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Monday, October 31, 2011

Back to Work, Downtown and the Leica DLux 5

At work, lower Manhattan
Photo by myself in lower Manhattan.

Yes, it's Monday again. How on earth does that happen?

Apologies for the lack of a Halloween photo. I didn't have anything 1/2way decent that represented both the holiday and NYC. With luck, I'll snap something on Monday. Crossing fingers!

In the meantime, I am excited about my newest toy. Mark bought me a Leica Dlux 5 for my birthday after much, much waffling on my part.

Me: No, I don't need anything. The economy is terrible. I can make do with this scratched lens.

What was I thinking???!

Leica dlux 5
Everything about this camera is simple and beautiful, including the packaging. This one sports the optional grip.

I've only tried a few shots with it, since we had terrible weather and I couldn't figure out all the buttons. Already I am seduced by the results. The Leica seems like a great alternative to a big SLR.

Normally, I am against animal testing ;-) My willing victim stood patiently, his eyes locked on a small rubber ball. He wore a maniacal grin.

Close up

Further away

Of course, a nice camera is nice, but if you're not putting in the time to take photos, a nice camera will not get you anywhere.

More later!

Related posts: On Canal Street and Annie Leibowitz, Roaming Free, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn and Cooling Off Hot Dogs, in Prospect Park.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

An Early Snowfall, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

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

Saturday, we had an early snowstorm. The trees lashed about and by the afternoon, the moderate rain turned to snow.

This morning, the sun came out and the park was full of dogs and their owners, who were happy to get outside. It was nice in the sunshine but a bit windy and chilly in the shade. Above, you can see our dog Rupert in the lower right corner, trotting back to us.

Most of the New York parks have off leash hours for dogs before 9 am every day. It's a great way to exercise and socialize your dog. There are fenced in dog runs, too, that are open all the time.

Boston Terrier in snow
Rupert, our Boston Terrier, is absolutely in love with the rubber ball. He can play fetch for hours.

Skiing, Prospect Park, Brooklyn
One Brooklynite decided to get on his skiis.

Prospect Park fall snow
Everyone and everything is casting long, bluish shadows.

We've been hearing that this winter will be a wet one, meaning lots of snow. Ugh.

I'm not one for constant sunshine, but a lot of snow is just the pits. Not so nice, trudging back and forth to the subway on dark mornings. Usually it doesn't snow here until at least November.

Related posts: Snowed Under, in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Roaming Free, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn and Cooling Off Hot Dogs, in Prospect Park.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Doo Wop, on Friday Morning

Select Blendz, NYC
Photo by myself at the 34th Street subway station, in Midtown.

A doo-wop group called Select Blendz entertained a crowd at 34th Street, Friday morning.

As these fellows crooned 'Stand by Me', a crowd gathered. One woman danced by herself without a care. The energy was high.

The members of this group varies, and I feel I've taken photos of them before in Soho and Washington Square Park. My only regret is that the lighting at this station is terrible. It was difficult to get all four in focus.

Select Blendz, NYC

Select Blendz, NYC

Here's one sample among many that the Select Blendz has on youtube. I think the fellow in the plaid pants, the fellow in the brown shirt and the bass player are in my photos.


Related posts: Singing for Supper in Washington Square Park, Playing the Blues in Union Square and On Singing Groups and the Current Vibe.


Friday, October 28, 2011

All Lit Up, on the D Train

Subway, NYC
Photo by myself, somewhere underground.

The lighting on some subway trains can be surprisingly good.

The trains vary depending on the subway route. The cars on the 1/2/3/9 routes are very narrow, while the ones on the B/D/F are much wider. Some cars have LED signs and automated recordings announcing the subway stops. Older cars don't.

I think the above photo is on a B, D or F train. The interior is stainless steel, which prevents paint from sticking. The result is a lot of reflective surfaces to bounce the light around. It's like riding in a tin can.

By chance, Saturday Night Fever was on TV Thursday night when I was writing this. The subway has come a long way since the 70's!

Happy Friday, Everyone!

Related posts: The Space of Chance Encounters, Asleep on the D Train and Music While you Wait.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Look, on Greene Street, SoHo

The Look, Soho
Photo by myself on Greene and Prince Streets, in SoHo.

Once in a while, I will be rewarded with a deadly stare.

For some reason, I really love these shots. They are confrontational, with the person and me confronting each other. (Like that legendary runway scene in Zoolander, ha).

I find the confrontation to be honest. It's a nice departure from candids now and again, where the camera definitely has the upper hand.

It depends on the situation whether I just slither away after taking such a photo, or ask whether it's okay that I took the photo. If it's not okay, I will delete the photo without question.

In this case, the fellow gave me a nod a split second later, which broke the tension. No lives were lost.

It probably helped that I am petite and female!

Related posts: The Look Outside the Dakota, Copping a Feel on the Subway and Walking the Walk, in Midtown.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Taking a Look, Around Midtown and the Daily Grind

Looking Up, Midtown
Photo by myself, in Midtown.

Two visitors wandered the streets of Midtown, Tuesday afternoon.


For the last few weeks, I've been going through another rut in taking photos.

It happens. Very often.

Part of the problem, I think, is that it's getting dark so early, now. I will scramble out of the office around 6:30 if I'm lucky, and try to get a few desperate shots in the the fading light.

The other part of the problem is that it's hard to find something new in something you do all the time. How do you look at the same subject with fresh eyes? Often I will get home, scroll through 100 images and not like any. Ugh.

In any creative field, there are bound to be ups and downs. It's my experience though, that when the down time finally passes, I feel that I've learned something. (Not quite sure what the 'something' is, though, I'll have to get back to you on that).

Moral of the story? If you're in a photo rut, hang in there, buddy! It is bound to pass. I'm sure Michelangelo didn't show up to work clicking his heels every day.

This is just how your eyeballs let go of comfortable techniques.

Related posts: Street Corner, in Midtown, Looking Like a Tourist, in Midtown and Say Cheese, in Times Square.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Night View, from Union Square

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

Tons of people were walking around and hanging out in Union Square, Monday night.

This is a major subway station, since several different lines intersect here, including express trains. Much of the open area is paved with asphalt pavers. There are landscaped areas too, a fountain and a dog run.

Some snobs claim to never venture north of 14th Street, for whatever reason. I'm not sure why!

Related posts: Union Square is Where It's At, Grains of Sand, in Union Square and Live Music, Union Square.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Outside the Empire State Building, on Fifth Avenue

Midtown, NYC
Photo by myself at the foot of the Empire State Building, at 35th Street and Fifth Avenue.

Here's just a glimpse sidewalk outside the Empire State Building, which is nearly always busy. Mark and I drove by, Saturday afternoon.

There is an Art Deco theme to the signage of the stores and restaurants. The Empire State Building was completed in 1931.

Related posts: The Empire State, at Dusk, A Tale of Two Towers, the Chrysler and the Empire State and The Empire State on St. Patrick's Day.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Browsing through Books, on Broadway

Broadway booksellers, NYC
Photo by myself around 73rd Street and Broadway, on the Upper West Side.

Broadway in West 70s is lined with tables loaded with books and vinyl. It's a nice place to browse for reading material if you have the time.

Related posts: Searching for a Bargain, at the Strand, Outside Three Lives, in the Village and All Aglow, on 57th Street.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Posing with Miss Liberty, on Central Park South

Statue of Liberty, NYC
Photo by myself, around 59th Street and Fifth Avenue.

Some folks posed with the Statue of Liberty, Friday afternoon.

It seems like everyone has a gimmick, these days.


This area is always crowded with people.

59th Street, or Central Park South, and Fifth Avenue intersect at the Southeast corner of Central Park. Tons of horse-drawn carriages and pedicabs line up here for passengers.

Steps away from the park entrance is the Central Park Zoo. The lower loop of the park is short, about a mile, so it's an easy walk. A huge FAO Schwartz is located next to the 59th Street Apple store, which is open 24/7.

The Plaza Hotel has figured in history and the literature (the heroine of the Eloise books lived on the top floor). Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue, one block to the east, are filled with ritzy stores.

If you're here to visit, one idea is to tour one of the art museums around East 80th Street. Walk south through the park to 59th Street. Have lunch at the Food Hall below the Plaza.

One of my projects is located at the Plaza, so I'll be visiting this area through next Fall.

Related posts: Taking a Break, at the Statue of Liberty, Way Off in the Distance, Lady Liberty and Statues of Liberty, in Midtown.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Outside New York Shaving Company, on Elizabeth Street

NY Shaving Co
Photo by myself around Elizabeth and Spring Streets, in Soho.

A couple of characters took a cigarette break outside the New York Shaving Company, in Soho.

I haven't gone inside this place, but I have peered in. The space has old-fashioned cabinets and details. Men can get a shave with a straight razor or simply a haircut.

Apparently there are only two chairs in this tiny place, and customers are either shaved by 'the young guy' or 'the old guy'. Ha.

For a review on the Time Out Magazine site, click here.
For the New York Shaving Company website, click here.

Related posts: On Broadway, in Soho, Watch Where You're Going in Soho and Strung Along in Soho.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gold Guy, Below 34th Street

Gold Guy, 34th Street
Photo by myself at the 34th Street subway platform.

A performer dressed completely in gold clothing and makeup looked like he'd had a very rough day.

Or maybe he was still recovering from the night before. This was taken around 6:30 pm on Wednesday.


It's been business as usual here, the days just racing by. I've been swamped at work drawing bathrooms, powder rooms and vanities (for those who don't know, a 'vanity' is the cabinet where the bathroom sink is located).

It seems there is never a shortage of bathrooms to draw up. In fancy houses, there are Powder Rooms, for the guests. There is a Master Bathroom with two sinks, or there are separate bathrooms for him and for her (or him and him, or her and her). Often the toilet has in its own separate little room, for privacy (!).

Of course, the typical New Yorker does not have such luxuries. In my apartment on the Upper West Side, I could not step out of the bathtub/shower without opening the bathroom door, because there was only enough floor space to plant one foot, but not enough space to turn around on said foot.

Yes, I'd have to open the door into my tiny kitchen (basically two closets, one with a sink, the other with a stove, facing each other), and have to dry myself off there.

Funny, my bathroom situation seemed completely normal at the time, I did not give it a second thought. We humans are very adaptable creatures!

Related posts: Gold Guy, at 59th Street, Recovering from a Rough Night, on Avenue A and Green Man, in Washington Square Park.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Waiting to Cross, in Soho

Crossing, Soho
Photo by myself, around Broadway and Prince Streets, in Soho.

Another shot in Soho. Crowds of people were waiting for the light to turn.

It seems like many European visitors are in town right now. A looooong line wrapped around the Apple Store a block away, where ipeople waited patiently for the new version of the iphone.

For an earlier photo of the Apple store at the release of the 3g phone, click here.

Related posts: Through the Roof, Bikini Clad, on Prince Street and Sign of Spring, in Soho.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Crowds on Lower Broadway

Soho, NYC
Photo by myself, around Broadway and Prince Streets in Soho.

The streets in Soho were crowded this weekend with shoppers. Fortunately, too, the weather was wonderful.

'Broadway' lives up to its name, north of 59th Street on the Upper West Side. There are two lanes of traffic plus a bus lane to either side of a planted median strip.

Downtown in Soho, however, Broadway is reduced to a couple lanes of traffic. Cafes, clothing and shoe stores line both sides of the street.

I really liked the sepia tones in this photo. For some reason, everything sort of had the same color palette.

Related posts: Down Broadway, Deck Yourself Out, in Soho and Haggling for Furs on West Broadway.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Portrait of a Prince, on Elizabeth Street

Brian Ermanski, artist
Photo by myself around Prince and Crosby Streets, in Soho.

Artist Brian Ermanski posed with one of his paintings in progress, Sunday afternoon. He goes by the nickname 'The Prince of Elizabeth Street'.

I started talking to Brian after noticing one of his self-promotional images, tacked up on a lamp post. The striking photo was published by New York Magazine a few years ago.

Brian told me that he started his art career after graduating from NYU. His art used to be much 'darker' and was populated with naked women. He confessed to modifying his style toward Pop Art, which was more suitable for peoples' living rooms. Ha.

I enjoyed talking with Brian but I was in a terrible rush to get home. Later, I found his interviews for New York Magazine and The Black Book. Brian was even recently the subject of a short movie called The Prince of Elizabeth Street. Brian used to paint outdoors on Prince and Elizabeth Streets, in SoHo. His public appearances made him into something of a public figure.

The movie 'The Prince of Elizabeth Street' is beautifully shot was presented at the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival last year. To watch it online, click here.

Brian Ermanski, artist
The image of Brian in New York Magazine, above. Beyond, Brian works with people looking on.

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

Related posts: Portrait of Five New Yorkers, on the Upper East Side, Portrait of a Musician, in Midtown and Portrait of a New Yorker, in Fashion.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

The View from Park Slope, Brooklyn

Park Slope, Brooklyn
Photo by myself around 13th Street and Prospect Park West in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

A view down one of the many pretty streets in Park Slope, Sunday morning.

It is definitely Fall, here. Mornings are cool, the leaves are changing color, and nights tend to be chilly.

Some Halloween decorations can be seen adorning front lawns and gates. Below, a hand-drawn sign across the door reads 'Ghost Alert!!!'

Park Slope, Brooklyn

Related posts: A Wintry Scene, in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Parked in Park Slope and Stoopside, in Brooklyn.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mad. Sq. Eats, in the Flatiron District

Mad Sq Eats, NYC
Photo by myself near Madison Square Park, at 25th Street and Fifth Avenue.

From now until October 21st, you can get your food on at Mad. Sq. Eats.

Twenty-some food vendors have stalls on the triangle of space outside Madison Square Park. You can get lobster, fresh made pizza, crepes, noodles and baked goods. The stalls are open between 11am and 9pm, daily.

For a list of participating vendors on the Mad. Sq. Park website, click here.

Related posts: Waiting for Dogs in Madison Square Park, City Portrait - BBQ Block Party, in Madison Square Park and Going Mad, at Mad. Sq. Mark't.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Saluting the Flag, Downtown

Occupy Wall Street, NYC
Photo by myself, in the Financial District.

Here's another photo from the Occupy Wall Street protest, in the Financial District.

Get the American Flag together with an FDNY t-shirt, and you have yourself a very graphic image.

TGIF, everyone!

Related posts: New York's Bravest, on the Upper West Side, FDNY and New York's Bravest, in Park Slope, Brooklyn.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Looking Up, in Midtown

Crosswalk, Midtown
Photo by myself, somewhere around 7th Avenue in Midtown.

People looked lost in thought and generally disgruntled, the other day.

Related posts: Tough Times, in Midtown, Grinning and Bearing it, on 42nd Street and Lost in a Crowd, in Midtown.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On Po-Pos and Open House New York

Photo by myself, on the Upper West Side.

Perhaps it's the police presence that makes New York feel safe these days. I'm not sure what was going in the photo above, Tuesday night.

Mark and I call the NYPD 'po-po's, after riveting TV show The Wire.

The Wire was a crime show not set in New York, but in Baltimore. It is a bit violent at times, but well worth the watch.


On an unrelated note, this weekend is Open House New York weekend!

All sorts of tours are available to the public. Visit residences, offices, glass factories, hotels and even an African Burial Ground (the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan, to be exact).

All tours are free. Some require reservations, so make your plans now. There are over a hundred venues to choose from. The list will make your head spin.

For the Open House New York website, click here.

Related posts: On the Job, Heigh Ho and Patrolling the Streets.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The NYPD, Policing the Streets

Pedicab ticket
Photo by myself, around 32nd Street and Broadway.

A police officer pulled over a pedicab driver, the other day, for reasons unknown.


The NYPD have been cracking down on activities. I jumped in a gypsy cab a few weeks ago and we were hailed down by the police within one block.

How come? The gypsy cab driver had asked me for a destination and quoted a fare, then started driving. But he hadn't called the ride into the office. The driver was working for pure profit, without the cab company's knowledge.

Related posts: Fashionably Late, NYPD Blues and NYPD in Action.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Fiddling Around, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

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

A man practiced the violin on a bench in Prospect Park, Sunday afternoon. He played bluegrass music from memory.

Related posts: Parked in Prospect Park, Last Bit of Summer, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn and On the Trails, in Prospect Park.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Running Along Fifth Avenue

Photo by myself around 57th Street and Fifth Avenue.

A runner whizzed by on Fifth Avenue, near Central Park South the other day. He was watched by me and another guy on the bus. Ha.

The bus system is pretty reliable in New York and is a nice alternative to the subway. It's great for those who can't manage walking down several runs of stairs or who need to get crosstown. You also have some great views of the city.

I always recommend the M5 for those who want a nice tour. It runs from West 178th Street, then down Broadway to Fifth Avenue to the very tip of Manhattan. The fare is the same as slightly less than the subway, $2.25 per ride at this writing.

There are tons of bus routes to choose from, though. For the NYC bus map on the MTA website, click here.

Thanks to my buddy ChickenUnderwear for the correction!

Related posts: Running Down the Streets of New York, Running Amok in the Streets and Running Along the Brooklyn Bridge.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

At Rest Near Trinity Church, Downtown

Trinity Church graveyard
Photo by myself near Trinity Church at Wall Street and Broadway, in the Financial District.

Most of the headstones in the graveyard near Trinity Church are from the 1700's.

Many of the headstones are worn with age and are no longer legible. The cemetery is open to the public during daylight hours.

The one above reads, 'Here lies the Body of Mr. William Hamersley, Merchant who departed this Life August 3rd, 1752 aged 65 years.'

Related posts: Rainy Day, Outside Trinity Church, Trinity Church at Dusk and City Portraits - Green-Wood Cemetery.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Portrait of a New Yorker, in Fashion

candid, NYC
Photo by myself on the subway, underground.

A woman was immersed in listening to her music on the subway. She made a striking impression with her clothing and hair.

When I noticed that we got out at the same station, I hailed her down. Saroya turns out to be a very warm and friendly person. She happily posed for more photos on the platform.

Saroya works at the giant Duane Reade store in the Wall Street area. This new store offers everything from sushi to a hair dressing. Saroya works at the salon there and plans to launch her own line of nail polish.

For more about the snazzy Duane Reade store, click here.

New Yorker, on the subway platform
Looking chic seems natural to Saroya, the latest New Yorker in our portrait series.

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

Related posts: Portrait of a Picket Line, in Hell's Kitchen, Portrait of a Film Shoot, in Brooklyn Heights and Portriat of a Skateboard Artist, on Prince Street.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Occupying Wall Street, One Day at a Time

Occupy Wall Street
Photo by myself at Cortlandt and Liberty Streets, in the Financial District.

The protests in the Financial District are going on strong.

Supporters of Occupy Wall Street have been demonstrating for over two weeks, now. This was the scene on Wednesday morning. A makeshift camp is located just steps away from the World Trade Center construction site.

People young and old have been protesting disparity of wealth in this country and the mess created by Wall Street greed. Occupy Wall Street maintains that larger perspective is required beyond personal gain.

At first glance, the camp looks more like a wild sleepover than a political movement. People were drawing up big signs, conducting interviews and meditating. Some folks were still asleep, wrapped up in blankets on the pavement.

I spoke to one fellow at the camp site. 'People have been here 17 days', he said.

'So what do people expect to happen?' I asked. He shrugged.

'I'm a little out of it,' I said, playing devil's advocate and admitting my cavewoman status. 'I mean, this is a capitalist country, right?' Pause. 'People are just trying to make money'.

'I'm not', he said.

Good answer.

Occupy Wall Street
One fellow inked a sign that said 'This is not Bonaroo [the music festival], this is War.'

Occupy Wall Street
Rally signs were all over the place. A drum set lurked in the background.

For the Occupy Wall Street site, which includes photos and a daily schedule of events, click here.

Related posts: Portrait of a Picket Line, in Hell's Kitchen, The Sign of the Rat, in Midtown and Tibetans of the World, Unite.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Making Faces, on Broadway

Photo by myself, around 38th Street and Broadway.

You'd think New Yorkers were a stoic bunch, but we are actually very expressive.

'Oh my gosh' this, 'Oy vey' that. And of course, a whole slew of 4-letter words.

Related posts: On Midtown Crowds and Guerilla Photography, On Crowds and the New Yorker Festival and Seen in the Hood, in Park Slope, Brooklyn.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Night View, at the New York Public Library

NYPL in the rain
Photo by myself at Fifth Avenue and Fifth Avenue.

It's been rainy here and a little chilly.

Just outside the main branch of the New York Public Library, the pavement is wet. Banners on the facade announce the current exhibit, celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Main Library.

The facade of this gorgeous building was cleaned to coincide with its anniversary. In the daytime, the building is nearly a bright white. The lighting at night casts a warm glow.

Related posts: City Portraits - The New York Public Library, The New York Public Library, Unveiled and On the Steps of the New York Public Library.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Business as Usual, in Midtown

Water, water, everywhere
Photo by myself, in Midtown.

The rules of walking on the sidewalk are simple.

Stay to the right. Especially during rush hour. No abrupt stops, please.

As you can see from the photo above, you can only bring what you can carry. Alas, there are no sherpas in New York.


My penpal Victor from Florida reminded me that New York drinking water comes straight from the mountains and is very good. There is absolutely no reason for bottled water.

He is correct. The tap water is delicious. We are a lucky bunch.

Related posts: Stalking a Delivery Guy, in Midtown, On the Picket Line and Surviving the Heat and People, People, Everywhere.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Scooting Down 42nd Street

Scooting, NYC
Photo by myself on 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue.

A woman commuted to work last week, via scooter.

I can't say that scooting or biking to work is popular, but some New Yorkers do it. There is some risk involved, since drivers tend to be pushy.

Scooters are little more flexible than bikes, since they're a little more portable. You can fold them up and take them on the subway without a fuss.

Related posts: Eating on the Run, Ready to Rumble, in Alphabet City and Pedalling in Style, on Central Park South.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Stop, Thief! in Midtown

Hams, NYC
Photo by myself, around 40th Street and Sixth Avenue, in Midtown.

Two guys horsed around for the camera, Friday morning.

The guy in the baseball cap is a fruit vendor. He wrestled with a friend of his, who had pretended to steal a banana. Ha. On film, it looks more like a hugfest.

These fellows were very nice to smile at me and allow me take their photo. In reality, there is very little visible theft going on in the city, thank goodness.


Nutritionists should be happy to hear that the city streets are not simply packed with carts selling coffee, donuts and bagels.

Fruit vendors are staked out every few blocks or so, selling fresh berries, bananas and whatever else is in season.

Related posts: Lichee Stand, Sunset Park, On Line for Breakfast, in Midtown and Street Eats, Midtown.