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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Strolling Down Sixth Avenue, in the Sun

Sixth Avenue, nyc
Photo by myself on Sixth Avenue, in Midtown.

People enjoyed the sidewalks on a recent sunny day, each in separate worlds.


When you live and walk about the city every day, you become immune to the number of people around you.

You pass loads of people on the sidewalk. You are squeezed between dozens of people on the subway. You trudge up the stairs behind folks, wait in line in front of folks, catch snippets of conversations, breathe second-hand smoke, share the elevator...

Sometimes I wish there were such things as pedometers (those little things you can wear that count your footsteps) that could apply to the people you encounter. I'd be curious to know how many people you pass, bump into and are run down by each day.

Related posts: Crowd Crossing, 34th Street, Taking a Break, on Sixth Avenue, and Street Corner, in Midtown.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Peeking In, on St. Mark's Place

East Village, nyc
Photo by myself on St. Mark's Place and First Avenue, in the East Village.

An older man was sitting in his apartment, and he was visible through the protective wire on his windows.

There were signs of age on the fire hydrant, the railing and the building details. The pale orange sign of a new Vietnamese sandwich shop was located next door.

St. Mark's Place sounds like a square or open space. It is actually a segment of Eighth Street, between Third Avenue and Avenue A. This street is named after St. Mark's church on nearby 10th Street, a distinctive landmark located on a triangle in the midst of the street grid.

I would love to know how long the man has lived in this neighborhood. Most likely he's been here a while, and has witnessed a tremendous amount of change. There was a time not long ago when it was dangerous to live on the first floor. Not so much, now.

St. Mark's Place is known for its motley stores. Presently, it is a very touristy street.

Related posts: A Moment Alone, in the East Village, Over Drinks, in the East Village, and Sun Salutation, the East Village.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Occupy Town Square, in Tompkins Square Park

Occupy Wall St., Tompkins Sq. Park
Photo by myself in Tompkins Square Park, in Alphabet City.

The Occupy Wall Street movement held a peaceful rally Sunday afternoon.

There was a drum circle, loads of signs and general protest about the disparity of wealth in the US. The drum circle was particularly effective - you could hear the persistent thumping for blocks.

Tompkins Square has long been associated with social unrest. In the late '80s, the park was filled with the homeless and was considered dangerous.

Occupy Wall St., Tompkins Sq. Park

Occupy Wall St., Tompkins Sq. Park

Related posts: Occupying Wall Street, One Day at a Time, En Route to a Peaceful Protest, Downtown, and Peace to All.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Funday Brunch at Bondi Road, on the Lower East Side

Bondi Road brunch, nyc
Photo by myself at Suffolk and Rivington Streets, on the Lower East Side.

Bondi Road is an Australian restaurant on the Lower East Side, that serves up special, hearty brunches.

Spreads include the 'Barrier Reef Benedict' (poached eggs over crab cakes, smothered in hollandaise sauce), the 'Queen Adelaide' (poached eggs, salmon and avocado on an english muffin) and fish and chips. For an additional cost, you can drink all the screwdrivers or mimosas you want.

Bring your CPR kit and a friend trained in the fine art of resuscitation. ;-)

Bondi Road is part of a chain of Aussie restaurants downtown. For a look at their food and drink menu, click here.

Related posts: Mangia, Hot Off the Grill in the East Village, and Ramen Noodles in the East Village.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Outside the Music Inn, in the West Village

Music Inn, nyc
Photo by myself on West 4th and Jones Streets, in the West Village.

For those with an interest for esoteric instruments from all over the world, the Music Inn would be heaven for you. For those with a touch of claustrophobia, on the other hand...

If you're on the market for a semsemia (an Egyptian harp with metal strings), mridangam (a South Indian drum made from a jackfruit tree) or a ransingha (a curved copper trumpet from India), this is the place for you.

The store opened some 40 years ago. They repair instruments too, and have a collection of records and comics in the basement. Unfortunately, I didn't get to step inside, since I was on my way to an appointment.

You can check out the huge assortment of instruments on the Music Inn website, here.

Related posts: Living in Style, in Williamsburg, Shopping on St. Mark's Place, and Shopping til Dropping, on Canal Street.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Washington Square Park, at Dusk

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

It was chilly and overcast in Washington Square Park, the other day. It was late in the afternoon, and the outdoor lights started turning on.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Related posts: Santas on Parade, in Washington Square Park, City Portraits - Washington Square Park, and Relief from the Heat, in Washington Square Park.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Portrait of a Bike Messenger, in Midtown

Messenger, nyc
Photo by myself in Midtown.

I met a bike messenger on my way into the office, Wednesday. He sat outside, recording a recent delivery. He wore layers of clothing, including a backpack, hat, long shorts and tall socks.

This soft-spoken fellow has been a messenger for the last 12 years. When I asked to take his photo, he asked what I'd be using it for. I told him what I usually tell people - that I have a blog, and for some reason, people from all over the place are curious about New York and New Yorkers.

He graciously said yes, provided his photo was put 'to good use'. (Of course!)

Lastly, I asked offered to give him the address of this blog, but he professed not to use the internet (!). He was up and gone before I could get his name.

All businesses use bike messengers for same-day delivery within the city. If you have larger, heavier objects that are not bike-friendly, a messenger service will send a van.

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 Style, on the Subway Platform, and Portrait of a Film Shoot, in Brooklyn Heights.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On Tenement Life, in the West Village

Lit, Downtown
Photo by myself on West 10th Street, in the West Village.

In older walk-up buildings in New York, there are typically two sets of doors.

The first set of doors, just off the sidewalk, stays unlocked. Just inside is a small vestibule, where the mailboxes are located. The mailman drops off mail for each apartment without having to have a door key. All he or she needs is a one key that unlocks all the mailboxes.

The floor of the vestibule is usually littered with flyers, take out menus, business cards for locksmiths and phone books. I remember phone books sitting the vestibule when I lived in on the Upper West Side, for months on end. The last thing anyone wanted to do was lug a phone book up to their apartment along with groceries, gym clothes, their mail, perhaps a child in a stroller, and themselves.

The second door stays locked. You'd stumble home at night, get into the vestibule, and dig around for your keys. If you were street smart, you had your key out well before getting home. The vestibule was not a good place to linger, with your back turned to the street.

The stoop is usually up a few steps up from the sidewalk. It's the perfect place to sit and hang out during the summer. You can just barely see the drop-down ladder of the fire escape, to the upper left of the door.

Related posts: On Tenement Life and Cable TV, The Apthorp, the Upper West Side, and The Low-Down on Walk-Ups.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Peering into Urban Archaeology, on Franklin Street, Tribeca

Rejuvenation, NYC
Photo by myself at Franklin and Varick Streets, in Tribeca.

A couple peered into the showroom of Urban Archaeology, last week.

Outside, stood one of the original cast iron mermaids from the Place de la Concorde Fountain. The statue was created around 1820 and can be yours for a mere $350,000 (!). The statue was salvaged when the fountain underwent renovations in the early 1900s.

The Urban Archaeology showroom offers tile, stone, hardware and lighting fixtures. There are also other rare salvaged items, such as mermen, statuary, fireplace mantels and immense, hand-carved marble lions.

To see the whole range of products at Urban Archaeology, click here.
To read more about the mermaid statue, click here.

Related posts: Staple Street, Tribeca, All Aglow, in Soho, and Still Life, Antique Store.


Monday, February 20, 2012

All Gussied Up, in Park Slope, Brooklyn

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

A well-dressed fellow in Brooklyn wore a fedora and a coat with a fake fur collar. He looked as if from another era, Saturday afternoon.

I took this photo while stopped at a streetlight. It looked like he was in the midst of moving to or from the neighborhood.

Update: Thanks to Antjas from Sudbury Daily Photo, who suggests that this fellow had just returned from Costco, haha.


Gah, I'm sorry for the sporadic posting. My stash of photos is in such a sorry state, where nothing seems worth sharing, if you know what I mean?

Thankfully, today is President's Day in the US. Most people have the day off. Hooray!

Related posts: Stoopside, in Brooklyn, Funky Chicken, in Park Slope, and Back in Time, in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

An Early Spring, in the Flower District

Flower District, nyc
Photo by myself on 28th Street and Sixth Avenue.

The Flower District has been reduced to just a couple blocks in the 20's on the west side. I walked through the other day, and the tulips and fragrant paperwhites on display smelled like Spring.

Photographers, restauranteurs and decorators come here to supply their photoshoots and interiors. You can grab enormous planters here, too, along with small trees.

For those less successful with living things, silk flowers are available, ha. All the stores are open primarily on the weekdays for business.

Related posts: Living Wall, Lincoln Center, Matt Umanov Guitars, on Bleecker Street, and Open Spaces, in Chelsea.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Death Before Decaf, in Brooklyn

Death Before Decaf, Brooklyn
Photo by myself on Ainslie and Leonard Streets in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

There are a few different signs on Champs Coffeehouse in Williamsburg, including an old canopy bearing the name 'Pat's Grocery Store'.

This photo was taken last weekend, so there were some hearts up in anticipation of Valentine's Day.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Related posts: Cuppa Joe to Goe, On the Mud Truck and Hotel Gramercy Park, and Now on Sale, in Midtown.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Eyes Wide Shut, on Fifth Avenue

Eyes Wide Shut
Photo by myself, around 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.

As usual, there was a ton of people. For a brief moment, everyone was looking the other way, or not at all.

Related posts: Avalanche of People, in Midtown, On Crowds and the Commute, in Midtown, and The Crowds on Lower Broadway.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lit Up, on Sixth Avenue

Sixth Avenue, NYC
Photo by myself on Sixth Avenue, in Midtown.

In the winter, I've noticed that the sun is often right on top of your head around lunchtime. Everyone is usually wonderfully lit, walking down the street as if wearing halos.

Though it's mid-February, Tuesday's weather was rather nice.


For dog lovers, the Westminster Dog Show took place this weekend at Madison Square Garden.

The event was broadcast on television. Mark and I watched the hound group, a vast array of different sized dogs ranging from the shuffling basset hound to the spindly afghan. (The wire-haired dachshund won the group).

The Times published a gorgeous black and white photo photo series from behind the scenes. Click here to see it.

Related posts: We the People, Sharing the Sidewalk, 42nd Street, and Across the Crowded Sidewalk, in Midtown.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day, from Park Slope, Brooklyn

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

I'm not sure why, but many folks in Park Slope decorate their windows according to each holiday.

At the house above, the typical suburban lawn is substituted with a patch of concrete. Ah, city life.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Related posts: Shining Bright, at Live Bait, Time for Valentine's, and All Aglow, in Soho.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Sushi Acrobatics at Blue Ribbon, Park Slope

Blue Ribbon Sushi, nyc
Photo by myself at Blue Ribbon Sushi, in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Mark and I dined at Blue Ribbon Sushi in Brooklyn, at the sushi bar. One of the more glamorous dishes that night involved a fish skeleton that was held in place with a wooden skewer.

The Blue Ribbon restaurants are a high end family of various cuisines. There are sushi restaurants in Soho and Park Slope. There is a bakery in downtown Manhattan. There are western-style seafood restaurants in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Las Vegas.

The person next to us turned out to have ordered the same dish, and conveniently, he was in the men's room when the dish arrived. Hence the photo op:

Blue Ribbon Sushi, nyc
Our neighbor at the sushi bar told us that some of the sushi on his plate included baby eel.

Mark and I had a much humbler-looking dishes that were fresh and absolutely delicious. Brooklyn Blue Ribbon is ranked among the best sushi restaurants in Brooklyn.

For more about the Blue Ribbon empire on their website, click here.

Related posts: Meat Market, Ninth Avenue, Signs of Attitude, on the West Side, and Bikini Clad, on Prince Street.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

All Things Food at Brooklyn Kitchen, in Williamsburg

Bklyn Kitchen
Photo by myself, at Frost and Leonard Streets, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A typical denim-clad Brooklynite lurks in the background.

Upon entering Brooklyn Kitchen, you are greeted by...a life-sized cow wearing a taxi cap, a New York apple and a necklace of hamburgers. There are images of the Chrysler Building and Statue of Liberty on her side. Ahem.

Mark and I dropped by Brooklyn Kitchen on Saturday afternoon, a one-of-a-kind place that is part grocery, part butcher, part classroom and part bookstore.

Purchase fancy knives downstairs, while your friend waits in line for fresh sausages. Or sign up for a class, ranging from 'pig butchering' to 'How to Make Kickass Pizza at Home'. Upstairs, a roomy teaching kitchen gets its fair use.

I really loved the youthful and friendly grass roots vibe. We walked away with a big container of pre-made chili, some groceries and plans to return.

To check out the Brooklyn Kitchen website, click here.

Bklyn Kitchen
In line at the Meat Hook, the butchery on the first floor. Everything looked spotless.

Bklyn Kitchen/Meat Hook
The esoteric sausage menu includes 'Thai Thing' and 'Roast Beef Sandwich'. Note the saws in the background. Yipes!

Related posts: Meat Market, Ninth Avenue, Signs of Attitude, on the West Side, and Bikini Clad, on Prince Street.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pistachio Cupcakes, in the East Village

Outside Pinisi Bakery, nyc
Photo by myself on East 4th Street and First Avenue, in the East Village.

Ah yes, my kind of sign.

Pinisi Bakery bakes all their goods on premises. They offer scones, tea pastries, muffins, red velvet cake and wedding cakes. They have gluten free and vegan baked goods, too.

I didn't venture in but was drawn to their colorful sign. This is a photo from the stash.

For the Pinisi website, click here.

Related posts: Meat Market, Ninth Avenue, Signs of Attitude, on the West Side, and Bikini Clad, on Prince Street.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

The NYPD on Bikes

NYPD on wheels
Photo by myself at Madison and 43rd Street, in Midtown.

I would like to think these police officers were accompanying me on my ride uptown, but no.

The NYPD sometimes use motorcycles for highway patrol and fancy motorcades. With the stop and go traffic that we have, they probably become frustrated very, very quickly.

I took this photo from the back of a cab a little while ago on a sunnier day. It's been mostly grey and icky outside recently and super busy at the office.

Related posts: Patrolling the Streets, NYPD Blues, and Police Line, Do Not Cross.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Making TV Shows and Rain, on the Upper West Side

On Set, NYC
Photo by myself at 75th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, on the Upper West Side.

The bright lights of an outdoor TV shoot were impossible to miss. There were several large white production trucks that were parked nearby. You see these often in the city.

A crane was supporting a gizmo in mid-air called a 'rain maker'. This is essentially a sprinkler connected to a hose suspended in mid-air, so that rain can be simulated. A scene was being shot inside one of the apartment buildings.

I spoke briefly with one of the production guys, who said they were filming a tv pilot. It was supposed to be raining outside, and daytime (!). Seems like a bit of work for some ambiance, but I'm sure these guys knew what they were doing.

Related posts: Film Shoot, in Midtown, Portrait of a Film Shoot, in Brooklyn Heights, and Larger than Life, on 42nd Street.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hats Anyone? On Prince Street

Hats on Prince, NYC
Photo by myself on Prince and Mulberry Streets, in Soho.

This little stretch on the north side of Prince Street is always populated with vendors selling clothing and jewelry. On this day, there were hats and fancy ties on display.

Beyond the high brick wall are the grounds of Old St. Patrick's Cathedral, the first Cathedral in Manhattan, dating from the early 1800's. There is a small gated cemetery there. When I was there recently, part of the church was under renovation.

This photo is from the stash.

By the way, the tickertape parade will be held today to honor the New York Giants, who won this year's Superbowl. I'm not sure I am crazy enough to venture to the parade. We shall see!

Related posts: Watch Where You're Going, in Soho, Strung Along, in Soho, and Open Spaces, in Chelsea.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Sweet Treats at the Doughnut Plant, in Chelsea

donut plant 1 sm
Photo by myself at the Doughnut Plant, at 23rd Street and Seventh Avenue, in Chelsea.

The Doughnut Plant is a small bakery in Chelsea that specializes in all things donut. Dozens of donut lovers walked in and out while we were there, Saturday afternoon. Suprisingly, no one looked too overweight (!).

You would never think that square donuts existed, but they do. All the donuts sold here are made without eggs, preservatives or food coloring. So you can satisfy your little donut craving without doing yourself in.

Donut Plant 2

We took home one peanut butter jelly donut, one glazed and one wild blueberry. Unfortunately they were so delicious, only the peanut butter jelly donut survived to be photographed.

For the Doughnut Plant website, including a timeline of their history dating back to 1910, click here.

donut sm
The peanut butter and jelly donut with peanuts mixed in the glaze on the outside, and grape jelly on the inside. When eaten with eyes closed, it tastes mighty similar to a PB&J sandwich.

ps: Did anyone catch the Superbowl last night? Hooray Giants!

Related posts: Outside Baked by Melissa, in Soho, Baked Fresh Daily, in Soho, and On Line for Cream Cakes, Outside.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ready for the Superbowl at Fairway, in Red Hook

At Fairway, Superbowl Sunday
Photo by myself at Fairway, in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

A couple of Brooklynites stocked up at Fairway, a popular supermarket in Red Hook, this morning. In the background are two inflatable figures representing the New York Giants (right) and New England Patriots (left).


It's Superbowl Sunday, and to avoid the rush of fans stocking up, Mark and I went early to Fairway for groceries.

New York is filled with some diehard fans and many fair-weather fans, Mark and I included. People you never thought were interested in sports crawl of the woodwork whenever a team happens makes it to the playoffs. We will take excuse to sit on the sofa with a nice snack and a beer!

There were football references abound at Fairway this morning, near pre-made platters of food. All eyes will be focused on quarterback Eli Manning tonight. The game starts at 6:30 pm, EST.

Related posts: Absolutely No World Cup, in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Tomorrow's New York Giants, and On the Superbowl and Fancy Living.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Inside the Park Avenue Armory

Park Avenue Armory, NYC
Photo by myself inside the Park Avenue Armory, at 67th and Park, on the Upper East Side.

The interiors of the Park Avenue Armory reflect the building's history; it was built in the late 1800s.

Some of the front rooms are as they were originally built, with soaring, decorated ceilings and large fireplaces. Some of the ceilings show signs of water damage, and are patched up.

The armory hosts musical and dance performances year-around. It can also be rented for special venues.

For more about the building, including a schedule of upcoming events, click here.

Park Avenue Armory
Modern lights projected snowflakes on the floor in one of the Armory's front rooms.

Related posts: Elegant Living on the Upper East Side, A Historic Corner, on West Street, and An Oasis, on Park Avenue.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Living Large, on the Upper East Side

East 84th Street, NYC
Photo by myself on 82nd Street and Fifth Avenue, on the Upper East Side.

The Upper East Side is home to many gorgeous townhouses. Some have been purchased by institutions while others have remained fancy residences.

The building directly in front is loaded with detail. Enough detail to distract you from noticing that several supports are missing from the railing to the right.

It's been a super frantic week. Happy Friday, everyone!

Related posts: Looking Up at 240 Centre Street, On New York Buildings, High and Low, and Glitzy Glam, Outside the Pierre.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bird's Eye View, Above Central Park

Above Central Park
Photo by myself from Central Park South.

From certain vantage points, Central Park can look like the edge of the world.

Above, the wall of buildings that line Central Park West. The buildings and leafless trees match each other in a sepia tone. Down below are a man made pond, and just above it, an outdoor skating rink.

The neat thing is that just before I took this photo, I saw some red-tailed hawks flying outside. They swooped slow loop-de-loops above the park, looking for lunch. Unfortunately they were too quick for me to get a photo. Drat!

Related posts: A View of Spring, from Central Park South, On the View from the Upper East Side, and The Wintry View from Central Park South.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

On Rainy Steamy Streets, in Midtown

Billboard, Seventh Avenue
Photo by myself on Seventh Avenue, in Midtown.

Steam coming out of the streets is not an uncommon sight, especially when it's raining out. Billboards, too, are sometimes found outside Times Square.

Wikipedia says that NYC has an extensive steam heating system. Every so often you will come upon a makeshift smokestack sticking out of the street.

When it rains, the cold water infiltrates the streets and reaches the steam pipes below ground. The cold water hits the hot steam pipes and the resulting steam escapes through manhole covers. Walking down the street with steam billowing around, you can't help but feel like you're in a movie.

**By the way, I've wondered about why we see steam when it rains in the city, and didn't understand it til now!

For the Wiki on steam power in New York, click here.

Related posts: It All Ends, Above Chelsea, Our Commander and Chief, Above 7th Avenue, and Now for Your Viewing Pleasure.