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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tonight's Winning Numbers, in Sunset Park

After the Lottery, Sunset Park
Photo by myself in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

The floor of a grocery store in Brooklyn's Chinatown is littered with the aftermath of Lotto.

Useless ticket stubs are scattered on the floor. Above on the television, were the night's winning numbers.


Oh to win the lottery and retire.

I'm not sure what I'd do with myself. Most likely potter about, travel and take photos, and just enjoy life.

What would you do?

Related posts: Fish Market, Chinatown, On the Sidewalk, Chinatown and A Dollar and a Dream.


Monday, June 29, 2009

City Portraits - Washington Square Park

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

Renovations on this park on Lower Fifth Avenue are complete, and people are flocking to enjoy the new space. There are tons of benches that are perfect for people-watching.

Kids cooled themselves off in the large central fountain. Visitors milled about and lunched on benches, while various musicians performed.


Mark and enjoyed lunched in Washington Square Park, Saturday. It was finally sunny after days of showers.

Washington Square Park, painter

Musicians, Washington Square Park

Chess tables, Wash Sq.

The chess tables were filled. There was a festive feeling in the air, as if everyone was on vacation.

Fountain, Wash Sq Park

Fountain, Wash. Sq. Park

Boxer, Washington Sq Park

When I can, I'll be deviating from the one-photo-per day routine, with City Portraits - series of photos showing an event or place, like the one a couple weeks ago from the Barbeque Festival in Madison Square Park.

Related posts: City Portraits - BBQ Block Party, Madison Square Park, 184 3/4 West 4th Street and Riding in Style in the Village.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Passing the Time, Underground

On the Subway, NYC
Photo by myself on the subway.

Many subway riders occupy themselves with games on their cell phones or other devices. Other riders read books or magazines. The rest either sleep or stare off in space.


Once again, subway fares are going up, here in New York.

The once $2 per ride fare will be $2.25, starting today (Sunday). The increase is New York State's solution to the $1.8 billion dollar deficit in the transportation sector.

Bridge and tunnel tolls are going up 10 percent, too. In this economy.

On another note, here's the latest video of our dog Rupert, who just turned 11 months old. There's footage of some typical tug-of-war antics and shenanigans.

I've set up a new spot on the sidebar for his fans.


Related posts: On Taking Candids, A Much-Needed Nap and The Trains are Hopping.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Music While You Wait

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

A classically trained flute player entertained a small audience the other night.


Most of the time when I take photos of street musicians, they're happy to pose. Only once in a while do musicians stop what they're doing, implying that they should be paid for their photograph.

Generally, the good musicians do all right. People drop a few bucks in an open bag or hat for talented performers, or those who look obviously in need.

One of my cousins visited New York years ago and played his guitar on the sidewalk. He got some decent money from it, though he might have gotten the contributions because he was a teenager.

Next time I'll have to ask the performer what they generally get each day. I'm curious!

Related posts: On Music and Elephants, Underground, Acrobatics Below 34th Street and Pulling Strings on the Subway Platform.


Strange Skies Above Sunset Park, Brooklyn

Weird Sky, Sunset Park
Photo by myself in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Mark and I encountered one of the oddest skies I've ever seen, Friday night.

After a dinner in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, we walked out to an orange sky filled with small puffy clouds that looked like cotton balls. We heard on the news that the cloud formation is often associated with serious weather (there were severe thunderstorms in the area earlier).

I looked around for the space ships, it was so weird.


Happy Weekend, everyone!

Related posts: Trinity Church, at Dusk, Sunrise, Sunset and Subway Sunset - On the Way Home.


Friday, June 26, 2009

On Lost Icons and The Dakota

The Dakota, Upper West Side
Photo by myself of The Dakota, at 72nd Street and Central Park West.

This landmark apartment building on the Upper West Side was the setting for the film Rosemary's Baby. An overhead view of the building's gothic roofline occurs near the beginning of the movie.

The little metal booth is for the doorman during the winter months. The archway leads to an exterior courtyard.


Like everyone, I'm shocked and saddened by the deaths Thursday of two American icons, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. News of the latter came as a huge shock, out of the blue and at the end of the work day.

The photo above shows the The Dakota, home of another icon lost too soon, John Lennon. Lennon was gunned down in front of the building in 1980.

Fans pay tribute to Lennon in Central Park, across the street. An area called 'Strawberry Fields' bears the word 'Imagine' inscribed in the pavement. Visitors often leave flowers there as a remembrance.

Related posts: Trinity Church, at Dusk, On the Market and Among Beautiful Things.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Going Postal in Midtown

33rd Street Post Office cornice
Photo by myself of the main post office at 33rd Street and Eighth Avenue.

This enormous building comprises an entire city block, and was designed by the renowned architecture firm McKim, Mead and White. It was built in 1912.

Wikipedia says that the motto carved into the cornice was actually supplied by the architecture firm, and comes from Ancient Greek writings. Apparently the postal service in ancient Greece was pretty good.

The entire inscription reads:'Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds', and spans the length of the facade.


Related posts: The Royalton, Revisited, Architecture, A Glorified Profession and Dusk Among Towers.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Way Off in the Distance, Miss Liberty

Statue of Liberty from afar
Photo by myself from the southern tip of Manhattan.


I discovered Tuesday that the thing about being at the edge of an island is that you can't see what's behind you. In my case, I was standing in a park, with all of lower Manhattan at my back.

It was overcast but the sun was peeking through the heavy clouds at the end of the day. With the Statue of Liberty way, way off in the distance, I thought it was a nice image.

Related posts: The View of Liberty, Life's a Beach and The Cycle of Decay.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Flower Power, Bryant Park

Floral, Floral & Floral
Photo by myself near Bryant Park at 40th Street and Sixth Avenue.

Two women in very floral garb stood near a planter, Monday afternoon. I couldn't help but take a photograph.

I have to wonder whether they coordinated their clothing?


On Monday I stopped by the ICP, or International Center of Photography School in Midtown. The school is renowned for its photojournalism program and its affiliated museum.

I went to the school for a portfolio review, and to get advice about their summer classes. There are studio and darkroom classes there that last anywhere between an intense weekend to many months.

Student work was being put up for end-of-year exhibit. The vibe was decidedly arty, meaning it was a mess. Images were pinned up on the wall, along with torn pieces of blue painter's tape. Power tools were lying next to communal Mac computers.

The student work ranged from framed large scale photos to tiny postcard-sized images. There were documentary-style photographs showing fire trucks, hotel rooms and the subway. There were nudes, blurry portraits and gritty photographs of the city.

I was nervous to show my work, but in the end, it turned out fine. The reviewer was very nice, and she didn't make any real comments. Her feedback was more about what my experience level and interests were.

Anyway, I'll soon decide between taking a studio class or a technical one about retouching. Of course, it's not the greatest time to shell out money, but you only live once, right?

Related posts: From Under the Bridge, From the East Bank and Home Sweet New York.


Monday, June 22, 2009

The View from the BQE

Skyline from the BQE
Photo by myself from the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, looking toward Manhattan.

I took this photo from the car as we whizzed down the highway from Long Island. The cloud cover is heavy - It's been raining here almost every day for the last three weeks.

You can see the pointy silhouette of the Citicorp building on the right, the Chrysler Building near the middle and the Empire State Building toward the left. Manhattan looks like one gigantic thing.

In the middle distance lies parts of Brooklyn. Greenpoint's warehouses and industrial plant lie in-between our view of Manhattan and the East River.


Hope everyone had a great Father's Day weekend.

Happy Monday everyone!

Related posts: From Under the Bridge, From the East Bank and Home Sweet New York.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

A View into Grand Central Station

Grand Central, NYC
Photo by myself in Grand Central, at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue.

This image is a view approaching the main waiting room at Grand Central Station. There are three bays of windows ahead but the space is much wider, with ornate stairs and mezzanines on each end.

The main waiting room at this train station is for those waiting to travel to upstate New York, Connecticut and Long Island. The subways located in tunnels below and the stations look nothing so grand as this.


Related posts: On Street Photography and Grand Central Station, Grand Central and Tall Tales and Queuing Up at Grand Central Terminal.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

'Killer' Games at School

Crowd, 23rd Street
Photo by myself near Madison Square Park, at 25th Street and Madison Avenue.

Yet another photo of the crowd at the BBQ Festival from last weekend. Due to technical difficulties and the recent rash of rain, I'm digging into my photo stash tonight.


There's a great short article in the latest New Yorker Magazine about a game that takes place yearly at a Brooklyn private school. For 2 1/2 weeks near the end of the school year, students take part in 'Killer', a serious water pistol game.

The game sounds like a thriller movie. Teams stalk one another, planting decoys and waiting in ambush. When a player is shot (with water), he or she is eliminated. Each team contributes $20 into the communal pot. Winner takes all.

I have to say I'm surprised. Having watched years of Law and Order episodes all I can think of are water pistols mistaken for real guns, or kids becoming overly competitive and obsessed about winning.

Mark says that the same game is played in other cities, too, and is sometimes called 'Assassin'.

You'll have to register to read the New Yorker article Click here to read it.

Related posts: Crowded Sidewalk, Midtown, Candid, Midtown and A View from the Streets.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Only in New York

McDs 42nd Street
Photo by myself on 42nd Street and 7th Avenue.

Yes, this gigantic canopy sporting the McDonald's logo is located in the Times Square area. Like any good eye-catching monstrosity, its many light bulbs flicker on and off.


There is a very popular saying that goes 'Only in New York'. Meaning that the most ridiculous things can be found here.

The above sign is among those things.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Related posts: Time for Valentine's, Neon Storefronts, Midtown and East Coast, West Coast.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Free Hugs, Union Square

Free hugs, NYC
Photo by myself in Union Square.

There were several people brandishing 'Free Hugs' signs around this public space for no apparent reason.

I was very suspicious of what the catch was. Did I have to sign my name anywhere? Would I get a lecture about a political group?

It turns out there are many public Free Hugs events staged to make everyone feel good. A number of groups sponsor these spontaneous events, such as The Hug Alliance, Hug Nation and several groups on Facebook.

Each group takes credit for the idea. Hug Nation began in 2001. declaring that spontaneous hugs should go around Tuesdays at 1pm, regardless of where you are. Juan Mann, who started the Hug Alliance, drew up a sign in 2004 simply because he needed a hug.

Difficult to patent the idea, of course. What's clear among all the groups is that they share the intent to brighten up peoples' day, free of charge.

So if you see a 'Free Hug' sign, rest assured. There's no catch except that you enjoy the hug and hug back.

Related posts: It's a Free Country After All, Now on Sale, in Midtown and What's Scrolling in Midtown.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Passing the Time in Times Square

Sitting in Times Square
Photo by myself in Times Square.


Curious about the new pedestrian area in Times Square, I dropped by Tuesday evening. What I found was a portion of Broadway temporarily blocked off from car traffic. It was scattered with lawn chairs.

I'd read about the lawn chairs in the paper but seeing them was another thing. They were pulled into informal groups and were all over the place. Almost all were in use. Meanwhile the lights of Times Square danced all around. It seemed very odd, as if at any moment, people would break out into song and dance.

I'm sure we're just in the test stages of this space, and that planters and kiosks selling food and drink will soon come. For now, it's just a place where you can catch your breath.

Related posts: Times Square, NYC, Uggs in Times Square and Holiday Greetings from Times Square.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

On Times Square and Our Rupert

Times Square crosswalk
Photo by myself in Times Square.

A candid view of visitors persevering on the pavement. Wandering around on your feet all day can be tiring.


It's been raining nearly every day here in New York, which is no fun indeed. Funny thing about cities is that they don't deal with Nature very well - one big rain and the subways are sorely delayed.

The rain also means lugging the camera to and fro but hardly using it at all. It also means a small dog at home who refuses to walk outside.

Boston Terrier, on the grass

Cute face yes, but don't be fooled. Favorite pastimes include tormenting our cat, picking up trash and causing a ruckus.

Rupert already has quite a good understanding of the English language. He knows many more words than I did at 10 months.

He knows 'Are you hungry?', 'Do you want food?' and 'Do you want to go outside?' If the answer is affirmative, he will violently cock his head to the side. If only so-so, he'll merely give a small nod.

He can discern 'carrot' from 'lettuce' (yes, this dog is quite the omnivore). He knows 'greenie', a chewy green treat, and 'stick', a chewy stick-like treat.

And then there is the awe-inspiring 'pig's ear', which will always illicit a violent spin of the head. He loves pig's ears and will do almost anything for one.

Related posts: A Rupert Update, On Rupert and the Wild Parrots of Brooklyn and Doggone It, Rupert is Six Months Old.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Grinning Frenchie, Waiting on Line

French Bulldog
Photo by myself at Madison Square Park, around 25th Street and Madison Avenue.

While at the BBQ Block Party on Saturday, I spotted a gorgeous blonde French Bulldog. He was waiting patiently in line with other BBQ lovers.

Mark and I nearly brought our puppy Rupert to the event. Sad, since Rupert has a soft spot for Frenchies, which are as playful and scrappy as he is.


If you have the chance, do catch the Pixar movie 'Up', while it's still out on the large screen.

Usually the items I post on this blog have a New York reference. Set in a nondescript city, the movie is not New York-related. But it's beautifully done, beautifully told and suited to viewers of all ages. Pixar, which created Monsters, Inc. and Wall-E, also created this movie, which is rendered in 3D.

Yes, you wear these goofy glasses through the show, but in the end, you forget you're wearing them. The movie didn't rely on effects in the least.

'Up' is scheduled to be released in Australia on September 3rd, and the UK on October 16. Try not to read the reviews or descriptions beforehand and just enjoy the ride!

Related posts: What's Black and White and Red All Over?, A New York Mascot and Man and Companion, on the Sidewalk.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

City Portrait - BBQ Block Party, Madison Square Park

Photo by myself outside Madison Square Park, at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue.

The 7th Annual BBQ Block Party took place Saturday, around 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue. Above, a food preparer proudly showed off a rack of pork ribs.

Some of the best barbecue purveyors from all over the States were present. Trucks were hauled in from Texas, Alabama and Nashville, among other places.


Mark and I wound up at the BBQ party, Saturday. He'd seen the trucks setting up Friday night, and called me excitedly to say that entire carcasses were being roasted overnight. We're not huge meat eaters, but we will do just about anything for good barbecue.

BBQ Truck

It turns out a kajillion other people knew about this too, so when we arrived around noon, it was insanity. Long lines snaked in front of each truck. Picnic tables lined the street so that people could eat ribs the right way, with two bare hands.

We weren't able to deal with the crowds, though, and left early after a delicious (and pricey) pulled pork sandwich and ribs.

The trucks will be there Sunday, from noon to 6 pm. Bring your wallets, patience and appetite.




Pigging Out, NYC

Related posts: I Scream, You Scream, Food, Glorious Food and Hot of the Grill, in the East Village.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Off in the Distance, 59th Street

Central Park South
Photo by myself at Columbus Circle, around 59th Street and Broadway.

A sculpture of Christopher Columbus stands atop an obelisk in the middle of Columbus Circle. This entire area has been revamped and landscaped in the last few years.

It's pretty amazing that Manhattan manages to have a rotary in the middle of the city. This one allows traffic to navigate the intersection of several streets - Broadway, Central Park West, 59th and 60th Streets.


Happy weekend everyone!

Related posts: All That Glitters, 1 Central Park at Night and On Crossing the Street the New York Way.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Marching to the Beat of Your Own Drum

Two bald guys, NYC
Photo by myself in Union Square.

These photogenic fellows were busy looking cool on a sunny day.


I love collecting stories about creative people who find their way away from convention to their life path. I find their tales inspiring.

Today I listened a segment of Fresh Air on NPR. Demetri Martin was the guest, a young comedian who has his own show on Comedy Central and was a correspondent on the politically provocative Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

After graduating from Yale, Martin had a full scholarship to New York University's law school. After a very short time he wanted to quit. He eventually did, only to perform his first stand up routine at the comedy club down the street from the law school.

Martin's family protested his departure from school. Here's what he had to say:

'It’s weird to make a decision where everyone in your life disapproves, pretty vocally and directly. They said, 'You've got one year left. Just do it.' I had a full scholarship so I didn’t have to pay for it. I ignored them. They asked, 'Why don’t you just get the degree so you can have it?' And I said, 'You don’t understand. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do and now I know. I have the answer and it’s dumb to waste any more time.'

My boyfriend Mark and I watched part of his show tonight and thought much of it was funny and original. It's hard to believe that at one point, this quirky fellow was wondering what he wanted to do.

To hear the Martin's interview on Fresh Air, click here.

Related posts: On A Public Mugging, or a Gimmick Gone Wrong, Old Hands, New Beginnings and The Curse of the First Born.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Jazzman, 34th Street

Organ player, NYC
Photo by myself underground, at the 34th Street subway station.

I've seen this fellow a couple times but never stopped to take a photograph until Wednesday.

This elderly gentleman sits hunched over an electronic keyboard. A couple mechanical dolls are duct taped in front of him. On the ground nearby, another mechanical doll dances the hula.


Yes, we have a lot of kooky people here. I can't explain why.

Perhaps the kooks are drawn to larger cities, which are more diverse and usually tolerant of difference.

In cities too, you can be 'with' people without really interacting with them. Therefore you can function as a kook in your own world without becoming lonely. The running joke is that all New Yorkers have altars decorated with human heads in their apartments.

A small crowd of curious onlookers gathered around the fellow above. He was definitely 'a character'.

Related posts: On Music and Elephants, Underground, Pulling Strings on the Subway Platform and Halloween Musicians and the NYC Marathon.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

On Chrystie Street and Photography 101

Chrystie Street, NYC
Photo by myself in Chinatown, around Bowery and Chrystie Streets.

I took this photo from the car, as Mark was driving.

I like it for its timelessness. The signage is really what makes the photo, as well as the nondescript fashion of the pedestrians.

The telephone number on the sign only has 7-digits, as it was back in the day when Manhattan was limited to the (212) area code, and Brooklyn was (718). Now with faxes, 800-numbers and cellphones, telephone prefixes have lost much of their exclusivity.


Lately I've been looking into the International Center of Photography in Midtown. I've visited the museum there, which exhibits all types of photography. One of their current exhibits featuring Richard Avedon's fashion photography runs through September.

The ICP also offers dozens of amazing photography classes on digital, film, retouching and documentary photography for students of all levels. I'm planning to take a course this summer. The only question is which one?

I have to say, I'm a little nervous. It's easy to be pursue photography on my own time in isolation. Standing in the same room as other serious photographers is a different story. But I'm eager to learn as much as I can, so any experience is bound to be positive.

Flipping through the school catalogue is absolutely impressive. You can take a seminar on digital photography, get criticism from a photographer from National Geographic, focus on portraiture or even street photography. They also have a one-year intensive program toward a degree.

I'll keep you updated on whether I wind up taking a class this summer and how it goes!

For a look at the ICP coursebook, click here.

Related posts: Live from Chinatown, Nearly Perfect and On the Sidewalk, Chinatown.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Looking Up at Times Square

In Times Square
Photo by myself in Times Square, around 47th Street and Broadway.

It's not uncommon for people to walk around this area of town pointing.


Yes, starting a couple weeks ago, a large portion of Times Square has been closed to traffic.

Broadway has been shut down between 42nd and 47th Streets, to create a pedestrian zone. For now, the area has been dubbed Bloomberg Beach by the New York Daily News, after our mayor, who made the change. The area is also littered with lounge chairs.

According to my boyfriend Mark, the change has been for the better. Broadway runs diagonal at this point, and runs into Seventh Avenue. Pedestrians tried to cross the street while cars tried to make their turns. It was an absolute mess that drivers learned to avoid.

I have to wonder, though, whether this city is headed toward becoming completely pedestrian. Only time will tell.

For a video showing the traffic-free zone, click here.

Related posts: Life in the Balance, Uggs in Times Square and From the Great White Way.


Monday, June 8, 2009

On Tippy Toe, Union Square

Dancer, Union Square
Photo by myself in Union Square.

A contortionist kept a small crowd enthralled while he twisted, turned and stood on tippy toe.


My friend's wedding last weekend wedding in Cape Cod was a smashing success, and a prime example of weddings suited to the culture of the times. He's an architect, she an aspiring artist. They're saving their money for a down payment on a home.

The dresses for the bride and bridesmaids were from J. Crew. The wedding cake were cakes, plural, actually sponge cakes from Trader Joes, spruced up with fresh fruit. A buffet dinner for well over a hundred guests meant fewer waitstaff. The bar sported only beer and wine, no hard liquor.

And instead of a band, the music was assembled on the groom's ipod, and the dancing went on for hours.

Related posts: The Guy with a Cat on His Head, Not Your Average New Yorker and On A Public Mugging, or a Gimmick Gone Wrong.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Union Square is Where It's At

Repent, Union Square
Photo by myself in Union Square.

A man beseeched listeners to repent for their sins. The man in the background preached for another cause.


It was very rainy Friday, but Saturday turned out to be sunny and beautiful. I went into the city for a little bit, stopping at Union Square. Can I tell you, it's the place to be in New York in the summer?

The vibe struck me as joyful and folksy, like a current-day Woodstock. The farmer's market was in full swing, selling cheese, farm fresh meat and vegetables. A man on a microphone demanded that everyone repent. Another man announced that the Swine Flu was a conspiracy.

Then a free form art performance started, where women wearing white leotards started painting each other with bright colors. Nearby, a group started singing and Capoeira, an acrobatic Brazilian dance set to drums.

Tables of men played chess. Young people held up signs saying 'Free Hugs'. Vendors sold their artwork. People sunbathed on the steps. Others milled about with cameras.

The place was absolutely nuts.

Related posts: On the Times and the People, Peace to All and Tibetans of the World, Unite.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Worthy Causes

Homeless person, Midtown
Photo by myself, somewhere in Midtown.

You often find the homeless tucked away in public places.

They can be found on sidewalks, in subway stations and on park benches. Sometimes panhandlers will walk through subway cars and ask for help, but generally they keep to themselves.


Here's a follow-up to an earlier post about a worthy New York cause.

The Fresh Air Fund brings inner city children out to the country to experience a break from their harsh surroundings.

From now until June 30th, donations to the Fresh Air Fund will be matched by corporate donors. Yup. Perfect timing, since everyone's a bit tight for cash right now. So every precious dollar you donate will in essence be doubled.

Fresh Air Fund is also looking for nearby host families, who can host a child for a week or two, ages six to twelve.

What an opportunity to make a difference?

Related posts: Man and Companion, on the Sidewalk, Castaways and Could You Keep It Down?.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Soap Bubbles, Chinatown

Bubbles, Canal Street
Photo by myself on Canal Street, in Chinatown.

A couple of guys were selling soap bubble guns for $5 each, the other day.

As Mark was driving by to get to the Manhattan Bridge, I snapped a quick photo.


For some reason, Chinatown is synonymous for 'cheap stuff' in many peoples' minds.

Along Canal Street, the most accessible drag, open storefronts line each side of the street, selling famous-label handbags, hats, jewelry, fake license plates and other doodads. Visitors wander down the sidewalk in packs, checking out the merchandise, while hawkers show off their goods.

There are other neighborhoods that offer inexpensive items as well, but Canal Street has a reputation as the place to go. And so the sidewalks are usually impassable because of the crowds.

Related posts: On the Sidewalk, Chinatown, Selling Grapes on Canal Street and There's a Moon Out Tonight.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Public Art and Other Freebies

Botero Statue, NYC
Photo by myself at the Time Warner Center. around 59th and Central Park West.

Two huge bronze Botero statues of a nude man and woman stand in the atrium of this large high-end mall. There are pricey restaurants and shops here, as well as the ticket booth for Jazz at Lincoln Center. Above are two towers of expensive condominiums.

While I was there, a little girl ran up, touched a certain body part, and ran off.


Like window shopping, there are many, many other free things to do in the city. Just the experience of walking around each neighborhoods is enough for me.

If you're in need of things to do, check out the current issue of Time Out New York. They've published a whole list of over a hundred free things to do in New York.

Of course it helps to have money to enjoy the perks of this expensive city. But there are also weekly free movies, concerts...even food and drinks. But only if you know where to go.

Related posts: 1 Central Park at Night, On Columbus Circle and Le Cirque and All That Glitters.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Images of Hope

Obama table, Union Square
Photo by myself in Union Square, around 14th Street and Broadway.

One of several tables chock full of Obama items in this public space known for political expression.


Tuesday I didn't feel well, so I left the office early and walked to Union Square. On the way, I saw multiple storefronts and office space seeking tenants. You wouldn't notice the trend unless you were looking for the signs.

So many buildings are under construction and repair right now that the city still looks like it's humming along. For the past several years, there has been scaffolding everywhere...so much so that it's useless to cross the street to avoid it, since the buildings across the street have scaffolding, too.

When I arrived in Union Square, I was struck by how many vendors were selling posters, t-shirts and other items with Obama's likeness. The contrast between the empty storefronts and the images of hope struck me in a deep way.

It's been months since the economic downturn has taken hold. Companies are struggling, and many people I know are out of work. If there is any a time that we need hope, it's now. And these emblems and images are it.

There were no tables full of Yankees insignias, images of 9/11 or even New York City. Instead, tables were filled with images of the President of the United States and the First Family.

How surprising and appropriate and moving is that?

Related posts: Union Square in Black and White, The Guy with a Cat on His Head and The Markets in Union Square.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

On Bridges and Changing Times

Manhattan bridge, NYC
Photo by myself at the base of the Manhattan Bridge on the East Side.

It was early and not many people were about, when I visited this bridge a short while ago. At least one woman was all dressed up and ready to go.


Monday I heard that Kim's Video, 'the' place in the East Village to find all the esoteric music and film you'd ever need, is no longer. Kim's has long symbolized New York's love of arts and quirky history.

Apparently most of Kim's collection is being donated to Sicily (!). So if you have a hankering for cult movies, you'll have to grab your passport and hop on a plane. Having to compete with Netflix, the store had met its match.

As an Upper West Sider and Brooklynite, I never rented from Kim's. But I think just about every New Yorker knew it as the place to go. Now the store will figure as yet another mythical piece of New York's past, when small independent stores were all there were.

For more about Kim's sad demise, click here

Related posts: Pulling Strings on the Subway Platform, Live Music, Union Square and Subway Jam Session.


Monday, June 1, 2009

On the Subway Platform and Late Night TV

Drummers, Times Square
Photo by myself on the subway platform in Times Square.

It's funny to think that drumming could amount to much music, but it can. A group of West Indian musicians captivated a small group of onlookers recently. Everyone just stood around, bobbing their heads to the beat.


Among New Yorkers, the news on the street has been quiet. The only large-ish item of interest is the fact that our Conan O'Brien has been transplanted to the West Coast.

New Yorkers are proprietary about their people, and Conan is considered one of them. Both he and Dave (Letterman) have that special combination of snarkiness and goofball charm that represent our view of life.

Can Conan maintain his intensity out yonder in the bright sunshine? Only time will tell.

Monday night marks the first episode of the Tonight Show with Conan as host. Guests for the first show include comedian Will Ferrell and Pearl Jam.

Related posts: Pulling Strings on the Subway Platform, Live Music, Union Square and Subway Jam Session.