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Monday, January 31, 2011

On Outdoor Piano Recitals and a Visitor's Point of View

Impromptu Recital, Washington Sq. Park
Photo by myself in Washington Square Park, in the Village.

A very informal concert in Washington Square Park took place during a brief glimmer of sunshine, Sunday morning.

A pianist performed on an upright piano that was on temporary wheels. Slapped on the side of the piano is a sticker that says 'Manhattan Mini Storage', a popular storage company in the area.


I thought it'd be interesting to show photos once in a while taken by visitors to New York. What better way to see a city, than from a fresh set of eyes?

Here are a couple wonderful detail photos, taken by my friend Carmelo in Italy. Carmelo visited New York on his honeymoon last summer and took over 5,000 photos in 10 days!

Fifth Avenue hands_sm
Photo by Carmelo. New Yorkers can be a fidgety bunch, with our caffeine, cigarettes and mobile devices.

park hands piano_sm
Photo by Carmelo. Another pianist played outside, during Play Me, I'm Yours, a city-wide public arts project held last summer.

Thank you, Carmelo, for these great shots! I will file these under 'New York Visitors' and share such viewpoints, once in a while.

Related posts: Playing Pianos as Public Art, Strike up the Band, in Washington Square Park and Looming Above Washington Square Park.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

On a Winter Day at the Plaza Hotel

Plaza Hotel, in the snow
Photo by myself near the Plaza Hotel, at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street.

I couldn't resist taking this photo of this well-known street corner while I was in the neighborhood last week.

Taxi cabs and horse drawn carriages were waiting patiently for the light to turn. Fortunately for pedestrians and horses, it wasn't too cold.

I have to wonder what it's like to be in one of those little turrets at the corner. I hope it's sitting room or an incredible bathroom with a view from the tub!

Once completely a luxury hotel, almost one third of the units were sold as condominiums by 2008. Currently offered are a one-bedroom for $4.2 million and a one-bedroom rental for $13,900 per month.

Rates for hotel rooms start from $500/night and go upwards to over $2,000 per night, depending on whether you're getting a room or a suite.

You can check out the Plaza website here.

Related posts: Glitzy Glam, Outside the Pierre, Deck the Halls of the Plaza Hotel and The View from New York and the Plaza Hotel.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Window Shopping on Elizabeth Street, Chinatown

Roast Duck, Chinatown
Photo by myself on Elizabeth and Hester Streets, in Chinatown.

The subtle body language says it all.

A couple of visitors peer into a storefront offering roast duck. Keeping with tradition, the Chinese leave the heads of the ducks on.


I wanted to show a photo of the city today without snow. Mark and I are a little tired of the recent weather.

For those of you with snow cravings, check out a series of recent photos on the Times site, here. This series captures how New Yorkers have been enjoying and combatting snow in the city.

Related posts: On Canal Street and Annie Leibowitz, Live, From Chinatown and En Masse, on Canal Street.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Even More Snow, in Central Park

In Central Park
Photo by myself in Central Park, near Central Park South.

Ah, can you believe that we woke up on Thursday to another 19 inches of snow?

I happened to be near Central Park for a meeting. Fortunately, I got there a bit early to snap a few photos.

Lots of children were there with the day off school. Seen on the right, they were sledding around all the hills they could find, large and small. Mothers were about too, pushing their baby carriages. Since there was little wind, it didn't feel too cold.

By the time I came out of my meeting, the sun had gone away and everything was a dreary gray.

In Central Park
Through the snow and trees, you can make out the buildings along Central Park South.

Snow, Central Park
Beyond, some buildings along Central Park West. The building on the right is the Majestic at 72nd Street, an Art Deco apartment building.

Related posts: Portrait of a Film Shoot, in Prospect Heights, After the Snow, in SoHo and A Snowy View of Central Park.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

On the New York Dress Code: Outerwear 101

57th & 5th Avenue
Photo by myself in Midtown, around 57th Street and Fifth Avenue.

Here's a quick lesson on outerwear in New York.

Above, a well-dressed street corner in a fancy area of Midtown. Fifth Avenue is known for boutiques and larger flagship stores. Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany's and Prada are all located within a few blocks of each other.

The above photo was taken before all the snowfall. Even then, it shows how well-equipped some people are, with their coats and hats and scarves and boots.

Black, in Midtown
A typical street corner in Midtown.

The second photo was taken Wednesday morning during yet another snowfall. Huge flakes started falling early and went on through the day. The snow is expected to continue through the night, totaling up to ten inches.

Note there are five people in the photo (four on this corner, one on the opposite corner) and they are all dressed in black. Even I am wearing black. This is the typical New York proletariat dress code that everyone jokes about.

I'd say 80% of New Yorkers wear shades of black, grey, dark green or navy on a daily basis. If you scroll down and look at other recent photos, this is consistent.

White, in Brooklyn
At the De Kalb subway station in Brooklyn, a lone figure in white.

Finally, the easiest way to be noticed in New York is to dress completely in white, head to toe. Seriously, you will be noticed.

I saw this fellow twice in one week, and I know it was him because the chances of seeing two fellows in white pants, a white top, white shoes and white hat, carrying a white duffel bag were just too slim.

I have a hunch that this guy is a street performer, and his costume is made to draw attention to himself. Either that, or with the recent snow, he is actually dressed in camoflage.

Related posts: Portrait of a Film Shoot, in Prospect Heights, Portrait of Five New Yorkers, on the Upper East Side and On the Picket Line, in Hell's Kitchen.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Portrait of a Young Man, Without a Home

Photo by myself on Sixth Avenue in Midtown.

I met a young man named Eastwood on Sixth Avenue, Tuesday afternoon.

This fellow has lived in the city for several years. He told me he's from Pennsylvania and has plans to return or go to Scotland, where he has family. He proudly pointed out that his beard is actually a tattoo.

While working as a bike messenger, Eastwood was hit by a cab, severely injuring his left leg and putting him out of work. He is now on the street and turned 32 a couple weeks ago.

Eastwood sometimes sleeps at a hostel that charges 30 dollars a night for a bed. When he can't find the money, he sleeps in a sleeping bag in a parking lot on the Lower East Side.

Last night, it was incredibly cold, and Eastwood slept outside. I was flabbergasted.

Who knows whether Eastwood's story is true? It's hard to say.

I think most New Yorkers are wary of believing every story they hear, since there are so many people about with various motives. However, after our brief chat, I felt this fellow was sincere. I left him with what cash I had, which was about ten dollars.


It felt good to take another photo in the portrait series, where I take photos of random New Yorkers and speak to them. I will be doing more of these (!), showing New Yorkers from all walks of life.

The Portrait Series is a once-in-a-while installment, featuring New Yorkers encountered on the street.

Related posts: Portrait of a Film Shoot, in Prospect Heights, Portrait of Five New Yorkers, on the Upper East Side and On the Picket Line, in Hell's Kitchen.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Out in the Cold, on the Upper East Side

Madison Avenue Cold
Photo by myself on Madison Avenue, around 62nd Street on the Upper East Side.

It was really, really, really cold in New York on Monday. Above, the window of a coffee shop on Madison Avenue was completely fogged up.

The news predicted it would be 8 degrees Fahrenheit (-13 Celsius) on Monday. With the wind, it felt like negative 25 degrees (-32 Celsius)!

At the moment, people look like they're dressed more for Siberia than for New York City. Many folks are wearing hats with ear flaps, knee-length down parkas, huge fur hats, rubber boots, ear muffs, faux-fur trimmed hoods and gloves.

Bulldog and friends
Dogs are also geared up in down jackets. This adorable French Bulldog gave me the eyeball, Monday morning.

Boston Terrier in the snow
Rupert tolerated the snow and cold, on a recent romp in Prospect Park.

It's been a while since I've shared a photo of our dog, Rupert. I'm posting one here in honor of my friend Maria, in Madrid. Maria visited New York for the first time, last summer.

Related posts: Cold Days in Midtown, Braving the Chill in Bryant Park and Brrrrrrrr.


Monday, January 24, 2011

The Wintry View from Central Park South

View from Central Park South
Photo by myself along Central Park South.

The view from an upper floor of the Plaza Hotel on Central Park South is pretty nice indeed.

Fifth Avenue and the Upper East Side is to the right. Way far away straight ahead is Central Park North, or 110th Street. A bit to the left is Central Park West.

You can be sure I'll be back to this location in the Spring, to take photos when Central Park is completely green! I will bring my big camera for sure.

Related posts: At the Brooklyn Museum - The Dizzying World of Murakami, The Sky is Falling and The View from on High.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Now on Display, at the Annual Winter Antiques Show

In Shining Armor
Photo by myself, at Park Avenue and East 67th Street.

From now until January 30th, you can attend one of the best antiques shows there is. The Annual Winter Antiques Show is currently being held at the Park Avenue Armory on the Upper East Side.

Over seventy exhibitors from all over display works of art, antiquities and fine furniture. Most of the exhibitors hail from New York and London. Other cities represented are Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and Ontario.

The show started this past Friday, and Mark and I toured through on Saturday afternoon. A good portion of the items were listed in the tens of thousands of dollars. Some were listed in the hundreds of thousands.

I saw a Matisse line drawing, for instance, a pair of copper doorhandles from the Roman period and a huge alabaster vase from the 1st Millenium BC.

Mark's first stammer to me was,'This is some high end stuff!' (Only he didn't use the word 'stuff').

Ex Caliber
A stunning display of armor and weaponry at the dramatically lit Peter Finer booth.

Objects represented Asian art, American Folk art, Ancient Art and even Mid-Century Modern Furniture.

Noah's Ark
An early American Art exhibitor included an ark and an incredible display of carved animals, arranged two-by-two.

Antiques Show, 2011
Fine furnishings and textiles were plentiful.

At the Park Avenue Armory
Fabric covered the aisles and booths, creating an intimate feeling. The actual ceiling of the Armory can be seen beyond. Above, copper door knockers dating from Roman times.

It was startling to see some people actually shopping at this venue, rather than simply ogling at the museum quality pieces. There were many Upper East Siders about, wandering in fur coats and bow ties.

Tickets are $20 per person. All proceeds go to benefit the East Side House Settlement, a group rehabilitating a particularly troubled area of the South Bronx. The show continues until January 31.

For tickets and other information, click here.

Related posts: At the Brooklyn Museum - The Dizzying World of Murakami, The Getty Villa, in Malibu, California and Art on Exhibit - James Jean, in Chelsea.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Doggy Bag, on the Q Train

Doggy bag, on the Q Train
Photo by myself on the Q Train, around Canal Street.

The woman standing in front of me graciously allowed me to take a photo of her beautiful dog, a Pomeranian mix.

The dog was calm throughout the whole train ride, his head poking out of a dog carrier. The carrier looks like a tote bag but is specially designed with a scoop taken out of the end panel.

Dogs and other animals are allowed on the subways when transported in carriers. Seeing-eye dogs are also allowed, on leashes. To transport a bigger dog, you will need to take a cab.

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


Friday, January 21, 2011

Stick em Up, in Madison Square Park

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

A small group stood deep in meditation, Thursday morning. At least, that's what it looks like?

As I walked by the southern edge of the park, these three had their arms held up for a very long time. Hm.

Related posts: On Contortionists and Viral Videos, Leg Lunges, Midtown 9:25 am and Sun Salutation, the East Village.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

All Lit Up, Outside the Gershwin Hotel

The Gershwin, NYC
Photo by myself outside the Gershwin Hotel, at 27th Street and Fifth Avenue.

The Gershwin Hotel is an arty, reasonably priced small hotel north of the Flatiron District. The one-of-a-kind light fixtures are hard to miss, recalling the sculptural forms of the architect Antoni Gaudi.

The Gershwin is just steps away from the Empire State Building and the Museum of Sex. The Flatiron District and Madison Square Park are a few blocks south.

I didn't realize until now that the hotel is also considered a youth hostel. There are rooms with bunk beds where those traveling on a budget can split the cost of a room with others.

Note: This hotel has received mixed reviews. Please do some research before booking a room.

Related posts: Deck the Halls of the Plaza Hotel, Going for the Gold and The Royalton Renovated.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New York's Bravest, on the Upper West Side

Photo by myself on the Upper West Side, around 74th Street and Broadway.

Members of the Ladder 25 crew posed for me outside the supermarket Fairway, where they were shopping for groceries on Tuesday night. These fellows are known as 'New York's Bravest', while the NYPD is known as 'New York's Finest'.

The firehouse for Ladder 25 is located on West 77th Street. Apologies for the slight graininess of this photo. It was dark out and I don't like using a flash.

I wanted to gush and tell these fellows how much they are appreciated for what they do...but I felt odd doing so in the middle of a busy street. I hope the simple gesture of asking to take their photo conveyed my respect for their heroism.

Related posts: New York's Bravest in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Heigh-Ho and FDNY.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Don't @*$&^ with Me, Underground

You lookin' at me?
Photo by myself on the subway, somewhere in Brooklyn.

Eight o'clock on Monday morning is not the time to mess with most New Yorkers.

I was trying to take a stealthy photo of the fellow on the left, who was drawing in his sketchbook. His neighbor caught onto my shenanigans and did not seem pleased. I know I'm being terrible for posting this, but his expression is wonderful!

There is not that much space between the seats on a subway train. The seating is arranged differently than commuter trains, where people sit in rows and all face forward or backward.

Subway trains are arranged maximum efficiency. During rush hour, you may have someone's belt buckle in your face. There might be three rows of people standing up, swaying to every movement of the train.

When the train is empty, you are confronted with the seats across from you, and the people in them.

Related posts: Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, Underground, On the Ride Home and Tales from Below - A Subway Transcript.


Monday, January 17, 2011

A Peek Through Central Park

Above Central Park
Photo by myself around 57th Street and 6th Avenue.

Above, the view between buildings through Central Park to the Upper West Side.

The orange-colored building is the Majestic, a deco apartment tower at 71st Street and Central Park West. The Wikipedia page of the Majestic reveals that the building once housed the heads of the Luciano crime family.

To the right of the Majestic is the swanky Beresford, some ten blocks north. Smoke seems to be coming out of the top, perhaps from wood burning fireplaces.

The aerial view of Central Park looks scraggly during the winter. I'll have to try to take a photo during the warmer months when the buildings aren't casting such a shadow.

Related posts: The Sky is Falling, The View from on High and Hovering Above Park Avenue.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Outside Baked by Melissa, in SoHo

Baked by Melissa, SoHo
Photo by myself in SoHo, around Spring Street and Broadway.

A woman spied me taking her photo in front of Baked by Melissa, a cupcake joint in SoHo.

Baked by Melissa offers mini cupcakes in scrumptious flavors, including Choco-Banana, Red Velvet and Peanut Butter and Jelly. Each miniature cupcake is topped with frosting and contains a flavor inside. By some miracle, I did not sample any of their goods.

There are three Melissa locations in Manhattan - in Soho, Grand Central and Union Square.

Related posts: Ramen Noodles, in the East Village, Chez Bouley, Tribeca and Lure Fish Bar, Soho.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pedalling Through the Slush, in Midtown

Pedicab in the snow
Photo by myself on Sixth Avenue and 41st Street, in Midtown.

Last week's snow didn't hinder pedicabs from chugging away through the slush. This fellow was making his way up to Columbus Circle, about twenty blocks north.

Slush is not a pretty sight in the city. The streets become grimy very quickly after a snow. It's not the place for nice shoes.

Most women wear knee high galoshes, since the puddles can become quite deep at the street corners.


Dirt and grime are persistent elements in New York. I think it comes from the air rather than from soil.

When I lived on the Upper West Side, my apartment was on the fourth floor of an old walk-up building from the turn of the last century. The windows were huge wood, single pane, double hung windows painted over a million times, probably original to the building. They never closed properly, leaving an uneven gap at the bottom.

Every few months, I'd have to open the window and wipe it down, especially near the bottom, where all this soot would accumulate. It was really hideous, and all I could think of was that we breathe that stuff every day.

If you ever walk around Manhattan, take a look at the buildings at the street corners. You will notice that buildings are much lighter in color at the corners than along the street, because of the wind. This is most noticeable at limestone buildings, which are light in color.

Related posts: Enjoying a Ride, in Central Park, Working It and Nice Set of Wheels.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Reflections from the Freedom Tower

Crossing, World Trade Center
Photo by myself near the World Trade Center, at Vesey and Church Streets.

Loads of people wait to cross the street Wednesday morning, held back by police tape. When the light changes color, the police let go of the tape and everyone is allowed to cross.

Each time I've been on this block, there's been a large crowd waiting to cross. When it finally does, the scene is a couple hairs shy of a stampede.

Vesey Street is the main route to the PATH station, next to the World Trade Center site. The PATH trains run below the Hudson River between Manhattan and New Jersey.

In the background is the Freedom Tower, designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. The tower will be 82 stories tall and should be completed by 2013. Parts of the glass facade are up, causing bright reflections.

For more information, see the Freedom Tower Wikipedia page which posts ongoing progress photos.

Related posts: Salvaged from the World Trade Center, Night View at the World Trade Center and A Work in Progress.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fresh Snow, at the New York Public Library

NYPL in the snow
Photo by myself in Bryant Park, at Sixth Avenue and 41st Street, in Midtown.

Talks of snow Tuesday night were overhyped.

New York woke to a moderate dusting of snow, nothing at all comparable to our last blizzard. Above, one of the end pavilions at the main branch of the New York Public Library.

A few Parks Department workers were shoveling the paths. A handful of people were taking a spin on the ice rink or walking about, snapping pictures. All around was the hush that snow brings.

I'm not sure what kind of trees these are that retain their red blossoms throughout the winter. Whoever planted these trees long ago was a genius. What better way to add some color to a winter landscape?

Related posts: Sledding Outside the San Remo, Going Postal, in Midtown and Six Inches Under, in Central Park.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Young Man on the Subway Platform

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

My guess is that this young man was waiting for his father to return.

I've seen the two of them here together before. The sign near the cds says the musician plays the erhu, a Chinese stringed instrument.

The above scene created a small stir on the subway platform. This youngster played various tunes (pretty well), using both index fingers.


In the meantime, the New York area is bracing itself for yet another snowstorm.

At this writing there are several inches of new snow on the ground. The sky is a ghastly pale orange. Weather reports are predicting up to 12 inches of snow overnight!

Related posts: On Street Music and National Night Out, On Bach Partitas and Danger Underground and Sound the Horns in Union Square.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On 14th Street and the Annual No Pants Subway Ride

Twilight on 14th Street
Photo by myself on Third Avenue around 14th Street, near Union Square.

A photo from a while ago, when the skies were more blue than white-ish grey.


Monday morning I found out that I'd missed out on a terrific photo-op.

Sunday had been the 10th annual No Pants Subway Ride Day, instigated by a group called Improv Everywhere. I had spent most of the day inside with Rupert, since Mark was working. Shucks!!

Yes, about 3,500 slightly insane New Yorkers took off their pants in 32F degree weather and rode around on the subway. Wind gusts were 47 miles per hour, but of course, that's above ground.

The No Pants gig was coordinated with 50 cities all over the world, including Sydney, Brisbane and Wellington, so one didn't have to be freezing one's, eh....pants off, if you know what I mean.

For some videos of this Sunday's No Pants Day as well as those of previous years, click here for the Improv Everywhere site.

For a huge spread on the Boing Boing website, click here.

ps: A huge thank-you to my friend Lily Hydrangea for her post yesterday showing one of my photos. Lily has a lovely blog showing Long Island, just a stone's throw from Manhattan and Brooklyn. She takes day trips all over the place, so you really get a sense of the variety of the New York area.

For sticklers and to really confuse you, Brooklyn is located on Long Island. The Hamptons and several popular beaches are located there, too. Montauk can be found at the very eastern tip.

Related posts: More Free Hugs, in Union Square, The Lower Half of the Pants, in Park Slope, Brooklyn and Big Green Monster, in Midtown.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Power to the People, in Midtown

Power to the People
Photo by myself at 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue.

For whatever reason, a building at the northwest corner of Bryant Park sometimes displays billboards on the ground floor.

Smart idea, since otherwise this building is easy to miss. What better way to animate a plain grid glass than to fill the panes with colorful images?

Last January, billboards displayed the current exhibits at MoMA. Now there are billboards for the release of a John Lennon compilation.

I'm not sure why the NYPD concrete blockades are up on the sidewalk. Note the New York City skyline on the album cover.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Related posts: Through the Looking Glass, in Midtown, On What's Playing Around Town and at Home and Who's Playing, the East Village.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Eat Like an Emperor, at Eataly

Preserves at Eataly
Photo by myself in Eataly, at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue.

I finally got myself over to Eataly, the new Italian phenomenon of Mario Batali, and Lidia and Joe Bastianich in the Flatiron District. Some friends took me on the tour Friday night, while in search of dinner.

As I wrote in an earlier post, this high-end market is big, occupying the entire first floor of a large building. There are areas for fresh produce, seafood, cold cuts, pasta, bread, and more.

There are also eating areas for sitting and standing. Many people stood around small tables, drinking glasses of wine and nibbling on all sorts of cured meats from individual cheese boards.

Dining at Eataly
Diners can sit down at a few different specialty food areas, or stand up for wine and cheeses.

Produce at Eataly
Produce is fresh and exotic. Some shoppers held up fruit, wondering what it was.

Fresh Pasta, Eataly
There are assorted fresh pastas and breads to choose from.

Salami at Eataly
A whole aisle of freshly packaged cured meats means no wait at the deli counter.

My friends told me that usually the wait for a fresh pizza is an hour long. Diners can enjoy a glass or three of wine in the meantime. The spacious area during my visit was not too crowded, but I'm told that usually one can hardly get around.

To be frank, it's not a cheap place to shop on a daily basis, along the lines of Dean & Deluca in Soho. For most of us, this is a store for special occasions or dinners. Among my favorites were the preserved original ceilings and mosaic floors. It was smart and economical not to completely renovate the space.

In all, I have mixed feelings about Eataly. Very nice, very expensive and very large. There are supermarkets in New York, but they are smaller than the super-sized ones you find in the suburbs. Eataly is really big, and it was odd to walk around such overabundance during this period of economic uncertainty.

*ps: I'm excited to announce that this blog has crossed the 600 mark for followers! How incredible? Thank you, everyone!

Related posts: Get Your Street Sweets Here, Bright Lights and Cured Meats on the Upper West Side and Performance Eats, on the Upper West Side.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Snowy View of Central Park

Snow in Central Park
Photo by myself just outside Central Park, at 60th Street and Central Park West.

We had another dusting of snow, Friday morning.

Weather reports warned of up to 6 inches. I'm not sure how much we really got, but it really was not too terrible.

I was lucky to be near Central Park after a morning meeting. People were walking on the pathways under the cover of umbrellas. Most of the snow came down around noon in huge flakes the size of quarters, that wafted down very slowly.

Back in the office, my coworkers and I gathered at the windows. You could see other office workers doing the same in the buildings around us. It felt like we were all in a giant snow globe.

Related posts: A Blanket of Snow, in Prospect Park, Choose Your Tree on Seventh Avenue and Snowing in the City.


Friday, January 7, 2011

A Moment on the Subway Platform

Photo by myself on the subway platform.

Heading home Thursday night, I felt a bit sad that I hadn't taken any photos all day. It was stressful day at work (this entire week has been terribly stressful). Then I spotted a woman on the subway platform.

She had wonderfully defined features. And even though the light was fluorescent, it was great. Then we heard the sounds of an approaching train. The front light was just visible, coming along the track.

The train pulled in. We all stepped on.

If there is a message about photography that I can impart, it would be this - it doesn't take much. There is something special even in the mundane moment. It can be the color or the angle or the quality of light.

Of course, you don't even need a camera. You just need at least one eyeball. The camera is just there to record and preserve and share the moment, later on.

Related posts: The Subway Platform, 59th Street, On Taking Candids and A Much-Needed Nap.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

On Music and Russian Tunes, on the Ride Home

Street music on the subway
Photo by myself, somewhere underground.

I know what you're thinking. Oh no, not another subway-musician-performer-candid photo! Argh!!

Sorry, folks. Variety is tough to achieve in the wintertime. Also, I have noticed that more and more musicians are performing on the subways and platforms. Does anyone else feel the same?

It seems like every time I'm waiting for the train, someone is banging a drum or tooting a horn or playing an accordian. Yesterday, a violinist played in one station, with the sounds of a musical saw in the background. Then on the Q train, I ran into an cappella singing group moving from one car to the next.

It's really too bad. There are loads of talented, musical New Yorkers out there. The sheer number of them however has made the rest of us a little jaded. It is difficult to listen and appreciate with fresh ears.

The only bright spot was coming home late Wednesday night and hearing a man belt out arias, while he dragged a boom box behind him. His voice was very loud, much too loud for the commute home in a subway car.

The man lapsed into a Russian melody and was spontaneously joined by a random woman on the same train. Both belted out what must be a popular traditional Russian tune, to the delight of many a tired passenger. Their duet woke us up from our collective work-induced daze.

I would have taken photos but you really couldn't tell anything was going on, except that a couple people had their mouths wide open, while the rest of us smiled on.

Related posts: Sound the Pipes in Herald Square, The Jazzman, 34th Street and On Singing Groups and the Current Vibe.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dogs in Fur Coats, on Madison Avenue

Fur in fur
Photo by myself on Madison Avenue and 62nd Street, on the Upper East Side.

I spotted a couple tiny dogs wearing fur coats on Madison Avenue, Tuesday afternoon.

These dogs are Papillons (the French word for butterfly), a toy spaniel breed, named for its unique, fringed ears. These dogs come in several color combinations, usually a single color like brown or black on a white background. They had thick, silver colored leashes. For more about this breed, click here.

The owner was just out of frame, also wearing a black fur coat. I wanted to ask her for a photo, but she was speaking to someone and I had to dash off to a meeting.

Madison Avenue is a very ritzy street lined with boutiques and apartment buildings. Among the many shops there are the Armani, Calvin Klein and DKNY flagship stores, as well as Barney's.

Fur on Fur, II

Related posts: Glitzy Glam, Outside the Pierre, Furry Friends, in Tompkins Square Park and Happy Fourth of July, from Park Slope, Brooklyn.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

On Street Music and the Polar Bear Swim

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

There is nothing like the connection between a musician and his or her audience.


For those of you who remember the Seinfeld episode on 'shrinkage', here's an event for you: the annual Polar Bear Swim took place as scheduled on New Year's Day, in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

The name sums the event up well - strip to one's knickers, undies or whatnot, hop crazily down the beach and jump into the ocean. Some of the undergarments are something to behold. Eek.

For a series of great photos of this year's event, check out a slideshow on the New York Magazine site, here.

Related posts: Don't Stop the Music on the Upper West Side, Seen, Below Ground and On Kids in the Slope, and in the Country.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Across the Crowded Sidewalk, in Midtown

Photo by myself around 54th Street and Fifth Avenue, in Midtown.

Fifth Avenue can literally become a sea of people.

People stream down the sidewalk, while others cross the street from another direction. It is orchestrated mayhem.


For many of us, Monday after the holiday means back to the working routine.


Happy Monday, everyone!

Related posts: Madge + Macy's = Mayhem, The Daily Madness, Outside Madison Square Garden and Fighting the Crowds, in Midtown.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Missing, on Broadway

Photo by myself on Broadway and Spring Street, in Soho.

Fortunately, a quick internet search confirmed that the two women on the flier were found, safe.

The teenagers were from neighboring New Jersey, and were found in Connecticut. No details were provided regarding why they went missing.


Like many major cities, New York is often the destination for runaways. Signs such as the one above are not uncommon. You might see a few of these every year.

Runaways come to New York perhaps because it symbolizes opportunity. More often than signs, you see young people sitting on sidewalks asking for help.

I believe I had my first close encounter with a runaway a couple months ago, on the subway. On my way to work, I sat next to a young man who was asleep. After a couple stops, he woke up and asked where he was.

He said that he fell asleep while looking for a hotel. Besides the fact that he was young and scruffy, that fact didn't sit well with me. After all, who goes to a city without planning first where to stay?

By the time we got into Manhattan, he said, 'Well, I guess I should just go into the office'.

Scruffy young kid, new to the city, suddenly has an office to go to? It didn't seem right. But it was a Monday, and my brain doesn't function well in the mornings. I directed him to where his 'office' was, near NYU.

Looking back, I wish I could re-live that day. I wish I'd asked him directly what his deal was, though it's not the easiest thing to do with a perfect stranger. If I had, this might have been a completely different story.

Related posts: Hope for Better Times, in the East Village, On Pink Walls and a Family Update and Outside the Sunburnt Cow, on Avenue C.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year, from the Streets of New York

Ulysses Bar, NYC
Photo by myself at Stone and Pearl Streets, in the Financial District.

True to Daily Photo Blog fashion, the theme day for every New Year's Day is to post the best photo from the previous year.

The above photo was taken last Spring in the Financial District of Manhattan, one of New York City's oldest neighborhoods. Some of the streets are twisty turny and paved with cobblestones. The Ulysses Folk House features pub fare and live bands.

I was also very lucky because it had just rained. In most movies and commercials, they hose down the street to create an additional reflective surface. Some of the best times for taking photos are after rainfall.

You can just imagine what Old New York used to look like, when it was known more as a port city. I'm sure this street has been used as a backdrop in many films and photoshoots.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants


I had a devil of a time choosing an image to post. What makes a photo 'best', anyway? For me, the photo had to be visually appealing but it had to convey a sense of what New York is.

I wish you all a superbly happy and healthy 2011! Thanks to all the readers who have visited over the years, and a warm welcome to new readers! I foresee an exciting year ahead.

Click here for the original post of the above image.

Related posts: On Wheels, in the Financial District, Charging Through Wall Street and Ye Olde Pub, Downtown.