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Thursday, May 31, 2012

At the Entrance to the Empire State Building

Outside the Empire State Bldg, nyc Photo by myself outside the Empire State Building at 35th Street and Fifth Avenue, in Midtown.

There is usually a line outside the Empire State Building, or at least a crowd of people milling about, with the occasional tour guide trying to drum up business.

Above, a family just stepped out, looking a bit overwhelmed. I'm sure they were trying to figure out which way was north, and where to go next - downtown toward the Flatiron Building, or uptown toward Bryant Park?

Keeping with the style of the building, which was built in 1931, the signage is expressed in Art Deco lettering. The metal above is stainless steel, which has a dull sheen and rusts only minimally over time.

Related posts: Looking Up, from Fifth Avenue, All Decked Out Below the Empire State, and The Empire State on St. Patrick's Day.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Around the Fountain, at Lincoln Center and Humans of New York

Lincoln Center, uws Photo by myself at Lincoln Center, on the Upper West Side.

The fountain at Lincoln Center is the ideal place to sit, watch people and take a break. People enjoyed the cooling effects of the water, Tuesday night.

We've been having some awfully hot and humid weather the last few days, following a whole week of rain. The people in the photo above look very composed and relaxed, but don't be fooled. It was oppressively muggy.

The stone bench surrounding the central fountain looks as if it's floating in air. In actuality, it is supported by a few well-placed legs. You can just barely see one on the far left in the photo below.
  Lincoln Center, uws

Lincoln Center is the headquarters for the New York City Ballet, Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera. Also located in the area are the Film Society, Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Julliard School of Music.

For the Lincoln Center website including links to tickets, click here.

Apologies for my sporadic posting, folks! With all the heat, I've been very lazy.

I was inspired out of my lethargy by a website called Humans of New York, by a photographer named Brandon Stanton.

Brandon goes around taking photos, sometimes several a day, and sometimes conducting short interviews with random New Yorkers. He is supremely talented, and his color portraits are beyond compelling, telling the multi-faceted stories of New Yorkers.

Be sure to check out a short video showing him rolling around in the street, while photographing of a guy on a Harley. Seriously good stuff.

For the Humans of New York website, click here. The site is also on tumblr and Facebook.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Something for Everyone at the Food Truck Rally, in Brooklyn

Food Truck, Brooklyn Photo by myself at Grand Army Plaza, in Brooklyn.

Food trucks representing various cuisines congregated Sunday in Grand Army Plaza, in Brooklyn. Folks can sample everything from artisanal ice cream to Korean-inspired tacos to angus burgers on a brioche bun.

Fortunately, we had a very sunny afternoon for this. Early in the morning there were thunderstorms and purple clouds hung ominously above. Mark and I shared a Philly cheesesteak and some pork and chive dumplings with a soy dipping sauce.

Luckily for all of us, the food truck rallies will continue on the third Sunday of each month, through October!

Farmer's Markets and other venues are held regularly at Grand Army Plaza.

For the wiki entry of this public space, click here.
For a link to the Food Truck Rally, including participating food trucks, click here.
  Food Truck, Brooklyn Waiting in line at the Frites 'n Meats truck, known for sumptuous burgers made to order.

Related posts: Brunch at Barbuto, in the West Village, 'I'll Have What She's Having, at Katz's Deli, and The Oyster Bar, at Grand Central Station.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Riding Around Soho

Cyclist, Soho Photo by myself, in Soho.

A photo from a narrow street in Soho.

Not all the streets in Soho are cobblestone. Many are roughly patched asphalt. You can just imagine the winters here with snow piled up and people trudging through. In the warmer months, though it's just divine.

Almost all the buildings here have fire escapes running on the outside. They were all built before fire stairs were required by the city.

Related posts: Sign of Spring, in Soho, Watch Where You're Going, in Soho, and Behind the Curtain.


Friday, May 25, 2012

It's Fleet Week, on Sixth Avenue

Fleet Week, nyc Photo by myself, in Midtown.

Every year around Memorial Day, New York celebrates Fleet Week.

A ton of ships sail up the Hudson and dock. Almost all the ships hold free tours for visitors. And all over the place, you see sailors wandering around in their bright white uniforms, looking a bit lost.

The sailors above had just shopped at Bloomingdale's and were carrying around the telltale brown shopping bags. They walked in a v-formation.

Visitors can get access to the ships around 42nd Street and the West Side Highway.

For a schedule of events, click here.

Related posts: Ahoy, Matey!, Veteran's Day Parade, on Fifth Avenue, and Parading Down Fifth Avenue.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Dash of Color, Below Union Square

Broadway, nyc Photo by myself on Broadway and 12th Streets, near Union Square.

We had a brief glimmer of sun the other day, but it's been raining just about every minute this week.

I took this photo because of the building across the street looked European. The sunlight was hitting the windows, casting reflections everywhere.

Related posts: The New York Public Library, Awash in Blue, Portrait of a Skateboard Artist, on Prince Street, and Portrait of a New Yorker in Fashion.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Portrait of an Artist, in Washington Square Park

Washington Sq Park Photo by myself, in Washington Square Park.

While walking through Washington Square Park, Sunday, I met a chess player named Dawes. He was sitting with all his chess pieces out near the southeast entrance to the park.

Only Dawes isn't just a chess player. He also salvages pieces of wood from Washington Square Park and carves them into sculptures, giving the wood a new life.

Dawes gave me a history lesson of Washington Square Park, then showed me his work. He scrolled through hundreds of photos, on his phone. Then, after telling me about a book he plans to publish of his carvings, Dawes reached into his bag and generously gave me a carving of my very own. :-)
  Washington Sq Park The artist named Dawes proudly showed me one of his hand-carved sculptures. 

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

Related posts: Portrait of a Guy on Sixth Avenue, Portrait of a Skateboard Artist, on Prince Street, and Portrait of a New Yorker in Fashion.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Outside the Mondrian Soho, on Crosby Street

soho mondrian, nyc Photo by myself at Crosby and Howard Streets, in Soho.

Just off a narrow cobblestone street in Soho is the Hotel Mondrian, a recent addition to the Morgan Group hotels.

A European-inspired living wall encloses an outdoor forecourt. Vines are trained to climb a wall of mesh and cor-ten steel, making the court semi-private.

Cor-ten is a type of steel that looks as if its rusted. A chemical reaction with air and water actually forms a protective film on the surface, making it slower to corrode than other metals.

Related posts: On Hotels and Hype, Along Fifth Avenue and Beyond, The Royalton, Renovated, and Waiting, at the Gramercy Park Hotel.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Walking Tightrope, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

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

A couple of people tried their hand at walking on tightrope, in Prospect Park.

We had a stellar weekend here, brightly sunny and breezy. Temperatures rose to 78 Fahrenheit or 25 degrees Celsius. Tons of people relaxed in the city parks. There were picnics and little league games and all else.

Some folks rode horseback. Others walked tightrope. That kinda thing.

Related posts: Look Ma No Hands, in the East Village, Stick em Up, in Madison Square Park, and Leg Lunges, 9:25am in Midtown.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Balancing Act, Near Union Square

Elephant statue, nyc Photo by myself at 14th Street and Union Square East.

A giant bronze statue of an elephant standing on its trunk has been located at the corner of Union Square. People lounged in the comfort of its shade, last week.

The statue was installed last September. It will only remain there another couple weeks, until the end of May.  The statue has stood in Madrid and Barcelona.

The statue is the work of Spanish artist Miguel Barcelo. It stands 26-feet tall and weighs a whopping 5-tons. The artist worked with engineers to ensure that when erected, the elephant would not topple over (!)

For a bit more about the statue, click here.

Related posts: Zodiac Heads, Outside the Plaza Hotel, The Sign of the White Rabbit, on Houston Street, and Through the Looking Glass, in Midtown.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Free Massages, in Union Square

Free Massages, nyc Photo by myself, in Union Square.

A fellow wandered around Union Square the other day, bearing a sign for free massages.

I didn't see a line forming around him and I couldn't figure out the catch?

I was so tired Thursday night, I could only write the lines above. I had a meeting at 8am at 92nd and Park Avenue, which meant leaving the house at 7am, which meant getting up way earlier than I am used to (!).

In my bleary-eyed, non-functional trance-like state, I walked onto the wrong train (the B rather than the Q), which meant a less direct commute than planned, which resulted in me, running several blocks up Park Avenue in uncomfortable sandals, carrying my big bag of drawings.

Meanwhile, the Upper East Side crowd was waking up. They were walking their dogs and talking to their doormen. It was a beautiful Spring-like morning. I wound up being just on time. :-)


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Artful Objects at Michele Varian, in Soho

Michele Varian, nyc
Photo by myself at Howard and Crosby Streets, in Soho.

While walking around Soho, Wednesday evening, I stumbled into Michele Varian, a striking interiors store, on Howard Street.

Let me say first that there are loads of furnishings stores in New York. Loads and loads. There are places selling antique furniture, knick knacks and decorative objects. Only rarely am I impressed by a store.

Michele Varian is one such store. Was it because their objects looked old? and were artfully displayed in an effortlessly eclectic way? or because the space was lofty and just tinged with age? I'm not sure.

All I know was that there was a ton to look at and the folks I met in the store were friendly. One woman told me that the space used to be a metalwork studio and that Jasper Johns used to own the building.
  Michele Varian, nyc

There were gorgeously decorated serving trays, precious drinking glasses and old-timey light fixtures. There was a giant bird cage dangling from a winch.

And there were a great number of quirky, arty objects that I can't even begin to describe, like candelabra, porcelain skulls, and jewelry made from porcupine quills. Fortunately I couldn't stay and actually shop, because I would have a hard time deciding what to buy (!).

Michele Varian, nyc

To shop or browse around on the Michele Varian website, with more photos of their interiors, click here.

Related posts: Living in Style at A&G Merch, in Williamsburg, You Can't Take it With You, and Handcrafted Objects at the Architectural Home Show.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

On the Pershing Square Cafe and Paper Portraits

Pershing Square Photo by myself at 42nd Street and Park Avenue.

Located just across 42nd Street from Grand Central Station, is the Pershing Square Cafe. The signs outside were all twinkly and aglow.

This location is unique, to say the least. Park Avenue whips around Grand Central, then down a ramp. This little cafe is tucked within the space below the ramp. So you can walk by this cafe and look at the underside of the ramp, with all its rivets and such.

For the Pershing Square Cafe site, including their menus, click here.

Well, I've going through yet another creative rut, where every photo I take, just everything, looks...not so good. The above photo is from my stash. I'm sure this period will pass, as they all do. Eventually.

In the meantime, here's something uplifting. While browsing on the NYTimes site, the following feature was on the front page, center, Tuesday night. A different sort of street artist entertains passersby with portraits that he makes using a pair of sharp scissors and some paper. Yep. I haven't seen this guy yet, but he sounds fascinating.

The article focuses on Ming Liang Lu, an artist who was spotted at the Union Square subway station. He will cut your portrait, often for no contribution, and add it to his growing menagerie of paper cut outs.

New Yorkers stopped and missed subway trains, just so they could watch Lu work. Unheard of!

For the Times article, which includes a nice slideshow of the artist's work, click here.

Related posts: All Aglow, on 57th Street, From the Great White Way, and Sparkly Lights in Rockefeller Center.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Street Art by Russell King, in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Russell King, Brooklyn Photo by myself, at 9th Street and Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

A piece of street art was hung innocently on a busy corner in Park Slope. Written in a red scribble was the sentence 'My least favorite actor - Russell King.'

Russell King turns out to be the artist behind this and many other evocative images that can be found around Brooklyn and the Lower East Side.

This an other King images seem much too pretty to be classified as traditional 'street art', which is often grungy and much less nicely framed. Not much is known about King, and I must admit that I hadn't noticed his work until Monday night. I'll keep my eyes peeled from now on.

For some interviews with Russell King, which include images of his other work, click here and here.

Related posts: Mural in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Big Wampum Poster, on Houston Street, and Cereal Killers Mural, in Williamsburg.


Monday, May 14, 2012

This Way to Subway, in Midtown

Subway sandwiches, Midtown Photo by myself, around 39th Street and Sixth Avenue, in Midtown.

A snapshot from busy Midtown. A woman in Middle Eastern clothing held a sign advertising Subway sandwiches, last week.

In most of Manhattan, the avenues are the main streets and run north-south. They're lined with stores and delis.

Streets run east-west and are narrower and less trafficked. Restaurants can be found on the side streets, too. And so some places hire people to stand on the busier avenues or near subway stations as human signs, to draw traffic their way.

I hope everyone had a good weekend and a good Mother's Day.

We had a warm and sunny weekend, here. Sorry for the lack of posts...I took a little impromptu vacation this weekend, doing virtually nothing. Happy Monday, everyone!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Outside Sol Moscot, on the Lower East Side

Outside Sol Moscot, LES Photo by myself at Orchard and Delancey Streets, on the Lower East Side.

A distinctively dressed couple walked toward the setting sun. An abundance of yellow signage for the Sol Moscot store is in the background.

Sol Moscot has been in this location since 1915. I always thought their signage was referenced in The Great Gatsby, but they arent! 'The eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg' was a billboard, where huge eyeballs look through yellow glasses. Obviously, there are no eyeballs on the Sol Moscot signs.

The store is actually called 'Moscot' and some of the frames they sell are the same vintage designs from way back when.

You can check out the Moscot website, where you can try on their glasses virtually, here.

Related posts: Signs of Attitude, on the West Side, Bright Lights at the Beacon Theater, and I Heart NY, in Midtown.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Puppy Dog Eyes, in Bryant Park

with dog, in Bryant Park Photo by myself, in Bryant Park, in Midtown.

A fellow sat with his envious little Yorkshire Terrier in Bryant Park, Tuesday afternoon.

The fellow was eating something delicious, while listening to his i-device. Meanwhile, his little dog was licking her chops.

The lawn was out of frame to the left, where office workers were already lying about. We've been having cool-ish and damp weather lately, but that hasn't stopped anyone from enjoying the outdoors.

Related posts: In Thought, in Washington Square Park, Doggy Bag, on the Q Train, and Enjoying Pugs and Drinks, Outside.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Browsing Through Tender Buttons, on the Upper East Side

Tender Buttons, nyc
Photo by myself on 62nd Street and Lexington Avenue, on the Upper East Side.

Tender Buttons, a store specializing in antique buttons, is located in a tiny building on the Upper East Side.

I first heard about this place when I just started living in New York. My boss at the time mentioned it while discussing interior decorating, and I've been haunted by the name ever since.

And why not? 'Tender Buttons' sounds captivating. The name refers to a book by Gertrude Stein, who saw a sign at a vegetable market for tender (button) mushrooms. The insides of the store are full of little boxes, stacked from floor to ceiling, filled with a variety of precious buttons, all organized by color.

The staff was nice enough to allow me to take a photo inside. Unfortunately I didn't have time to browse around. If I had, I would have been there for a long, long time, making small discoveries with every little box.

Next time you find yourself on the Upper East Side with a spare afternoon, why bother visiting a museum? Browse through buttons dating back to the 18th century, and maybe take home a few.
  Tender Buttons, nyc

For the Tender Buttons website, including their detailed history, close ups of their button stash and more photos of their interiors, click here.

Related posts: Outside O. Ottomanelli's Meat Market, in the Village, Russ & Daughters, the Lower East Side, and Esposito & Sons, in Hell's Kitchen.


Monday, May 7, 2012

The Florence Prime Meat Market, in the West Village

Florence Meat Market, nyc Photo by myself on Jones and West 4th Streets, in the West Village.

The Florence Meat Market on Jones Street in the West Village has been around since the 1930s.

Articles about being among the best butcheries in New York adorn the front window. When I dropped by, perfect little fillet mignons were being trimmed on the carving block inside.

The Owner was kind enough to allow me to take a photo. A tin ceiling loomed above the modestly-sized, spotless space inside. All the equipment looked like it had been there forever.
  Florence Meat Market, nyc

Though New Yorkers have given the Florence Meat Market very good reviews online, this was the first time I'd heard of it. For reviews on Yelp, click here

Related posts: Outside O. Ottomanelli's Meat Market, in the Village, Russ & Daughters, the Lower East Side, and Esposito & Sons, in Hell's Kitchen.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Walking the Dog, While Pedalling

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

A man 'walked' his dog, last weekend, while riding a unicycle.

I have to admit I've noticed a larger assortment of vehicles in the last year or two. Unicycles have been around for a while, but they join the legion of pedicabs, bicycles, tandem bicycles, skateboards, scooters, rollerblades and mopeds on the streets.

Related posts: Look Ma, No Hands, in the East Village, Along for the Ride, in Columbus Circle, and Crossing Broadway, on Wheels.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Commute Home, on the D Train

D train commute to Brooklyn Photo by myself on the D train on the way to Brooklyn.

For a brief moment, the D train was bathed in light on the way home. Everyone seemed tired out after a long day.

The D, B, N, and Q trains all emerge from the tunnel to cross the Manhattan Bridge. The N and Q trains run on the south track with a better view of the Brooklyn Bridge. The B and D trains run on the north track with a better view up the East River.

Crossing the river is a good time to take candids on the train, since many commuters are distracted - we don't have cellphone service underground on the subway, and riders take the opportunity to check their email or text.

I usually take the moment to text Mark at home 'Bridge', meaning, "I'm crossing the Manhattan Bridge, I'll be home in about 20 minutes, either order the dinner we discussed or let me know if you need me to pick something up on the way home".

Happy weekend, everyone!

Related posts: 9:45 am on the B Train, Below Brooklyn, In the Darkness Below Ground, and Don't @#$^! with Me, Underground.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Shooting Hoops at West 4th Street, in the Village

West 4th pick up game, NYC Photo by myself at the basketball courts at West 4th and Sixth Avenue, in the Village.

During daylight hours when it's not raining, the public basketball court near the West 4th Street subway station is always busy.

Always, always. I have never seen it empty. Movies and commercials have been shot at this court, also known as 'The Cage'.

A couple half-court pick-up games were in progress, late Thursday afternoon. The court is fenced in and there is also always a bunch of people watching. It's in a rather public location, with a wide sidewalk running along Sixth Avenue for bystanders. Players should not be shy.
  West 4th pick up game, NYC

The West 4th Courts even have their own Wiki page. You can see it here.

Related posts: No Hair at the West 4th Courts, Playing Ball in the Public Courts, and More on Sport.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

The New York Historical Society, at Dusk

NY Historical Society, CPW Photo by myself, around 77th Street and Central Park West.

The steps outside the New York Historical Society on the Upper West Side were quiet, Tuesday evening. Just to the left out of frame is Central Park, which becomes a quiet presence at night.

The society is comprised of a museum and library. It is overshadowed in popularity by the Museum of Natural History, just a few blocks north at 81st Street. The Museum of Natural History is huge, and is known for its planetarium, fossils and dioramas. 

I have to admit that I've never gone inside the New York Historical Society, but the exterior piqued my interest. Current exhibits focus on Keith Haring, the borough of Harlem and paintings by John James Audubon.

For more about the Historical Society, check out their website, here.

Related posts: Night View, at the New York Public Library, The Met-Life Tower, in the Rain, and Twilight, on West 4th Street.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Larger than Life Mural, in the East Village

School Mural, East Village Photo by myself, somewhere in the East Village.

A huge mural of kids' portraits adorned a wall of a parking lot, in the East Village. There were slogans describing the personalities of each kid, and references to school.

This is photo is another example of my flakiness - I don't remember where it was taken, only that it was in the East Village.

When I was there, I was just focused on admiring the art, and wishing the parking lot weren't so full. It was nice to see art aimed at kids and trying to get them interested in going to school.

Related posts: Genesis Mural, NoHo, Mural in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and Cereal Killers Mural, in Williamsburg.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Before the Rangers Game, at Madison Square Garden

Rangers fans, nyc Photo by myself, in front of Madison Square Garden at 34th Street and 7th Avenue.

Fans of the New York Rangers piled on two double decker buses in front of Madison Square Garden, Monday night.

The buses circled the block, with all on board yelling in screaming. Game #2 of the Eastern semifinals against the Washington Capitals was to start only an hour later, inside.

There was a band playing on the steps outside, and the usual tons of people streaming along the sidewalk. The Madison Square Garden/Penn Station building is also the location for the 34th Street subway stop for the 1/9 line. Thousands of people arrive here everyday.

The Rangers are one of New York City's hockey teams; the other team is the New York Islanders. New York has two hockey teams, two baseball teams (Yankees and Mets), and two football teams (Giants and Jets).

Rangers fans, nyc

Below, Carol, a big Rangers fan, gave me a big smile. Her jersey was decorated with various pins, just a sampling of her huge collection.
  Rangers fan, nyc

Update: Sadly the Rangers lost in overtime to the Capitols, 3-2. The series is a best of seven games.

Related posts: The Daily Madness, Outside Madison Square Garden, Greetings from Above, in Midtown, and Tourist's Eye View, on Fifth Avenue.