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Thursday, November 29, 2012

In Neon, on Seventh Avenue

Oyster Bar, nyc
Photo by myself around 54th Street and Seventh Avenue.

The old-timey neon sign of an oyster restaurant beckoned from across the street. A place called The Famous Oyster Bar first opened in 1959, and looks as if it hasn't changed.

As always, please research restaurants before attending. This restaurant has mixed reviews.

By the way, Wednesday night the Powerball jackpot reached $550 million dollars. Woohoo.

People were lining up on the sidewalks to purchase tickets from convenience stores (!). People in 44 states participated in the drawing, which took place at 10:59 EST.

I didn't buy a Powerball ticket, did you?

Related posts: Twinkly Lights, at the Breslin, Neon Storefronts, Midtown, and From the Corner Deli, in Soho.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's Holiday Time, on Display at Macy's

Macys windows, nyc
Photo by myself outside Macy's, at 34th Street and Sixth Avenue in Midtown.

Christmas in New York means tons of shopping, lights and store displays. The windows at Macy's are always dressed to the nines, with colorful and fantastic displays.

It's early in the season yet. Usually it's hard to get a look at the windows, with all the crowds. Above, a cool cutaway scene showing a family in an Upper West Side apartment watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade balloons floating down Central Park West.

The inscription at the top of the window reads 'The Magic of Christmas'. Text is printed on the window too, so there are layers of things to look at.

Related posts: Windows Onto Another World, at Macy's, Peering into Another World at Macy's, and Christmas Windows to Warm the Heart.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Brrrr....in Midtown

brrr, nyc
Photo by myself around Madison Avenue and 42nd Street, in Midtown.

We are approaching that time of year again, the cold part.

You see more people bundled up, wrapped head to toe in their puffy down coats. Layers are important, especially if you have to go from a packed subway car to the blustery streets to an overheated office.

Temperatures are in the mid-30's at night (about 2 degrees Celsius). We are due to have snow Tuesday morning (!).

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


Monday, November 26, 2012

Intermission, at Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall, nyc
Photo by myself in Carnegie Hall.

The stage was cleared for intermission at Carnegie Hall, Sunday afternoon. All that was left were the chairs and a double bass.

The interior of the concert hall is elaborately ornamented with certain parts painted gold. There are tiers upon tiers of seats. Unfortunately the exterior is undergoing restoration right now, so it's covered with scaffolding.

I attended a concert at Carnegie Hall this weekend by the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra. They did a terrific job, playing works by Shostakovich, Maurer, Zucker and Dvorak.

The orchestra has been dubbed the finest youth orchestra in the States. Performers range in age from 12 to 22, and the performance level is very high. The entire hall was filled for the concert.

2012 marks the orchestra's 50th anniversary season. For more about the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra, see their website here.

Related posts: A Dashing Performance, Below Ground, Playing Pianos as Public Art, and The United Palace Theater, in Washington Heights.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Street Food, in Herald Square

Street Cart, nyc
Photo by myself, in Herald Square.

Street carts are always in season, but especially so when the weather turns colder. Their bright and sometimes flashing lights announce their warm goodies.

Carts serve up drinks, roasted skewed meats, chestnuts, pretzels and of course, hot dogs with all the fixings.

Related posts: Sampling Street Food, on Fifth Avenue, Get Your Street Sweets Here, and The Meal O'bama Cart, in Midtown.


Friday, November 23, 2012

The Morning Mist, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

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

The morning mist hovered above the ground in Prospect Park, which was scattered with leaves. Owners were there with their dogs for off-leash hours, this morning.

It was a gorgeous morning-after-Thanksgiving, not too chilly. Not too many Owners were there...maybe they were sleeping off their food hangovers.

The larger public parks have off-leash hours before 9am, so dogs can socialize and run about. Our dog Rupert enjoyed his game of fetch, as usual.

Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Rupert, our Boston Terrier, ran about with the mist in the background.

Boston Terrier, Brooklyn
Rupert after his workout, with a big grin on his face.

Related posts: An Early Snowfall, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Roaming Free, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, and Fall Foliage, in Prospect Park.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Grand Central Station in Miniature, at the NYC Transit Store

Grand Central, nyc
Photo by myself at the NYC Transit Museum store, at Grand Central Station.

The 11th Annual Train Show opened on Wednesday at the NYC Transit Museum Store at Grand Central. The large model shows Grand Central, the rail tracks and many buildings including the Empire State Building.

I've mentioned the different levels of Grand Central before, and you can see it in the model above - Park Avenue slopes up north of the building so that you're on a raised platform when you get to the station. Cars wrap around the building to the front and then descend to street level via a ramp.

The storefronts on the actual street level are shown all lit up. Below that are the trains, shown with the ground cut away. Trains leave from Grand Central to upper New York, Washington DC and Connecticut daily.

Children were mesmerized by the miniature people, buildings and trains that moved back and forth. A train set is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season.

The model train is set in the Transit Museum Store, so admission is free. It will be on view until February 10th of next year.

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the States. Banks and offices are closed for the holiday. Mark and I will be driving to Long Island to have Thanksgiving dinner with his mother and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Related posts: Outside Grand Central Station, in Midtown, Sharing the Sidewalk, on 42nd Street, and Grand Central, and Tall Tales.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The View, from the Back of a Cab

Taxi, nyc
Photo by myself, from the back of a cab.

The back of a cab is dark and questionable place. But the front seat is full of lights and gizmos.

Tuesday night, I stayed late at work, then took a cab home. On the way back, I had an animated talk with the cab driver. It was my third cab ride of the day.

My first cab ride was in a hybrid car, and the cabbie told me about how much money he saved on gas. But then he was charged a special fee by the Taxi and Limo Commission. He was driving two shifts, back to back.

My second cab driver bemoaned the fact that he didn't buy a medallion when they cost $150k. They now cost about $800k. He boasted that he's driven a cab for 17 years but has never gotten a ticket for missing a red light.

And then there was my third cab driver, above. Only 25 years old, he had gotten his taxi license 7 months ago. Already he was wondering whether this would be his ultimate career, since the long hours and stress are unhealthy.

The young cab driver said the hardest thing about the job was 'controlling your mind', that is, staying alert to all the traffic, pedestrians, changing lights and other drivers making turns without signaling. That, and not going to the bathroom for long periods of time (!).

Related posts: Cabs Galore, on Lexington, Stuck on 8th Avenue, and Colorful Cab, in Midtown.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Look, in the East Village

Graffiti Truck, East Village
Photo by myself on First Avenue and 12th Street, in the East Village.

I got 'the look' from a guy passing by on a bike in the East Village. With the graffiti-covered truck behind him, you'd think it was a tough neighborhood.

The chain around the fellow's body is not for combat. It's to lock his bike up and ensure that the bike will be there later. You see bike messengers and cyclists carry their chains like that, slung around the body.

Related posts: The Look, Outside the Flatiron Building, The Look, in Times Square, and The Look, on Greene Street, Soho.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Outside the Beauty Bar, on 14th Street

Beauty Bar, East Village
Photo by myself on 14th Street and Second Avenue, in the East Village.

The Beauty Bar enjoyed popularity back in the day when many bars had different 'themes'. The vintage sign and storefront make a distinctive impression.

Mark and I were surprised this bar was still open, when we walked by, Sunday afternoon. There was a Halloween display in the cool front window. My memories of this place are extremely hazy.

Apologies for the on-and-off and delayed posts, folks. I'm once again going through a low point with taking photos. Absolutely nothing seems to look good.

Fortunately, I see these periods as more positive rather than negative. These days are not easy, but to me, they are periods of growth. At least, that's what I tell myself.

Anyway, please bear with me. Happy Monday, everyone!

Related posts: Maitre D's, on Broadway, Cheers from the Boat Basin Cafe, on the Upper West Side, and At the Bar, at Old Town.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Night View, in Park Slope, Brooklyn

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

Parts of Park Slope remind me of parts of Boston, where townhouses have gently curved fronts.

Related posts: The Sky Above Park Slope, Brooklyn, The View from Park Slope, Brooklyn, and Parked in Park Slope.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

On the Subway Platform, Below 34th Street

34th Street, nyc
Photo by myself, on the 34th Street subway platform.

A woman wearing a mouse hat was focused on whatever she was playing on her phone. As usual.

It's getting much colder here, so people are wearing their hats and down coats and scarves. We're waking up to temperatures in the upper-30's (F), or 4 degrees Celcius. Brrrr.

At this time of year, the subways suddenly become smaller, since people are about 20% larger than usual.

Related posts: In the News, Underground, The Morning Commute, Underground, and Delays on the B Train, Underground.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Paste-Ups, on the Lower East Side

Graffiti, nyc
Photo by myself, somewhere on the Lower East Side.

Paste-ups and sprayed graffiti decorated an older wall on the Lower East Side.

Once again I made the mistake of taking a photo without a context photo, which meant that I have no idea where this was.

The streets are a constantly changing landscape. I'll revisit a neighborhood after a while and see new stores, restaurants and graffiti.

I suppose this happens in every urban area. Not so much in the suburbs, where population is less dense.

Related posts: Tagged at 5-Pointz, in Long Island City, On Pink Walls, and a Family Update, and Outside 190 Bowery, in Soho.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

At the Island's Edge, along the East River

Bridges, nyc
Photo by myself along the East River.

The Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges in silhouette. Brooklyn lies across the water.

Manhattan is a little strange in that though there are parks located along the water, parts of the island's edge are still not developed. As you can see, there is debris and unpaved areas here.

It is very much an island looking inwards. All the mass transit aims toward the center of Manhattan, for instance. And Fifth Avenue, which is used to navigate everyone, runs up the middle.

Very often you will walk around the city and completely forget that really, you are surrounded by water. Very strange.

Related posts: Another View of the Brooklyn Bridge, The View from Brooklyn Bridge Beach, and The Brooklyn Bridge, in the Balance.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Harvest, on Display in Midtown

Zeytin, nyc
Photo by myself around 41st Street and Fifth Avenue.

A display outside a high-end deli used corn stalks to reflect the season. All the fruit was placed in wicker baskets.

Mangoes and asian pears were going for $1.99 each, while apples were going for the same price per pound. Limes were 4 for $1.00.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Related posts: Fresh, on the Upper West Side, Bright Lights and Cured Meats, on the Upper West Side, and Food on the Brain.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Office Towers, near Bryant Park

Tower, Bryant Park
Photo by myself at 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue, in Midtown.

With the time change, evening seems to arrive much too early.

Offices are more energy-conscious than before, turning out their lights when not in use. To the left, out of frame, is Times Square, brightly lit with LED lights.

This is the time of year that is most challenging for taking photos, since there are limited hours of sunshine and it's colder outside.

I hope everyone is doing well.

We're having a sunny, beautiful weekend here. The snow has melted and it feels strangely like Spring!

Related posts: The View from Bryant Park, at Dusk, At Work, in Midtown, and Buried Among Towers, in Midtown.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Bang on a Can, Below West 4th Street

Larry the Busker
Photo by myself at the West 4th subway platform.

The other night I was standing on the platform at West 4th Street, when my ears pricked up at this incredible sound. What I heard was something between a thunder and a rumble.

Two bucket drummers were riffing, without a care in the world. Different plastic drums, the kind used to store soy sauce and building supplies, made a whole range of tones.

When I got home, I showed my fiance Mark my photos. He said immediately, 'That's Larry the Busker!'

A quick look online made me a bit speechless - Larry was the first to use five-gallon plastic buckets as drums on the street. He's been drumming since the age of five. He even has his own Wiki page.

Nothing is off limits as part of the 'drum set'. Larry moved seamlessly between banging on the buckets, the ground, and the subway structure next to him. He uses his feet to manipulate another bucket, while twirling the batons in the air, no less.

Larry and his wife Sonia were in a world of their own, and didn't seem to even communicate while performing. I was lucky enough to find a video of them performing in the exact same spot (!).

A short movie made about Larry when he was 15.

Related posts: Early Snowfall in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Even More Snow, in Central Park, and Fresh Snow, at the New York Public Library.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

First Snow, in Park Slope, Brooklyn

First Snow, Brooklyn
Photo by myself on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

The Northeaster we were warned about arrived Wednesday night in the form of snow and cold winds. Across the street, a little girl in pink with a pink umbrella waited for the light to change.

We rarely get snow in New York so early in the year, but this may just be the new normal? Last year we had snow the night before Halloween. As of this writing, we have three inches stuck on the ground.

The subway ride Wednesday night was strangely quiet, even though we've had a hurricane, a presidential election, then snow, all in rapid succession. No one batted an eye.

Related posts: Early Snowfall in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Even More Snow, in Central Park, and Fresh Snow, at the New York Public Library.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Borough of Brooklyn, on the Subways and No Reservations

Q Train, Brooklyn
Photo by myself on the Q Train, in Brooklyn.

Just another night underground on the way home.

You know the drill. The boom box comes out. The kids start clapping and calling out in loud voices to enjoy the show. And then it begins.

The twirling, the whirling, the flipping upside down and yelling. Meanwhile the rest of us are trying to sleep or read or play that game on the phone that we're addicted to.

The commute between Brooklyn and Manhattan went smoothly Monday. You wouldn't have known there'd been a hurricane at all.

Speaking of Brooklyn, Anthony Bourdain chose our humble borough as the location for the final episode of his food show, 'No Reservations'. The show premiered last night.

Tony includes some new high end restaurants with tasting menus and some old school restaurants that have been around forever. He even takes a ride around Red Hook with Ralph Balzano, whose pad I photographed a few years ago (!).

Mark and I watched the final episode and were amazed by the list of restaurants we'd never heard of and now have to visit. It was very flattering for Bourdain to choose Brooklyn to showcase, since he's sampled food all over the world.

For more about Bourdain's final episode of No Reservations, click here.
For my impromtu photo session with Ralph and his incredible hang out pad in Red Hook, click here.

Related posts: Flipping Out, on the B Train, Daredevil Tattoo, on Ludlow Street, and Hot Diggity Dogs, All Day Long.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Asleep, Beside the East River

Asleep along the East River
Photo by myself near the East River, downtown.

A fellow napped on a bench outside, Sunday afternoon. You can see the Brooklyn Bridge and Financial District off in the distance.

Above the bike lane on the right is the FDR Expressway, where cars whizz up and down the east edge of Manhattan.

I wandered around the Lower East Side and Soho for a little bit, Sunday afternoon. I expected to see a mess along the East River from the hurricane, but everything looked fine, with just a few more twigs and leaves than usual.

Sundays are typically quiet in the city, but this day was very quiet. I saw a few tourists, some storekeepers sprucing up and several sanitation trucks on the road. Many folks were running and strolling in the parks along the water.

Fortunately for everyone, the Marathon was cancelled at the last minute. I can't imagine what it would have been like with news crews everywhere and people trying to get to different parts of the race with the little mass transit there was.

One of my neighbors volunteered in the Rockaways, Queens, where there the electricity is still out (!). He described it as a 'war zone'.

The only subways running between Brooklyn and Manhattan are the 4, 5 and 6 trains right now. I can only imagine the madhouse it will be during rush hour on Monday. Oy!

Related posts: At Night, Along the East River, Gone Fishin, Along the East River, and View from the Barge, on the East River.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Peeking into Paron's Fabrics, the Garment District

Parons, nyc
Photo by myself at 39th Street and Eighth Avenue, in the Garment District.

A photo pre-Sandy.

The fabric and notion stores in the Garment District are vanishing one by one. Paron's is one of my favorites. It just recently moved from 40th Street to 37th Street, and sell a range of fabrics and patterns to the public.

Paron's discounts some of its fabrics by as much as 50%. They carry some fabrics used by high end designers like Tessuti, Calvin Klein and DKNY. You can see the rolls and rolls of stuff inside, arranged by fabric weave and fiber content.

Yesterday, my fiance Mark ventured into the city for work. He found a car service that drove him in. On the way home, he took a convoluted journey on the subway. (The 6 in Soho to Brooklyn Bridge, to the 4 to Atlantic/Pacific in Brooklyn, to the R train to Park Slope).

Mark's project was delayed by the storm, so he has to work weekends to meet their deadline. He works in advertising and they are rushing to fill a Thanksgiving air date. People are still waiting in line for gas for hours.

Meanwhile, I was all set to go in for photos. I had my bag, my water, my big camera, and comfy shoes.

I took the R train to Jay Street and was prepared to walk over the Manhattan Bridge, when I realized I'd forgotten to put the *@#%! battery in my camera.

Oy!! Major fail. I will try again today.

ps: Our building donated a ton of warm clothing to folks in Red Hook, and many of us are helping with a bake sale to raise funds.

While Park Slope escaped without too much damage, the temperatures are dropping here to the 30's at night. Red Hook is only a couple miles away and it was seriously flooded.

Related posts: Death & Co., Behind Closed Doors, Daredevil Tattoo, on Ludlow Street, and Hippy Sign, on Prince Street.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Sense of Humor, in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Re Sandy, in Park Slope
Photo by myself around Seventh Avenue and Twelfth Street, in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

A sandwich board style sign outside a liquor store proclaimed the obvious: 'Sandy is so not getting a Christmas card this year.' Ha.

Life is just getting a tad closer to normal, though lines outside gas stations are still very, very long. Mark ventured out to look for gas today but was out of luck. We have enough gas to drive about 20 miles, and dare not getting stuck on the side of the road.

You would think that not going to work for a week would be wonderful, but it hasn't. I think it's the constant news on television, watching people suffer so, that has been tough.

Related posts: Pork is the Answer, on the Lower East Side, Tongue in Cheek, on the Sidewalk and in the Subway, and Last Call, Park Slope and 10 Things to do in New York.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Life Goes on, in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Need Stuff for Red Hook, Brooklyn
Photo by myself in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

There was a call for donations for Red Hook residents, who were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Our neighborhood woke to find flyers posted, requesting candles and perishables.

Red Hook is a small neighborhood only a couple miles away. It is located at the edge of the East River.

As of this writing, Brooklyn is nearly cut off from Manhattan. Anyone trying to get into the city Wednesday by car was stuck for hours in traffic. Today, only cars with three or more passengers can even attempt to drive in.

Subways are running today in two sections, one within Brooklyn, and one between Manhattan and the Bronx. Some buses are running, too, but I'm sure the going will be very, very slow. Our city is so dependent on mass transit, that not having buses or subways has been crippling.

The lines to get gas are tremendously long. Our car is low on gas, so we've been essentially stuck at home, watching the news all day.

Halloween did go on yesterday. Kids walked through the streets in costumes to stores that were open. Our apartment building observed Halloween, with kids going door to door.

Apologies for the lack of photos. I will attempt to escape our neighborhood today (!). We are all a bit stir crazy at home.

Halloween, Brooklyn

Related posts: On Man V. Nature and the Gowanus Canal, On the Opera Collective and Hurricane Irene, and Wet and Not-So-Wonderful, Downtown.