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Monday, August 31, 2009

Layers in Time, Tribeca

Facade, Tribeca
Photo by myself in Tribeca, around Duane and Hudson Streets.

The area in Tribeca is known for its history. Located just in front of these buildings is Duane Park, the first area set aside to become a park in Manhattan.

I'm guessing that the facade along the street is a remnant preserved from a previous building. A modern glass block and steel structure exists beyond.

The old facade was kept to preserve the character of the street, which is lined with renovated brick buildings. I'd love to know more about this building - it's unusual for square footage to be left unused in New York.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Related posts: Down in the Village, Public Art at the Lever House and The Royalton, Renovated.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chez Bouley, Tribeca

Bouley, NYC
Photo by myself outside Bouley, in Tribeca on Duane Street.

From the street outside, you can get a glimpse into the kitchen of this fine restaurant. Here, chocolates and sweets are homemade and served on tiered trays.


Saturday night, Mark had a fantastic dinner at Bouley (pronounced boo-LAY), one of the best restaurants in New York.

We rarely go out to fine restaurants, preferring instead down-and-dirty 'authentic' places. We had the tasting menu, which was an culinary assault on our bodies. The food was plentiful and astronomically rich. By the end of the meal, we were pushing dishes away.

The waitstaff was extremely attentive, swarming to replace silverware and explain dishes. The restaurant itself was very pretty, with silver leafed vaulted ceilings, enormous flower displays and enormous paintings of the French countryside. Oh, and the food was just divine.

Bouley, NYC
Above, the vestibule at Bouley is lined floor-to-ceiling with apples. Their scent stimulates your senses from the first step inside.

You know the 'foams' that Top Chefs concoct on the show? Well, we had a few of those. And things in truffle oil. And the most delectable seafood. Each little dish was a complicated, layered mix of this and that.

The Amuse Bouche alone consisted of salmon roe, some kind of foam, balsamic vinegar and something else white. By the end of it, Mark and I were gripping our stomachs, groaning 'Uncle'. The food had won, hands down.

The experience reminds me of an episode of Sex and The City. Charlotte and one of her beau had a several-coursed meal on their honeymoon and afterwards spent the entire night running to and fro to the bathroom, haha. If you're not used to eating rich food, be warned.

For some strange reason, Bouley has gotten some low marks on the internet. Don't believe them. This four-star restaurant is New York fixture, garnering first place in Zagat's as where New Yorkers would want to have their last meal. For the restaurant review of Bouley (which many readers criticized as being too harsh of the food), click here.

For more about the chef David Bouley, click here.

Bouley, NYC

Related posts: Eating on the Cheap, Restaurant Week, Reflecting on Tribeca and City Portrait - BBQ Block Party, Madison Square Park.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Stuck on 8th Ave

Stuck cab, 8th Avenue
Photo by myself on 8th Avenue, around 36th Street.

A sight you don't often see: a yellow cab found itself stranded on Eighth Avenue last week.

Not all cabs are sedans. There are yellow minivans, too, which are convenient if you have lots of luggage.

Related posts: Fixing Flats in the Streets, Taxi! and Columbus Circle, At Dusk.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Painting by Numbers

Performance art, Union SquarePhoto by myself in Union Square.

Earlier this summer, a few women dressed in white leotards sat down and started painting each other in front of onlookers.

Call it performance art. I couldn't quite understand it.

Related posts: The Throngs in Union Square, Peace to All and On a Public Mugging, or a Gimmick Gone Wrong.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

On What's Playing Around Town and at Home

Billboards, NYC
Photo by myself on Fifth Avenue, around 22nd Street.

Like any good capitalist city, New York takes advantage of available ad space. Any construction site is fair game for posters.

Above, billboards announce The September Issue, a documentary about Vogue Magazine's Anna Wintour, which opened last week. Coming up, the Black Crowes are playing in Central Park on September 2nd. Mark and I are tempted to attend.


I haven't posted much about our little family, since there's not much to tell. The summer has zoomed by. Work is much less demanding. I stumble in later, I leave earlier. A luxury.

Puppy with rope toy
Much of our time is spent playing with Rupert, who is a whopping one year old. He puts all his energy into playing until he plops over exhausted.

Above, he stands patiently with his rope toy. He is saying, Momma, enough with the photo-op, let's play!

Related posts: Who's Playing, the East Village, A Rupert Update and What's Black and White and Red All Over?.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lights, Camera, Action!

Taj Ma Hot Dog, Madison Sq. Park
Photo by myself on Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street.

Crowds assembled around a TV shoot, Tuesday afternoon, snapping photos and gawking.

Huge lights were directed toward a fake hot dog stand called 'Taj Ma Hot Dog'. It turns out the shoot was for the television show 'Ugly Betty' on ABC.

Apparently the lead actress wears a hot dog costume in the episode, though I didn't see her there.

Click here to see the poor thing as a giant hot dog.

Taj Ma hot dog, Madison Sq. Park

Related posts: Shooting (Film) in the Park, For Your Viewing Pleasure and Where the Kids Are - Williamsburg, Brooklyn.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Performing Free in Bryant Park

Apollo Run, Bryant Park
Photo by myself in Bryant Park, at 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue.

Free concerts are held in this Midtown park, just around rush hour. The 'Bryant Park After Work' series features mostly classical chamber music, with some indie groups thrown in.

The performances are free, and take place most weekdays, between 6 and 7pm. Above, the Brooklyn-based trio called Apollo Run. It was a treat to walk to Bryant Park and hear them play.

There are many young bands coming out of Brooklyn these days, most notably Bon Iver, which enjoyed rave reviews for their 2008 album 'For Emma, Forever Ago'.

Click here for Apollo Run's Myspace page.
For the Bryant Park After Work calendar, click here.

Related posts: Out to Lunch, High Above Bryant Park and One Really Big Fountain.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Inside the Daily News Building

The Daily News Building, NYC
Photo by myself of the lobby of the Daily News Building, on East 42nd Street.

I'm digging deep into my stash today, folks. The heat has been such a bother. Here's a photo from last Spring.

The lobby of the Daily News Building was the inspiration for the Daily Planet in Superman. A large globe is located in the lobby.


The Daily News is a popular tabloid-style paper in New York. Its headlines are known for their often incomprehensible puns. Example: 'What the h-Elmo, Man?' next to a photo of an Elmo doll and an article about someone dressed in an Elmo costume, who harasses people in Times Square. Ahem.

I had no idea until now that according to Wikipedia, The Daily News is the 5th largest circulated daily paper in the US.

The newspaper no longer counts the E42nd Street tower as its headquarters. The building, however, is still referred to as the Daily News Building.

Related posts: On the Market, The NY Times Building, Hell's Kitchen and Details, Details.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

What's New and Old in the East Village

2nd Avenue, NYC
Photo by myself in the East Village, around Second Avenue and Ninth Street.

The old-fashioned Polish-Ukranian butcher in the background, East Village Meat Market, has a huge following. They offer homemade kielbasa, pierogies, blintzes and smoked meats.


Not all buildings in the East Village are quaint, old brownstones.

There are some recently-erected modern towers here and there, mostly near 8th Street and 4th Avenue, near the Cooper Union school. One tower made it to the news recently, when singer John Legend bought a one-bedroom condo for 2.3 million dollars.

Yes, a one-bedroom for 2.3 million dollars. It's 1,300 sf and it's pretty damned photogenic.

The modern white tower with open floors is located at 4th Street and 4th Avenue. Legend will be living in the same building as Moby. The building has a doorman, outdoor pool and indoor parking.

For a tour of the apartment, click here.

Related posts: City Portraits - The East Village, A Moment Alone in the East Village and Cuppa Joe to Go.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Apthorp, Upper West Side

Apthorp, Upper West SidePhoto by myself of The Apthorp, around 78th Street and West End Avenue.

The sun was setting over the Hudson River, casting a great glow across the facade of this enormous apartment building, the size of a city block. You can see the shadow of another building with a water tower on the roof. A stormy sky lurked beyond.

I really like this building, which is detailed beautifully. Copper trim decorates the top, and the stones become progressively larger as they near the base.

If you ever get to visit the Upper West Side, do take a walk along West End Avenue, what I consider to be the West Side's equivalent to Park Avenue. Instead of tall, stately buildings in limestone, there are tall, stately buildings in brick.

It's very pretty, and Riverside Park is just a block away.


It's been so crazy hot and humid in New York, just insane. Standing on subway platforms is dreadful. Only the passing trains provide relief from the heat.

Mark and I are off to a wedding Saturday afternoon, held on the Upper West Side. Oh boy. I don't think the church will have air conditioning!

Related posts: Going Postal in Midtown, Trinity Church, at Dusk and The View from Williamsburg.


Friday, August 21, 2009

The East River at Dusk

East River, NYCPhoto by myself of Manhattan, from the Brooklyn Promenade.

All along the water's edge, public parks are under construction. In the last several years under Mayor Bloomberg's rule, the waterfronts of Manhattan and Brooklyn have undergone intense revitalization.


I really cannot wait until the parks are complete along the Brooklyn waterfront.

Apparently the parks will wind around continuously for 14 miles, spanning from Greenpoint to Sunset Park. As a Brooklynite, I can tell you that that is huge. By car, those neighborhoods are worlds apart. You have to travel over the Brooklyn Queens Expressway to get from one to the other, and/or suffer many bumpy, crappy roads.

Since much of the waterfront had been industrial, there is a lot to clean up. Shipyards still exist in Red Hook, where you can see cranes loading huge container vessels.

Already the parks near Williamsburg and Columbia Street in Carroll Gardens are far along. The area above, near Brooklyn Heights, has a long way to go.

Related posts: Life on the Water, in Riverside Park, Looking out at Manhattan and The View from Williamsburg.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

On Crowds and the New Yorker Festival

Candid, Midtown
Photo by myself on a Midtown sidewalk.

One of my indulgences has to be taking candid photographs of crowds.

You can capture a multitude of expressions, gestures and clothing style, within a split second on any street corner. Additionally, the layers of people give an image depth.

I'd love to know the story of the gentleman, above.


The New Yorker Festival is on again this year, October 16-18th. If you haven't been, you can sign up to receive an early calendar of events, online.

Over the years, I've seen talks with Steve Martin, David Byrne, Malcom Gladwell, Chuck Close and late Richard Avedon, among others. Steve Martin of course picked up his banjo and David Byrne performed the acoustic guitar.

All the talks were reasonably priced. I cannot say enough great things about the series, which includes readings from current authors, round tables with noted thinkers and even movies.

For more about the Festival click here.
To sign up for the Festival Wire, the calendar of events, click here.

Related posts: Queuing Up at Grand Central Terminal, Union Square in Black and White and Slowing Down to See the Details.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

On The Brooklyn Library and iPod Art

Brooklyn Public LIbraryPhoto by myself at the Brooklyn Public Library.

The huge ornamental doors of this building are decorated with gilded bas-reliefs and quotes about books.


There's a new little section on The New Yorker Magazine website, appropriate to these technological times.

Every week, Jorge Colombo, a New York illustrator, posts short videos made on his iphone. You can watch Colombo create images using an application that simulates fingerpainting. The drawings are usually scenes from New York.

In fact, the June 1st cover of the New Yorker was the first to be created on an iphone for that magazine. The cover shows a street view of Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in Times Square.

Other Colombo iPod creations show wedding photographs taken at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge, the interior of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and views from New York City streets.

To read more about the New Yorker cover and see the video showing its creation, click here.
To see the Colombo's weekly videos for The New Yorker, click here.

Related posts: St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, The Whole World in His Hands and On the Market.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On Canal Street and Annie Liebovitz

Canal Street, NYC
Photo by myself on Canal Street, in Chinatown.

Even in the heat, Canal Street was busy, Monday evening.

People were milling about, bargaining for jewelry, bags and 'designer' fragrances. If you're in a hurry, this is not the neighborhood for you. The sidewalks are usually jam-packed during the day.


For those photography-lovers who admire Annie Leibovitz, there's a long article about her in this week's New York Magazine.

The portrait photographer won a prestigious award last year from the International Center of Photography, based on her complete work. She is going through personal financial trouble and the article traces her career from beginning to present.

To read more about one of today's most recognized photographers, click here.

Related posts: All Lit up on Canal Street, Fish Market, Chinatown and A Careful Choice, in Chinatown.


Monday, August 17, 2009

It's Hot in the City

Rachel's, Brooklyn
Photo by myself of Rachel's, a Mexican restaurant in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

The flames refer to spicy food. The flourish below their name is actually a hot pepper.


Speaking of flames, New York is bracing itself for a heat wave this week.

Sunday it was in the low 90s with high humidity. More of the same uncomfortable weather is expected this week. I'm certain the subway platforms will be unbearable.

All you can hear outside at night is the whir of air conditioning.

Related posts: Emailing Under the Influence, Not, Open 24/7, Brooklyn and Neon Storefronts, Midtown.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

From the Streets of DUMBO

Dumbo, Brooklyn Photo by myself in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

DUMBO stands for 'Down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass'. This is the overpass, formed by the end of the Manhattan Bridge.

This area is has tons of character, with many renovated warehouses and some cobblestone streets. There are some apartments here but the streets generally clear out at night.

Whether the overpass is a major feature in this neighborhood is up for debate. Jerry Seinfeld joked that the place is really 'Down Under the Manhattan Bridge', but New Yorkers added the 'O' because they didn't want a neighborhood called 'DUMB'.

Related posts: On Bridges and Changing Times, At the Foot of the Manhattan Bridge and Sunday Morning, Along the East River.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Live Poetry on the Lower East Side

Bowery Poetry Club, NYCPhoto by myself on Bowery, just south of Houston Street.

The Bowery Poetry Club and Cafe is a performance space for literary readings and poetry slams.

Every night features different artists or themes, and entrance fees are extremely reasonable. If you want to feel like you're on the cutting edge of emerging verbal art, treat yourself to a poetry slam.

I haven't been to the above venue, but I have been to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, another well-known location for poetry slams. The performances I witnessed were inspired and full of creative energy.

For a schedule of events at the Bowery Poetry Club, click here.

Related posts: Behind the Curtain, Meatpacking District in Black and White and Building Big.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Copping a Feel on the Subway

The Look, MidtownPhoto by myself in Herald Square, around 33rd Street and Broadway.

Several police officers congregated on a street corner the other day.

For whatever reason, I've been seeing a lot more police presence here in the city. The other morning, several police officers stood in the subway station bearing Uzzis and police dogs.


Recently in the subways, posters have been appearing regarding personal space.

Finally, sexual harassment in the subways has become an issue. Women are being encouraged to speak up if they're groped.

I've encountered some errant hands on the subway, and I'm sure most women have. When you're standing in tight quarters with nowhere to run, you're quite vulnerable. It's also easy to give people the benefit of the doubt and not realize you're being groped until much too late.

A full-fledged ad campaign is scheduled to take place underground in September. You can read more about it here.

Related posts: Policing the Subway, Code Yellow and Heigh-Ho.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Now Playing at the Booth Theater

Police horses, 45th Street NYCPhoto by myself on West 45th Street and Broadway.

Police horses are seen occasionally here, mostly during parades. I liked this photo for the large posters looming behind the horses.

The posters on the building advertise a play called 'Next to Normal', a Tony-award winning play now showing at the Booth Theater.

For a review of the play, click here.

Related posts: Riding High, Police Line, Do Not Cross and NYPD Blues.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The View from Brooklyn Bridge Beach

Manhattan Beach
Photo by myself at Manhattan Beach, between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges.

Yet another photo from my tour the other day of the East River. The tall buildings of the Financial District can be seen beyond the bridge.

Many people sat on steps leading to the water to watch the sunset in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The entire shoreline is being developed and will soon be beautifully landscaped.

To see the future planned park, click here.


Incidentally, this weekend an air accident occurred on the other (west) side of Manhattan, above the Hudson River.

A helicopter collided with a small private plane on Saturday. The helicopter was one of many that take tourists out for aerial tours. The two aircraft went down into water near 14th Street. All those in the aircraft, a total of nine, were killed.

Unfortunately, Saturday happened to be a bright day. The west edge of Manhattan was heavily populated with people in the parks. There's no telling how many people witnessed the tragic accident.

Air accidents in New York are extremely rare. Actually, accidents in general are rare here, considering all that goes on (taxis, bike messengers, pedestrians and pedicabs). It's very safe to travel within New York.

For more on the crash, click here.

Related posts: Suspenseful Bridges, Running Atop the Brooklyn Bridge and On the Brooklyn Bridge.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

From the Edge of DUMBO

Below the Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn
Photo by myself near the Manhattan Bridge, in Brooklyn.

Monday evening, people camped out on the bank of the East River to catch the sunset. The Lower East Side is visible, across the East River.

DUMBO describes the area near the foot of the Manhattan Bridge, in Brooklyn. The acronym stands for 'Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass'. The area is known for artists, renovated warehouses and some cobblestone streets.


I finally left the house Monday, after staying many days inside, recovering from an illness.

Whew! What a day to be out. Even near sundown, the air was thick with moisture. It was HOT. The heat didn't stop others, though. Flocks of people were busy enjoying the view of Manhattan from across the East River, in Brooklyn Heights.

I walked a bit on and below the Manhattan Bridge. Then I walked a few blocks over to the Brooklyn Promenade.

Unfortunately there aren't any signs marking the way to the Promenade, a park-like area raised up above the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway with stellar views of Manhattan. If you're planning to visit, do consult a map, such as this one.

It's easy to get on the wrong level from the Manhattan Bridge area, and find yourself on desolate streets lined with uncharming warehouses. The promenade level is located above the warehouses, behind some lovely Brooklyn streets.

On the map, the promenade is not shown, but is located running along to the right of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

Related posts: Sunday Morning, Along the East River, At the Foot of the Manhattan Bridge and On Bridges and Changing Times.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Back in Time, in Bay Ridge Brooklyn

Bay Ridge deli, BrooklynPhoto by myself in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

There's something about Bay Ridge that I like so much. It seems untouched by time. I like that the fellow is wearing a tank top.

I took the above photo on July 4th of this year. The flags were out on the sidewalk, but few people were outside.

Related posts: Nearly Perfect, Parked in Park Slope and The Night Sky.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

On Rain and the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge, beyond
Photo by myself along the East River.

A photograph from earlier this year. A man was doing Tai Chi exercises, with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background.


The weather reports say that we've only had one day over 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 32 degrees Celsius, since June. It's also been a rainy summer (we had the 2nd wettest June on record, this year).

Interestingly, the Times reports that the murder rate in New York goes down when it rains.

The experts don't know why. According to the article, some experts say that rain makes all the bad guys stay inside. Fewer bad guys on the streets means fewer confrontations.

The rain also means cooler temperatures, which leads to cooler tempers. Crazy, eh?

For the Times article, click here.

Related posts: Walking the Brooklyn Bridge, More of the Brooklyn Bridge and The Night Sky.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Last Call, Park Slope and 10 Things to Do in New York

Analog chat room, Park Slope
Photo by myself in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

The sandwich board outside a neighborhood bar always has clever things on it.


Well it dawned on me today that I haven't been outside of this apartment in (gulp) ten days!!! Aargh!!

Not a long time in the grand scheme of things, but not a short time, either. I am surprised I haven't gone nuts yet.

Already I've been fantasizing about what to do first. Is there a top 10 list, in the spirit of D. Letterman?

10. Stand in the middle of a crowd on a hot sidewalk in Midtown (or something equally annoying. A parade perhaps?).
Yes, I miss the city that much. I miss walking or not walking, and all the sights and sounds that come with it. I miss the different people and the traffic. I miss the bits of conversation floating past. I miss wondering why everyone's walking so slowly. Even that.

9. Be anywhere on Fifth Avenue. Flatiron District preferred.
One of my favorite neighborhoods has to be the stretch of Fifth Avenue between 12th Street and 23rd Street. Why? Well the buildings that line the street (and the shops in the buildings) make this area fun.

8. One word, Soho.
Whether it's sipping a drink in the afternoon at a sidewalk cafe, or browsing in one of the many precious little shops, it's hard not to feel like you're on vacation in this neighborhood.

7. Enjoying the sun in Washington Square Park.
I had such a good time the last time I was in this newly-renovated park, I am dying to go back. I couldn't get enough of the large fountain, a perfect summer spot.

6. Having a burger along the Hudson River.
I miss The Boat Basin, in Riverside Park. It's an informal restaurant/bar inside the park around 79th Street. Sitting there on a summer day near the water is like being on a big boat.

5. Oh dear, now that I mention burgers, how about a Chicago Dog?
Well first, you have to get through the line at the Shake Shack. Their shakes are thick and delicious, and to me, worth the wait.

4. Hanging out at the water's edge.
Manhattan is wonderful, but there's nothing like getting a good view of it. Whether it's walking across the Brooklyn Bridge or hanging out at the Brooklyn Promenade, the views of Manhattan from Brooklyn are stunning.

3. Watching the crowds in Union Square.
It's a continuous party in Union Square, or a political rally, or a farmer's market, or a shopper's paradise. You never know what you'll get in this large park, which is still under renovation, but it's bound to be good.

2. Discovering someplace new.
Even after all these years, I can still find spots I haven't noticed, and streets I haven't wandered down. One of the best feelings in the world to me is the sense of discovery. Buildings are also continually going up and going down. The city is always being reinvented.

1. Walking with Mark and Rupert, in Brooklyn.
There's nothing quite like walking with your sweetheart behind a small, trotting dog. Off leash times in Prospect Park are the best, when I can watch him interact freely in the landscape with dozens of other dogs.

Related posts: Visions of a Cheeseburger, Midtown, Signs of Hope and Reasons to be Pretty, Times Square.


Friday, August 7, 2009

On Curvy Walls and Stone Slabs

Curvy wall
Photo by myself in Chelsea, around little West 12th Street and Washington Street.

I'm not 100% of the location of the new apartment building above. I think I took the photo near High Line Gansevoort entrance, a month ago.

I'm sure the building exterior is nearly complete by now. When planned well in advance, the process of putting in glass takes little time.


It's hard for me to believe that I haven't been outside my apartment in over a week. Eek.

I feel nearly 100% now, making my way back from the chicken pox. The sad thing is that I look nothing near normal. I look like one of those zombies that's just climbed out of the cemetery, looking for lunch (!).

Anyway, I wanted to share some photos of a field trip from last week, before I fell sick, to a stone yard outside New York City. The warehouse was huge, filled with slabs of marble, granite, onyx, quartzite and other gorgeous stones.

Stoneyard visit, Mt. Vernon NY

I went with my boss and the client, to look at slabs we had reserved, before placing the final order. These slabs were pretty large, about 6' by 8' pieces, all stacked against each other.

When you wanted to see a slab, two men would find it in the warehouse, and slip two belts attached to a winch around the stone. The winch picked up the belts, hauling the slab high up in the air. The slab would be brought to the front of the stack.

It was incredible just to wander around the warehouse, looking at these gorgeous pieces of stone. I was absolutely flabbergasted.

Some stone looked too gorgeous to be cut into countertops or bathtub decks, fireplaces or floors. Some looked unreal. Others looked like paintings.

Stoneyard visit, Mt. Vernon NY

Stoneyard visit, Mt. Vernon, NY

Stoneyard visit, Mt. Vernon NY
Above, a little difficult to understand, but there is a red ladder leaning up against the stone, which itself reminds me of Van Gogh's Starry Night.

Fortunately all the stone we had reserved looked great. The client was very pleased, and I was relieved.

Related posts: On Public Art at the Lever House, Building for a Greener Environment and Architecture, a Glorified Profession.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Atop the East Village

East Village cornice, NYC
Photo by myself, somewhere in the East Village.

Some tiny colorful flags were strung up across a courtyard, and window boxes were precariously arranged on the edge of the roof.


Most walk-ups in New York are 5 floors tall. I'm not sure whether this is a zoning standard. The water pressure in the city water mains, however, are just able to reach the fifth floor without the need of an extra pump.

It's always a question for people moving, especially the kids who do it without moving companies: 'What floor are you moving to' and 'What floor are you moving from'? Factor those things in with the time of year, and you can predict what sort of moving day to expect.

I survived moving from a third story walk-up to a fourth story walk-up in July. It was just me and a friend, a van and a cat. The cat did nothing, of course, crouched in her carrier the whole time. The two of us huffed and puffed up and down the stairs, in high humidity, sweat dripping everywhere.

I do recall going to a couple parties at someone's apartment who lived on the seventh floor of a walk-up, somewhere in midtown. To this day I'm not sure how he lived there. What if you forgot to get some milk?

And the craziest thing was that he had parties at his apartment. So all his guests who wanted to smoke had scramble down six flights of stairs to the street, and then hike back up again. It was quite a commitment, those stairs.

Related posts: Looking Up, in Park Slope, On Tenement Life and Cable TV and What's Going Up, Near the ESB.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

On the View in Times Square and Street Photography

Sitting in Times Square
Photo by myself in Times Square, around Broadway and 43rd Street.

A photo from earlier this year, showing the public space that Broadway has become in Times Square. The street has been shut down from car traffic. Many lawn chairs were strewn about for tired visitors to rest their feet.

The street furniture may have changed since I took this photo in mid-June.

For a side view of this scene, click here.


Yesterday in relation to street photography, Gail's Man of Nottingham Daily Photo referred to the photographer Bruce Gilden.

A respected Magnum Photographer, Gilden was born in Brooklyn. New York figures prominently in his work, which is decidedly 'in your face.'

Mark found a youtube video showing Gilden in action. Mind you, I'm nothing like this guy.

I hope you enjoy this video as much as I do.

Related posts: Times Square, NYC, Life in the Balance and Time for Valentine's.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

People, People, Everywhere

34th Street, NYC
Photo by myself in Herald Square, Midtown.

Typical crosswalk traffic in this area of town. During rush hour, it's about ten times worse.


It's a misconception to think that New Yorkers enjoy crowds.

I myself can put up with crowds that are moving fast enough. When a crowd moves along briskly, avoiding collisions at street corners, there's a choreography to it. Give me a parade, and I go a bit insane.

Home is a refuge for every New Yorker. For the fortunate, there's a second home outside the city, in Long Island, upstate New York, the New Jersey shore or Connecticut. People set up time shares, to escape the heat at least a few weekends of the summer.

Many New York apartments aren't large enough to be anything more than a private refuge. As a result, we often entertain outside the home. The bar or restaurant becomes an extension of our living rooms, where we can spend time relaxing, catching up, away from the crowds.

Related posts: The Latest Urban Adventure, Lost in a Crowd and A View from the Streets.


Monday, August 3, 2009

On the Rise in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Affordable housing graffiti, Park Slope
Photo by myself in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Some wry commentary outside one of many, many developer buildings going up in Brooklyn.

There are several construction sites in my neighborhood alone in Park Slope. Some projects seem to be stalled, but most seem to be moving forward.

These condos and co-ops replace single family and older rental buildings. 99-cent stores are replaced by nail salons, which are then replaced by delis, then gourmet bakeries. That's the way it goes.

You have to wonder though whether affordable housing for the not-so-well-off is going up anywhere. Not that I know of in my area.


Not much to report here, except that the cat and I have been doing some serious lolling about. It's hard to determine which of us is more lazy.

With the chicken pox, I've gotten through the white dot stage to the pink dot stage to the purple dot stage. All of it very tiresome and uncomfy, and without a shred of hunger. There are times when my stomach growls and hurts, telling my little brain that I should eat, but I have zero appetite. (A blessing in disguise, this illness!)

Thanks so much to all for your well wishes. It truly means a great deal, and reminds me that we should all take thanks for our good health when we have it. When we're not feeling well, the world as we know it is a different place.

Related posts: City Portraits - The East Village, Art for the Masses and Abandoned Lot, East Village.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Reflecting on Tribeca

Tribeca stoop, NYC
Photo by myself in Tribeca, around Warren and Greenwich Streets.

This small neighborhood near City Hall is known for its historic loft buildings.


I have to admit that even though I lived in Manhattan for a while, I never fully got a grip on where Tribeca was (!).

The times I visited I was with people who knew what they were doing, or I was visiting a particular venue. The Odeon, for example, a classic bistro on West Broadway. Or Walkers, another bar/restaurant with old style charm.

I tried going there recently but wound up near the World Trade Center, walking aimlessly. How embarrassing!

Now, after finding it again, I think the best options are these - go to City Hall and walk west, or go to the Chambers Street subway station. The neighborhood is rather small, so it's easy to miss.

Related posts: Decisions, Decisions, On a Stoop, in Soho and The Best of Times, the Worst of Times.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Moving and Shaking, the Diamond District

Diamond District, NYC
Photo by myself in the Diamond District, around 47th Street and Sixth Avenue.

Something about this photo with the lettering, pawn shop sign and characters reminds me of a movie. A mob hit was just awarded or a heist is in progress.


I will try to keep my kvetching to a minimum, as I recover from the chicken pox. Friday was a long day.

Among other things, I took a car service to visit my doctor in the city, since Mark was working. It's a long ride and the driver and I struck up a conversation.

'Where are you from?' he asked.

'Oh, I grew up in Boston but I've lived in New York several years.'

'I'm from Israel,' he said.

'I've heard Israel is very old and beautiful.'

'Let's visit it together, you and I.'

WHAT??! Was this guy blind? Did he not see that I looked like I'd run into a nest of angry bees?

I suppose I should have been flattered. I let him know my relationship status. He told me about his divorce. He told me about a 4-year relationship with a woman in Canada who was decidedly 'not beautiful'.

Then I introduced him to the world of online dating.

'Do you have a computer?'

'Yes,' he said, looking into the rear view mirror warily.

Well, then.

Related posts: Pawn Shops, the Diamond District, Tough Times, Midtown and Candid, Midtown.