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Friday, July 31, 2009

Salvaged from the World Trade Center

World Trade Center CrossPhoto by myself of the World Trade Center cross, located steps away from the site of the World Trade Center.

This cross was left standing within the debris of the 9/11 tragedy. Now salvaged, it will join other items in the future World Trade Center museum.

Seen above, the cross was erected temporarily near the Trade Center building site. It is a quiet tribute to the victims of 2001.


After being exposed to the chicken pox virus a couple months ago, I was tested by my doctor. She told me that I was immune.

In the last few days, though, one little bump on my head led to another.

Could it be bed bugs? Mark looked at the bumps on my head carefully, then backed away, as if I had the plague. Even the dog looked at me funny.

But now there's no denying it. I am covered in red dots. Aargh!!

Fortunately I have some photos in my stash to post. This pair is both inspiring and sad.

World Trade Center Cross

Related posts: Night View at the World Trade Center, Six Years Ago and On Street Corners in the East Village.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wet and Not-So Wonderful, Downtown

Rain, NYC
Photo by myself in front of City Hall, on Duane Street.

It's been extremely humid and rainy here in New York. Above, a recent downpour.

Thunderstorms have been sweeping the region. The subway platforms are sweltering. On the sidewalks, you seriously feel like you're in a steam room.

I don't see too many men wearing suits to work these days. If they do, I'm sure they take a cab to work and have beautiful skin.


Related posts: On Chrystie Street and Photography 101, On Rain, and Baseball and In the Rain, Midtown.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On the WTC and My Big Toe

WTC Progress
Photo by myself near the World Trade Center site.

Construction is progressing at the World Trade Center site.

There isn't a formal viewing platform any more, but you can get views of the site from a pedestrian walkway that traverses the West Side Highway.


There are a million differences between very high end residential projects and tall buildings.

One is that with a fancy house, you're much more concerned about protecting it than protecting yourself. You wear hard hats only for a brief time, when the house is being framed in.

When a house nears completion, you walk around wearing little booties covering your shoes. All the workers and contractor and client will do this. It looks funny, but it's to prevent the stained wood floors and carpets from being marked up.

One day at my former job, I visited a house with my boss. It was a gorgeous, formal home in Montreal, located on a hill that overlooked the city. There were heavy drapes and huge curtain rods and framed art on each wall.

Since the project had long been completed, there weren't booties available. As customary, we took off our shoes.

Except I had an enormous hole in the toe of my black stocking.

Huge. My big toe stuck out of the hole, the nail covered in a bright fuscia nail polish.

'WHAT....is that.' My boss said, his head tipped down, brows furrowed, looking over his glasses. I'm sure he had never seen a big toe sticking out of a stocking before.


That day I hopped around behind pieces of furniture. Eek!

Related posts: Night View at the World Trade Center, Architecture, A Glorified Profession and Trinity Church, At Dusk.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Eating on the Cheap, Restaurant Week

Woody Allen, The Palm, NYCPhoto by myself at The Palm restaurant, on West Street in Tribeca.

The walls of this high end steak house and bar are covered with the likenesses of present-day celebrities.

Hundreds of floating heads provide a backdrop while you eat. As celebs visit the restaurant, they autograph their likenesses.


It's Restaurant Week, once again!

Mark and I dined with old friends at The Palm, a well-known steak house. There are several Palm restaurants, and we opted to visit their Tribeca location.

Restaurants during this time offer special deals to their customers. At The Palm, for a mere $35, you can select from several prix fixe dinners, which include an appetizer, entree and desert.

Both Mark and I had lobster bisque and filet mignon with roasted fingerling potatoes. One of our friends had pineapple gazpacho (!) and grilled mahi mahi. We all had key lime pie for dessert, and as extras, generous side dishes of Monday Night salad (chopped fresh tomatoes, onions, red bell peppers and a tiny bit of anchovies) and creamed spinach.

You still have a few days to enjoy this great deal. Restaurant Week continues through to July 31st. Hundreds of restaurants participate in this twice-yearly event, offering their own special menus.

For a full listing of venues, click here.

Related posts: Ramen Noodles in the East Village, Tis the Season for Mallowmars and Lure Fish Bar, Soho.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Off Leash, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Off Leash in Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Photo by myself in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

Owners are allowed to let their dogs go off leash in Prospect Park, before 9am and after 9pm each day.

Weekend mornings are usually very popular - owners chit chat, while dogs sniff about and play.


Most weekend mornings, Mark and I accompany our puppy Rupert to Prospect Park. There for a brief time, the rolling green fields are covered with frolicking dogs.

Off Leash in Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Above, a huge friend of Rupert's patiently posed as I snapped his photograph.

Off Leash in Prospect Park, Brooklyn
There's also a corner of a pond where dogs are allowed to swim at any time of day. Originally we thought Boston Terriers weren't water dogs, but Rupert heartily enjoys paddling around with his friends.

Off Leash in Prospect Park, Brooklyn
On the first Saturday morning of each month, Fido, a community group focused on the off-leash privileges of dogs, serves up coffee and treats for everyone. Humans are served pastries, while dogs are served biscuits.

Related posts: A Walk in the Park, A Touch of Nature, in Prospect Park and The Hills are Alive in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

City Portraits - The East Village

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

A facade covered in graffiti, chipped concrete steps, an uncovered garbage can.

The East Village is known for being slightly grungy with a touch of Goth. There's a high percentage of Japanese restaurants, cute boutiques and tiny bars.

The result is an eclectic neighborhood that is as ruggedly charming as it is authentic.


Friday Mark and I spent some time in the East Village, one of our favorite areas, partially because of the availability of parking (!).

We brought Rupert in to romp around Tompkins Square Park, which has an enormous new dog run. He befriended a whole pack of dogs, which within minutes of meeting were chasing him around the perimeter.

Tompkins Square dog run
Here he is with his buddies at the watering hole.

Tompkins Square Park was known for being dangerous not long ago. Today you can still find odd characters sleeping on benches or wandering around. It's not dangerous, but do keep your wits about you.

The Upper Rust, East Village
Just across the street from the park, The Upper Rust, an antiques store with lovely country charm.

Storefront, East Village
Otherwise, the East Village is known for tiny clothing boutiques featuring vintage pieces or individual designers.

Sakaya interior, East Village
The unique interior of Sakaya, a specialty store on East Ninth Street. Here, you can find all the sake you'd like, each in its beautifully designed bottle.

Sakaya, detail

St Marks stall, East Village
Above, good old St. Mark's Place, a street always crowded with tourists and young kids. Here, you can find all sorts of memorabilia. Take home a t-shirt, piercing or tattoo.

City Portraits is an ongoing, once-in-a-while installment featuring parts of New York.

Related posts: City Portraits - Shelter Island, City Portraits - The High Line, Chelsea and Signs of the Times.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Beware of Cat, East Village

Cat, East VillagePhoto by myself in the East Village, around Ninth Street and First Avenue.

The sign in a store window reads:
'No Dogs! We have three rescue cats and they do not like dogs & will attack them and their owners. It's not a pretty sight! This is for your protection! Thank You!'

Yes, even the cats have attitude in this part of town.


Related posts: Cats on Leashes, Louie and Stray Cat, Brooklyn.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Shall We Dance, 34th Street

Dancers, Below Ground
Photo by myself below ground, at the 34th Street subway station.

A couple of dancers performed, drawing a good-sized crowd.

The ability to work the crowd is the mark of a great entertainer. These guys talked trash before jumping about and spinning.


Related posts: Acrobatics Below 34th Street, Tales from Below - A Subway Transcript and A Pedestrian City.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Live, From the United Nations

On the Air, at the United Nations
Photo by myself outside the United Nations, at 44th Street and First Avenue.

I took this photo a couple months ago of a news crew setting up for a broadcast outside the sculptural buildings of the United Nations.

It was interesting to think of the building as a backdrop, an image potentially seen by millions. Yet only a handful of people would see the man standing on a box!


For those who don't know, the United Nations was designed by a collaboration of architects, including Le Corbusier. It was built around 1950.

I have to say it's one of my favorite buildings in New York. Unfortunately because of the high security, you can't walk around it freely, so the view is from a distance.

United Nations, NYC
The view from a suspended walkway across First Avenue, at Tudor City.

Related posts: On Modern Interiors and Mad Men, Now on Center Stage and Building for a Greener Environment.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Meat Market, Ninth Avenue

Pork Shop, Hell's KitchenPhoto by myself at 38th Street and Ninth Avenue.

As the signs say, you can get game at this Hell's Kitchen butcher, such as quail, pheasant and rabbit. Not your style? You can also procure filet mignon, osso buco and pigs' toes.

Esposito & Sons provides high quality meats to restaurants all over Manhattan.


Sometime soon, I'll have to do a walk around Hell's Kitchen. You can get so much great food there, from classic pizza to Brazilian, Greek or Ethiopean fare.

I used to work in the area, and at one time I knew it well. It's changed a lot in the last several years - developer buildings have gone up, old grocery stores have left, chain stores have moved in. Sadly, the variety of food has diminished, too.

It's nice to know that places such as Esposito's remains. I've never stepped inside, but I've long admired the signage, which is quirky and distinctive.

For the Esposito website, where you can purchase an array of sausage, click

Related posts: On Chrystie Street and Photography 101, Signs of Hope and On Radio City and the Whitney Museum.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chez Ralph in Red Hook, Brooklyn

Ralph Balzano, Red Hook, Brooklyn
Photo by myself in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Just a street away from Fairway supermarket stands an incredible house filled with memorabilia. I was lucky enough to get a tour of the ground floor Monday afternoon, by the owner.


I'd always marveled at a particular house in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Its quirky facade is adorned with nautical items and a homemade tribute to the World Trade Center.

Monday both Mark and I had the day off. Passing by, we saw the garage door to the house was open. I took some photos and a man walked by with his dog.

'Ralph's inside,' the man said. 'Go on, he'll give you a whole tour.'

The man was right. I got the grand tour from Ralph, and I was astounded.

Chez Ralph, Red Hook, Brooklyn

I'm not alone. Ralph had his property featured in the New York Times. A lifelong resident of Red Hook and former member of the Parks Department, he remembers when the street outside was a dirt road. He's seen the neighborhood change from a center for ship repair to what it is now - an eclectic home to artists and superstores, like Fairway and Ikea.

Ralph was kind enough to let me wander around the ground floor, which was enormous. Collectibles of all sorts were artfully arranged on the walls. Hats lined the rafters. There was a horse carriage and a gorgeous car. And a pool table below a skylight.

Something about the entire scene was beautiful. I can't put my finger on what it was. The colors? The history? The sheer amount of stuff?

Chez Ralph, Red Hook, Brooklyn

Chez Ralph, Red Hook, Brooklyn

Chez Ralph, Red Hook, Brooklyn

Chez Ralph, Red Hook, Brooklyn

Ralph himself lives a few blocks away. He opens up the garage door so he and his buddies can spend time with each other. It seems everyone knows Ralph, and Ralph knows everyone - as people passed by on foot, they would holler hello.

As I was leaving, Ralph asked me where I lived. 'Park Slope. It's changing so quickly.'

'Everything's changing,' Ralph said. 'It's all changing.'

Related posts: You Can't Take it With You, Parked in Park Slope and Still Life, Antique Store.


Monday, July 20, 2009

City Portraits - Shelter Island

Shelter Island sunset
Photo by myself on Shelter Island, an island off of Long Island, New York.

Lawns, water views and pretty houses typify this popular summer spot a couple hours outside New York City.


Just a few photos from our weekend in Shelter Island, where Mark and I were this weekend for a friend's wedding. The weather turned out to be perfect after an initial overcast spell.

There isn't much of a beach on this island. Instead, the water's edge is irregular and often appears at the back or front yards of peoples' homes. You'll find boats pulled up next to houses large and small, and private docks.

Shelter Island inlet

Shelter Island dusk

The wedding took place at an large, old hotel near the water. The view was very pretty, and dinner was served against a sunset backdrop. The decoration was casual yet elegant, perfect for an outdoor summer wedding.

When the sun finally went down, the whole sky was filled with bright stars. New Yorkers don't see stars often, so this was an unsettling treat!

Shelter Island, Street View
Shelter Island is comparable to The Hamptons, a well-known summer spot for New Yorkers. For whatever reason, Shelter Island is much less of a social scene, and it's much less congested. There are not nearly as many stores, though the ones there are tasteful.

Shelter Island interior
Above: The interiors of Coastal Cottage, a home furnishings store on Grand Avenue.

City Portraits is an ongoing, once-in-a-while installment featuring parts of New York.

Related posts: City Portraits - The High Line, Chelsea, City Portraits - Washington Square Park and City Portraits - BBQ Block Party, Madison Square Park.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pawn Shops, The Diamond District

Pawn Shops, NYC
Photo by myself on 47th Street and Sixth Avenue.

The Diamond District is just a street now, filled with jewelers and pawn shops. Hawkers stand outside each shop, chatting up people walking by to lure them inside.

This street is known for specializing in diamonds. If you're interested in having a ring reset or a diamond purchase, it's the place to go.


Technical difficulties prohibit me from posting new photos until tomorrow. In the meantime, here's an image from my photo stash.

I really love the storefront signage you can see from various eras. It amazes me how easily an earlier time can be evoked through just a few words or images.

Related posts: Now on Sale, in Midtown, Reasons to be Pretty, Times Square and Out to Lunch.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Summering in the City

Blue Umbrellas at the Flatiron Building
Photo by myself near the Flatiron Building, at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue.

Recent changes in New York include carving out public spaces in the middle of streets.

Here, Fifth Avenue and Broadway intersect briefly, forming huge triangle. Part of the triangle is taken up by the Flatiron Building, which takes on a triangular shape.

What was once asphalt has been repaved and covered with public seating and tall planters. Broadway has been made slightly narrower, too. The result is a pretty place to sit against an urban backdrop.


Greetings from Shelter Island!

Friday was overcast and muggy. We drove in with Rupert and hit traffic along the way. The Long Island Expressway is notorious for summer traffic, so we'll be leaving early Sunday to get back to Brooklyn.

Our hotel is by the water, with a pretty view. Rupert is staying at a doggie place nearby, so we can visit him. He was in the car during the ferry ride and had no idea he was on a boat.

I'll post some photos tomorrow of Shelter Island.

Related posts: What's Swinging in Bryant Park, One Really Big Fountain and Out to Lunch.


Friday, July 17, 2009

On South Ferry and Shelter Island

South Ferry, NYC
Photo by myself at the southern tip of Manhattan.

Fishermen had cast their lines into the ocean and were waiting for the first nibble. Beyond, the Statue of Liberty.


Mark and I are off for a long weekend in Shelter Island, for a friend's wedding. I'm looking forward to the trip. Shelter Island is one of my favorite places and we're bound to have a nice, relaxing time.

On the eastern end of Long Island, Shelter Island is not directly accessible by car. We'll have to drive, then board a ferry. The island is covered with pretty lawns and quiet country roads and old houses.

Shelter Island a popular summer spot for New Yorkers, but not nearly as crowded a scene as the Hamptons. I'll take some photos while I'm there.

Meanwhile, I'll be bringing my computer and I'll continue posting here. Happy Friday, everyone!

Related posts: The View of Liberty, Gone Fishin and Greetings from New York.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Taking a Break at the Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty, NYC
Photo by myself on Fifth Avenue.

Some visitors took a breather outside a souvenir shop, Wednesday afternoon.


Sorry I haven't been posting much recently, or visiting many blogs. Life has been busy (but fine).

More later. Happy Thursday everyone!

Related posts: Way off in the Distance, Miss Liberty, The Throngs in Union Square and Lost Near Macy's.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Flatiron Building, in Detail

Flatiron Building, NYC
Photo by myself on Broadway, around 22nd Street.

The ornate building in the foreground is one of the most photographed landmarks in New York. The building shape follows the odd triangular area where Broadway and Fifth Avenue cross.

Perhaps due to its recognizable and striking silhouette, the Flatiron has been photographed by master photographers such as Edward Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz.


Besides the superb detail in the photograph above, the building uses curved glass in the windows on the ends, to follow the curve of the building.

The building in the background is located along Fifth Avenue.

Related posts: The Royalton, Renovated, Among Beautiful Things and Architecture, a Glorified Profession.


Monday, July 13, 2009

The NY Times Building, Hell's Kitchen

NYTimes Building SignPhoto by myself of the headquarters for the New York Times, in Hell's Kitchen.

This recently constructed elegant tower bears the masthead of the venerable paper at its entrance at 41st Street and Eighth Avenue.

The ground floor contains a lobby and stores, while the upper floors contain offices. The delicate facade is constructed from porcelain tubes, and is held away from the windows, to provide shading. The logo is created from porcelain tubes painted black.


It's common knowledge that this top newspaper is not doing well. Like many newspapers today, the New York Times has to compete with online news sources and declining advertisers.

The Times reported it was down $74 million in its first quarter for 2009. Second quarter financials will be publicized next week.

When I was little, reading the Times meant you were an adult, to me. You read the Times, tried your hand at the crossword, drank coffee, and you were a grown up. Now all that is being threatened.

Hopefully we won't lose this paper anytime soon.

For more about the New York Times financial situation, click here.

Related posts: Happy Thanksgiving, at Macy's, Public Art at the Lever House and Now on Sale, in Midtown.


Living in Style at A&G Merch, in Williamsburg

A&G Merch, Williamsburg
Photo by myself at A&G Merch, a home furnishings store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

You can get anything from vinyl wall stickers to paper mache mooseheads to outdoor benches made of reclaimed lumber at this lofty store.


I never tire of browsing, a trait that Mark does not share. He points and shoots, while I chew things over. Just looking at stuff satisfies me, which is lucky for my pocketbook. (I'm sure if I won Lotto, I'd sing a different tune).

A&G Merch, Williamsburg

A&G Merch, Williamsburg
Check out the A&G Merch website, here.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Related posts: Still Life, Antique Store, Eco-Friendly, Cardboard Design, Shopping on St. Mark's Place.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

On Drums and The Brooklyn Bunny

Union Square festivities
Photo by myself in Union Square.

An image from several weeks ago on a very sunny day. This capoeira group played music on curious instruments before breaking out into a group dance.

I'm not sure what the instruments are the photo above. The woman was hitting a drum, while others played an instrument with one-string.


Here's something about New York I bet you don't know: we have an official rabbit.

Well bunny, actually. Friends of a friend of mine are keepers of the Brooklyn Bunny, named Roebling, after the designer of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Like all good celebrities, Roebling has a MySpace page, a Flickr account and he's on Facebook. He doesn't Twitter yet, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.

You can watch Roebling on a webcam that's set up in his home (the cam is experiencing technical difficulties right now, but usually refreshes itself every few seconds). You can watch Roebling, a magnificent white rabbit, snuff around in his area.

Roebling has entertained me during the work day. It's reassuring to watch him amble around, and every so often out of the blue, a mysterious hand will reach in to pet him.

The Brooklyn Bunny site also offers other things bunny-related, like room sprays flavored apple and lettuce, t-shirts, magnets and pins, all wonderfully designed with Roebling's clever logo, based on the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Brooklyn Bunny's humans are graphic designers Dresser Johnson, short for Kevin Dresser and Kate Johnson. They're based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and have done a ton of exciting design work for museums, magazines and other organizations.

You can check out Dresser Johnson's very cool website here.

Related posts: The Hills are Alive in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, The Guy with a Cat on His Head and Cats on Leashes.


Portrait of a Picket Line, in Hell's Kitchen

Bobby Steel, NYC
Photo by myself on Ninth Avenue, around 37th Street.

Bobby Steel, above, blew his whistle rhythmically at a small protest. A building was going up behind them, employing only non-union workers.


A very small group of construction workers protested near the restaurant where we lunched, Friday. The leader of the group was curious about my camera, and when I found out he was part of a picket line, I asked whether I could take a photograph.

Whether union or non-union workers are used on a project often depends on the size of a project. Smaller projects and renovations typically don't have such requirements.

Related posts: Man and Companion, on the Sidewalk, Soap Bubbles, Chinatown and On Bridges and Changing Times.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cow Appreciation Day, Fifth Avenue

Cow Appreciation Day, NYC
Photo by myself on Fifth Avenue and 28th Street.

A tour bus filled with people in cow costumes roared down Fifth Avenue.

Apparently, Friday was Cow Appreciation Day. Those who went to a Chick-fil-A restaurant dressed as a cow received a free meal.

The cows were holding signs saying 'Eat Mor Chikin.' Mark and I were waiting to cross the street, Friday afternoon. He gave me a shout 'Cows on a bus, comin'! Cows on a bus, comin'! Get your camera!!!'

I wonder whether we'll be hearing from the Chicken side soon?


Related posts: Visions of a Cheeseburger, Midtown, Signs of Hope and The Meal Obama Cart, Midtown.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Enjoying the View Across the East River

The View from Williamsburg
Photo by myself of Manhattan, from across the East River in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

People were sunning themselves on the grass last weekend, on the edge of Brooklyn. You can see a bunch of notable buildings from here.

From far left to right: the New York Life Building (with the gold pyramid on top), the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the Citicorp Building (its top is cut at a jaunty angle).


To answer TC's question below, I don't see people swimming in the East River, ever. If most New Yorkers were to see someone in the East River, they'd summon the police for help, who would show up wearing hazmat suits.

But I do see people fishing all the time. And they eat what they catch!

There's also a beach called the Water Taxi Beach, in Long Island City, a neighborhood just north of what's shown in the photo. The beach is a small area of asphalt along the water that's covered with sand (not the most glamorous of things but you get a nice view).

I've never been to the Water Taxi Beach, but I've seen it while driving by on the Long Island Expressway. Parties are held there at night; Mark was there recently and said it was an odd locale.

Happy Friday everyone!

Related posts: Different Vistas, From the East Bank and From Under the Bridge.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hipsters in their Natural Habitat

Hipster sidewalk, WburgPhoto by myself in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

This weekend Mark and I traversed into Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to view hipster douchebags in their natural environment.

There was no need to hide within a tent or creep up on the subjects. They were shuffling around in the open air without a care in the world, in their ragtag clothing, ironic sunglasses, shoes and no socks.

Even in these times, the life of the hipster douchebag seems good.


Generally Hipsters are kids who look like they've rolled out of bed. They spend much time and often money on their appearance, which is contrived to look casually thrown together. Prefers thrift store clothing. Has a trust fund. Modern-day Bohemians.

Stubbornly non-conformist, yet they all tend to look the same.

Here's a link to some definitions of a hipster.

Related posts: The Hipster Olympics, Where the Kids Are - Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Hipster Douchebags.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sharing the Sidewalk, 42nd Street

Outside Grand Central
Photo by myself outside Grand Central, at 42nd Street and Park Avenue.

The crowds during rush hour make the sidewalks tough to navigate.


Lately I've been encountering the New York equivalent to road rage.

Monday night I walked through midtown in the midst of afternoon rush hour. People were swarming around me, some sauntering leisurely, some stopping in the middle of the sidewalk.

I boarded a cramped subway that had no air-conditioning. Bad. Very, very bad.

At the first stop I scooted out onto the platform and into the next car. Better, but it was crowded and I had just a tiny space by the door.

The woman next to me (her elbow touching mine) was reading a book and drinking an iced coffee. Deeply engrossed and oblivious, she had her nose in her book and her iced coffee in my face.


Thoughts race through my head. Confronting her with a push, declaring that of course, her coffee and book must be made comfortable. Oh, don't mind me! Who am I? Just another fare-paying customer! Be oblivious and selfish! Stay in your little world!!!!

Miraculously, I got through the ride without an explosion or homicide. It's not like this kind of thing (crowds, discomfort, loud-talking people, space invaders, wholesale stress) doesn't happen every single day in various forms. There opportunity on the subway, on the sidewalk, in line. I should be used to it by now!

To those who make the journey to and from work stuck in traffic, take heart. It can always be much, much worse!

Related posts: Queuing up at Grand Central, Grand Central and Tall Tales and The View into Grand Central Station.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Desperately Seeking...

Kidney sign, Park Slope, Brooklyn
Photo by myself in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

A small sign caught my eye the other day. There's no telling how long it's been pinned up on an outdoor bulletin board.

The sign was posted by a person in desperate search for a kidney donor.

My thoughts go out to the fellow who posted the note.


Related posts: Visions of a Cheeseburger, Midtown, It's a Free Country, After All and Going for the Gold.


Monday, July 6, 2009

City Portraits - The High Line, Chelsea

View from the High Line
Photo by myself from the High Line, at Gansevoort and Washington Streets in Chelsea. The new elevated park gives views of existing warehouses in the area.

A couple weeks ago I paid a visit to the newest addition to NYC landmarks - the High Line, a public park in Chelsea.

I'd heard vaguely about the project several years ago - something about old elevated railroad tracks being turned into a park. Now I know what the hubbub was about.

This public space is wonderfully designed, using modern materials that manage to refer to the structure's history. Precast concrete pavers are shaped to resemble train tracks, with grass growing in crevices.

At some points, rusty rail tracks are scattered casually on the ground. There are the typical things you expect in a park - plants, paths, benches and water fountains. The difference here is that you're on an old elevated structure, raised above street level.

If you're interested in visiting, I suggest starting at the entrance near Gansevoort Street, where a modern stair literally hangs from the old structure. Travel north, and encounter events along the way - piers that jut out for a view of the Hudson River, an outdoor theater space, and scattered seating areas.

The High Line Entrance
The entrance to the park, at Gansevoort Street. Walking up the stair, you ask yourself - am I inside or outside?

The High Line
At times, the park traverses below buildings sharing the same aesthetic.

The High Line Overpass
Parts of the concrete flooring rise up to become benches.

The High Line Overpass

The park meanders much like a landscape, allowing for views of self-referential views along the way.

The glassed-in space is an open-air theater that looks out onto the street below.

The Steps at the High Line
Dozens of people were sitting on the steps, enjoying the weather. It looked as if something were about to happen.

High Line flexible seating
Large reclining chairs on wheels can be moved along train tracks.

Be aware, though, that besides the buildings, there is little shade along the path. On summer afternoon, it can be hot up there.

Said one European in passing: 'We are closer to the sun!'

Related posts: City Portrait - Washington Square Park, City Portrait - BBQ Block Party, Madison Square Park and Warehousing Art in Chelsea.