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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Below the Big Chandelier, at the Paramount Hotel

Hotel Paramount, nyc
Photo by myself at the Paramount Hotel at 46th Street and Eighth Avenue, in Midtown.

Smack dab in the midst of all the screaming LED signs in Times Square, is the Paramount Hotel.

The hotel was opened by the hotelier Ian Schrager and the lobby was designed by Phillipe Starck. A gigantic chandelier hangs in the middle of the space. When it opened, the bar of this hotel was a destination. Now, not so much.

Visitors should not forget that hotel lobbies are akin to public spaces. If you're ever in need of rest, you can stumble into one of the hundreds of hotel lobbies here, where a big, plush chair awaits you.

Related posts: The Royalton, Renovated, On Hotels and Hype, Along Fifth Avenue and Beyond, and All Lit Up, Outside the Gershwin Hotel.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Alarmed, in the East Village

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

Scattered throughout the city, there are alarm boxes that connect you directly with the police or fire department.

All you do is flip a lid and push a button. This one was decorated with graffiti. Under the pink skull sticker is the word 'fire' and a little flame symbol.

I've never seen these things used, but it's nice that they're around. Methinks these were installed when New York was a more dangerous place.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Related posts: Graffiti Gets Physical, on St. Mark's Place, The Urban Art Form, Downtown, and Art, for Public's Sake.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Juggling Around, in Bryant Park

Juggling in Bryant Park
Photo by myself in Bryant Park.

One of the many scheduled activities in Bryant Park is juggling.

For not a large park, Bryant Park is very busy. Besides fencing, petanque, chess, ping pong, movies and musical performances, you can learn how to juggle every Tuesday evening, free of charge (!).

I met Alex, the instructor (above left), the other day. He was super-friendly and offered to teach me how to juggle. I opted to watch, as Alex and a visitor talked about juggling tricks.

Alex can juggle up to 5 objects and professed the largest thing he ever juggled was a basketball.

Related posts: Night View at the Carousel, Singer and Sax, Below Ground, and Odd and Colorful Birds, Bryant Park.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Strumming a Tune, Below Ground

Subway singer, nyc
Photo by myself, on the R train.

A singer toting a guitar sang on the R train in Brooklyn, Tuesday night.

He was super cheerful, inviting passengers to join in. Not many folks were daring enough to join in, but the tired mood of the subway went up a few notches. How could it not?

Related posts: The King of Song, Below Ground, Singer and Sax, Below Ground, and Singing for Supper, in Washington Square Park.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Friendly Wave from the Deli Counter, in Midtown

Deli, nyc
Photo by myself, in Midtown.

I got a friendly wave from the guy who works in the deli I sometimes go to, the other day.

There's been construction going on nearby, and the deli was flooded with construction workers, who were looking for an early lunch. These fellows usually eat a hearty meal in the mid-morning, just when some of us are waking up (ahem!).

This is one of a couple delis near my office. When we look for lunch, my coworkers and I deliberate on various delis that we've named 'across the street', 'down the street' or 'around the corner'.

As you can tell, we architects are not too creative or daring, ha.


Life has been a little nuts, recently. My fiance Mark just left on yet another business trip, this time a long one to LA.

I'll be stopping off in LA on my way to Beijing, in mid-April. This blog will continue, with a mix of pre-scheduled posts and posts that I email to blogger. For whatever reason, Blogger is not accessible in mainland China.

Related posts: Greetings from a New York Pie, in Midtown, A Friendly Wave, in Midtown, and Greetings from Above, in Midtown.


Monday, March 26, 2012

I Heart NY for Sale, on Fifth Avenue

Morning, Fifth Avenue
Photo by myself on Fifth Avenue, around 36th Street in Midtown.

The stretch near the Empire State Building on Fifth Avenue is littered with stores selling all kinds of New York memorabilia.

You can get everything from Statue of Liberty headbands to t-shirts and all else.

Related posts: Taking a Break, at the Statue of Liberty, I Heart NY, in Midtown, and On T-Shirt Slogans and the New Yorker Festival.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

On Sixth Avenue and the Starbucks Challenge

Cuppa joe to go, nyc
Photo by myself on Sixth Avenue, in Midtown.

The drug of choice here in New York is without a doubt, coffee.

Whether with a ton of milk, a ton of sugar, or black, we *loves* our caffeine. Loves, loves, loves. What other beverage gets our edge on, makes us more productive and talk quickly? Delis on every street corner serve coffee and iced coffee (in the summer), and of course there are Starbucks locations everywhere.

Above, two women sported hot coffees and one had an iced coffee, last week. Already. I know, it's only March, but it was obscenely sunny last week, the perfect weather for an iced cuppa joe to go.


Thanks to my fiance Mark for finding a very funny video on the matter of coffee. Below, a comedian named Mark Malkoff visited all 171 Starbucks locations in one, very long day.

This video was done way back in 2007, when there were only 171 Starbucks locations in Manhattan. At this writing, there are 255. Enjoy!

Related posts: On the Mud Truck and Hotel Gramercy Park, Cuppa Joe to Go, and On Line, in Midtown.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

On Chinatown and a Trip to Beijing

Chinatown, nyc
Photo by myself at Centre and Canal Streets, in Chinatown.

The streets were a-buzz the other night as people were shopping for fruit in Chinatown.

For whatever reason, vendors seem to use orange-colored plastic bags a lot in this neighborhood. You can always tell if someone has just come from Chinatown for supplies.

We've been having some misty mornings and evenings. In the background, you can just make out some of the taller courthouse buildings in lower Manhattan.


So the news is, I'll be visiting my brother in Beijing, in mid-April! HOLY COW. He was transferred some time ago by his law firm in LA, and I haven't gotten around to visit him until now. I'll be traveling with my dad, and it should be an incredible trip.

In the meantime, I've been trying to figure out how to keep posting on this blog. A number of websites are not accessible there, including Blogger, but you can post to Blogger via email. The only issue is having control of image sizes and quality.

I've blogged before from other places, like Mexico, Puerto Rico and Japan. Censorship hasn't been an issue until now.

Stay tuned. More later!

Related posts: The Dragon Parade, on Mott Street, All Lit Up, on Canal Street, and On Chrystie Street and Photography 101.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Sharing a Moment, in Times Square

Times Square, nyc
Photo by myself in Times Square.

A couple lounged in some of the chairs scattered about in the pedestrian area of Times Square. There were crowds milling about, gawking at the billboards and LED screens.

The seating areas and closed off streets are a recent phenomenon. Under Mayor Bloomberg, portions of Broadway have been closed around Times Square and Madison Square Park. There hasn't been much of an affect on traffic, though.


We've been having unseasonably warm weather here. Thursday was slightly humid and brightly sunny, with highs near 73F (that's 22C). All the flowering trees are abloom, much to the dismay of those with allergies.

Usually March is a cool and clammy month.

Related posts: Times Square, NYC, On Broadway, and Reasons to be Pretty, in Times Square.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Outside Memphis, on Broadway

Memphis on Broadway
Photo by myself at 44th and Broadway, on the West Side.

Memphis, the musical, has been playing at the Schubert Theater in the Theater District since October, 2009. The marquis and signs outside the theater were covered with words.

A show is officially 'on Broadway' when it plays at a theater with more than 500 seats. There are many shows performing on Broadway at the moment, including The Lion King, Evita, Chicago and Porgy and Bess.

Related posts: Get on with the Show, on Broadway, Now Playing at the Booth Theater, and Street Theater for the New City, in the East Village.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Chrysler Building, at Night

Chrysler Building, nyc
Photo by myself at Madison Avenue and 42nd Street, in Midtown.

Ah, the view down 42nd Street at night is a sparkly one.

Apologies for not posting yesterday. It's been crazy busy hereabouts.

Related posts: Grand Central and Tall Tales, The View Down 42nd Street, Midtown, and From the East Bank.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Back to the Grind, in Midtown

Pushcart, Midtown
Photo by myself at 35th Street and Sixth Avenue, in Midtown.

A fellow pushed a cart for Karen Miller, a company that designs formal dresses. I have a feeling he saw me and was trying to avoid being in the photo.

In Midtown and around Seventh Avenue, you still often see carts loaded with clothing and bolts of fabric.


I used to post black and white photos more often, but now I feel more comfortable with color. Black and white can be more striking, but you lose some nice contrasts - a bright white LED light next to a fluorescent storefront, for example.

These days I post in black and white when the color doesn't look so good - the camera might be focused to be in one area, and there is a distracting swatch of red in the background. I've learned from experience that black and white photos are best when taken on overcast days, so the sky looks white in the image.

In today's photo, I just thought the black and white was a nice change of pace.

Related posts: On Crossing the Street and Living Dangerously, Under Cover, Midtown, and Street Corner, in Midtown.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Under the Tracks, in Bensonhurst

Raised tracks, Brooklyn
Photo by myself around New Utrecht Avenue and 64th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

In some parts of Brooklyn, the subway is raised up from the street. This is the 'N' line, in Bensonhurst. We made a special trip for Sicilian pizza, when I took this photo.

I don't know too much about Bensonhurst, except that its name still connotes some danger. It has a history of some racial conflict in the 90's and was a location for the mafia. In recent years, this neighborhood has kept a low profile.

For the wiki entry on Bensonhurst, click here.

Related posts: Welcome to Bensonhurst, The Elevated Tracks, in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and Under the Overpass, in Harlem.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday Morning, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Prospect Park, am
Photo by myself in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

It was a gorgeous Spring morning in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. The sun was out and a morning mist hugged the ground.

We are due for some really beautiful weather this week. Typically there is almost no Spring in New York. We'll see how long this lasts!

The park was very busy this morning with runners, dogs off-leash (til 9 am) and a bike race in progress. I was at the park to play fetch with Rupert, our Boston Terrier.


Recently, fellow photo-blogger and dog owner Rose from Oz asked how Rupert was. I haven't posted a photo of him in a while. Rup and I went to the park by ourselves. My fiance Mark is in Miami for a work project.

Rupert was much too busy prancing and fetching to pose for me. I was nearly doing summersaults to get him to stand still. When in fetch mode, he is very pushy!

Prospect Park, am

Related posts: Roaming Free, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, An Update on NYC and Rupert, and Gone Swimmin' in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Twilight, in Soho

Soho, nyc
Photo by myself, in Soho.

There is a fine line between daytime and night, when stores roll down their doors, people stagger home from the subway, and the bars open up for business.

There are still some cobblestone streets in this neighborhood. Here, you can just barely see the texture of the stones.


The Times continues to offer more tidbits on its website, like photo essays and video. They are all wonderfully shot and edited.

The Metro section has snippets of video on regular New Yorkers. There's a food critic who eats her first dirty water hot dog, a high school student who taught himself over a dozen languages, and a fellow who tap dances on the subway to pay his tuition.

I haven't seen the tap dancer before in real life (yet). He supposedly sticks to the #2 and #3 subway lines and is pretty darned good with his feet:

Related posts: Down Broadway, All Aglow, in Soho, and After the Snow, in Soho.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Looking Up at Rockefeller Center

Looking Up, nyc
Photo by myself around 50th Street and Fifth Avenue, in Midtown.

Three guys were looking up at Rockefeller Center, towering above. You can see the vertical windows of the tower, reflected in the background.

I was passing by in a cab. The weather was so nice Wednesday, that I could roll down the window without feeling guilty for making the cab driver cold.

My camera focused on the guy behind the three guys looking up. At first I didn't like how that turned out, but my fiance Mark said it was fine. I pass all photos for this blog in front of his eyeballs for final approval.

Related posts: Faces in a Crowd, Moving and Shaking, the Diamond District, and Looking Up, on Fifth Avenue.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Looking for a Bargain, on Canal Street, Chinatown

Canal Street, nyc
Photo by myself on Canal Street and Broadway, in Chinatown.

Transactions do take place on Canal Street after the sun goes down, but not for long. Generally, the stalls pull down their shutters and this street is an absolute ghost town after dark.

All sorts of things are sold on Canal Street: T-shirts, electronics, fragrances, jewelry, bonsai plants, fountains, clothing, appliances, fake Chanel bags....to name a few.


We've been having some suddenly wonderful, warm days. March is usually chilly and temperamental in New York.

People have been sauntering around in shorts and flip flops already. Wednesday's weather is rumored to go into the 60's F (18 degrees Celsius).

Related posts: Where the Kids Are, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, The Three Pete's, and Hipsters in their Natural Habitat.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Working Under Bright Lights, at the Wooster Street Social Club

NY Ink, Wooster Street
Photo by myself at the Wooster Street Social Club, at Wooster and Grand Streets, in Soho.

The Wooster Street Social Club is otherwise known for the television reality series called NY Ink on TLC. I dropped in for a brief visit, Monday night.

Visitors were standing around the reception desk, browsing through the portfolios of each tattoo artist. A Wooster Street employee with fully inked forearms fielded questions.

Meanwhile in the back room, a few customers were being worked on. The front room, where NY is filmed, was completely empty except for a motorcycle near the window.

NY Ink, Wooster Street

NY Ink, Wooster Street
One woman reclined on a massage table, while her ankle was inked.

NY Ink, Wooster Street
One wall is covered with sketches done for past tattoos. A long lighttable is used to trace images.

NY Ink, Wooster Street

I haven't watched the NY Ink show yet, but I did see its sister show, LA Ink. I can see how the art, relationship among the tattoo artists and various customers would be fascinating to watch. Overall, the vibe in the parlor was chill.

The parlor is open from noon to 8pm. There are no reservations. Nice to know you can get inked after a long day at the office. ;-)

For the NY Ink site, including clips for the show and a beautiful tattoo slideshow, click here.

*A longtime reader, Marcia, recommended this visit, and I'm glad she did. If you have a favorite NY place you'd like me to visit, email me or leave a comment.

Related posts: Where the Kids Are, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, The Three Pete's, and Hipsters in their Natural Habitat.


Monday, March 12, 2012

A Glimpse of Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg

Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Photo by myself on Bedford Avenue, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Bedford Avenue is the main drag in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

In the last few years, new stores and high-rise apartment buildings have crept into the neighborhood. Hip restaurants, design stores and a great view of Manhattan make Williamsburg a desirable place to live for hipsters and young families.

A little arty, a little gritty, just about every door, ATM and signpost is decorated with stickers, paste-ups and tags.

By the way, Wikipedia says that Bedford Avenue happens to be the longest street in Brooklyn (over 10 miles). The street starts in Greenpoint (just northeast of Williamsburg) and stretches all the way to Sheepshead Bay, a neighborhood near Coney Island.

For the Bedford Avenue Wiki entry, click here.

Related posts: Where the Kids Are, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, The Three Pete's, and Hipsters in their Natural Habitat.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Standing on a Stoop, on the Lower East Side

Rivington Street, LES
Photo by myself at Rivington and Clinton Streets on the Lower East Side.

A photo from the stash.

A little girl stood on the stoop of her apartment building. This must have been a Sunday morning; many storefronts are shuttered.

Related posts: A Kid's Life, in Brooklyn, Prep School Kids, on the Upper East Side, and The Morning Commute, on the N Train.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

FDNY Mural, in the East Village

FDNY Mural, EV
Photo by myself, somewhere in the East Village.

Somewhere in the East Village, a mural showing a fireman against a city skyline is painted on a roll-down door. The text reads:'We salute the heroes of NYC. Thank you FDNY.'

Dedications to 9/11 are randomly sprinkled throughout the city. In every neighborhood you can encounter mosaics adorning street lights, and painted walls. The tragedy affected so many ordinary New Yorkers, their relatives, friends and neighbors.

I'm not sure what the cutouts are in the rolldown door? Sometimes people cut holes in the door to use as makeshift mail slots.

Related posts: Remembering Ten Years Ago Today, Salvaged from the World Trade Center, and Remembrance at the World Trade Center.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Protecting the Sidewalks, in Midtown

Scaffolding, nyc
Photo by myself around 32nd Street and Fifth Avenue, in Midtown.

What looks like a haphazard pile of sticks will eventually become scaffolding.

Many of the sidewalks in the city are covered with scaffolding, as renovations and construction is being done. The scaffolding is to protect people walking on the sidewalk. This is a difficult idea to comprehend while walking on the sidewalk, since scaffolding often looks precarious.

The vertical supports sit on blocks of wood, which make the structure level. The blocks of wood aren't nailed together or anything - the scaffold is heavy and stiff enough to keep it from toppling over if ever bumped.

Wednesday night in fact, while walking under scaffolding, I saw a bus nearly tear its rear bumper off when it was snagged by one of the vertical supports. I heard a loud, metallic groan, and saw the bus shake.

The scaffolding? It did not move. Thank goodness.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Related posts: Going Up, Going Down, What's Going Up Near the ESB, and A Work in Progress, Midtown.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Duet, on the 59th Street Platform

59th Street, nyc
Photo by myself at the 59th Street subway station.

A violinist and a cellist performed together on the Columbus Circle subway platform, the other night.

Playing entirely by ear (the sheet music in front of the cellist was just for show), this pair performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto and various movements of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. The violinist had dreadlocks and the cellist had his hair up in a ponytail.

Most people haven't heard classical music played live. These photos were taken during a lull, but a few minutes later, a good-sized crowd stood around, utterly entranced.

59th Street, nyc

Related posts: On a Musical Interlude and the NYT Hawk Cam, On Street Music and the Polar Bear Swim, and Serenade, in Tompkins Square Park.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Musicians Galore, on West 3rd Street

Mural, the village
Photo by myself on West 3rd Street, in the Village.

A two-part mural in the Village depicts a legion of popular musicians from days gone by. The author of the mural painted himself in the bottom corner, with a beret, his phone number and the peace sign.

The artist, Rico Fonseca, first visited the neighborhood in the wild and crazy 60s, having run away from his family in Peru. He hitch-hiked through South America, wound up in California, then moved to New York. And history was made.

During the day, Rico sells his art on this very street. I didn't see him there Tuesday morning, it must have been too early in the day.

For Rico's website, which includes a short movie about the artist, click here.

Related posts: On Pink Walls and a Family Update, Charging Through Wall Street, and Village People, in Sheridan Square.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Apple Store, Inside Grand Central

Grand Central at night
Photo by myself outside Grand Central Train Terminal, on 42nd Street and Park Avenue, in Midtown.

Monday night, I wandered over to one of my favorite buildings, Grand Central.

Was I picking up fresh ingredients for dinner at Grand Central Market, the high end food market? Or was I going to the Oyster Bar for a cup of hot chowder and a beer?

Nope. I was checking out the latest Apple Store.

Now on the east end of the Main Concourse, you can browse around on ipads to your little heart's delight. Or consult with geniuses. Or purchase the latest in i-gear.

Apple Store, Grand Central
Review the latest gadgets below discreet LED lights at the newest Apple Store. The long tables and lighting are reminiscent of an old fashioned library.

The coolest thing about this store is that it's virtually invisible from the main concourse level. There's no huge signage, no glass box. The store is open to the air on the second level, and overlooks the main space.

Despite the lack of large-scale signage, the store was abuzz with customers. And we all had a great view of the concourse below. I've taken photos in and around Grand Central, but this was the first with my Leica. It's a tricky space to photograph because it is dimly lit.

Inside Grand Central
The view of the main concourse from the Grand Central Apple Store.

Related posts: A View into Grand Central Station, The Apple Store, Continued, and Grand Central and Tall Tales.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Get Your Tattoos, Downtown

Downtown, nyc
Photo by myself, somewhere downtown.

'Downtown' has long been associated with the cooler, hipper types.

For piercings, tattoos, hookahs and other transgressive items, one usually goes 'downtown'. Poetry slams are located downtown. So are social protests.

'Uptown' has traditionally been associated with the prim and proper. The older museums are located uptown. Park Avenue is located uptown (the street becomes Union Square East at 14th Street). These are generalities, of course.

Related posts: Neon Storefronts, Midtown, Outside Radio City Music Hall, on Sixth Avenue, and Twinkly Lights, at the Breslin.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

If Life Were a TV Show, We'd All Be on Houston Street

Houston St., nyc
Photo by myself on Houston and Allen Streets, on the Lower East Side.

You'd think from this photo that we all walk around with big smiles on our faces, greeting everyone and leading glamorous lives like the characters on a TV show. Not so.

Usually, we're a serious bunch. But if the weather is nice, I suppose we can muster up a smile or three! ;-)

Related posts: Grinning and Bearing it, on 42nd Street, Looking Around, in Times Square, and On Crowds and the Commute, in Midtown.


Friday, March 2, 2012

ABC's above Rivington Street, the Lower East Side

on the lower east side
Photo by myself at Rivington and Clinton Streets, on the Lower East Side.

I usually avoid taking street photos that have cars in them, but this well-tagged facade was too arty to pass up. As you can see, it's a little rough around the edges in some parts of the Lower East Side.

Just to the right, at 158 Rivington Street, is the Rivington Club, an exclusive sneaker store that sells the cream of the crop in Nikes or Adidas gear. The entrance to the store is a rather inconspicuous door.

For more about the Rivington Club, see the NY Magazine write-up, here.

Related posts: Outside 190 Bowery, in Soho, Sign of the White Rabbit, on Houston Street, and Ready to Rumble, in Alphabet City.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

9:45 am on the B Train, Below Brooklyn

B Train, Brooklyn
Photo by myself on the B train, below ground.

A wee snippet from the commute, yesterday morning.

All the passengers on the morning train were tuned out on devices small and large, or they were asleep. One fellow leaned against the center pole in his own world, practicing the drums against his leg.

It was all a little surreal, but this was a typical morning.

Some riders read books and newspapers, though, just not in this view. And at times, people do talk to one another. Many couples, families or neighbors make the morning commute together.

Related posts: A New York Frame of Mind, The Subway Platform, 59th Street, and On the Ride Home.