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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Napping Together, Underground

Three Asleep on the Subway
Photo by myself on the subway.

Three young stylish women were asleep on a late afternoon.


Happy Halloween, everyone!

Tonight, Mark and I will attempt to attend the Halloween parade in Manhattan.

For the last 36 years, hundreds of people have marched through Greenwich Village in full costume. It is a fun and silly time.

The parade takes place along Sixth Avenue and moves uptown from Spring Street to 21st Street. Traffic is halted, people line the sidewalks and the whole area goes nuts.

The parade starts at 7pm and will be televised on NY1, the local New York news station. For more on the parade, click here.

Related posts: Zzzzzzzzz, Asleep on the D Train and A Much-Needed Nap.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Touring About Fifth Avenue, Midtown

Tourists, Fifth Avenue
Photo by myself on Fifth Avenue, around 55th Street.

I took this photo while in a cab on Fifth Avenue.

A group of Europeans were enjoying the afternoon. Some sat on the sidewalk. (I knew they weren't American because I could hear them speaking from where I was sitting in a cab. But I wasn't alert enough to discern the language).

The sidewalks were packed with people milling around, shopping and just taking in the day. Fifth Avenue, after all, is the site of many high-end stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel, Takashimaya and Saks Fifth Avenue.


Thursday afternoon I managed to see the legendary television interviewer Barbara Walters near Central Park. She was walking fearlessly through traffic in the middle of the street, hailing a cab. She looked tiny and wore heavy black-rimmed glasses and a bright red coat.

Unfortunately I was in a cab myself and couldn't get my camera out in time. Drat!

Next time I'll have to have my camera out just for those impromptu celebrity sightings.

Related posts: On Times Square and Our Rupert, Wet and Not So Wonderful, Downtown and On Tippy Toe, Union Square.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baked Fresh Daily, in Soho

Balthazar Bakery, NYC
Photo by myself in Soho, at Spring Street and Broadway.

The display at Balthazar Bakery reads 'Croissants, Baguettes, Brioches'. A beautiful assortment of freshly baked breads decorate the illuminated window.

You can get deluxe sandwiches and salads here, as well as brioches, tarts, cookies and cakes. Everything looks gorgeous. There is always, always a long line of customers during lunchtime.

For a peek at their website, click here.


It's sheer coincidence that I'm showing two bread photos, back-to-back.

There are fewer things to photograph during the fall and winter months. It's been dark when I get out of the office, but I knew storefronts would be all lit up.

It seemed like everyone was walking around Soho Wednesday night, enjoying the brisk air and shopping. There are tons of sales going on. Designer stores are advertising substantial discounts, so if you are one of the lucky few with extra cash and an empty closet, now is the time!

Related posts: I Scream, You Scream, Mangia and I Deserve a Break Today.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bagels Anytime, on the Upper West Side

H and H Bagels, UWS
Photo by myself at H+H Bagel on the Upper West Side, at Broadway and 80th Street.

The interiors of this establishment look like they're trapped in the 1970s.


I will venture to say that H+H Bagel as makers of the best bagels in New York.

I'm sure I could have a debate over this with other New Yorkers. H+H bagels are large, crunchy-ish on the outside, soft-ish on the inside. Their 'everything' bagel is by far my favorite flavor, laden with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion and salt.

Bagels are made on premises. You can watch the dough being formed, boiled in large pots, then baked in the ovens behind the counter.

Plus, the place is open 24/7. You can satisfy that nagging carbohydrate craving at 3 am, tee hee.

Related posts: Beer, Wonderful Beer, Russ and Daughters, Lower East Side and Just Desserts.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tis the Season and the World Series

Pumpkins, NYC
Photo by myself on 41st Street and 5th Avenue, in Midtown.

Yes, we do have pumpkins. New Yorkers are lucky to get their fair share of fresh produce.


The New York Yankees are in the World Series, once again. Woohooo!!!!

I have to admit that I'm a fair weather Yankees fan. Meaning that I tune in when they're in the playoffs or the series. It's a rather obnoxious character trait, since the Yankees make it to the playoffs often.

Bleacher seats go for around $65 each during the Series. The costliest tickets cost more than $1,700 each. Pretty crazy, eh? Most New Yorkers enjoy watching the games from home.

I have to say that from personal experience, baseball games are better watched on television than at the ballpark. Mark and I fail to have the patience to sit through a baseball game in person. Believe me, we have tried.

Related posts: Night View, Canal Street, Lichee Stand, Sunset Park and How You Can Have What You Crave When You Want It.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Drinkers Wanted, in Brooklyn

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

A sign outside a neighborhood bar in Brooklyn.

Oh if only people were paid for their drinking. The world would be such a different place!


I'm happy to report that our stoop sale did rather well. We banded together with a few neighbors in our building, all selling at one time. Mark and I made over $200. Electronics were the biggest sellers.

At times, entire streets in Brooklyn will have multiple sales going on at once. Stoop sales usually take place in the Spring and late Summer.

Related posts: Visions of a Cheeseburger, Midtown, Free Hugs, Union Square and Reasons to be Pretty, Times Square.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Shoot the Freak, Coney Island

Coney Island, NYC
Photo by myself on the boardwalk in Coney Island.

An image from a while ago, when the boardwalk in Coney Island was under repair.

During the off-season, the shop fronts look completely derelict. In the summer though, the boardwalk is usually packed with people strolling about, enjoying the scenery.


Not much to report here. We are gearing up for a sale of goods at our building, Sunday.

'Stoop sales', as they are called, are very popular in Brooklyn. Few people have garages or yards, so it would be odd to call them 'garage sales' or 'yard sales'. We do have plenty of stoops, though, which is the term for steps leading from the sidewalk.

Stoop sales are a great way to socialize and get rid of your junk. Space is limited in New York, so it's good to be clutter-free.

Related posts: On the Boardwalk, in Coney Island, Now on Sale, in Midtown and Signs of Hope.


Friday, October 23, 2009

For Adults Only, Midtown

The Museum of Sex, NYC
Photo by myself on Fifth Avenue, around 28th Street.

Yes, there's a museum for everything.

The Museum of Sex is relatively new, less than 10 years old. Dedicated to the study of human sexuality, it currently features an exhibit about the sex lives of animals.

Not sure how they manage to create exhibits all year-round here. I am curious to what they have in their gift shop?


Related posts: New Museum, The Bowery, On Radio City and the Whitney Museum and A Peek at the Planetarium.


Outside Vanderbilt Hall, in the Village

NYU Courtyard
Photo by myself at NYU on West 4th Street, in the Village.

Vanderbilt Hall is a part of NYU Law School, and it has its own courtyard. The brick and traditional ornament help create its academic image.

New York University owns several buildings in this area. It's difficult to imagine kids going to college in the middle of Manhattan, but there are several colleges located here.

By the way, the word 'campus' comes from the Latin word meaning 'field'. Learning institutions are by tradition unified areas set in the landscape. NYU's buildings are separated by streets and other buildings, but are generally located in one area.


A friend of mine went to NYU years ago. She said it was difficult, since as a student she didn't have much money. Yet here she was, thrown in an exciting city full of stores and lots of advertising.

I personally can't imagine going to school here and concentrate long enough to do homework!

Related posts: Night View, the Village, 184 3/4 West 4th Street and Downtown, 24/7.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

En Masse, On Canal Street

Canal St, NYC
Photo by myself, somewhere on Canal Street, in Chinatown.

Ah yes, another photo from one of the busiest streets in Manhattan. Usually I avoid this area, because it brings out my inner road rage. Grrr!


Canal Street has to be one of the busiest streets in New York. It offers tee shirts, scarves, decorative license plates, perfumes, hats, jewelry, dvds, and so much more at low prices.

I'm not sure how vendors discount their items. Either they're selling directly from wholesale or they are pirated merchandise.

All I know is that everytime I'm in this area, the sidewalks are packed, mostly with visitors. Who can blame them? It's great to get a good deal!

Related posts: All Lit Up on Canal Street, Fish Market, Chinatown and One Dollar, One Dollar.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Homeless Woman, 34th Street Platform

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

Just one of the regulars at this subway station, on Tuesday morning. I see often see this homeless woman asleep next to her belongings.


I take photos of homeless people now and again, but don't feel very good doing so. I do feel though that the homeless are a large part of an urban experience. Making their presence public is important.

A friend of mine used to work at an architectural office downtown. One of her coworkers would take homeless kids in during the winter, so they could sleep on his floor.

I commend that fellow. If only we could all be generous.

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


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In the Shadow of Alice Tully Hall, on the Upper West Side

Alice Tully Hall, Upper West Side
Photo by myself of Alice Tully Hall, a new building on the Upper West Side, around 66th Street and Broadway.

This very modern building might be difficult to understand in photographs.

Part of a practice room pokes out through the facade on the second floor. On the ground level behind the women, you can see the back side of outdoor stadium seating, facing the building.

At the top of the seating is a spotlight that shines up at the underside of the building above. The designers, Diller Scofidio Renfro, also designed the renovations to The High Line.

For photos from my visit to the High Line, click here.

Related posts: Architecture, a Glorified Profession, Going Postal in Midtown and 42nd Street.


Monday, October 19, 2009

On City Water and Recent Talks at City Winery

Eau de Bloomberg, City Winery
Photo by myself at City Winery, on Varick Street near Soho.

The bottle reads: 'NYC Tap Water is some of the best in the world. We have filtered the water and want to help reduce the use of plastic water bottles which results in two million tons of plastic waste a year, not recycled, but in landfills.'

'Eau de Bloomberg' is refers to the current Mayor of New York, Mike Bloomberg. Luckily, the tap water in New York is very good. Many New Yorkers, however, prefer bottled water.

The above was set out on the tables of City Winery, a large restaurant/bar. City Winery hosts a variety of events, including musical performances, wine making classes and special dinners.


Mark and I attended The New Yorker Festival, organized by The New Yorker Magazine, which took place this past weekend.

A seminar on advertising featured (left to right, below) Matthew Weiner, Steve Stout, Lee Clow and Ken Auletta. Conversation ranged from the state of television to the power-structures of advertising, to what's next in the digital age.

New Yorker Festival 2009

Matthew Weiner is the creator of the current television series Mad Men, which features the advertising field in the 1960s. Steve Stout is a former Sony executive, who since founded a prolifc branding company. Lee Clow is the creative force behind the ads for Apple Computer. Ken Auletta is a writer and frequent contributor to The New Yorker.

Tickets to the talk had sold out within ten minutes. Matthew Weiner was a writer and producer on the HBO show The Sopranos. Mad Men has all the intensity of The Sopranos, and is gorgeously art directed. Mark and I love Mad Men. I think many in the audience were thought the talk would be more about the show.

Numerous other talks with thinkers, writers and critics occurred this weekend during The New Yorker Festival this weekend. Click here to review this year's schedule of events.

Related posts: Shopping on St. Mark's Place, The Apple Store Continued and Nearly Perfect.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

On Shopping on West 4th and My Insider's Guide

West 4th Sale, NYC
Photo by myself on West 4th Street and Sixth Avenue, in the Village.

An offering of tote bags and vests were draped along a wrought iron fence. You can buy all sorts of stuff on the street. Many artists sell their paintings, sculpture, jewelry, hats and clothing.


I was in very briefly Saturday for a haircut and to take some photos. It was rainy and a bit cold.

The salon I go to, Sei Tomoko, is excellent. They have a three locations: one on West 4th and Sixth, the others in the East Village. The rates are reasonable - about $45 for a women's haircut, with a discount for students. I've gone there for years and have never been disappointed.

A haircut includes a short but wonderful shiatsu massage after your hair is washed. As you can tell from the name, Sei Tomoko is a Japanese establishment. The staff is Japanese and adorable, calling out in unison 'Thank you!' at your departure.

Those stories about spending $250 for a haircut in New York are misleading. It doesn't take megabucks to live here. You can find fine places like Sei Tomoko through word-of-mouth or a little research.

I'll be posting more about such affordable services and cheap eats, under the tag 'insider guide'.

Related posts: Shopping on St. Mark's Place, The Apple Store Continued and Eco-Friendly Cardboard Design.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hailing in the Rain, Midtown

Hailing in the rain, Midtown
Photo by myself in Midtown, around Madison Avenue and 40th Street.

It's been raining and very chilly here recently. Best to bundle up to avoid catching a cold.


The other night, when I finally met up with my cousin who was visiting, we jumped into a cab to get to Brooklyn. It was cold and raining a little.

'Park Slope. Take the Manhattan Bridge.'

As we headed downtown, traffic was hideous. Crowding toward one of the stop lights, our cab grazed the side of another cab. No one was hurt, the side view mirrors and door handles were intact, but there was a definite and terrible scraping sound.

Can I say the other driver was pissed?

We were then hunted down for the next several stop lights. At one point, the offended driver pulled up alongside, rolled down his window and launched into a rant in Russian.

I turned to my cousin. 'Welcome to New York!' Cliche, I know, but I couldn't help myself.

Related posts: Fixing Flats in the Streets, Stuck on 8th Ave. and Playing in the Rain, Union Square.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Living off the Fat of the Land in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Applewood, Park Slope, Brooklyn
Photo by myself at Applewood, a restaurant in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

The interior of this excellent restaurant has a quiet, country charm that rings authentic. I wouldn't be surprised to find its carbon copy somewhere in Vermont.


Ah yes, another story about food. I must sound like an 800-pound gorilla by now. It's just that Mark and I can't resist ourselves when it comes to deliciousness.

We've become recently smitten with Applewood, a fine restaurant tucked away on a side street in our neighborhood, Park Slope. We stumbled in for brunch one weekend and had our minds blown open by brunch: omelets made with seasonal veggies, cheese grits and homemade biscuits. (The biscuits were worthy of dying for - slightly crunchy on the outside, flaky on the inside, they were accompanied with creamed butter and blueberry jam).

So when we discovered that Applewood was serving a special Farmer's Dinner, a four-course dinner and chance to meet the farmers who grew the organic produce, we signed ourselves up.

Applewood, Park Slope
Above, beet salad with homemade ricotta cheese, salad greens and parsley salsa verde.

Applewood, Park Slope, Brooklyn

The very premise of the Farmer's Dinner is lovely - a tasting menu featuring local organic produce, and a chance to meet the farmers who grew the food. The idea of getting people in touch with where their food comes from is timely.

Jeffrey and Kristin from Liberty Gardens, in Pennsylvania, were a couple originally from Brooklyn. They rushed to join the farming life ten years ago and are now serving organic produce to high end restaurants in several states. Farming is not an easy life, but one they enjoy and value.

Jeffrey and Kristin arrived from Pennsylvania with bushels of carrots, kale, eggplant, salad greens and beets, at 1pm. Six hours later, the guests were seated to four courses and two amuse bouches, each paired with wine.

Can I say scrumptious? The carrots and beets were sweet and tender. A habanero chutney had a quiet heat. There was sorbet made with sorrel, an herb, and an ice cream made with celery root. You would never have known that the menu was figured out that afternoon.

Last but not least, Applewood was good enough to let me photograph their kitchen.

For more about Applewood, click here.
For more about Liberty Gardens, click here.

Applewood kitchen, Park Slope

Related posts: Parked in Park Slope, Rent and Smile, it's Happy Hour.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Near Misses

Park Slope, Brooklyn
Photo by myself around 5th Avenue and 7th Street, in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

There was something painterly about this view. The man looked like a paper cut-out.


A surprise visit yesterday from one of my cousins has made me completely discombobulated. My cousin Tommy called me in the morning. He was in town from Texas for a short business trip.

To save time, I thought we'd meet each other on the subway platform, en route to Brooklyn. It was a daring idea. There is no cell phone service underground.

'Wait in the middle of the platform. Take the B train downtown to 34th Street. I'll meet you there.'

Tommy called later with another idea. 'Can I take the red train to 34th Street?' No, no, the 1/9 train stops at another 34th Street station. There are several stations along 34th Street, which makes it dangerous.

So there I was, roaming up and down the platform, which is under repair and narrow at places. Train after train came by. No Tommy. By 7pm, I was worried.

I went up to sidewalk level and left Tommy a message. I called Mark. I had the terrible feeling that Tommy took the C train instead from the station he was leaving from.

So I scurried down several blocks to the 34th Street station on 8th Avenue. The sidewalks were mobbed with people going to Madison Square Garden. Vendors made the sidewalks even more crowded.

Of course, Tommy wasn't at the C platform, either. By 7:30, I had given up hope. Surfacing for air, I called him again.

Thank goodness, he picked up. Yes, he'd taken the wrong train, jumping on the first one that pulled into the station, without looking to see what it was. But we'd found each other and after more scurrying, all was well.

Moral of the story? Don't plan to meet up underground!

Related posts: Parked in Park Slope, Rent and Smile, it's Happy Hour.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Serving up Sushi at 15 East 15th

15 E 15th, Union Square
Photo by myself at 15 East 15th, near Union Square.

At the sushi bar of this relatively new restaurant was perhaps the first Caucasian sushi chef I've seen.

Be aware, if you are directionally impaired. 15 East 15th Street (also known as '15 East') is located just west of Union Square West. This was a tad confusing so such a simple soul as I, and I had to walk across Union Square a couple times before figuring it out.


A couple weeks ago, Mark and I dined out with friends at this small, nicely-designed sushi restaurant. It was a real treat.

We ordered two sets of tasting menus for the table - the kitchen tasting menu (mostly cooked things) and the sushi tasting menu. Course after course of delicious creations floated to the table.

There was delectable sushi, sea urchin, conch cooked in its shell, octopus, monkfish liver, raw shrimp and various things topped with salmon roe. I can't begin to recall all the dishes and fanciful combinations we had that night. I should have taken notes. Every dish was a surprise.

Mark and I have been on a mini spree of tasting menus lately. Our time watching Top Chef has taken its toll. Tasting menus are opportunities to step out of your comfort zone and have the chef just do his or her thing.

Stay tuned. Another tasting menu post coming soon, followed by a lament on the sorry size of my stomach.

To check out the 15 East website, click here.
For a review of the 15 East, click here.

Related posts: Hot of the Grille in the East Village, On Japanese Food and Fish and Food Glorious Food.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On the Pricelessness of New York Delis

Bodega, Brooklyn
Photo by myself in Sunset Park, around Fourth Avenue and 33rd Street.

A fellow lounged outside a Brooklyn bodega this weekend.


Vistors might find New York delis and bodegas unsettling. Most of the stuff sold inside delis here do not have price tags.

For the longest time, I'd never buy from a deli precisely because of that. I'm just the type of person who'd like to know ahead of time how much something costs. (I've gotten over this though, and would rather buy from a neighborhood deli than a chain store like 7-Eleven).

Mark and I aren't sure why deli's don't use price tags. It's probably a combination of laziness and the flexibility of pricing things based on how they're doing for the month.

Related posts: On Christmases Past, Start Spreading the News and Invasion of the Condo Snatchers.


Monday, October 12, 2009

What's in a Name, at Tavern on the Green

Tavern on the Green, Central Park
Photo by myself of Tavern on the Green, a well-known restaurant in Central Park.

A courtyard in the middle of the restaurant virtually opens up into Central Park. Paper lanterns hang from trees, creating a festive atmosphere.

Tavern on the Green has been in the local news recently. It declared bankruptcy in September, just before being handed over to its new owner. The family that owned it for years say they own rights to the name, which is valued at $19 million.

I took the above photo a week before the original owners filed for Chapter 11. I'm not sure whether the restaurant is still open. The restaurant once described itself as 'the highest-grossing independently owned restaurant in the United States, with annual revenues in excess of $34 million and over half a million visitors a year'.

Click here to read what the Times has written about Tavern on the Green.

Related posts: Much More on Food, Cuppa Joe to Go and Mangia.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Camera Van in Park Slope, Brooklyn

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

A one-of-a-kind van parked on a busy street drew crowds of onlookers, Saturday afternoon. The 'Camera Van' is a van literally covered with antique cameras, polaroids and video monitors.

There were even viewfinders on the back - those things from a million years ago that were like single-serving slide projectors. You slid disks into the viewfinders that had tiny transparent images on them, then clicked the lever to change the image.


According to the website, some of the cameras on the exterior work. The van has been shown in many festivals around the country, alongside other 'art vehicles' (cars or vans covered with stuff).

A documentary called Automorphosis shows the Camera Van and other art vehicles. The film is being screened at various film festivals this year.


To see and read more about the Camera Van, including its interiors, click here.

Related posts: From the Great White Way, Night View, the Village and Open 24/7, Brooklyn.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

On View at Open House NY

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

Outside a movie theatre, a marquis and illuminated movie posters advertised current films. I like the clash of neon and incandescent lighting.


It's that time again. Open House New York is taking place this weekend. All over the five boroughs, various walking tours and open houses are taking place, and all for free (!).

I completely forgot about OHNY this year. Many of the venues are already fully booked, but some still have tickets available.

This year's events include tours of the oldest subway tunnel (below downtown Brooklyn), the Chrysler Building, the Apollo Theatre, and many other museums and gardens. There are even tours of several architects' offices.

If you're curious about the Open House New York events, click here.

Related posts: From the Great White Way, Night View, the Village and Open 24/7, Brooklyn.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Meeting Felix, at 59th Street

59th Street, Subway Station
Photo by myself on the subway platform at 59th Street, Columbus Circle.


On the subway platform, I was moved to see a young man named Felix. I've seen him only a couple times before, with an enormous sign describing his situation.

Felix has a round, baby face and deep brown eyes. He was standing very still, holding his arms out ahead, supporting his sign. People walked briskly by to either side.

I gave Felix a couple dollars, and he thanked me warmly, looking me straight in the eye. Then I asked Felix if I could photograph his sign. He hesitated but said yes, and seemed satisfied when I showed him the image on the camera screen.

It was a great way to end an otherwise frustrating day. My troubles at work became trivial - how do you make a client's dressing room bigger? How do you best arrange a kitchen? How do you avoid making unavoidable mistakes?

The split second of looking one young man in the eye made my day suddenly worthwhile. Then a train pulled up at the platform. I went home, feeling hopeful and touched.

Related posts: Visions of a Cheeseburger, Midtown, Desperately Seeking... and Step Lively.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Outside Mxyplyzyk, in the Village

Mxyplyzyk, NYC
Photo by myself on Greenwich Avenue and Horatio Street.

Mxyplyzyk, (pronounced 'Mixy-plix-ick'), a housewares and knick-knack store in the Village, cast a warm glow on the sidewalk outside.

Mxyplyzyk has been around since 1992, pre-dating Design Within Reach and Conrans as one of the first modern design stores in New York. It's one of my favorite places to pick up a gift for someone who has everything.

Appreciating the subtle art of industrial design and the willingness to pay for it is a recent phenomenon. In New York, as in many cities, there is a balance between stores selling the latest, well-designed objects and stores selling one-of-a-kind antiques.

Mxyplyzyk has a store online, too.

Related posts: Christmas Windows to Warm the Heart, Eco-Friendly Cardboard Design and Browsing Around in the Village.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pasted Up in the Meatpacking District

Meatpacking District, NYC
Photo by myself around Ninth Avenue and West 13th Street, in the Meatpacking District.

This part of town has become filled with large expensive clothing boutiques and large bar/restaurants that stay open very late. Many old metal canopies still exist, leftover from an earlier time.

The Meatpacking District used to be gritty, authentic and quirky. Parts are still quirky but seem to be almost preserved under glass. Many residents have long been priced out of the neighborhood.

I hope no one ever paints over the graffiti.


I cannot resist posting a link to New York Magazine's coverage of a street fight between a pedicab driver and cab driver. There's also video of the entire incident, which took place in the middle of a busy Midtown street. Incredible!

Click here for the short article and video.

Related posts: Meatpacking District in Black and White, Art for the Masses and Abandoned Lot, East Village.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

On the Federal Buildings and Statistics

90 Church, NYC
Photo by myself near the World Trade Center at the corner of Church and Vesey Streets.

Just across from the World Trade Center, this mammoth limestone building at 90 Church Street suffered extensive interior damage from the 9/11 attacks.

There is a US Post Office on the ground floor. Federal offices are located on the upper floors.


You know it's reassuring that at any moment of any day, you can get the statistics for homicides in New York City (this entails all 5 boroughs, mind you, not Manhattan alone).

Right on the first page of the Metro section of the Times, is the link to an interactive map. We've had 299 homicides this year. Hooray.

Turns out, you're most prone to be killed if you're an African-American male, between 18 and 34 years old. And your killer is likely to be an African-American male between 18 and 24 years old. You're also most prone to be killed at night, during the summer in Brooklyn.

Each homicide is marked with a dot on the map. It's incredible to move your mouse over the map, showing what each little dot symbolizes - a victim, a killer, a motive and a weapon.

Please note that despite this information, New York is rather safe! Don't change your travel plans! New York has come a long, long way from how it was in the 1970s, when people couldn't walk through any public parks. I have not had a problem in all my 10+ years in New York.

New Yorkers, if you're curious about your neighborhood, the map allows you to zoom in to see the cross streets of each dot.

For the interactive Times homicide map, click here.

Related posts: On the World Trade Center and My Big Toe, Night View at the World Trade Center and Salvaged from the World Trade Center.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Playing Ball, in Red Hook, Brooklyn

Baseball in Red Hook, Brooklyn
Photo by myself in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

The ball fields in Red Hook are located near warehouses and abandoned factories.


New York isn't all about stickball and hoops. We have our fair share of public tennis courts, swimming pools, soccer fields and baseball diamonds.

Mark and I were in Red Hook this weekend, where a mostly Hispanic baseball league was enjoying a bit of Indian Summer. It was beautifully sunny, and entire families were out, watching the games.

The fields were nowhere near perfect, but New Yorkers are a tough bunch. We make do with what we've got.

Baseball in Red Hook, Brooklyn

Related posts: More on Sports, Running Down the Streets of New York and No Hair at the West 4th Courts.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Below The Ansonia, on the Upper West Side

Ansonia underside
Photo by myself on the Upper West Side, at 74th Street and Broadway.

From below The Ansonia, a historic building that has been the home of many notables, including Igor Stravinsky, Arturo Toscanini, Babe Ruth and Angelina Jolie. Some of the apartments have been up for sale as condos, while the rest remain rental units.


The Ansonia is pretty large, spanning one city block, and has hundreds of apartments. It has its own a website dedicated to its mix of condos and rentals.

At this time, units are listed between $625,000 and $7.4 million. The recently purchased $7.4 million apartment has four bedrooms, and looks like it has four full bathrooms and two half bathrooms. It spans more than one floor of the building.

The floor plans of available apartments can be seen on the realtor's website, here.

Related posts: Details, Details, Going Postal in Midtown and Dusk Among Towers.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Taxi Drivers Wanted, Brooklyn

Drivers Wanted, Brooklyn
Photo by myself on Fourth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

There's always the need for cab drivers in New York to keep taxis running 24/7.


Like the old tv show 'Taxi' with Danny Devito and Andy Kaufman, taxis are owned by companies with fleets of yellow cabs. Only large companies can afford to pay for the city-approved medallions, which each cab has. Some medallions go for as high as $400,000.

A limited number of medallions in New York keeps the population of yellow cabs fixed. Gypsy cabs are cars without medallions. They also don't have meters, so passengers need to agree on a price with their driver before taking a ride.

Riders are typically skeptical of gypsy cabs. (The name and the fact that they're usually black sedans doesn't help).

I've taken gypsy cabs before and can report that they are absolutely fine. There are many car services in Brooklyn rather than yellow cabs, and they're a reliable way to get around in a crunch.

Related posts: Fixing Flats in the Streets, Stuck on 8th Ave. and Taxi!.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Holding Hands in Midtown

Candid Lovers, Midtown
Photo by myself at 34th Street and Eighth Avenue.

Two lovers held hands on this busy Midtown corner, earlier this year.


New York is really a city of extremes. We'll be sailing along merrily in summer one moment, then plunge into brisk Fall weather, the next. Brrr!

Gone are the flip flops, replaced by sensible shoes and trench coats. Some women are already donning their boots. Temperatures range from the high 60s during the day to low 50s at night.

A friend was bemoaning how drastically the city changes during the colder months. In the summer, the streets are lively with activity. There are outdoor concerts and street fairs.

In the Fall and Winter, darkness descends early. New York has a northeast mentality of holing up in hibernation. Bars and restaurants are good places to convene.

Related posts: Marching to the Beat of Your Own Drum, Free Hugs, Union Square and On the Times and the People.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Seeing Red on the Lower East Side

Red on the Lower East Side
Photo by myself somewhere on the Lower East Side.

Above the roll down door on the facade look to be 1950s style tail lights.


Note to places outside New York: the economic recovery is creeping upon us. Fret not.

I've suddenly found myself mildly swamped at work. Also, a couple friends who have been looking for work for months have found freelance gigs.

Things are just starting to look up, here. How are things where you live?

Related posts: Making Off with the Lower East Side, On Tenement Life and Cable TV and An Early Spring on the Lower East Side.