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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Enjoying a Fling, on the R Train

Subway performers
Photo by myself on the R train, somewhere below Brooklyn.

I know, I know...I've posted photos of guys flipping upside-down or sideways on the subway before. Guys swinging around on the center pole, doing crazy stretches, or in mid-handstand.

I cannot help myself from taking photos of these kids. They swoop in and transform an otherwise sleepy subway ride into a little dare devilry.

By the way, all the performers I've seen to date have been guys, for whatever reason. Maybe the women have better things to do?

Related posts: On the Floor of the Subway and the Recent Quake, Acrobatics, Below 34th Street, and Get Your Zumba on for Free, in Herald Square.


Monday, January 30, 2012

A Tour through the Winter Antiques Show, on the Upper East Side

Antiques show autographs
Photo by myself from the Winter Antiques Show, at the Park Avenue Armory.

The 58th Annual Antiques show wrapped up this weekend, at the Park Avenue Armory. Over fifty exhibitors attended. On display were works of Early American, European and Asian Art, jewelry, manuscripts and furnishings.

Above, a photo from the Kenneth W. Rendell booth, which was filled with autographs from historical figures. Letters and signatures were signed by notables as varied as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Amelia Earhart and Sitting Bull.

Mark and I walked around amongst the mostly Upper East Side crowd. I probably looked disastrous in my yoga pants and sneakers, but I'd left my tweed suit at home, ha. We tried not to draw attention when peeking at the price tags. Some of the objects were art museum quality, with prices well over $250k (!).

The show is held every year at about this time, with tickets at $20. For the Antiques Show site, which includes a link to sign up for their mailing list, click here.

Antiques show autographs
A closer look at the Rendell Gallery booth includes a letter Katherine Hepburn sent to Marlene Dietrich, center.

NY Antiques Show
Mid-century modern furnishings were represented, too, by Hostler Burrows, a store in Tribeca.

Antiques show busts
Italian sculpture was dramatically displayed by the Daniel Katz Gallery, hailing from England.

NY Antiques Show Horse
A stunning carousel horse from the late 19th century displayed at the Giampietro Gallery booth, from Connecticut.

NY Antiques Show Horse
A close up of the horse.

The show was an absolute treat. Mark and I quickly learned that our tastes are pretty expensive, haha. We particularly liked the early-American paintings and objects. I couldn't help but worry about knocking something over by and having to sell my kidney as payback. ;-)

For a look at my photos from last year's show, click here.

Related posts: Handcrafted Objects at the Architectural Digest Design Show, The Camera Van, in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and Still Life, Antique Store.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Outside the Blue Note, in the Village

Outside the Blue Note
Photo by myself on West 3rd Street and Sixth Avenue, in the Village.

A photo from the stash.

The Blue Note is a club for live jazz that has been open since the early 1980's. Nearly all the world's jazz greats have performed there at some time or other. I have never been inside, but the online reviews seem very good.

These folks must have gone to one the Sunday jazz brunch performances, which are held every Sunday at 12:30 and 2:30. You can just make out that the front canopy is in the shape of a grand piano.

To check out the online schedule of events, check out the Blue Note site, here.

Related posts: Bright Lights, at the Beacon Theater, Twinkly Lights, at the Breslin, and The Royalton, Renovated.


Friday, January 27, 2012

All Lit Up, on the Upper West Side

Illuminated Cross, UWS
Photo by myself on 73rd Street and Broadway, on the Upper West Side.

Churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship are located all over the city.

This illuminated sign hangs outside a Presbyterian Church on the Upper West Side. I was drawn to the neo-Gothic details.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Related posts: Grace Church, in Color, Trinity Church, at Dusk, and Rainy Day, outside Trinity Church.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jazz Players, on the Subway Platform

Sax, L train platform
Photo by myself on the L train platform, at Union Square.

A group of musicians performed some squirrely jazz to commuters, Wednesday night.

The platform for the L train is usually packed with young people going to and fro between Manhattan and Williamsburg. I went there with the intent to take photos of the kids waiting for the train.

I felt strangely conspicuous, though, perhaps because the platform is relatively narrow. The inbound trains stop along one side of the platform, and the outbound trains stop along the other side. There are no other platforms of people to look at, that is, few distractions to occupy people. I found it easier to take a photo of the musicians.

Related posts: Father and Son Serenade, On Street Music and the Polar Bear Swim, and The King of Song, Below Ground.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On the Way Home, in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

Pequena, Fort Greene
Photo by myself at Bergen Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

Prospect Heights is a small neighborhood in Brooklyn. It is bounded by Fort Greene, Park Slope, Clinton Hill and Crown Heights. Often, Prospect Heights is not located on Brooklyn maps (!).

The streets look spooky and desolate in the above photo, but it's pretty safe. It was taken around 9pm from the back of a cab.


Okay, okay, once in a while I will do something really stupid flakey, like something I have warned other people not to do.

Tuesday night, I ran onto a train, thinking it was the D train. I didn't look at the sign, just ran on, like a dummy. It turned out to be the A train. Just a few letters away in the alphabet, but very different. D'oh.

When I finally noticed I was on the wrong train, we were way out of Manhattan, out in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn (Bedford-Stuyvesant). The A train is an express train and is super fast.

I don't think it is really dangerous out there per se, but it is not a warm and fuzzy place. It is a little rough around the edges. There are no yellow cabs there, not even car services, which are little offices on the street that are open 24/7, where you can sign up for a cab.

There are only gypsy cabs there, and the ones there are really beaten up. The one I was in was an old Continental that had a ton of graffiti scribbled on the back seat.

On the sidewalk, people were on the streets selling tshirts (at 9pm!), and loitering outside bars. I left, wishing I had more time to linger and take photos. The photo above was taken several blocks from Bed-Stuy, on the way home to Park Slope, while stopped at a light. I hope to return to Bed-Stuy soon, when I have more time, and when my fiance Mark isn't starving at home.

The name 'Bed-Stuy' brings up elements of danger, for race riots that occurred there in the 60's. Currently, there's a lot of gentrification going on. Wikipedia says that real estate prices have doubled in Bed-Stuy since the year 2000.

For more about Bed-Stuy, click here.

Related posts: Commuting in the Hood, on the Atlantic/Pacific Platform, Near Misses, and Near Jay Street, Brooklyn.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Make No Bones about it, on Spring Street

Evolution, Soho
Photo by myself on Spring Street in Soho.

A replica human skeleton is usually installed outside Evolution, a small store in Soho that specializes in all things fossilized. This store will keep the natural historian entertained for hours.

There are taxidermied animals, skulls, skeletons, and other body parts.

To see the Evolution website, click here.

Related posts: Strung Along, in Soho, Outside Three Lives, in the Village, and Looking Down from Midtown Comics.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Genesis Mural, NoHo

Mural, Lafayette Street, NYC
Photo by myself on Lafayette and Bond Streets, in Noho.

A mural depicting part of the Sistine Chapel fresco hangs above a street corner in NoHo.

The original mural by Michelangelo is huge, and illustrates all the parts of Genesis. This particular scene shows God giving life to Adam. It is the most recognizable panel.

I'm not sure who painted the mural, above, or its significance. It doesn't seem to be an advertisement.

For more about the original mural in Rome, click here.


Did anyone catch the Giants' game yesterday?!

Mark and I rarely watch football, but we couldn't refrain from supporting a New York team so close to the finals. The Giants won a nail biting contest against San Francisco that went into overtime, 20 to 17.

The Superbowl takes place in two weeks, on February 5th. New York will play the New England Patriots, who are favored to win by 3 points. Mark and I will certainly be tuning in!

To see highlights from last night's game on the Times site, click here.

Related posts: Art Ahoy at the 81st Street Subway Station, Homage to Warhol, Union Square, and Painting the Town, in Soho.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Smashing Billboards, Below Ground

Smash, Times Sq.
Photo by myself below Times Square.

A series of billboards below Times Square advertised the new TV show called 'Smash'. The show is about actors putting on a Broadway show about Marilyn Monroe.

Advertisers take advantage of locations that have many billboards lined up one after the other. Using large-scale images, they can target the thousands of commuters that pass by, every day.

Several train lines stop at Times Square, and the platforms are linked together with a maze of ramps, tunnels and stairs. If you need to transfer from the 2 train to the R train, for instance, you have to walk several hundred yards, turning corners and dodging crowds going the opposite direction.

Smash, Times Sq.

Related posts: On Art and Music, Below Times Square, The Gold Guy, at 59th Street, and Busking, Below Union Square.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mimes, Below Times Square

Mimes, 42nd Street
Photo by myself at the Times Square subway station.

Three masked mimes performed acrobatics to music, Friday night. Behind them, a large scale mosaic glimmered in the light.

Lately it's been very cold. A bit too cold to stand outside, hands gripping a small metal camera, while the wind whips around. The subway stations are ideal places to watch people in relative warmth.

Speaking of the weather, New York is due to get 2-4 inches of snow Saturday morning. We've had no snow this season, save a freak early snowfall in October.

Mimes, 42nd Street

Related posts: On Art and Music, Below Times Square, The Gold Guy, at 59th Street, and Busking, Below Union Square.


Friday, January 20, 2012

The Handshake, in the Village

the handshake
Photo by myself around West 4th Street and Sixth Avenue.

A photo from the stash.

I'm not sure what was going on here....two friends greeted each other with a handshake on the sidewalk.

Apologies for the missed post yesterday. It's been crazy busy here.

Happy Friday everyone!

Related posts: On Lost Icons and the Dakota, All Lit Up, at 72nd Street, and The Look Outside the Dakota.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Night View near the Dakota

West 72nd Street, NYC
Photo by myself at 72nd Street and Central Park West.

Tuesday night was not so much cold as it was rainy. The damp weather sent people scampering for cover.

This was the view near the Dakota (at right), a landmark building on the Upper West Side. This building is known for being the home of many celebrities, including the late John Lennon, and having been the setting of the movie 'Rosemary's Baby'. The West 72nd Street subway station nestles up alongside the building facade.

As you can see, the sidewalks are suprisingly tidy. The sidewalks vary greatly, depending on where you are in the city.

Related posts: On Lost Icons and the Dakota, All Lit Up, at 72nd Street, and The Look Outside the Dakota.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The New York Public Library, Awash in Blue

NY Public Library
Photo by myself at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.

The main branch of the New York Public Library was bathed in a light blue light, Monday night. Candles were placed up the front steps, perhaps in honor of Martin Luther King Day.

Many buildings use LED lights these days to light their exteriors. It's an energy efficient way to dramatically change the look of a building with a flick of a switch. The entire color spectrum can be programed in. The top of the Empire State Building uses LEDs, too.

Related posts: On Lost Icons and the Dakota, Tudor City, in Detail, and Lunching at the Oak Bar, on Central Park South.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Atop the Puck Building, on Houston Street

Puck Building, Soho
Photo by myself of the Puck Building at Houston and Lafayette Streets, in Soho.

The Puck Building is a massive and beautiful brick building at the edge of Soho.

It occupies one small city block and was built in the late 1800s. The gilt Puck sculptures (one near the top, as shown, the other above the main entrance), make it distinctive.

Puck was a spritely jester in Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. I'm not sure of the significance of the mirror. Anyone have a guess?

The building is currently part of the NYU campus, housing the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. To read a bit more about this landmark building, visit its wiki page here.

Related posts: Morning on 42nd Street, The MetLife Tower, in the Rain, and It's All in the Details, on the Upper East Side.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

All Wrapped Up, in Soho

Brrrrr in Soho
Photo by myself on Broome and Mercer Streets, in Soho.

It was rather cold on Saturday, with temperatures around freezing. The winter wind made it seem 10 degrees colder.

I was in the neighborhood wandering through all the post-holiday sales, terribly underdressed. When I got home, a hot bath and mug of hot tea was in order.

By the way, this weekend is a 3-day weekend. Monday is Martin Luther King Day and many offices have the day off!

Related posts: Brrrrrrrrr, All A-Shiver on the Streets, and It's Chilly in Midtown and Prospect Park.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Flaming Cactus, in Astor Place

Flaming Cactus, Astor Place
Photo by myself in Astor Place, in the East Village.

An outdoor art installation called 'Flaming Cactus' uses brightly colored plastic zip ties to encase telephone poles. In the background is another piece of public art, called The Cube.

In Astor Place, the length of some poles are covered in bright orange, green or yellow ties. I didn't notice any signs explaining the work, so encountering these things is mysterious. You come away thinking that someone with a lot of energy passed through.

Fourteen poles were decorated last summer, and another 23 poles are to be covered on Spring Street, further downtown. The installation was created by Animus Art, which creates large, multimedia art works.

Fore more about the Flaming Cactus works, including more photos, check out the Animus Art website, here.

Flaming Cactus, Astor Place

Related posts: Full Color, on Houston Street, Rat Pack, on Avenue C, and On Display at Atlantic-Pacific, in Brooklyn.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Random Graffiti, on Second Avenue

Graffiti, East Village
Photo by myself on Second Avenue in the East Village.

Ah, home sweet home. The usual hodge-podge of opinions and slogans, accumulated on Second Avenue.

Happy Friday the 13th, everyone!

Related posts: Ninja's Assassins, in the East Village, Written on Walls in Nolita and East Harlem, and Tagged at 5-Pointz, in Long Island City.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Homeless Woman, Below Brooklyn

Homeless Woman, NYC
Photo by myself at the DeKalb subway station, in Brooklyn.

A homeless woman stood on the subway platform Wednesday night, with all her belongings.

A large bag patched with duct tape hung from her shoulder. A small plastic bag at the front of her cart carried some bananas. The woman was hunched over and glared at passersby.

I took a photo of her from a subway car that was just departing. The doors of the subway closed and we went on our way. Inside, commuters were entranced by their electronic devices. The contrast between what society is capable of and reality was striking.


This was the second time I've seen this woman. I promise myself (and all of you out there) to approach her the next time, but it can be tricky.

There is a fellow who pretty much lives on one of the lower levels of the 59th Street subway, for instance. I've approached him with food, only to be waved angrily away.

There is no guarantee that approaches are welcomed, and with subway tracks nearby, one should exercise care.

Related posts: Society's Trash, A Dollar and a Dream, and All You Can Eat.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Outside a Neighborhood Deli, Downtown

Deli, NYC
Photo by myself, somewhere downtown.

Small convenience stores are universally called "deli's" in New York, regardless whether they have a deli (delicatessen) counter.

They often sell a hodgepodge of stuff, including fresh cut flowers, snacks, batteries, gum, newspapers and cigarettes. Most neighborhood delis are one-offs and don't belong to a chain. There are some Seven-Elevens, but they are rare.

In the photo above, there are a few signs labeled 'dog post'. This is not a common term. I'm assuming this means that dogs are not allowed in the store and there are hooks available to park your dog.

Related posts: On the Pricelessness of NY Delis, A Dollar and a Dream, and All You Can Eat.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On the Crowds on Fifth Avenue and The Walking Dead

5th Avenue, Midtown
Photo by myself on Fifth Avenue, around 47th Street, in Midtown.

It's people, people, everywhere on Fifth Avenue.

Fifth Avenue is a very long street, with some parts busier than others. The photo above was taken near the Diamond District, a tiny area filled with high end jewelry stores.


Mark and I are absolutely hooked on the latest series on AMC called 'The Walking Dead'. The show is in its second season.

The Walking Dead is about zombies, of course. It's set in the Atlanta, Georgia area, is extremely gripping (and a bit gorey) but very well written and produced. I didn't think I'd become as addicted to it as I am (!).

Anyway, from watching the show, you learn another case against living in a dense city. If there's any place you don't want to be if there is an epidemic of zombies, is a place with a ton of people. You'd become a zombie instantly.

Morning rush hour in Midtown is similar to zombie crowd scenes. There is a little panic, some plodding mindlessly forward, but thankfully, no cannibalism.

For the AMC website for The Walking Dead, click here.

Related posts: Crowded Sidewalk, Midtown, Fighting the Crowds, in Midtown, and Lost in a Crowd.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Pedaling around Midtown

Messenger, NYC
Photo by myself, in Midtown.

Not sure if this fellow was a bike messenger or not, but he carried a hefty chain on his shoulder.


New York is due to have a huge infusion of bikes, soon. A bike share program is in the works and is due to be out this summer. Holy smokes!

Bikes will be located en masse in locations around the city. All you do is pick one up, ride to another station, and drop it off. The monthly rental fees will cost less than a monthly Metrocard, which is $104 right now.

My only question is...where are all the cyclists going to be? The sidewalks are not an option. The streets are already crowded and dangerous. I hope this works for the betterment of the city but like any self-respecting cynical New Yorker, I have my doubts!

For more about the bikeshare program on the NY Department of Transportation site, click here.

Related posts: Summer Streets, on Park Avenue South, Pedaling Around Columbus Circle, and On NY Bike Tours and Real Housewives.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

NY Attitude, for Sale

Photo by myself, somewhere in Midtown.

Oh yes, even the babies have attitude. A store showed off its stash of opinionated onesies.

Related posts: T Shirts with New York Attitude, in Chelsea, On T-Shirt Slogans and the New Yorker Festival, and Don't Even Think about it, Downtown.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

In the Darkness, Below Ground

Subway, NYC
Photo by myself on the subway, somewhere below ground.

The lights were out in half of this subway car. Riding in the semi-darkness on the subway with strangers is not for the typical newbie. You have to be pretty comfortable with your surroundings to do this.

I have to admit I wouldn't have been able to sit here during my first year of living here. Back then, I was super-vigilant to what everyone around me was doing, convinced that certain danger was lurking just around the corner.

The city was different, back then. Cell phones hadn't been invented, the memories of crime-ridden decades were still fresh, and like most New Yorkers, I didn't know any of my neighbors. It felt as if anything could happen and no one would know about it, and that was not too settling.

Not to fear, the city is currently very, very safe.

Related posts: Quiet on the Set!, The Trains are Hopping, and The Space of Chance Encounters.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Parked in NoHo

Parking, NYC
Photo by myself on Lafayette and Bond Streets, in Noho.

As in most cities, when space is an issue, the solution is building up. That goes for a parking lot, too.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Related posts: A Bit More on Celebrity, Past and Present, Parked in Park Slope, and The Camera Van in Park Slope, Brooklyn.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Portrait of a Dog Owner, in Tompkins Square Park

Helen, NYC
Photo by myself, in Tompkins Square Park.

Helen, above, has been a New York resident since the late 70's. I met her on a recent cold weekend in Tompkins Square Park. She was wearing white feathers, ear muffs, sunglasses and pink cowboy boots (!). Her dog Bartholomew** is a Boston Terrier, as is our dog, Rupert.

I spoke with Helen briefly about her time in New York. She's lived in the same apartment in Alphabet City for the last 20-some years. Helen is originally from LA. She said that on her first trip to New York, she was overwhelmed by the energy of the city (in a good way).

Helen and I commiserated about how common it is for New Yorkers to move into an apartment and stay, because it's too much trouble to move again. In my case, it was tromping up and down three flights of rickety stairs in the middle of an August heat wave, while the moving truck was creating a traffic jam.

Helen and Bartholomew seemed to know everyone in the dog park and they visit there two or three times a day. Helen was super cool to talk to. We hope to see them next time we swing by the park!

Helen and Bartholomew, NYC

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

**ps: I might have gotten Bartholomew's name wrong! Please let me know if that's the case!

Related posts: Portrait of a Film Shoot, in Brooklyn Heights, Portrait of a Young Man Without a Home, and Portrait of a Musician, in Midtown.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Braving the Cold, on Canal Street

Chinatown, NYC
Photo by myself on Canal Street.

It was really, really, really cold, Tuesday.

Despite icy winds, vendors were setting up their stalls in the morning. The woman above wore a makeshift muff made from a FedEx envelope.

Related posts: Selling Grapes on Canal Street, Soap Bubbles, Chinatown, and En Masse, On Canal Street.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Art Appreciation, in the Village

the village, nyc
Photo by myself, somewhere in the Village.

A couple admired a black and white rendering of New York City, the other day. The cool thing is, I met the artist of the rendering completely by chance last year on the street.

Krikko Obot was trained as an architect and creates large scale pencil drawings by hand. The original drawing for the poster is 20 feet high. You can see a photo on Krikko's website, here.

For my photo of the artist Krikko, click here.
For Krikko's website, click here.

Related posts: Painting the Town, in Soho, Village People, in Sheridan Square, and Under the Gaze of Jay-Z, in Soho.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Riding Along Lafayette Street, in Soho

Lafayette Street, NYC
Photo by myself on Lafayette Street and Bleeker Street.

Many stores and restaurants were closed on Sunday, New Year's Day.

People were walking around, regardless. Mark, Rupert and I went into the city, since it was sunny and felt oddly like Spring. The brave couple above rode their bikes in traffic, without helmets.


It used to be that Lafayette Street felt like the edge of the world.

Lafayette is a wide-ish street that runs north-south. Pedestrians are sensitive to the width of streets, and some of the stores along Lafayette were industrial and not inviting. Walking around Soho, you used to get to Lafayette, then stop and turn around.

Not so, today. There are clothing stores and eateries along the street. Soho continues, east of Lafayette, with more fancy boutiques.

Related posts: Strung Along, in Soho, Down Broadway, and Outside 190 Bowery, in Soho.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lions, Tigers and Panda Bears, (oh my!)

NY Public Library
Photo by myself, at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.

The lions outside the main branch of the New York Public Library sit majestically on pedestals. They are low enough to be accessible for people and kids to climb up.

The other day, two pandas and a tiger posed for photos.


Apologies for the late post. I had trouble deciding on what image to share. ;-)

Happy New Year, everyone!

Related posts: A Careful Choice, in Chinatown, The Morning Commute on the N Train, and The Carousel, in Bryant Park.