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Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Elevated Tracks in Park Slope, Brooklyn

4th Avenue stop, Park Slope
Photo by myself on the 4th Avenue subway platform in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

There are a few outdoor subway platforms in Brooklyn and Queens. It's a thrilling experience when the subway emerges from the tunnel, and you can see Manhattan in the distance.

The bad thing, of course, is that the platforms are exposed in the winter months. I couldn't resist taking this photo, as the light was turning golden.


Just a note from Boston folks, where it's also very cold. I'm here visiting my grandfather, who is a whopping 99 years old.

He is animated as ever and insists that he's 97! It was refreshing to sit with him and hear him say how fortunate he feels about his life. I've promised myself to visit him more often.

Anyway, I will be back in New York tomorrow. Happy weekend, everyone!

Related posts: Under the Overpass, in Harlem, The Subway Platform, 59th Street and Moving on Up.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Shopping til Dropping, on Canal Street

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

It was very, very cold on Friday. Despite icy winds, shoppers and vendors were out along Canal Street, which is lined with stalls selling jewelry, perfumes and clothing.

Sadly I was outside, too. I was fetching an antsy Rupert from where Mark was working, nearby. I can attest that within minutes, any exposed skin became dry and painful in the cold air. Owch.

Biting Cold on Canal Street

Human Sign, Canal Street
The gentleman bearing the sign was very friendly and offered for me to take his photo.

Normally, the sidewalks in this area are packed with slow-moving out-of-towners. It's quite infuriating to most native New Yorkers, who are used to walking about at a fast clip. Many jump into the gutter to walk out of frustration.

I'm off for a day in Boston, which is even colder. Photos will continue to be posted here, as usual.

Related posts: A Careful Choice, in Chinatown, The Dragon Parade, on Mott Street and All Lit Up on Canal Street.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Singing the Blues, Below Ground

Below Union Square, NYC
Photo by myself at the Union Square subway station.

Based in New York, The Tin Pan Blues Band performs extensively throughout and under Manhattan and Brooklyn.

A large crowd of onlookers surrounded the group as they jammed at the Union Square station. It was impossible not to smile - the group's energy is pure enthusiasm.

Below Union Square, NYC
From where we stood, you could hear the trains come and go on the tracks below. Rush hour traffic was in full swing, yet people did not want to leave.

Then the music wound down and the sound of trains whooshed in. Suddenly the crowd was gone.

Below Union Square, NYC
For the Tin Pan website, with video clips and free downloads of their music, click here.

Related posts: On the Subway Platform and Late Night TV, All That Jazz and Music While You Wait.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Free Food, Washington Square Park

Free Food, Washington Sq Park
Photo by myself in Washington Square Park.

Someone left a container and a note saying 'Free Food'. The note was held down with a small branch.


When I showed the above photo to Mark, he expressed doubt that someone would actually eat the food.

'I've tried giving food to homeless guys. They turned me down!'

I have to side with Mark. The container is probably still sitting there.

However...I have noticed more acts of generosity and hopefulness during my recent walks around the city. The signs are subtle. I can't say that people are handing out wads of cash, but it's there, a genuine concern for others.

New Yorkers continue to contribute to street musicians and homeless folks on the sidewalk. We're still eating out and renovating apartments and buying fancy shoes. I have a feeling the fancy shoe shopping will be a tough habit to stop.

And we're leaving food out for those who might need it, instead of throwing it away. Maybe the food goes uneaten, but it's a gesture that's real.

Related posts: City Portrait - Washington Square Park, Worthy Causes and Homeless Man, Central Park.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Scooby Doo, in the West Village

Waverly Place, NYC
Photo by myself in the West Village, around Charles Street and Waverly Place.

Poor Scooby Doo was held hostage by a moving van in the West Village.

Usually you will see captive stuffed animals like pink bunnies or Elmos on the grills of grimy garbage trucks. This moving van decided to follow suit.

As you can see, the streets are relatively narrow in this neighborhood. Good luck to anyone on the other side of this truck!


I was tempted to post a photo of someone sleeping on a front stoop, but then stopped myself.

Sometimes gritty reality can be a bit too much. The New York Jets failed to make it to the Superbowl, I had to zap another mouse in our apartment, a big one this time, which probably left some baby mice orphaned....yadda, yadda, yadda.

I'll take Scooby Doo anytime.

For more about my urban mouse zapping, click here.

Related posts: Tied Up, Smile, It's Happy Hour and The Jazzman, 34th Street.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

All Aglow, on 57th Street

W57th Street, NYC
Photo by myself on 57th Street and 6th Avenue.

The warm glow of lights draw you into the stores along this popular street.

The area is known for high end bookstores and galleries. Carnegie Hall is located on this stretch, steps away from The Russian Tea Room.

Related posts: A Warm Glow on the Upper West Side, The Apthorp, Upper West Side and Dusk at 72nd Street Station.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Village People, in Sheridan Square

Village People, NYC
Photo by myself in Sheridan Square, in the West Village.

'The Bus Stop', by American artist George Segal, was installed in 1980. The figures were cast from life, created in bronze and patinated white, to resemble plaster.

For some embarrassing reason, I never noticed this sculpture before, perhaps because they are treated like neighborhood fixtures.


I don't often post photos from the Village, and here's why: first, we often visit the East Village because there are more parking spaces. Second, Rupert loves the big dog run in Tompkins Square Park.

But really, I am directionally impaired, and a directionally impaired person in a neighborhood of diagonal streets is a sad sight. Within an hour I am a disoriented, dehydrated, grumbly person with sore feet.

I keep telling myself that all I need is to get lost more, and I'll know the neighborhood. Ha, fat chance!

Related posts: Art, for Public's Sake, On Public Art and Other Freebies and Public Art at the Lever House.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Guiseppi Logan, Performing in Tompkins Square Park

Giuseppi Logan, Tompkins Square Park
Photo by myself in Tompkins Square Park, around 8th Street and Avenue A.

The other day I was walking about Alphabet City. I hadn't hadn't much luck with taking photos of people, and Mark and I were about to go home. Then I heard the sound of a saxophone.

A man was hunched over, improvising in Tompkins Square Park. I asked if I could take his photograph.

The man was friendly and played rapidly, the notes tumbling forward. He said he's played in New York and Philadelphia but didn't have any gigs at the moment. He carefully spelled out his name and asked me to look him up on youtube.

It turns out that Giuseppi Logan was something of a figure in the free jazz world in the late 60's. According to Wikipedia, Logan is 75 years young. He's made records. He studied at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

Sadly, Logan's story is one that movies are made of - a precocious youth, loads of talent, drug use and a mysterious disappearance from the music scene. There were queries on messageboards about Logan's whereabouts and rumors of his death.

Giuseppi Logan, Tompkins Square Park
Guiseppi Logan once lived near Tompkins Square. He was born in Philadelphia.

There are loads of talented people in New York. Why was I so surprised by Logan's history? I must say it was a little like stumbling upon Bobby Fischer playing chess outside in Washington Square. I could have easily walked by and missed the opportunity.

Here's a page devoted to Logan by one of my favorite radio stations, WFMU.

Related posts: All That Jazz, Performing Free in Bryant Park and On Music and Elephants, Underground.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Grains of Sand, in Union Square

Sand art, Union Square
Photo by myself in Union Square, at Broadway and 16th Street.

An artist named Joe Mangrum drew a small crowd last week as he created a large piece of colorful art on the ground.

Made entirely of brightly colored sand, this large design took the greater part of the day. As he added more to the artwork, Joe talked about how each of us was like a grain of sand in the larger context of the city.

Luckily for all of us, there was no wind that day. For more of Joe's work, click here.


The size of Union Square makes it a popular location for performance art. There are often jugglers, musicians and mimes there, doing their thing. On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the square is filled with a Farmer's Market.

Folks from upstate New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania drive over to sell organic produce, honey, meats, eggs, baked goods and even fish. For New Yorkers who appreciate fresh food and love to cook, it is heaven.

Artists and vendors often set up booths on the same days, selling their paintings, pins, t-shirts, photographs and all else. It's a delight to tour around the square, browse around and watch people.

Related posts: Union Square is Where it's at, Sound the Horns in Union Square and Painting by Numbers.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Street View at The New Cooper Union Building

Cooper Union sidewalk, NYC
Photo by myself near Cooper Union in the East Village, around Bowery and East 6th Street.

At street level, all you see is the splayed legs of the new Arts and Sciences Building of Cooper Union, a college in New York. The painted sign for The Bowery Bar and Grill, a well-known hangout, is in the background.

Founded by Peter Cooper in 1859, Cooper Union offers degrees in the arts, architecture and engineering to its students free of charge. It is exceedingly difficult to get into the school, as you might imagine.

Cooper Union street view, NYC
The new Arts and Sciences building, designed by LA architect Thom Mayne.

How appropriate then is it to have this new sculptural building added to a progressive urban campus? We don't often have such modern architectural statements here. Most buildings conform in some way to the street, or resemble the older buildings.

This building seems to want to leap up and move around. You wouldn't think that concrete piers would splay out and seem to dance. Its metal mesh facade resembles a skirt ready to be flung off.

I can't say I fell in love with it at first sight, but the building takes risks and encourages you to try to figure it out. Its elaborate construction draws you in.

For the Times review of the building, click here.

Related posts: A Pedestrian City, Fixing Flats in the Streets and Taxi Drivers Wanted, Brooklyn.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Big Green Monster, in Midtown

Teletubby, Midtown NYC
Photo by myself, in Midtown.

Everyone has a gimmick, methinks.

A Teletubby was seen handing out fliers for a deli in Midtown. I suppose the Teletubby wasn't too busy lulling young children into submission.

I was going to write that Teletubbies are an American phenomenon, except they aren't. According to Wikipedia, these guys originated in the UK and have been seen all over the place.

For more about Teletubbies, click here.

Related posts: The 2009 New York City Marathon, Welcome to New York and Cow Appreciation Day, Fifth Avenue.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Making a Splash, at Lincoln Center

Lincoln Center, NYC
Photo by myself at Lincoln Center, around 63rd Street and Broadway.

The new fountain at Lincoln Center is up and running. The fountain is elegantly designed - the sculptured granite top is elevated on legs and lit from below. The building in the background is the Metropolitan Opera House.

The polished surface of the fountain looks like it's wet but don't be fooled. You can sit on it and enjoy the view.


When I recently read about the design and construction of the new fountain at Lincoln Center, I knew I had to visit it soon.

There's a great article in the New Yorker describing the powerful new water pumps installed below the plaza. A fountain expert from LA was brought in, who designed fountains for fancy casinos in Las Vegas. The new technology out there in fountain design are fascinating.

I'm sorry to say that my link is to the summary of the article. Unfortunately the article can be viewed by subscribers only, but isn't that the greatest excuse to subscribe to one of the best publications out there?

Here's a link to another article in the Times, which at this writing, is still free of charge. Be sure to check out the supercool animated movie of the entire design on the left sidebar, showing the renovation plans for the entire complex.

Related posts: Up With the Arts, at Lincoln Center, City Portraits - The High Line, Chelsea and A Modern Icon, in New Canaan, Connecticut.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

At a Standstill, in Midtown

Gridlock, Midtown
Photo by myself in Midtown.

What happened here? Is this the scene of an accident? Was anyone hurt?

No. This is an example gridlock. This happens every day. It's a recipe for disaster in a busy city with a street grid.

First, an ambitious car tries to beat a red light. The cars ahead of it slow down and suddenly the sneaky car finds itself caught behind traffic. Then the light changes and pedestrians take their 'right of way', willfully crossing the street.

The sneaky car is stranded. It can't go forward because of the pedestrians. It can't go backwards because of traffic trying to going the other way, if only there weren't this *@#&!^ sneaky car blocking the road. Gah!!!

Horns honk. Ordinarily sane people lose their tempers. Rude hand gestures are made. All the while, a steady stream of pedestrians navigates around the stranded car.

Related posts: A Pedestrian City, Fixing Flats in the Streets and Taxi Drivers Wanted, Brooklyn.


Monday, January 18, 2010

The Rupert Fan Club, Part I

Photo by myself in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

One of Rupert's buddies is a greyhound with a beautiful profile. He's very gentle and is always in a good mood.


It's been raining here in New York, so I'm digging into the photo stash.

Rupert recently received some fan mail from some buddies overseas. Lars, a human in Copenhagen, was kind enough to share some of his beautiful photos recently.

Fritzi in Denmark
Fritzi in Hamburg shivers in the cold and says hello.

Chieka, a chow, is shy in front of the camera.

Mimi in a serious moment. She is actually quite easygoing and has a beautiful coat.

Here's what Lars wrote:
'Fritzi belongs to a lovely 80+ year old lady from Hamburg. After 5 or 6 foxterriers she finally decided on another (and easier to live with) race.

Chieka is Fritzi’s friend (and my mothers 4th Chow) and they visit each other several times each year either in Hamburg or in the Southern part of Denmark where Chieka lives. Once a year they also meet and spend a few weeks together in South Tirol during the skiing season. Sometimes Chieka and even Fritzi come to visit Mimi up at my house here north of Copenhagen. Being a Labrador Retriever, Mimi is friendly to everybody including the 2 cats living in the barn.'

Unfortunately Lars does not have a blog, otherwise I'd link to it here. He has a talent for taking superb photos, and I'm happy to be able to post them.

If you have photos or links to Rupert fans at home, do send them along! Just write to me at kittylittered @ gmail.com. Rupert is overjoyed to know he has fans overseas.

I assume if they met, Rupert and his fans could transcend the language barrier by licking, sniffing and just romping around.

Related posts: On Low Temps and High Energy, On What's Playing Around Town and at Home and City Portraits - The East Village.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Through the Looking-Glass, in Midtown

MoMA Poster, NYC
Photo by myself in Midtown, around 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue.

A large poster advertising the Museum of Modern Art at its PS1 location in Queens was on display in Midtown. The poster interacted with its location, seeming to depict an indoor pool beyond the glass.

I've heard about the installation depicted in the poster: museum-goers look down as if into a swimming pool. Meanwhile, other museum-goers are below a pane of glass and look up as if from the bottom of a pool. It's a clever installation made more believable because water skims the glass that divides the two groups of people.

The poster itself plays on the installation, by using the glass of the building as its frame of reference. The people in the poster are full size, so they relate to the real onlookers outside, on the sidewalk.

To see more of the PS1 exhibit, which is on display until March 1st, click here.

Related posts: Art Underground, the MoMA Way, East (Side) Versus West (Side) and What's on the Walls, Underground.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

See Saw, Underground

Saw Lady, NYC
Photo by myself at the Union Square subway station.

'The Saw Lady' played the musical saw Friday afternoon, stopping some people in their tracks. 'New York, New York' was a crowd favorite, for obvious reasons.

A wood saw is basically 'played' with a cello bow. Higher notes are made by bending the saw more tightly. The saw sounds like a more wobbly, ghostly version of a cello, and of course, can only play one note at a time.

I've seen the The Saw Lady on numerous occasions. This time, she was wearing fingerless gloves, and looked like she was thoroughly enjoying herself.

Edit: I received a lovely thank-you note from The Saw Lady. My photo is posted on her blog, here.


Back to our mouse problem, which I first described here.

The situation escalated when I heard the little creatures munching through our kitchen cabinets, late one night. Then I heard them talking to each other. High-pitched squeaking, probably discussing how the cabinets tasted, or that with a bit more munching, they'd reach the coveted trash bin.

A coworker who had mouse problems last year swore by a battery-powered trap that basically electrocutes the poor things. The mice are lured in by peanut butter, until they stand on a metal plate, otherwise called a mouse zapper.

I had my doubts. No longer. The first night I woke up and saw the light flashing on the trap, which meant that it was not empty. Opening it up, I found two tiny mice, zapped to a humane death!

Related posts: Live Music, Union Square, Pulling Strings on the Subway Platform and On Music and Elephants Underground.


Friday, January 15, 2010

On Police Precincts and Commuting Whilst Asleep

Police Station, NYC
Photo by myself in Soho, around Centre and Broome Streets.

This gorgeously ritzy building just outside Little Italy was once a police station. It now houses large condo apartments. Last month, a one-bedroom in the building sold for nearly $4 million, while a four-bedroom went for nearly $20 million.

It's been long rumored that 240 Centre Street is home to runway models and celebrities like George Clooney. I've walked by many times and have never seen anyone coming out or going in.


Apologies for being a bit out of it, recently. Things have been getting busier at the office, which is a good thing, I suppose.

Thursday morning involved a harrowing subway ride from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side. I woke up late and had exactly one hour to get from Park Slope to 94th Street and Park Avenue for a 9am meeting.

An hour is cutting it close, but it can be done if there are no delays. I raced to the subway and changed to a #5 express train, which arrived within moments. I was golden. All the stars were aligned. At 8:53, my train stopped at 86th Street and Lexington.

Then stupid me stayed on the train. Stupid me forgot the train was an express train and would not stop at 96th Street, so that I could walk the few blocks to the meeting, triumphantly on time. The doors closed and the train started and kept going and going.

Subway stops whizzed by. I started to sweat. All other passengers read their papers or enjoyed the ride, but I fidgeted frantically. A voice announced that the next stop would be '125th Street, Harlem'.

How many years have I lived here? Don't I know it's better to check the silly map than to board a train unknowingly? Duh?

In the end I was just a few minutes late, thank god, but I could have been triumphantly right on time! There's a lesson in this, people! Be alert, for heaven's sake!

Related posts: Dusk Among Towers, From Under the Bridge and Details, Details.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Brooklyn Bridge, in the Balance

Brooklyn Bridge Pier
Photo by myself in DUMBO, around Elizabeth Place and Old Fulton Street.

The Brooklyn end of the Brooklyn Bridge looks like it's running along the top of a building.

Related posts: On the Brooklyn Bridge, From Under the Bridge and Walking the Brooklyn Bridge.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

All Strung Up, Above DUMBO

Baby dolls, DUMBO
Photo by myself in DUMBO, around Columbia Heights and Old Fulton Street.

Above, an odd memento I spotted last weekend, on a walk near the Brooklyn waterfront. Two baby dolls were strung together were hanging from a telephone wire.

There is an urban tradition of stringing things up from telephone wires. Typically you see pairs of sneakers up there. The technical term is shoe tossing, and the exact symbolism is not clear.

Mark told me that the colors of the sneakers tossed around Greenpoint, a predominantly Polish neighborhood, referred to the Polish flag (red and white). One could say then that the sneakers marked the edges of gang territory.

Click here for a photo of stuffed animals strung up. Perhaps toys mark the territories for younger gangs?

Related posts: The Jazzman, 34th Street, 7 More Random Things, 7 More Random Blogs and Holiday Cheer, Already in Bryant Park.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On Fashion Plates and Wee Houseguests

Fashion Plate, Union Square
Photo by myself near Union Square, at 14th Street and Park Avenue South.

A fashion plate stood in medium winter gear near Union Square.


This weekend, Mark and I officially became New Yorkers.

How so? Do ten years living in a walk-up on the Upper West Side, a sleazy landlord, subway commutes and a hardened skin count for nothing?

Well Sunday night, I discovered a mouse in our house. Yes, Mark and I are finally New Yorkers because we have a live-in rodent.

I heard scratching coming from a closet and approached slowly, carrying our cat in one hand. Our (Neanderthal) upstairs neighbors had reported a mouse recently, so I've been on the look out.

I turned on the hall light and eased open the closet door. There, sandwiched between folders of old tax returns, was a tiny grey mouse, about an inch long. His whiskers twitched at me mockingly.

Long story short, the cat wound up walking away. Then the mouse did too, after I shined a flashlight into his beady little eyes. Argh!

So Mark and I are discussing glue traps vs. 'humane traps' vs. the old-fashioned metal mousetraps. My rodent-experienced friends are pitching in their advice, telling me many a tale about how some poor mice met their end.

To be continued.

Related posts: Fashionista Not, On the Streets and on the Runways and Fashionably Late.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Our Commander-in-Chief, Above 7th Avenue

Obama billboard, Times Square
Photo by myself near Times Square, around 7th Avenue and 41st Street.

Yes, it's President Obama in an ad for outerwear, just south of Times Square and above a Red Lobster.


I just had to check out the controversial billboard that was put up last Wednesday in Times Square.

The Weatherproof Garment Company put up an image of President Obama, some 20 feet high. According to the Times, the photo was taken by the Associated Press, the President is indeed wearing a Weatherproof jacket. The company paid a licensing fee but failed to obtain consent from the White House before erecting the billboard.

The White House stated they would have the company take the billboard down immediately, but the image was still there last Friday.

I'm sure they're dealing with a bunch of other things over there in Washington.

Related posts: The Meal O'bama Cart, Midtown, The Day After and On Times Square and Our Rupert.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

On Art and Music, Below Times Square

Guitar Player, Times Square
Photo by myself underground, at Times Square.

At the Times Square subway station, a bass player picked out a tune. He stood in front of one of many murals that adorn the subway tunnels, surrounded by a crowd of mosaic people.


One nice thing about the subways here in New York is that there's been a real effort to make each station distinctive. The newer renovations usually have a mosaic or sculpture that engage their viewers with bright colors or humor.

At the Times Square station, there are wall mosaics like the one pictured, as well as a mural by Roy Lichtenstein. There are also several vitrines filled with colorful ceramics and recessed into the walls.

Giant mosaic bugs and dinosaurs adorn the walls of the West 81st Street Station, near the Natural History Museum. At the 23rd Street station, hats and bonnets float in midair, which make little sense until commuters stand below them. There are even hats near the ground, just about the height of children and dogs.

I love taking photos of these installations, but there's so many of them (223 works, at this writing). For a comprehensive list and photos of all the art found below New York on the NYC subway site, click here.

Related posts: All that Jazz, Halloween Musicians and the NYC Marathon and On Music and Elephants Underground.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

What's Hopping in the Trees

Squirrel House, Tompkins Sq. Park
Photo by myself in Tompkins Square Park, around 6th Street and Avenue A.

After Friday's photo of the giant bunny, I couldn't resist posting a photo of a normal-sized squirrel.


I'm assuming a human New Yorker fashioned this squirrel house and fixed it to a high branch. Whoever did it should rest easy, because the house is being used!

Mr. Squirrel-in-Residence poked his head out for me one recent rainy day. His home, once a mailbox, is decorated with salvaged mosaic tile. He looked content.

I have to say that New Yorkers are soft-hearted folk. Don't believe everything in the press. We are frequently seen rescuing animals, feeding pigeons and watching birds.

Related posts: On Rupert and the Wild Parrots of Brooklyn, Odd and Colorful Birds, in Bryant Park and On Dogs and Dogs.


Friday, January 8, 2010

What's Hopping Below Ground

Bunny Ears, Times Square
Photo by myself underground at the Times Square subway station.

I recently sighted a giant bunny rabbit on the subway platform. Ha.

Related posts: On Taking Candids, The Subway Platform, 59th Street and Tempting Fate.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Looking Up, in More Ways Than One

AT&T Building, Midtown
Photo by myself of the Sony Building in Midtown, around Madison Avenue and 56th Street.

This is the building where the atrium in yesterday's post is located. Designed in the mid-80's by Phillip Johnson, the former AT&T building is one of the most recognizable buildings from that period.

The top of the tower has been compared to a piece of furniture, a Chippendale highboy. There is an enormous arch at the foot of the building, some seven stories high.


You might be interested to know that two architect friends become employed last week, one full time, the other temporarily. Both had been out of work for over six months. Needless to say, they are both ecstatic and nervous.

Hopefully this economy is finally righting itself. It has been tough on everyone.

Related posts: Climbing the Times, Building Big and Architectural Detail, Above.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Along Came a Spiderman, at the Sony Plaza

Spiderman, at the Sony Plaza
Photo by myself in the Sony Plaza, an interior public space at Madison Avenue and 56th Street.

A gigantic inflatable Spiderman is poised above one of the exits of the Sony Plaza.

The large atrium space is open to the public and filled with tables and chairs. The Sony Playstation Store and coffee shops are within easy reach, so you can while away an entire afternoon.


Superman, Spiderman, Batman...did the good guys decide to move to Gotham because there were so many bad guys here? Or did the illustrators at Marvel Comics find it easier to draw the city outside their windows?

Oh, and King Kong found his home in NYC, too. There's a whole tradition of New York figuring as a character in these American stories, as a place of romance, suspense, danger and possibility.

Related posts: Public Art and Other Freebies, Summering in the City and One Really Big Fountain.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Glitzy Glam, Outside The Pierre

The Pierre, Upper East Side
Photo by myself near the side entrance of The Pierre, at 61st Street and Fifth Avenue.

A portion of this luxury hotel is comprised of co-op apartments. A number of celebrities have lived at The Pierre, including Elizabeth Taylor, Yves Saint-Laurent and Sumner Redstone.

Supposedly there is a triplex apartment located at the tippy top, which was listed at $70 million in 2006.


Parts of the Upper East Side are decidedly fancy.

Madison Avenue is packed with expensive boutiques. Park Avenue is lined with tall limestone apartment buildings. And of course, Fifth Avenue is also known for its stately buildings, which enjoy an unobscured view of Central Park.

The other day I was walking around the area. A tanned woman hailed me down. Her hair was swept up in a long ponytail, and she wore a thick suede jacket and tall leather boots.

Sensing I was a New Yorker, she asked with a heavy French accent,'Can you tell me...eh....where is a...Bernaise?'

Bernaise...Bernaise...I picked my tiny brain for residual pockets of high school French. Hmmmm....

Shaking my head, I apologized. 'I don't live in the area. Sorry'.

Two seconds later, I ran back. 'Wait!! Do you mean Barneys?!'

Ah yes, Barneys, the fancy pants store for fancy pants people. Their main store is located at 60th Street and Fifth Avenue. What would a day of shopping be without a visit?

Related posts: The View from New York and the Plaza Hotel, Among Beautiful Things and The Flatiron Building in Detail.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Sun Salutation, East Village

Sun Salutation in the East Village
Photo by myself in the East Village, around 9th Street and First Avenue.

I happened upon a fellow doing some yoga on the sidewalk, one recent weekend. Arms outstretched, thumbs and forefingers together, he greeted the sun.


Most New Yorkers identify with the man above. I took the photo a few weeks ago.

It has been extremely cold here, with icy, blustery winds. You step outside, immediately yelp in horror, then scuttle to your destination. All everyone can talk about is how cold it is.

In such a fashion-conscious city as New York, dressing for the cold is not easy. The question is, how do you stay warm AND look reasonably good? Don that formless down puffy coat? Strap on a wool cap and risk mussing your hair? Add a micro-layer of long johns to your physique?

I can't claim to have the answer, besides the usual trick of wearing layers. Knee high boots are also a regular item. Some wear fancy leather models with heels, while others wear sporty ones in rubber. The boots keep one's legs toasty and dry, and look good with skirts.

Finally, most New Yorkers have thick skins from living here. Thus we are immune from the cold!

Related posts: A Moment Alone in the East Village, Uggs in Times Square and New York's Near Miss.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

On the Hudson River and Stupid Pet Tricks

Across the Hudson, toward Jersey
Photo by myself in Riverside Park, around 88th Street and Riverside Drive.

It's been very cold in New York and New Jersey, which is just a river's width away.

Saturday night, Mark, Rupert and I attended a party in Hoboken, New Jersey. The wind chill made it feel like 1 degree Fahrenheit.


One of the most popular searches connected to this site is 'the man with a cat on his head'. I took a photo of him last January and posted it here.

I've seen the fellow a couple times in the Union Square area. Evidently many other people have seen him and wanted to know more.

So as I was deciding what write for today's post, I happened to browse on the Times NY Region section. Lo and behold, the guy with the cat on his head made it as one of the Pictures of the Week!

Both he and the cat are seen braving the chilly outdoors, one on top of the other. They look fine, albeit a little grumpy. You can see the Times photo here.

Related posts: Docked Along the West Side, Bridging the Gap and Life on the Water, in Riverside Park.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ready to Rumble, in Alphabet City

Motorcycle Gang, Avenue A
Photo by myself in Alphabet City, on Avenue A and 6th Street.

A large group of about 20 motorcyclists convened in Alphabet City. They roared down the street, causing a minor ruckus. Several bystanders looked on in awe.

I'm not sure whether these folks belonged to the Hells Angels, but they were a startling sight against the backdrop of graffiti. It was early on New Year's Day, and many places were shuttered.

Motorcycle Gang, Avenue A


Alphabet City was only recently considered dangerous. Normal people didn't venture into Tompkins Square Park, which was filled with vagrants and homeless people.

The park has been renovated within the last 10 years. I've been visiting the neighborhood more often because of Rupert. He loves the dog run in Tompkins Square Park, which is roomy and usually filled with his Manhattan buddies.

Related posts: Tompkins Square Park, in Alphabet City, City Portraits - The East Village and The Latest Urban Adventure.


Friday, January 1, 2010

On Your Outlook, for 2010

Photo by myself in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

While waiting for lunch during our vacation in Puerto Rico, I spotted a couple of kids sitting nearby.

Each brother exuded his personality. One met the world with a defiant, cocky look, while the other proffered a measured gaze.


What's your attitude toward 2010? Are you hopeful? Fearful? Blase?

I'm planning on taking things day-by-day. As long as I continue to go to the gym and take photos, that will be enough for me. Small goals I know, but it's the honest truth. I don't need very much to keep me happy.

How about you, dear readers? What are you plans? How is your outlook?

Related posts: Coping a Feel on the Subway, Suprise, Suprise and The Latest Urban Adventure.