk
Photo by myself on 6th Avenue, somewhere in Midtown.


Despite the internet, newspapers are thriving here.

Beyond the usual Times, Journal, Post and Daily News, there are local papers handed out for free every workday morning at subway stations and street corners.

My apologies for the rampant black and white photographs. For some reason, they're the only ones working for me right now.

I took the one above from a cab, heading uptown.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Related posts: Climbing the Times.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Light 'Em Up

Photo by myself, outside a bar, on 10th Street in the East Village.

A sidewalk blackboard advertises recreation within.


Happy weekend, everyone!

I'm never used a hookah, though the flavors are tempting: peach, mango, watermelon, apple, blueberry...each mixed with tobacco.

As a reformed smoker, I won't go near the stuff.

There are many ways to quit smoking. I quit my pack-a-day habit cold turkey, after the drug store cashier who sold me Marlboro Lights automatically handed me a pack without my asking. It's hard to believe I used to buy them sometimes by the carton.

In New York, smokers huddle outside tall buildings, taking their breaks. The hard core smokers light up in the mornings between the subway and the office, huffing and shuffling down the sidewalk.

Once a smoker, always a smoker. It's all too easy to stumble down that slippery slope.

Related posts: The Rules and Lost In Translation.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Surprise, Surprise

Photo by myself, in Soho on Prince Street.

A woman brushed her teeth on the sidewalk, before setting up a table of jewelry for sale.

Almost nothing shocks me anymore.


I'm not sure what the most shocking thing is that I've seen on the streets.

A man wrapped in a carpet, like a log? A stranger checking whether a homeless man on the sidewalk is still breathing?

A big guy exposing himself in a subway station (pants down, at the 23rd Street N/R station)? A dead guy on a train (72nd and Broadway, one weekend)? A guy stealing a bike in broad daylight?

A pedestrian hit by a car (42nd and 8th Avenue), a cyclist hit by a car (59th Street and Columbus Avenue). I am frankly surprised that there aren't more accidents, though I saw four within a two week period.

A woman whose foot was run over by someone in desperate need of a parking space (78th and Amsterdam). The car window being broken a second later by her furious husband.

A guy shaving his face with a battery operated shaver.

A woman brushing her teeth out on the sidewalk.

This kind of stuff happens every day.

Related posts: Castaways, If You're Happy, Clap Your Hands and The Rules.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Art, For Public's Sake

Patriotic Cow
Photo by myself in Park Slope, Brooklyn, at 7th Avenue and 9th Street.

I am digging into my photo stash today - the skies have been gray, drab and rainy.

This photo was taken around July 4th. A patriotic cow was seen in cahoots with the younger crowd.


The above photo reminds me of a public art installation, called the Cow Parade, which took place in New York (and, I'm told, everywhere else) in 2000. Bajillions of full sized cows were decorated by artists and littered around the city. The sculptures were then auctioned off to provide money for various charities focused on education, children and those in need.

What is public art these days?

One obvious answer would be 'graffiti'. Some people would disagree, declaring that public art should beautify and lift our minds toward an ideal higher than someone's initials.

Recent attempts at public art on a larger scale in New York has received mixed reviews. Many people were not impressed by Christo's 2005 installation of orange flags in Central Park. I personally found them okay. I was inspired by the sheer turnout to enjoy The Gates, rather than the gates themselves.

The current installation of the waterfalls by Olafur Eliasson is not so impressive. This is the sense I get from the people I have spoken to. If you have an alternate opinion about them, I'd love to know about it.

To me, the most successful public art in recent times has to be the Tribute in Light, which commemorated the victims of September 11th. The World Trade Towers were re-created as beacons of light, that could be seen along the length of Manhattan.

The Tribute was a spatial, ethereal and simple gesture. From my experience, the simplest gestures are the most effective.

Related posts: At The Brooklyn Museum - The Dizzying World of Murakami and Art For the Masses.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

For the People

in the Shade
Photo by myself near 34th Street and 6th Avenue in Midtown.

Typically, large umbrellas are found above street carts selling food stuffs. It's all you can do to find a shady spot.


What baffles me sometimes is that most architecture focuses on the wealthy and the hip.

The wealthy are usually long or newly established clients who want to look as if they'd been established forever. Very fancy, very traditional, expensive homes, housing antiques and heavy curtains and pianos.

Then there is the other crowd - fashion forward, tech-savvy, ready to break with all traditions. They prefer sleek, modern design, to suit their wardrobe and lifestyle.

Of course, there is the gamut in-between: country farms, Deco lofts, the mid-Century modern houses. But the most challenging architecture to design has always been affordable housing and public space.

When you're in school, there is always one semester where you tackle such big things - how do you make an open space 'safe'? How do you make repetitive buildings interesting? How you define what's private and public? Public housing and spaces are so difficult to design, yet we're in desperate need for it.

Of course what they don't teach you in school is that there are limits to what a building can do. An architect can provide the house, but she cannot eliminate homelessness.

Related posts: Building For a Greener Environment and Architecture, A Glorified Profession.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Working the Streets

Working Outside
Photo by myself in Soho, on Prince Street.

With laptops you can work anywhere, even on the sidewalk. There is no excuse for not working!


I'm not sure how anyone gets any work done in this heat and humidity. All Mark and I want to do is nap.

The toughest part of my job right now is the lack of stress, if that makes any sense. For the first time in a while, I don't have impossible deadlines. I'm not staying long hours in the office to do the work of three people, or obsessively checking my emails from home.

Mark is the same way. Without a deadline, he is a restless soul. When he's not working, Mark will go through all of our drawers and bookshelves and organize them, clean everything from the fridge to the shower, take drives around with Clive, then call me for suggestions on what to do.

With my excess energy, I've been going to the gym 6 days a week. I know. Insane, eh? I'm not sure where this is coming from, but I hope it's for good.

I think most people work best under pressure, don't you?

Related posts: Blah, Blah, Blah, and On the Job.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Talking About The Weather

The sign says it all
Photo by myself in the East Village, around 10th Street and 2nd Avenue.

A sign posted at a laundromat says it all - it is way too hot to do much of anything here.


I have to wonder whether the human body will adapt to our climatic change?

Saturday around noon the sun was high and bright, sending people hiding for cover. You could hear everyone moaning about how hot it was.

I'm usually against using the air conditioner, having been brought up in Boston, the land of cold winters and somewhat tolerable summers. We never had an air conditioner growing up. We just dealt with it.

In these extreme times though, it's a necessity. The one in our bedroom has a nifty feature, called 'energy mode', where the machine periodically shuts off.

Stay cool, everyone!

Related posts: Is It Hot Enough For You?, Vacating The City and A Call for Help.


Saturday, July 19, 2008


Photo by myself, from the All-Star Parade last week, at 6th Avenue and 42nd Street.

There's still nothing like a policeman on horseback to keep the crowds in check.


I've heard from people who have worked with horses that horses don't realize how big they are. They observe the world from their heads, meanwhile their heads have no idea how big their bodies are.

Actually in New York, now until January 2009, there is an exhibit going on at the Museum of Natural History all about the horse. You see the posters all over the subway these days showing the Lipizzaner, the striking white horse that performs in civic functions, especially in Europe.

Related posts: My First Run-In with the NYPD and Code Yellow.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Sniff Sniff

Topiary Dogs
Photo by myself, on Lafayette Street, in Soho.

Outside a dog accessory store, a topiary poodle says hello to a topiary chihuahua.. On display beyond are sweaters and scarves for your furry friend.


TGIF, everyone.

We're again in the midst of a heat wave over here. It's nearly 100F, with a good deal of humidity. Yipes!

I hope no one forgets to water the topiaries.

Related posts: Our Four-Legged Friends, Keeping Your Dogs in a Row and On The Train.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mass Mentality

The All-Star Parade
Photo by myself, on 6th Avenue and 42nd Street, just before the All-Star Parade, Tuesday.

Streets around Bryant Park were blocked off around lunchtime, to make way for the All-Star Parade (as in baseball). There were policemen on horseback, yellow tape and general chaos.


I suffered through the above parade, held without warning near my outdoor lunch spot. It was mayhem.

I hear that Mayor Bloomberg is also planning to shut down a couple lanes of Broadway between 42nd and 34th Streets, to create a bike lane and pedestrian zone. It's called the Broadway Boulevard, and as mayor, Bloomberg can just do this without a city vote.

Boom, it's done.

In searching 'Bloomberg shutting down', I see that Bloomberg will also shut down Park Avenue on various days this summer.

Um, hello? What about the people who live and work here, who have to get from Place A to Place B? How are we poor slobs supposed to know when streets are being shut down, for whatever street fair, or parade, or silly whim? We'd simply be stuck on a corner with all the other sweaty people, trying to figure out how to cross the street.

I get it, though. I've been seeing a lot of 'SALE' signs in retailers' windows, much more than the average summer quantity. It makes sense - draw in the tourists, have them buy stuff, keep the businesses going so we New Yorkers have these retailers and services around.

But geez. I have to wonder at the end of the day, who will be left living here?

Related posts: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times, A Pedestrian City, and The Rules.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Through the Roof

Through the Roof
Photo by myself, on Prince Street in Soho.

Several small blackboards advertising apartments lay outside a real estate office.


It's hard to believe that the above are real rents advertised for real apartments. Yikes.

The one-bedroom on Prince Street for $2,600/month, for instance, could mean anything from a real one-bedroom with a decent Living Room, Kitchen, full Bathroom and Bedroom, to something strikingly different, (ie; a shoebox).

I can imagine a tiny bedroom with just enough space to fit a double bed, a kitchen in a corner and a Living Room with enough space for a sofa and television.

I'm sure there are folks out there who have lots of money to burn, and who just want to live in the middle of Soho. Who wouldn't?

Related posts: The Cost of Living Here Part II or Life in Playland, The Cost of Living Here, and Wednesday Portraits - My Open Wallet.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Variety = Spice of Life

East 10th Street
Photo by myself in the East Village, outside Veselka, a popular Ukranian restaurant.

A group convened on East 10th Street and 2nd Avenue, to admire a recent addition.


One of these days, very soon, I'll have to take pictures in the West Village and Tribeca. It seems as if all my photos come from the East Village (where parking is a breeze), Midtown (where I work), Union Square (where I hang out), the Upper West Side (where the project I'm working on is located), and Brooklyn (where I live).

Photos from Hell's Kitchen would be nice, too, and Alphabet City, and Murray Hill. But again, is it about the places, or is it about the people?

The above photo could have been taken anywhere, but there is the sensibility of New York there - pedestrians, chatting on a scrubby sidewalk, wearing nondescript clothing. The scene looks more Brooklyn and Manhattan to me, in its lack of pretension. It could have taken place anywhere.

For me, though, it's the fact that these images all come from the same place that makes New York the city that it is. This group might convene on a sidewalk, next to a homeless man and his shopping cart. Steps away, people stand in line for expensive fashion/accessories/tickets, a mix of hipster douchebags, businesspeople and artists, while a street musician plays an impish tune.

Diversity. That's where it's at.

Related posts: East (Side) Versus West (Side) and All That Jazz.


Monday, July 14, 2008

The Apple Store, Continued

Outside the Apple Store, Soho
Photo by myself, outside the Apple flagship store in Soho, on Prince and Greene Streets.

Up at the front of the line, the door was opened for brief moments to allow a slow dribble of people in to purchase iphones. Meanwhile, the line of people outside wrapped the corner.

(The smiling man is actually a temporary door person, keeping shoppers at bay).


Saturday I walked through Soho with Mark's mom.

We wanted to do some shopping, so we arrived around 11 am to reasonably empty streets. The city was just waking up. There were no real plans except to saunter, browse, have a cup of coffee and enjoy ourselves.

By noon, the neighborhood was hot and crowded. I bought a ring for 5 dollars and we had coffee and a chocolate croissant.

Not much of a success in some respects, but in others, it was perfect. I came away with a handful of great photos and a lovely morning.

Inside the Apple Store, Soho
We went inside the Apple Store, after promising that we weren't cutting in line to get a phone.

The space is simple and modern to the point of being banal. There is a skylight, glass rails and thick glass steps cascading from the upper floor. Long tables to each side display all the Apple products for people to try out.

Related posts: The Latest Thing and Enough and Fashion Accessories Coming Soon.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Latest Thing

Line outside the Apple Store, Soho, NYC
Composite photo by myself outside the Apple Store on Prince Street, in Soho.

Entry into the store for the Apple 3g iphone that went on sale Friday was carefully monitored. The New York Times reported that people started waiting on line, beginning Tuesday.

On Saturday, the line went round the corner and down Greene Street nearly a city block, stopping just short of Houston Street. I walked by at around 11 am.

This photo is best viewed larger.


Well, yes, New Yorkers are suckers for a line.

Not the 'What's your sign' type but the red velvety rope type, separating the special people from the ordinary.

I remember some experiments on an episode of 60 Minutes from eons ago. One involved leaving various coins on a New York City street (penny, nickel, quarter) and seeing how long it took before they were picked up. Another involved starting an imaginary queue on the sidewalk and seeing how quickly people would join it.

Maybe the queue experiment is from my imagination? (The coin experiment definitely happened. The nickel and penny were snubbed by everyone). New Yorkers have their own language for queuing up. We stand on line here, rather than in it, like the rest of the country.

The experience is special for us, requiring patience, dealing with a crowd and tolerating physical discomfort. Standing on line means knowing what's worth standing on line for. It's the sacrifice of time and comfort for the latest thing.

Related posts: Schmata, or The Annual Warehouse Sale and Fashion Accessories Coming Soon.


Saturday, July 12, 2008


Firehouse, 13th Street
Photo by myself, of a fire house on 13th Street and 4th Avenue in the East Village.

No matter what I do, I still tiptoe past firehouses in New York. Perhaps sometime years from now, we'll go about our lives without thinking about what happened that fateful day.


Happy weekend, everyone!

Mark's Mom and I plan on touring around Soho Saturday. Hopefully the neighborhood won't be completely packed, and I can get some nice photos.

We were planning to do some shopping, but shopping in Soho is sort of a futile effort. It's more like walking around, looking at nice, expensive things. But the area is pretty and that counts for something.

Related posts: Six Years Ago.


Friday, July 11, 2008

On The Menu

Taking a Break
Photo by myself, on the Upper West Side.

It must get very hot in the the kitchens, where cooks often work over an open flame.


Hard to believe it's the end of another week. Phew!

I'm having a hard time posting tonight, suffering from an intense bout of food coma.

Mark and I ordered food from a British restaurant in Brooklyn, called The Chip Shop.

They have all sorts of things with 'mash', and other things with chips. Every order automatically comes with a little bag of salt, pepper, utensils and vinegar.

Mark had something called a 'Meaty Mac' tonight (mac, cheese and ground meat in a tin, atop a big bunch of green peas), while I had the chicken curry and mash (an odd curry with mashed potatoes.

Oh dear, pass the Rolaids!

Related posts: On Zen and Easting Too Much Delicious Foods and Eats and Drinks


Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Call for Help

Plea for Help
Photo by myself, in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

I thought this sign was humorous.

Vandalism and theft are an unfortunate phenomenon in larger cities. I wonder whether the bench-pilferer ever saw this note?


Related posts: Working it Out


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Dog Days of Summer

Dog Run
Photo by myself outside the dog run in Madison Square Park.

Owners and dogs convene inside these fenced areas to run around, blow off steam, sniff each other and chit chat.

Dog runs are usually covered in gravel. There are often smaller pens nearby for the smaller dogs. In the heat, kicked up doggy dust gives off a distinctive musty, doggy smell.


The days here continue to be super hot and humid. I doubt it will end anytime soon.

Keeping a dog in the city is a status symbol, of sorts. You have to have an apartment bigger than a postage stamp, a flexible schedule and often, a dog walker.

Some New Yorkers train their smaller dogs to use wee wee pads indoors. This way, the dogs essentially walk themselves.

Related posts: The Cost of Living Here, Keeping Your Dogs in Row and On the Train.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Transit for the Masses

59th Street Subway
Photo by myself from the platform of the 1 and 9 trains, at 59th Street.

Sometimes I'm on the subway platform, gazing out at the puddles of glop, the garbage, the rats and the rails, and I'm astonished that we're in the 21st Century.

I've been to Washington DC, and Boston, and Paris, and London, and Hong Kong, other large cities with underground transit. Of all the cities, New York is easily the worst, in terms of conditions, aesthetics and timeliness.


I could go on about the subway, and I have on occasion. But I won't.

I wanted to clue people into an excellent article in The New Yorker about another major mass vehicle that makes New York the city it is, that is, the elevator.

In 'Up, Then Down', Nick Paumgarten reminds us that without the elevator, we wouldn't have buildings higher than five stories. We'd have a sprawling mess.

Remember the guy who was trapped in a New York City elevator for over 40 hours, the footage of which was on You Tube? Paumgarten starts with that guy, then goes into the history of elevators, touching upon the tallest buildings of the world and the latest elevator technology. The result is a pretty fascinating look into these little boxes on cables that take us up and down.

People living in other lands may never encounter a elevator. In New York though, they are an experience to be tolerated. Many people have one at the office and one in their apartment buildings.

Recent models have inset lcd screens showing the news, the weather, words of the day and celebrity gossip. It's a small distraction to pass the few seconds it takes to get up or down.

Unless you were that unfortunate guy stuck in one over a weekend.

Related posts: If You're Happy Clap Your Hands, Au Secours and Notes From The Underground.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Nearly Perfect

Bay Ridge
Photo by myself in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, on Fifth Avenue around 76th Street.

A black and white photograph shows how timeless this neighborhood is; the small shops with their canopies, the tree-lined streets and an almost sleepy pace of life.

There are diners next to discount stores, locksmiths next to law offices. Bay Ridge has mainly Italian, Greek, Scandinavian and Irish families. The town is separated from Park Slope by Sunset Park, which is populated by primarily Chinese, Puerto Rican and Dominican families.


Happy Monday, everyone. I wanted to start the week off with a wholesome and comforting image.

Lately Mark and I have become addicted to The Wire, the HBO series about police and narcotics cases, set in Baltimore.

Friends had recommended this show, several friends. There were long, long conversations about how realistic, well-produced and addictive the series was. We were warned that we wouldn't become full addicts until the third episode, had dvds pressed upon us and were waved away.

Mark and I had heard a segment on NPR about The Wire, too, about how many of the actors had once been on the street, lending the show an air of authenticity. The show was conceived by an ex-reporter, based on the experiences of one of his detective friends. 'The Wire' refers to working undercover in the drug world.

As opposed to the formulaic New York-based Law and Order series, it's the characters of The Wire that make the show compelling. You bond with the good guys and the bad guys. Actually, the good guys aren't entirely good, and the bad guys aren't entirely bad. Instead, each side is decidedly flawed, just as they are in reality.

If you have spare time to be riveted to your television, check it out. But be aware, it is highly addictive and refreshingly intense.

For an NPR interview with the series' creator, David Simon, click here.

Related posts: The Formula and Urban Legends


Sunday, July 6, 2008

More is More

Metlife Tower, Madison Square Park
Photo by myself near Madison Square Park, at 23rd Street, between Madison and Fifth Avenues.

An extremely tall modern building is rising up opposite the historic Metlife Tower. An equally staggering crane is aiding the construction.

The buildings all along 23rd Street to either side of this new building are rather low in comparison. Some restaurants, a nail and hair salon, and a FedEx office can be found at street level.


Saturday morning, I heard Mark yelling at the tv: 'Oh wow! Whoa! Come on!'

I shuffled over. What kind of game was he watching? Mark is one of those rare guys who isn't a huge sports fan. He'll tune into tennis or the Olympic trials that are going on, but that's it.

Turning the corner, I realized what he was screaming about: the annual hot dog eating contest held on Coney Island every 4th of July.

Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs sponsors the contest every year. Just about everyone in New York shakes at the name of Kobayashi, who won the contest six years in a row, typically eating more than 60 hot dogs and their buns in the 12-minute period. (Egad, it is a lot of dogs!).

This year's contest was scaled back to 10-minutes, and the winner, Joey Chestnut, also won last year. Chestnut tied Kobayashi by devouring 59 dogs. The contest was finally decided in with a tie breaker.

Part One

Part Two

For more on this year's contest, click here.

Related posts: Food on the Brain and Food For Thought.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Heating Up the Summer

Bluegrass in Mad Sq. Park
Photo by myself in Madison Square Park, at 5th Avenue and 23rd Street.

While passing by this week, Mark and I encountered a bluegrass concert in full swing at Madison Square Park.

Called the Madison Square Music Series, these live performances occur every Wednesday evening throughout the summer.


Friday night Mark cooked a barbeque in celebration of July 4th.

It was delicious. Along with roasted corn, we made a Korean barbeque recipe from a whole book of barbeque recipes. This one was a keeper.

We only marinaded the meat for 4 hours but it tasted like the Kalbi you find in Koreatown, and it was simple to make. The ingredients were quite accessible, the only remotely exotic ones being soy sauce and sesame oil.


Each rib was giant, about 4 to 5 inches long. We have enough roasted meat for sandwiches later this week.

Here's a recipe I found on the NPR website for kalbi, similar to the one we used, along with an article about the delicacy. Our recipe added a couple tablespoons of cider vinegar into the mix.

Related posts: What's Cooking in Curry Hill, Food Glorious Food and All You Can Eat.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Out to Lunch

Bryant Park, or Christo Installation?
Photo by myself, in Bryant Park, at 42nd Street and 5th Avenue.

With the casual dress of workplaces these days, it's hard to distinguish whether people are on vacation or on their lunch break.

During a typical weekday lunch hour, New Yorkers are known to lie in the grass, take off their shirts or even work on their tans (!). Others take their lunches upright and dressed, at cafe tables.

This summer, the main branch of the New York Public Library is undergoing a makeover. In the background, the massive Neo-Classical building resembles a Christo installation.


This entire week was effected by the three-day weekend.

Many, many people are taking their vacations this week, because the holiday so nicely falls on a Friday. My workplace was deathly silent, and it was a real challenge to get information from anyone.

Mark and I are so happy to have the three days ahead. Woohoo! What's on the menu? Cooking, cleaning and some driving around. And a great deal of relaxing.

The weather report shows it will be humid and thunder-showery this weekend. Hope everyone in the area remembers an umbrella!

Related posts: Building for a Greener Environment, 42nd Street and TGIF.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

How's About a Ride?

Photo by myself near the Empire State Building, on Fifth Avenue and 35th Street.

Pedicabs line up where the tourists are. Cabbies provide chit chat, comfort and gas-less travel.


Happy July, everyone. Mark and I cannot believe it's no longer May.

The city is cramped with people right now. Sidewalks spill over at the corners with people, waiting for the light to change.

On top of the crowds, we're going through a humid spell, where thunderstorms roll in almost every afternoon. Fortunately, intrepid visitors haven't been put off.

Related posts: Behind the Curtain and Tourists for a Day.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sunrise, Sunset

Red Light at Sunset
Photo by myself on the Upper West Side, at 79th Street and West End Avenue.

The sun was setting and the light turned red.


Depending on where you live on Manhattan, you get to see the sun set or rise.

During my years living on the Upper West Side, I always preferred the seeing the sun set over New Jersey. The downside included braving the cold westerly winds freezing your face on the way home in the winter, and walking eastward to work with the sun glaring in your eyes.

But I didn't mind. I really loved it there.

Recently, some things have made me think a little. My grandfather is not doing so well. He's 97 years old, usually extremely feisty, but recently his health has declined. I'll be visiting him soon.

And then I have a birthday coming up. Yeesh. Thoughts of mortality interrupt my thoughts.

You can react to such situations in different ways. Either let yourself completely go, sit in front of the tv with a plate of manicotti, or not. Thankfully I'm doing the latter. I've been going the gym every day for the last week, waking up before seven to hit the treadmill, like many of my neighbors.

New Yorkers are very concerned about how they look. We might not be as nuts as folks in LA, but we are pretty nuts. You see gyms on the second floors of buildings all over the city with heads bouncing up and down, while the bodies they're attached to exercise on machines below.

You can look great and have your manicotti, too.

Related posts: Working it Out and East (Side) Versus West (Side).


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What Makes Your Skin Crawl

81st Street Subway Station
Photo by myself in the subway station on the Upper West Side, at 81st Street and Columbus Avenue.

Located in front of the Museum of Natural History, this subway station is decorated with playful tile mosaics of animals and insects. Downstairs, the platform is lined with bronze bas-reliefs of dinosaur fossils.

Not often enough, subway art reflects the location of the station.


It's a short week this week since July 4th, Independence Day, falls on Friday. There will be fireworks set off from various locations along the East and Hudson Rivers, between Brooklyn, Manhattan, Roosevelt Island and New Jersey.

I will forever associate July 4th with sweltering humidity and crowds of strangers.

One year in particular is burned into memory, where a group of us waited for eons on an overpass along the East River. There were quiet territory wars between us and the people around us, while sweat and beer poured liberally.

Never again!

Mark and I aren't sure what we'll be doing for the 4th yet, but I salute those who plan to stand in a crowd.

Click here for a guide showing where the excitement will be, this 4th of July.

Related posts: On Living in a Petri Dish