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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween from the Village, Part I

NYC Halloween 2010
Photo by myself in Washington Square Park in the Village.

The crowd of Halloween celebrants listened to the Cat and the Hat play the piano in Washington Square Park, today. On the left, Jason from the movie Friday the 13th wore a Yankees cap.

It was sunny-ish day with blustery winds. Many people walked around in costume. The Halloween parade starts every year after sundown along Sixth Avenue and anyone can join in. The parade is televised every year, usually a motley assortment of superheroes, zombies and celebrity references.

NYC Halloween 2010
Both Dorothy and Count Dracula in drag.

NYC Halloween 2010

NYC Halloween 2010
Even dogs joined in.

More Halloween photos, tomorrow!

Related posts: Halloween Musicians and the NYC Marathon, The 2009 NYC Marathon and All A-Buzz About a Bee, in Union Square.


Cereal Killers Mural, in Williamsburg

Graffiti mural, Williamsburg
Photo by myself on Kent Avenue around South 1st Street, in Williamsburg.

I wasn't the only one wowed by this huge mural, yesterday afternoon.

A few of us were taking photos of this wall, which was well over 60 feet long. Cartoon mascots of sugary children's cereal were the theme of this artwork.

Can you recognize the characters? There's Cap'n Crunch, Count Chocula, Lucky Charms, the sun from Raisin Bran, the toucan from Froot Loops and the bee from Honey Nut Cheerios.

I thought the three guys in chef whites on the left were Snap Crackle and Pop, but they turn out to be the bakers of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The Rice Krispies were young guys and dressed in color.

Happy Halloween!!

Related posts: The Urban Art Form, Downtown, Abandoned Lot, East Village and The Truth in Advertising, in the East Village.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Peek into Grove Court, in the West Village

The View Down Grove Court
Photo by myself into Grove Court, located on Grove Street in the West Village.

A view into Grove Court, a tiny alley in the Village. A gate bars strangers from entering a courtyard decorated with pumpkins for Halloween.

These buildings were built in 1901 and each townhouse is relatively small, about 1,200 square feet of space. One of these was bought recently for two million dollars, or about $1,600 per square foot(!!!).

This is an expensive location, even by Manhattan standards. The costliest neighborhood has long been the Upper West Side, where the median real estate cost was about $1,475 per square foot at the height of the market in 2008.

I hope living in Grove Court is as nice as it looks.

Related posts: What's in a Name, at Tavern on the Green, Outside Three Lives, in the Village and On Lost Icons and The Dakota.


Friday, October 29, 2010

The Morning Commute on the N Train

Morning Commute
Photo by myself on the subway, near Union Square.

On the subway, it is not uncommon to encounter a whole class of children on their way to a field trip. It looks like a lot of work to monitor the kids so they all get off at the right station.

I'm not sure where this class was heading. A museum? A park? The aquarium?

Unfortunately, I only had one chance to take a photo, because I didn't want to draw attention to myself. Holding onto the pole, my purse and my lunch, on a lurching train while focusing the camera was a little like Cirque du Soleil. All that was missing was a flaming hula hoop.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Related posts: Running Amok in the Streets, On Kids in the Slope and in the Country and Playing Ball in the Public Courts.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Folk Singers, in the Village

Folk Song, Washington Sq Park
Photo by myself in Washington Square Park.

A group of what looked like good friends or acquaintances shared folk songs this weekend. Seeing and listening to this crew made me wonder if New York of the 70s was anything similar.


I'm glad you all enjoy the portraits of people I run into on the street. I should clarify that these are portraits of 'actual' New Yorkers, not 'real' ones. No one is any more or less 'New York' than anyone else. My bad!

What does it mean to be 'a New Yorker', anyway? It's impossible to classify people because there are always exceptions. But you could say that those who live in New York share certain things, like living in a large city packed with different cultures, religions and walks of life. We experience/tolerate/survive the sidewalks, the subway and city living every day.

For more generalities about New Yorkers, how are these: we work too hard, pay too much in rent, don't save enough money, enjoy a wide variety of ethnic foods, walk fast, don't smile enough, own a disproportionate amount of dark clothing and treat the subway as a part of our homes.

About me - I lived on the Upper West Side for ten years and have been in Brooklyn for the last few. I certainly don't know everything about this place, but I do proudly call it home.

Related posts: All That Jazz, Don't Stop the Music, on the Upper West Side and Performing Free, in Bryant Park.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Portrait of an Artist, on the Upper East Side

Peter Zonis, NYC
Photo by myself, around Madison and 62nd Street, on the Upper East Side.

Walking to a job site Tuesday morning, I encountered an artist selling his work, pencil in hand. I've seen him in the same spot for several weeks in a row, but this time I stopped to talk.

Peter Zonis is a New York artist who has been featured in New York Magazine, NBC News, and the New York Daily News. Many of his large oil pastels feature New York City landmarks, ranging from the Guggenheim to Carnegie Deli to the Plaza Hotel.

Buildings look dynamic and threaten to escape the frame. It's obvious from the colors and composition that Peter enjoys making art. His work has been collected by Joe Namath, Robert De Niro and David Letterman, among others.

It's pretty incredible to think I'd been walking by this person every week for the last several months. I so admire artists who have the courage and determination to pursue their work. My brief moment with Peter made my day special.

Check out Peter Zonis' artwork here.

Artwork, UES

The Portrait Series is a once-in-a-while installment, featuring New Yorkers encountered on the street.

Related posts: On Location, in Brooklyn Heights, Five New Yorkers, on the Upper East Side and Working the Sidewalk Catwalk, in Midtown.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sand Painting, Washington Square Park

Joe Mangrum, Union Square
Photo by myself in Washington Square Park, in the Village.

A photo of Joe Mangrum and another fabulous creation this past weekend. A good crowd formed around Joe as he worked.

One can tell that Joe enjoys what he does. He works with relaxed concentration, engrossed in his work. At one point, Joe stood back, looked down and announced how good the piece looked.

I've posted about Joe before, here and here.

Finally, I've seen this fellow often enough to know he operates all year round. Joe is a fixture here in the city, and I wish him many creative years to come.

Related posts: Sand Artist in Washington Square Park, Grains of Sand in Union Square and On Target on Houston.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Serenade, in Tompkins Square Park

Photo by myself in Tompkins Square Park, in Alphabet City.

A young fellow serenaded a woman in Tompkins Square Park, Sunday.


We've had a beautiful weekend here, sunny, in the 60s. My fiance Mark claims that mid-September to mid-October is the best time of year to visit New York. (It helps that his birthday is in mid-October).

So far, Mark has been right. It feels like late Spring, and people are eating and drinking outside. The light quality is incredible, sort of a golden color, perfect for taking photos.

Related posts: On Art and Music, Below Times Square, Halloween Musicians and the NYC Marathon and Tompkins Square Park, in Alphabet City.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Bird Man of Washington Square Park

Pigeon Guy
Photo by myself in Washington Square Park.

A man communed with his pigeon friends, Saturday afternoon.

What started out as a few visiting pigeons very quickly became an excited flurry of feathers. There must have been over fifty birds in the end, all over this guy and on the ground.

We New Yorkers can be a direct bunch. A woman walking by asked him, 'What's so special about you?'

Pigeon Guy replied, 'They trust me'.

Before the storm
Just before the storm of pigeons descended. The bird man's friend knew what was to come.


Mark, Rupert and I visited Washington Square Park, Saturday afternoon. It was a beautiful Fall day and the park was filled with people.

Two groups of musicians were playing. Joe Mangrum, the sand artist, was finishing up yet another beautiful creation, an acrobatic group had drawn a huge crowd, people milled about the fountain and chatted. And all of this was happening at once.

The space was humming with excitement. I have to wonder whether New York has ever had this vibe before, where it's been so festive on a daily basis. Walking through the public spaces, you feel like you're in a small, friendly, artistic town. More photos to come.

Related posts: Asleep on the D Train, Napping Together, Underground and On the Ride Home.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Outside the NYPL and on the Subway

Photo by myself outside the main branch of the New York Public Library, at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.

A photo from a month ago. A woman was having a serious conversation outside the New York Public Library.

You can see one of the signature lion statues, beyond.


The Times has a new special page in its online Metro Section, called Subway Issue, loaded with all things related to mass transit. Articles include reflections on the commute by various New Yorkers and how to battle for a seat on the train.

Photography lovers will especially enjoy a survey of the subway over its last 106 years. The Subway in Pictures includes images from the 1930s, when tunnels were being constructed, through today.

You get a glimpse of the fashions of each time generation, the evolution of the subway and the city, and an inside look at the true grit of New Yorkers and those keeping the subway running. The subway is a shared experience among New Yorkers. To know the subway to know New York.

For other street photos posted for Street Challenge Saturday, click here.

Related posts: Asleep on the D Train, Napping Together, Underground and On the Ride Home.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Taking Stock, on Wall Street

Outside the stock exchange
Photo by myself outside the New York Stock Exchange, at Wall and Nassau Streets.

The pedestrian plaza outside the New York Stock Exchange is filled with people standing around, looking up, taking photos in different directions. Everyone then swivels around and takes another photo. It is slightly bizarre.


Happy Friday, everyone.

This week has whipped by, as usual. No news here, except that I'm looking for a new camera for daily use. I love my Canon G5, it's been a workhorse, but is nearly dead. Now whenever I push a button, a white line crosses the lcd screen. It's as if the camera's eyeballs were rolling up into its little sockets.

I'm thinking about a Leica M8, Sony NEX or Olympus E-PL1. Does anyone have any experience with these babies? They're all mirrorless digital SLRs, which make them super small, ideal for candids and daily use.

Keep you posted!

Related posts: Charging Through Wall Street, On the Market and Trinity Church, at Dusk.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sitting in Herald Square

Homeless woman, Herald Square
Photo by myself around 34th Street and Sixth Avenue.

A woman sat outside in Herald Square, Wednesday morning. It wasn't clear to me whether she was completely homeless.

Beside her, a tarp with paint splotches covered her belongings. The tarp reminded me of paintings by Jackson Pollack Pollock (thanks, Robert!).

I really loved the contours of her face. I know, weird. I hope you get my drift.

Related posts: Society's Trash, Man and Companion on the Sidewalk and Worthy Causes.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Slice of Life, Park Avenue South

Lower Park Ave, NYC
Photo by myself, around 18th Street and Park Avenue South.

Looking north up Park Avenue, the MetLife building can be seen in the distance. The building looks like it's sitting on top of Grand Central Terminal (barely seen here) but is actually just north of it.

Park Avenue rises up and whips around Grand Central Terminal and under the MetLife building on something called the Park Avenue Viaduct. At one point cars are elevated above Park Avenue and it's a dramatic view. If you ever have the chance, I suggest a quick ride in a cab because it's kinda cool.

Related posts: On New York Buildings High and Low, Dusk Among Towers and Hovering Above Park Avenue.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

On Wheels, in the Financial District

On Wheels, Downtown
Photo by myself on South William Street, in the Financial District.

Another photo from my walk around Wall Street the other day.

For some reason, this area is prime real estate for skateboarders. Maybe because there is very little car traffic.

There are a few tiny streets in this area with pretty, historic buildings, just steps away from the New York Stock Exchange.

Related posts: Cobblestones Underfoot, in the Financial District, Warehousing Art, in Chelsea and Ye Olde Pub, Downtown.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Ye Old Burger Shoppe, near Wall Street

touch ups to an old sign
Photo by myself on Water and Broad Streets, in the Wall Street area.

An artist touched up the front sign at Wall Street Burger Shoppe, while talking on his cell phone on Sunday evening.

Modeled after an old-fashioned eatery, Burger Shoppe offers variations on a burger, including a Mac 'n Cheese version (eight ounces of beef + macaroni + four cheeses), a Sub-Prime Melt Down (four ounces of beef + Swiss cheese + mushrooms + caramelized onions), and an Obama Burger (four ounces of beef + mozzarella cheese + marinara sauce + basil).

Mark, Rupert and I walked past the restaurant on Sunday afternoon. We didn't go inside, but judging from their beautiful website, the restaurant is classically outfitted with subway tile, wide plank wood floors and old fashioned light fixtures.

Related posts: The Quality Mending Company, Soho, Meat Market, Ninth Avenue and Shoot the Freak, Coney Island.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

On Contortionists and Viral Videos

Contortionist, Union Square
Photo by myself in Union Square.

A contortionist entertained a huge crowd, earlier this year. He was a part of a group of acrobatic muscular men. The fellow in the turban to the right was the ringleader of the group.


Below, a viral video that's been all over the place: Atomic Tom, a band from Brooklyn (woohoo!!) performed a song accompanied only by four iphones.

The four guys, none of whom are named Tom, performed on a quiet B train ride between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Most of the video occurs above ground, on the Manhattan Bridge. The video would not have worked so well if the train were going through a tunnel. There wouldn't be the same variety of light and shadow.

Spontaneous musical and acrobatic performances on the subway are pretty normal. I wouldn't say they happen every day, but it is not uncommon to have your ride interrupted by two guys doing back flips or a trio of mariachi.

Atomic Tom is doing pretty darned well. They're performing at Macy's in Herald Square next Wednesday.

Related posts: On Singing Groups and the Current Vibe, Music While You Wait and Acrobatics Below 34th Street.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Roaming Free, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

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

Prospect Park in Brooklyn hums every day during off leash hours. Dogs are allowed to roam off leash before 9 am and after 9 pm, year round.

We're at the very beginning of Fall here. Some trees have turned color and leaves have dusted the ground. It was brisk, perfect temperature for dogs to romp, play and socialize.

Off Leash in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Boston Terrier
Rupert taking a break, post-romp.

Off Leash in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

In the summer, tons of dogs show up in the mornings. Fido, the Brooklyn off leash group, hold gatherings on the first Saturday of every month. Coffee and bagels are served up on the lawn.

Yes, that's my photo on the Fido homepage!

For photos from last Fall, click here.

Related posts: Off Leash, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, A Touch of Nature, in Prospect Park and Furry Friends in Tompkins Square Park.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Pizza, Pizza

Pizza pizza, NYC
Photo by myself in front of Bravo Pizza, at 19th Street and Fifth Avenue.

New Yorkers have their undying love of pizza.

There is probably a pizza place every couple blocks, here. Most of the pizza places are pretty good. A handful are spectacular.

My favorite still has to be Lombardi's, which has been in SoHo since 1905. Other pizza joints worth checking out include John's near Times Square, Grimaldi's in Dumbo, Don Giovanni in Hell's Kitchen, Patsy's near Union Square and Two Boots, which is all over the place.


Happy Friday, everyone!

Related posts: Greetings from a New York Pie, in Midtown, Food, Glorious Food and Waiting for Pies, Outside Lombardi's.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Made in New York or by New Yorkers

Made in New York
Photo by myself at the West 4th Street subway station.

Now through October 31st, posters showing architectural projects in New York or designed by New York architects are on display at the West 4th Street subway station, downtown.

Sponsored by the New York chapter of the AIA (American Institute of Architects), Made in New York grabs your attention.

The posters line the long, long ramp down to the subway tracks. Color photographs and renderings of projects large and small are represented - houses, civic buildings, master plans and office towers.

Many a New Yorker paused mid-step to look at the display, Wednesday evening.

Made in New York

Related posts: Ninja Assassins, in the East Village, Now Playing at the Booth Theater and On View at Open House New York.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Carrot Peeler Guy's Daughter, in Brooklyn

Carrot Peeler's Daughter
Photo by myself in Cadman Plaza, in Downtown Brooklyn.

A woman selling vegetable peelers drew a small crowd outside Borough Hall, in Brooklyn.


Mark looked over my shoulder as I was reviewing some photos I'd taken recently.

'Oh that's the carrot peeler's daughter', he said.

Yes, it was.

The Carrot Peeler in question didn't just peel carrots, he sold carrot peelers. The late Joe Ades was a fixture in Union Square for years and years.

Joe would prattle at great length about his vegetable peelers in his distinctive British accent. He was always dressed in a jacket and sounded astonished by how well his peelers worked. You would find Joe on Union Square West around 16th Street, with his white buckets, piles of shredded carrot and a crowd around him.

Joe passed away in February 2009 at the age of 75. He is missed by all, but it seems his daughter Ruth, (who strikingly resembles her father!) has taken up the family business. In front of her was a pile of shredded carrot.

For a photo I took of Joe Ades in his element in 2008, click here.
Read about Joe Ades in the Times, here.

Related posts: En Masse, On Canal Street, Selling Grapes on Canal Street and Yet Another Street Fair, Bleeker Street.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tourists' Eye View, Fifth Avenue

Tourbus view, Fifth Avenue
Photo by myself on Fifth Avenue, around 21st Street.

The double-decker tour bus point of view is always a cool one, since you're removed from the distractions and mayhem of the sidewalk. You can get a better sense of the architecture of each neighborhood from this vantage point.

Lower Fifth Avenue, between 23rd Street and Washington Square Park, is a favorite spot of mine. There are some beautiful buildings there and great clothing stores, too.

For those who dislike tour buses, take the M5 New York City bus, which starts on the Upper West Side. It travels down Fifth Avenue and winds up in the Village. Northbound, the bus runs on Sixth Avenue up to Central Park, then turns west to head uptown.

Related posts: What Goes Around Comes Around, What's Cooking in Curry Hill and On Hotels and Hype, on Fifth Avenue and Beyond.


Monday, October 11, 2010

The View from Roosevelt Island

From Roosevelt Island, NYC
Photo by myself from Roosevelt Island.

The view of the Upper East Side is pretty spectacular from Roosevelt Island, a small island in the East River, between Manhattan and Long Island City. The tower of the UN Headquarters, located at First Avenue between 42nd and 48th Streets, can be seen on the right.

Ahead, the Queensboro Bridge hovers over the island, connecting Manhattan and Queens. The Roosevelt Island Tram is stopped in mid-air in front of an apartment tower. The tram is being renovated and will re-open in November.

The tram played a prominent role at the end of the movie, Spiderman.


Roosevelt Island has an interesting and checkered history, having housed a smallpox hospital, lunatic asylum, penitentiary, several other hospitals and a tiny lighthouse.

There are tons of apartment buildings there now, some built in the late 60's, others very recent. Mark, Rupert and I visited on Sunday. A friend of ours moved there, lured by the large apartments and slightly lower rents.

I admit I had creepy preconceptions of what Roosevelt Island would like, but it's nice! Tons of families live there, and the park space is lovely. The only drawback is that it feels slightly isolated, without too many shops or restaurants to choose from.

To get to Roosevelt Island, pedestrians use the tram from the Upper East Side or the F line subway to the Roosevelt Island stop. There are many buses and cars have access from the 63rd Street bridge in Long Island City.

Related posts: The View from Downstream, Different Vistas and On Six Word Memoirs in Print.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday, in Brooklyn Heights

Photo by myself inside the First Presbysterian Church, in Brooklyn Heights.

Brooklyn Heights is a beautiful neighborhood, filled with older buildings. This church is tucked among several grand townhouses.

Related posts: Trinity Church, at Dusk, Grace Church, in Black and White and No Place is Perfect.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

On the Platform, 34th Street

Biding Time
Photo by myself on the subway platform at 34th Street, in Midtown.

Whiling away the time with a handheld device is a common sight on the subway platforms.

No, you can't receive phone calls while on the train, but as I wrote in an earlier post, we will, soon. The MTA is making it possible to make phone calls while underground.

I think most New Yorkers have mixed feelings about this. Yes, it'll be a convenience so you can call ahead when you're late for a meeting or if, god forbid, there is an emergency below ground.

But there are many other things the money for the upgrade could be spent on. Like nicer subway stations, maybe? Ones without the disturbing crumbly tiles and dangerously uneven stairs? And let's not mention how unquiet our trains will become. In the mornings. When all you want is some quiet.

Plus having the excuse 'I was waiting forever, the train was stuck, a sick passenger, yadda yadda yadda...' can no longer bail you out of a tight pickle.

Related posts: Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, Elevated Tracks, in Park Slope, Brooklyn and Tales from Below, A Subway Transcript.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Old and New on Fifth Avenue

Onlookers, Fifth Avenue
Photo by myself on 23rd Street at Fifth Avenue.

This couple looks like they are from another era.


The man is carrying a bag that says Italy is Eataly. Eataly is a large new uber-foodie venue, just steps away from the Flatiron Building, on Fifth Avenue.

I have yet to venture inside Eataly, which opened a month ago, but I've heard about it from friends. It is a 50,000 square foot, gigantic high-end paradise, complete with restaurants, food stalls, a bakery, cooking school and pasta counter.

Eataly is the brainchild of Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich and Joe Bastianich (who is both Lidia's son and Mario's business partner).

I've been told that the place has been mobbed with people since opening day. With such a cooking pedigree, how can it not?

This is the first North American location for the Eataly empire. Other locations include several outlets in Japan and of course, Italy. I am certain a world takeover is in the works.

For some lip-smacking photos of the interior, visit the NY Eater site, here.

Related posts: Lower Fifth Avenue, Veteran's Day Parade, on Fifth Avenue and Strolling Down Fifth Avenue, Hand in Hand.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

On Justice, in Downtown Brooklyn

Courthouse, Brooklyn
Photo by myself in Cadman Plaza, in Downtown Brooklyn.

A fountain within a large plaza, surrounded by plants. On sunny days, the steps are crowded with people taking lunch.


The most fulfilling thing about jury duty was not the long periods of waiting or listening to medical testimony or searching for a decent place to eat in downtown Brooklyn.

It was meeting the other jury members, all of whom were genuine people who believed in doing good, most of them long-time New Yorkers. I imagine if a subway car broke down and the riders had a chance to talk, the experience would be similar.

There were six of us, three men and three women. The roster reads a little like the Breakfast Club - there were working mothers, a musician, a fellow who worked nights and had trouble staying awake during the trial, a local celebrity who spoke six languages, a shy first-generation Polish woman and me.

Our animated conversations involved Cuba, Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, I Love Lucy, President Obama and most of all, how hard it is to get by in New York. There was much loud laughter and a feeling of camaraderie.

We were deciding whether to award a man money for injuries sustained from a hit-and-run accident five years ago. These are tough times for accident lawsuits, by the way. If you have a history of suing people or claiming disability based on little medical evidence, I would not start another lawsuit just now. You're not likely to have a sympathetic jury.

Anyway, that's it in a nutshell. The money will stay in the pot for someone who truly deserves it. It's kind of nice to make a decision not for self-interest but for a common good. We jury members parted ways, walking a little taller, with a feeling of shared hopefulness.

Related posts: Going Postal, in Midtown, On the Market and On Manhattan Buildings and Brooklyn Beer.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Portrait of a Film Shoot, in Brooklyn Heights

Mike, in Brooklyn
Photo by myself in Brooklyn Heights, around Pierrepont and Henry Streets.

On location in Brooklyn Heights, is the film crew for the movie 'The Sitter'. Mike, above, works as a grip on the film crew.

Mike operates the generator for the lights, and stood watch over the truck carrying lighting equipment. Over his left shoulder, you can see the pretty brownstones typical of this upscale neighborhood.

I spotted the trucks for this production a week ago, in Park Slope. It looked like big budget film, from the sheer number of huge Haddad and Craft service trucks lining the street. Mike assured me that this was a modest production, and a blockbuster movie would employ twice as many trucks. Whew!

I wouldn't say that film crews are a normal sight in New York, but they are certainly not uncommon. You could easily happen upon 7 or 8 crews in the streets each year.

I asked Mike whether anyone recognizable was in the movie. 'Jonah Hill'? he said. Pause. 'You know, the fat kid in 'Superbad?'

Aha! 'The Sitter' is due out in July, 2011.


A huge hug and "Thank You" to all who encouraged me to continue a portrait series of New Yorkers! I talked to several people during my break during jury duty on Tuesday. (More on jury duty, tomorrow).

Of course, many people that I talked to turned me down. But a few people said yes!! I think portraits will be a great companion to the candids, and it will only be easier to take them from here on. Hooray!

The Portrait Series is a once-in-a-while installment, featuring New Yorkers encountered on the street.

Related posts: On the Picket Line, in Hell's Kitchen, On the Times and the People and Lights, Camera, Action!.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

All A-Buzz about A Bee, in Union Square

Adult Bumblebee, Union Square
Photo by myself in Union Square Park.

Over the weekend, Mark, Rupert and I encountered the above scene. A little girl was quite perplexed by a man in costume.

An older man (not pictured) noticed the adult-sized bumblebee, too. He said gruffly to no one in particular: 'An eff-ing bumblebee????!'

Both Mark and I have seen the bumblebee before, so we were not so shocked. What was shocking was how many drunk people were in Union Square Park. Lot of them. Many benches were taken up by people who were drunk by mid-day and who looked rather scruffy.

I'm not sure whether it's due to the economy or whether I was just more sensitive to it that day. It was very sad.

Related posts: Halloween Musicians and the NYC Marathon, Painting by Numbers and Cow Appreciation Day, Fifth Avenue.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Going Mad, at the Mad. Sq. Mark't

Mad Sq Markt
Photo by myself near Madison Square Park, at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue.

From now until October 23rd, Mad. Sq. Mark't is open daily for business.

Normally I don't enjoy street fairs, but this is beyond the typical street fair. Mad. Sq. Mark't resembles the outdoor shopping booths displayed in Grand Central and Union Square during holiday time, which is not so far from now.

You can find everything from handmade jewelry, art and clothing to the most decadent foods imaginable, here. The weather was nice on Sunday (yay!) so Mark, Rupert and I dragged ourselves outside.

Mad Sq Markt
This vendor is a family business, having sold fresh spices for over four generations.

Mad Sq Markt
Deciding between hats shaped like animals, to the left, and fashion hats, to the right.

Mad Sq Markt
Delicious made-to-order sweet and savory crepes are served at Crepe Suzette.

Mad Sq Markt

There is a 'shop' part to the market and an 'eat' part, which is a smart idea. You can survey the snacks and dessert booths, before retiring to a nice cafe table with an umbrella.

I had some incredibly intense raspberry gelato, while Mark had a Nutella crepe. The folks at Crepe Suzette were kind enough to allow me to take a photo from behind the counter.

Lucky us, Mad. Sq. Mark't will be around for another three weeks! Unfortunately, I couldn't find a complete listing of the vendors.

Click here for a foodie review of the Mad. Sq. Mark't booths, on Midtown Lunch.
Click here for the Mad. Sq. Mark't website.

Related posts: City Portraits - BBQ Block Party, Madison Square Park, Waiting for Dogs in Madison Square Park and From the Rooftops, in Madison Square Park.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

On Rainy Days and Shooting for TV

Washington Square Park, NYC
Photo by myself in Washington Square Park, in the Village.

We've been experiencing a slew of rainy days, with a nice day here and there. It's due to rain all next week.


I'm a bit knackered. I spent part of yesterday helping Mark on a shoot for a test commercial for a well-known electronic device. Mark is absolutely wiped out.

The shoot included a tattoo parlor, our apartment in Park Slope, a yoga studio, a bathroom in Midtown, a street scene in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and a hot dog stand in Prospect Park.

As the producer, Mark mobilized his crew - a director, a cameraman, a make-up artist and several assistants for the shoot. He also figured out the locations, got permissions and created a schedule all in one day.

Mark determined logistics on Friday and the test commercial was shot on Saturday. Usually, a two-dimensional storyboard was enough to illustrate an idea. Some companies prefer to view a test commercial before committing a great deal of money to shoot a real commercial.

It was a cool experience, and not the first time I've helped out. We were lucky that Saturday was the one beautiful day in the midst of a slew of cold rainy days. I will have to document the experience next time!

Related posts: Santas on Parade, in Washington Square Park, City Portrait - Washington Square Park and Looming Above Washington Square Park.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Portrait of Five New Yorkers, on the Upper East Side

Three dogs
Photo by myself on Madison Avenue, around 63rd Street.

Last week, after visiting a project on the Upper East Side, I encountered a unique sight - two people talking on a corner, each holding their dogs. There were three dogs and two humans, and they all looked to be friends.

I don't usually talk to people I take photos of, but Ivy and Charlie were friendly. I was absolutely thrilled to have permission to post the photo above, and I wish I'd stuck around to chat.

In Ivy's words, all five are 'true New Yorkers'. Charlie is carrying Poochini. Ivy is carrying Tae (left) and Sam (right). Poochini and Sam are four-legged BFF.

This stretch of Madison Avenue is extremely fancy. Chanel, Barney's, DKNY and Bottega Veneta are among the stores in this area. And good luck finding an affordable place to eat.

It was refreshing to encounter fellow New Yorkers who were down-to-earth, regardless of their high end surroundings.

Gian writes that Poochini is the winner of the 2011 Underdog ResQ Calendar Contest! He won by a landslide and will be the face of the calendar. Underdog ResQ rescues dogs from shelters in the Tri-State area.

Oh what a stellar week for Poochini. I had no idea I was meeting a celebrity who has use of only one eye.

The Portrait Series is a once-in-a-while installment, featuring New Yorkers encountered on the street.

Related posts: On Little Black Dresses and Little Black Dogs, Furry Friends in Tompkins Square Park and On Dogs and Dogs.


Friday, October 1, 2010

On Crossing the Street and Living Dangerously

At the Crosswalk
Photo by myself, somewhere in Midtown.

Usually at every street corner you will find a motley assortment of people. On this particular corner, a group of fashionistas.


Tonight, my walk to the subway reminded me that crossing the street can be dangerous.

A group of people decided to cross the street without looking at the light, simply because one person started to cross. Then, everyone crossed. Cars started honking and people ran to the other curb.

No one was hurt. Happens all the time. Basic herd mentality. Dangerous.

Years ago, a coworker friend of mine crossed the street downtown. She walked behind a car that overshot the crosswalk. At that instant the car backed up, hitting her.

My friend was thrown backwards to the street. Both her legs were dislocated at the knee. She couldn't move. But a bystander, who happened to be a paramedic, ran into the street, grabbed her from behind and shook her body violently, snapping both legs back in place.

My friend was fine and walked away from the incident. True story.

Which goes to show that accidents almost happen, and do happen all the time in New York. Fortunately, there is no shortage of witnesses!

For an earlier post about crossing the street like a New Yorker, click here.

Related posts: At a Standstill, in Midtown, People, People, Everywhere and Tough Times, Midtown.