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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Looking Out Yonder, to the Far West Side

Looking out at New Jersey
Photo by myself in Riverside Park, on the Upper West Side.

Across the serene Hudson River on the west side, lies New Jersey. Many people live in the apartment towers and smaller waterfront condos, and commute to the city for work.

The area just across the river from the upper 70's of Manhattan is called West New York. That is, just west of New York, across the river. The low-rise waterfront condos are very desirable, often selling in the millions.

Buses depart from Port Authority Bus Terminal often at all hours to New Jersey. The Lincoln Tunnel runs below the Hudson River, and it's a quick trip when traffic is light.

Related posts: Life on the Water, in Riverside Park, Gone Fishin' and Different Vistas.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cooling Off Hot Dogs, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

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

A portion of a pond in Prospect Park is fenced off, so dogs can swim and cool off from the heat. There is usually a crowd of people nearby, watching and playing fetch. In other parts of the pond are ducks and turtles.


It's been swelteringly humid here in New York, for the last week. Threats of rain and showers large and small have done nothing to cool us off. As a result, people are cranking their air conditioners, causing electrical shortages.

The subway platforms alone are insane. The air conditioners for the subway cars create an enormous amount of heat. Ugh. Most people look pretty terrible by they time they get to the office.

At least the parks provide some relief. Rupert swam a bit this weekend and now smells like pond! Egad!

Doggie Pond, Prospect Park

Doggie pond, Prospect Park
Our Boston Terrier, Rupert, was up to his elbows in pond water, with friends.

Related posts: It's a Dog's Life, at the Mad. Dog Run, Off Leash, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn and On Dogs and Dogs.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Waiting, in Alphabet City

Storefront, Alphabet City
Photo by myself, somewhere in Alphabet City.

A woman waited for a bus outside a health food kiosk, recently.

Outside a neighboring store, recyclables waited for a Monday morning trash pick-up. Otherwise, the sidewalk is very tidy.

Once a week, garbage trucks come by to pick up cardboard and recyclables (metals and certain types of plastic). Not much going on, but I liked the amount of blue in this image.

Related posts: Scooby Doo, in the West Village, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Cluttered Sidewalks, in the East Village.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Working the Sidewalk Catwalk, in Midtown

Sidewalk Catwalk, NYC
Photo by myself around 40th Street and Broadway, in Midtown.

The above photo was taken just steps away from Bryant Park, the home of New York Fashion Week, and the Garment District. Mannequins wearing designer creations lined Broadway in an installation called Sidewalk Catwalk.

Thirty-two mannequins are displayed, wearing fashions designed by Tommy Hilfinger, Diane Von Furstenberg and Norma Kamali, among others. Above, a woman points out a design by Isabel Toledo.

Sidewalk Catwalk, NYC

People were gawking at the designs and posing with the models, which are displayed within a pedestrian zone, along with large umbrellas and cafe chairs.

The clothing is being auctioned off, but will be on exhibit until September 3rd. Proceeds will benefit Materials for the Arts, which provides donated materials to New York City schools.

You can bid on the mannequins on their ebay page, here.

For more about the Sidewalk Catwalk exhibit, see their website here.

Sidewalk Catwalk, NYC

Related posts: Fashionably Late, Model Behavior, Midtown and Tailor Made, in the Garment District.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Absolutely No World Cup, in Park Slope, Brooklyn

No World Cup, in Brooklyn
Photo by myself in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

A neighborhood bar advertises that you will find no World Cup coverage there.

Those who like to drink and wallow in peace can take comfort behind the Venetian blinds. To the right, a youngster wearing a New York Yankees jersey walked by. (Alex Rodriguez, aka. A-Rod, aka. Madonna's ex-beau, is third baseman and number 13 on the team).

The US is completely astonished to find our team among the final sixteen. The US team is scheduled to play Ghana, Saturday. I don't know much about our chances, but I am sure that legions of New Yorkers will be glued to their tv sets!

Related posts: Signs of Hope, On Mulberry Street and Small Packages and A Repent Sign Guy Meets a Horse Carriage Guy....


Friday, June 25, 2010

Putting up the Lights, in Koreatown

Installing Decorations, Koreatown, NYC
Photo by myself in Koreatown, around 35th Street and Sixth Avenue.

Christmas decorations in the summer?

Well, no. Koreatown has been festooned with decorations during the nicer months. The tiny neighborhood has been decorated with lights and streamers, in an attempt to make it more noticeable.

Hard to say how successful this venture will be. Already, the few streets that comprise the area are plastered with signs and lights. If you have a hankering for a hearty meal of tofu casseroles or barbeque, you simply need to know where to go.

Koreatown is nestled within Midtown. Restaurants, bars and stores are located throughout 32nd through 35th Streets, between Madison and Sixth Avenues, in Midtown.

Installing Decorations, Koreatown, NYC

Related posts: Snapshot from Koreatown, 32nd Street, Much More on Food and Lost in Translation.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

On Man v. Nature, and the Gowanus Canal

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

An odd combination of nature and machinery exists in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Large construction equipment sits on a dock on weekends.

In the distance is one of many loading cranes that move containers onto barges.


Not too far from the area above lies the Gowanus Canal, which was recently awarded Superfund status by the US government. The pollution there is so terrible, accumulated over years of neglect, that the Environmental Protection Agency has slated $300-500 million dollars to its clean-up.

The narrow strip of wetland is contaminated with heavy metals and other pollutants. Sometimes Mark and I drive over the canal, which is a scary greenish-brown color. Piles of trash lie on the banks.

Friends of ours live in a big building nearby, and though the label of 'Superfund site' is not a good one, they are happy. It means their neighborhood will stay small, the view from their windows won't change, and someone is finally taking responsibility for the mess.

It's strange to think of New York, and specifically, Brooklyn, as an industrial area. Right now it's most known for gentrification and rising real estate prices.

Click here for an article about the Gownanus Canal in the Times.

Related posts: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, The Gowanus and Something Old, Something New.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stalking a Delivery Guy, in Midtown

Delivery guy, New York
Photo by myself in Midtown, around 36th Street and Madison Avenue.

I stalked a delivery guy wearing a tshirt with a cute saying on it. He walked quickly, making me scramble down the sidewalk.

Yes, many New Yorkers are either too lazy or busy to exit the office during lunch and breakfast, and have their meals delivered to them. All too often, we're stuck to our grindstones desks.

Fortunately, most delis in busy areas have delivery services. You can spot guys walking down the street carrying covered platters of food for lunch meetings.

Related posts: Free Hugs, Union Square, On the Pricelessness of New York Delis and Shacking it up, in the City.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sound the Pipes in Herald Square

Bagpipes, in Herald Square
Photo by myself in Herald Square, at 34th Street and Sixth Avenue.

Several members of the Newark Firefighters Pipe Band entertained a crowd, Monday evening. The pipe players were all men, dressed in kilts.

I didn't recognize any of the tunes, but believe me when I say these instruments are loud. The sound of bagpipes could be heard several blocks away.

The band's website states that the Newark Firefighters were founded 200 years ago. The pipe band was formed in 2003, in honor of their fallen comrades.

Newark, New Jersey is a city located less than 10 miles west of Manhattan, across the Hudson River.

Related posts: Sound the Horns in Union Square, Music While You Wait and A Message from Beantown.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Before the Game, in Alphabet City

Still life, NYC
Photo by myself, in Alphabet City.

Yes, you can get a can of PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon, an inexpensive beer) and a shot of alcohol for five bucks. Lol.

Most bars have crowds of onlookers outside, watching the World Cup games. This one was less inviting, with its curtains drawn.


It has been very, very hot and humid here recently , which is typical for New York summers. Between 11 am and 6 pm, it's best not to move around. Outside, there is the constant hum of air conditioning.

My fiance, Mark, dislikes this weather and has been threatening to move to California. I spoke with my parents in LA for Fathers Day. They are happy to report that the weather there is as perfect as always (70s, no humidity).

Related posts: Drinkers Wanted, in Brooklyn, The Brooklyn Ice House, Red Hook and Last Call Park Slope, and 10 Things to do in New York.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

On the Mermaid Parade, in Coney Island

Coney Island Lager, in Brooklyn
Photo by myself, in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

A local gastropub in Park Slope serves up beers made locally, including Blue Point Toasted Lager from Long Island, and Coney Island Lager, shown above.


Speaking of Coney Island, the annual Mermaid Parade was held yesterday. Mark and I did not go, but saw those who did walking around in Brooklyn, still in their mermaid costumes.

Each year, the boardwalk in Coney Island is swarmed with adults and kids dressed as mermaids. Yesterday, musicians Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson led the parade as king and queen.

Coney Island has historically been known for its boardwalk and amusement park, just a subway ride from Manhattan. The area is known for being run down, but developers have recently committed over $30 million to renovate the park over the next 10 years.

For more about this year's parade from the New York Daily News, including photos, click here.

Related posts: On the Boardwalk, in Coney Island, Shoot the Freak, Coney Island and Beer, Wonderful Beer.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Avalanche of People, Midtown

Crowd, NYC
Photo by myself, around 34th Street and 7th Avenue.

At intersections in Midtown, you're often confronted with a sea of faces. This time of year, the city is especially crowded.

When walking down the street on any given day, one is confronted with how big the world is.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Related posts: Fighting the Crowds, in Midtown, People, People, Everywhere and Crowded Sidewalk, Midtown.


Friday, June 18, 2010

On Skateboard Graphics and Subways in Mid-Air

Skateboarder, NYC
Photo by myself in Union Square.

A mesmerizing graphic on a skateboarder's jeans jacket, in Union Square.


I breezed by the Times last night and spotted an article worth mentioning: a Subway sandwich shop just opened in the Freedom Tower, downtown.

Yes, as the towers are going up the World Trade Center site, so is a Subway sandwich shop. Right now the trailer is on the 27th floor, in the midst of girders and metal walkways. As construction moves skyward, the sandwich shop will, too.

It makes perfect sense to bring food up to the construction workers, rather than having the guys wait in line to get to ground level. Also, the Subway menu won't be limited to foot-long sandwiches; they may add lasagna, hot dogs and pizza.

For the article and photographs in the Times, click here.

Related posts: Model Behavior, Downtown, Dusk at 72nd Street Station and Hitting the Newsstand Underground.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Down Under, Downtown

Subway Entrance, NYC
Photo by myself, somewhere downtown.

Some of the descents to the underground subway are also storefronts. This one downtown sells recycled watches and phones.

I'm sure going down this stairwell this first time must be dubious - what's around the corner? Or more importantly, who?


Well, I missed my first post in over two years, yesterday. Life has been crazy busy in the stressful sense, mostly work-related.

As you might know, Mark and I are engaged, but the wedding planning hasn't even begun. (I am secretly hoping we lapse into common-law marriage, since we're living together, and skip the ceremony). Soon, I'm sure it will be even busier.

I've only been to three weddings held in Manhattan, two of those last summer. Figuring out a venue, reception and housing for visitors can add up. Quickly. Other New York friends have held their ceremonies in locations like Cape Cod, Long Island, New Jersey and Hawaii.

It's also easier to coordinate people outside of the traffic that happens here. We're still undecided about place. Suggestions welcomed!

Related posts: Model Behavior, Downtown, Dusk at 72nd Street Station and Hitting the Newsstand Underground.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Lower Half of the Pants, in Park Slope, Brooklyn

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

They say New York is one of the fashion capitals of the world. I wouldn't say this is 100% true.

Above, an odd combination of boxer shorts and reverse cut-off jeans. I'm not sure who is wearing the upper half of her pants, or how her below-the-knee jeans stay up?

Anyway, scores of food vendors lined one of the major streets by Prospect Park, this weekend. Brooklyn was celebrating Gay Pride, as it does every year. The older parts of Brooklyn are very traditional, but overall, it's a rather open-minded borough.

Related posts: Model Behavior, Downtown, Fashionista, Not and On Fashion Plates and Wee Houseguests.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Napping in Midtown

Asleep on the street
Photo by myself somewhere in Midtown.

A fellow in full dress napped on the sidewalk, one recent afternoon.

He is carrying a plastic bag, the type given out by many shops. The bag bears the "I *heart* NY'" logo, which was designed by the famed Milton Glaser, an illustrator and graphic designer.

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


Sunday, June 13, 2010

World Cup Frenzy, in Park Slope, Brooklyn

World Cup fans, Brooklyn
Photo by myself, in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

It was standing room only at bars around New York City. The crowd above spilled out of a pub in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Finally, the US is joining the rest of the planet in World Cup frenzy. The US team played England on Saturday. The last time we played England was 60 years ago, when the US team astonishingly upset the favorites, 1-0.

The game had been such an upset that British newspapers thought there had been a typo in the telegraph, and printed the game results as England winning 10-1.

Our goalkeeper, Tim Howard, did a great job. In the end, US tied England 1-1, after the other goalie made a grave error. I'm sure the poor fellow will be dreaming about it for years. There was a great article in last week'sThe New Yorker about Howard. You can read the abstract online and the full article if you have a subscription.

Friends of ours tried to watch the game in Manhattan, where bars were packed, hours in advance. Mark and I watched the game at home. Outside, people whooped, hollered and chanted in the streets.

World Cup fans, Brooklyn

Related posts: Playing Ball in the Public Courts, Playing Ball, in Red Hook, Brooklyn and More on Sport.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

On The Music Scene, in the East Village

Fliers, East Village
Photo by myself at Second Avenue and Eighth Street, in the East Village.

The music scene is hopping in the East Village. Emerging bands find venues mostly in the many bars and small performance spaces, which are open very late at night.

Entrance to these musical gigs are usually pretty cheap, involving an entry fee and drink minimum. I'm sure most of the bands are terrible, but you may discover a few gems among the rubble?

Related posts: City Portraits - The East Village, The Truth in Advertising, in the East Village and Beware of Cats, in the East Village.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Sunset, from Brooklyn Bridge Beach

Brooklyn Bridge, at sunset
Photo by myself from Brooklyn Bridge Beach, in DUMBO.

One of the great things about Manhattan is that it's on an island. There are bridges and tunnels that connect it to Brooklyn and New Jersey. Once you're on the other side of the water, you can look back and see where you were.

The Brooklyn Bridge is by far the most recognizable bridge we have. It's clad in stone, and, completed in 1883, is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States.

Walking across the bridge to Brooklyn is worth doing, if you are visiting the city. The pedestrian walkway is suspended above the level of cars, so you get an unobstructed view of the water.

Fortunately, Brooklyn is east of New York; from there you can see the sunset against the Manhattan skyline.

Related posts: On Rain and the Brooklyn Bridge, The View from Brooklyn Bridge Beach and The City in Silhouette.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Street Photography on Display, Below Ground

Arts for Transit exhibit, Atlantic/Pacific Station
Photo by myself at Atlantic/Pacific Station, in Brooklyn.

Not the greatest photo, I have to say, but I had to write about a current display of street photographs at the Atlantic/Pacific subway station, in Brooklyn.

Yet another part of the MTA Arts for Transit program, the photographs are by Travis Ruse, all taken during in and around the subway. The show, called 'Underground Exposure', includes images outside subway stations, inside subway cars and on the platform.

The images are blown up large and displayed on lightboxes on the wall. The colors are vivid to commuters passing by. How great is it to see street photography displayed like this in public? And of the subway no less, where all sorts of New Yorkers find themselves every day.

Read about and view images from the exhibit on the MTA Arts for Transit site, here.

Related posts: On Display at Atlantic/Pacific, Brooklyn, Art Underground, the MoMA Way and Passing the Time, Underground.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Texting, Schmexting

Texting, NYC
Photo by myself, somewhere in downtown.

Ah yes, the familiar sight of a young lad hunkered over, two thumbs attached to an electronic communication device. I'm digging his suede shoes and the fellow on a cell phone in the background.


Thanks for some recent comments about the black and white images posted here.

I prefer black and white, too. In New York, there is often so much going on in any one scene, from people to signage to cars. Black and white transforms chaos into something less insane.

Every photo can't be black and white, though. That would be like eating cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Too much of a good thing!

Related posts: At a Crossroads, in Times Square, A Repent Sign Guy Meets a Horse Carriage Guy and Movie in the Making, in Alphabet City.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Haggling for Furs on West Broadway

Making a deal, SoHo
Photo by myself in Soho, on West Broadway and Spring Streets.

A couple of fellows negotiated a price for fake furs.

West Broadway is an extra-wide street that runs north-south through Soho. It's lined with large clothing stores like DKNY and Eileen Fisher.

Because of the width of the street and its generous sidewalks, artists and street vendors camp out on West Broadway. You can get anything from lingerie to oil paintings while walking along this brief stretch.

Related posts: Down Broadway, Eco-Friendly Cardboard Design and The Apple Store, Continued.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Holy Smokes, in the East Village

Storefront, East Village
Photo by myself in the East Village, around 2nd Avenue and 9th Street.

A typical convenience store in New York.

Some are fancier than others, of course. Many delis and grocers have fruit and cut flowers outside, for passersby to grab on the walk home.

From the looks of this store, New Yorkers need cigarettes, cold beer and cash. Makes sense, since a pack of cigarettes costs a whopping $10.00 per pack now. That's 50 cents per smoke.

About half the cost goes toward a cigarette tax for the city and state. The price just keeps climbing. I still see numbers of smokers everywhere. They're most noticeable in the winter, huddled in front of buildings, poor things.

Related posts: Light em Up, Signs of Hope and Big Wampum Sign, Eighth Avenue.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bluegrass Music, Below Ground - The Ebony Hillbillies at 34th Street

Below Penn Station
Photo by myself, in the 34th Street subway station.

There are almost always musicians playing in this subway station near the turnstiles. These musicians are sponsored by the MTA 'Arts for Transit' program, which brings artists and musicians underground.

The fellows above are the Ebony Hillbillies. They call themselves 'the last black string band in America', carrying on a tradition of African-American bluegrass fiddlers from the 18th century.

Though they usually play in the NY Subways, the Hillbillies have been touring. (Don't you love the internet?) They just performed a concert in Charleston, South Carolina.

Here they are caught on video, bringing down the house:

For more about the MTA Arts for Transit program, click here.

Related posts: See Saw, Below Ground, Music While you Wait and Performing Free, in Bryant Park.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

On Line for Breakfast, in Midtown

Fruit stand, NYC
Photo by myself around 50th Street and Sixth Avenue, in Midtown.

What looks like a scene out of a movie or tv show is just normal, everyday life.

A bike messenger, business guy and a bald guy waited on line at a fruit stand. Coffee and bagels aren't the only items New Yorkers have for breakfast.


Ah, the end of another week. Happy Weekend, everyone!

Related posts: On the Soup Station and Snow, How You can Have What You Want When You Want it and Come and Get It.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Furry Friends in Tompkins Square Park

Yorkie meets Toy Poodle
Photo by myself in Tompkins Square Park, in Alphabet City.

I took a photo of couple of Rupert's friends last weekend, when we visited the dog run in Tompkins Square Park.

Dog runs in New York are usually split in two - one side is for smaller dogs and one side is for dogs of all sizes. Some smaller dogs, puppies and their owners prefer to hang out with their smaller buddies.

If you are ever in the city with your dog, the dog runs are a great place to visit and socialize with other dogs and their owners. There is usually one dog run per neighborhood or park, and there are well over 100 runs throughout New York City.

Each dog run is equipped with a water fountain for dogs and seating for humans. Most are lined with gravel and some have kiddie pools.

Larger parks, such as Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn, have off leash hours. Before 9 am and after 9 pm, you can let your dog roam free. Of course, there are leash laws in New York. At all times, you must have your dog on a leash.

Curious to know where the dog runs are in New York? Here is an official list.

Yorkie, posing

Related posts: Off Leash in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Sharing a Moment and On the Train.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

On Singing Groups and the Current Vibe

Street Musicians, SoHo NYC
Photo by myself in SoHo, around Prince and Greene Streets.

A spirited singing group drew a happy crowd. When the weather is nice, there's a whole lot of music going on.


Not much to report here, except that the economic situation is still mixed.

One of my friends who had been out of work for over a year finally got a job. But then another friend, who has a stay-at-home wife, children and a mortgage, was suddenly laid off.

The friend now out of work consulted headhunters, who say there are many more jobs available than last year. So there is some hope.

My profession has been affected quite a bit. Fear grips those planning to renovate their apartments. Owners are incessantly concerned about resale value, and don't want to invest too much money. People are spending about half as much as they usually do, but then they still want it all.

It's too bad - it's become all about money rather than the enjoyment of their own home. When dealing with contractors during the negotiation process, I feel more like a real estate broker than an architect. Wheeling and dealing, that kind of thing.

Related posts: Sound the Horns in Union Square, Singing the Blues, Below Ground and On Bach Partitas and Danger Underground.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Relief from the Heat, in Washington Square Park

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

The giant outdoor fountain in Washington Square Park is hard to resist on hot summer days.

It gets extra hot here in New York during the summer. The asphalt and hard surfaces soak up all the sun's rays, and radiate the heat back well into the night.

Some New Yorkers rent or own summer places in Long Island, New Jersey, upstate New York and even Connecticut. There are also 'house shares' available where you split a rental with other families, to reduce cost.

Not everyone has the extra cash to lay out for a summer house. Fortunately, you can go hiking, sit on the beach and enjoy various day trips. And they're just a short drive or train ride away.

Related posts: Making a Splash, in Lincoln Center, At the Base of Merchant's Gate, Central Park South and Summering in the City.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Colorful Eats at Kelley and Ping, SoHo

Wall of Masks at Kelley & Ping, SoHo
Photo by myself at Kelley & Ping, at Greene and West Houston Streets.

A colorful wall of Chinese masks and wallpaper adorns the wall of Kelly & Ping, in SoHo.

Part grocery store, part eatery, Kelley & Ping serves up Asian noodles, dumplings and curry. It's a great place to stop off for a quick bite if you're enjoying the boutiques in this area.

Choose between Vietnamese grilled beef, Malaysian curried noodles and green papaya salad. Top off your meal with Thai iced tea or coffee.

There's always the old stand-bys like Pad Thai (rice stick noodles with Shrimp, egg, peanuts and scallions) and Pad See Yew (rice noodles with chicken, vegetables and dark soy sauce) if you can't decide.

As a pan-Asian restaurant, the food of many countries are represented here, including Japan, China, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

For the Kelley & Ping website, which includes lunch and dinner menus, click here.

Related posts: Older Birds, Fifth Avenue, On Tenement Life and Cable TV and The Jazzman, 34th Street.