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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Portrait of Two Young Bohemians, in Tompkins Square Park

Becca and Ludwig, nyc Photo by myself in Tompkins Square Park, in the East Village.

While at Tompkins Square Park the other week, I noticed a striking couple seated in a quiet corner, on a park bench. 

I'm not sure whether Becca and Ludwig were a couple or whether they were just friends. They were nice enough to allow me to take their picture. Ludwig gave me a big smile, but Becca seemed shy and didn't want to look into the camera.

Though they look very 'East Village' (ie; arty, eclectic or un-traditional), neither lives in the neighborhood.

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

Related posts: Portrait of Style, on the Subway Platform, Portrait of a Dog Owner, in Tompkins Square Park, and Portrait of an Artist, on the Upper East Side.


Friday, June 29, 2012

The View on MacDougal Street, in the Village

NYC ink, the village Photo by myself at MacDougal Street and Minetta Lane, in the Village.

The storefronts in the Village are especially cool at night. Here, a snapshot outside NYC Ink and Lucky 777 Chili.

On weekdays, the streets are rather sleepy during the day. You get the sense that everyone is recovering from the night before.

Happy Friday, Everyone!

Related posts: Outside Radio City Music Hall, on Sixth Avenue, The Crowds on Lower Broadway, and Crowd Crossing, at 34th Street.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Moment on Fifth Avenue

crowd, nyc Photo by myself at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, in Midtown.

A photo showing the typical rush hour foot traffic.

Related posts: Waiting to Cross, in Soho, The Crowds on Lower Broadway, and Crowd Crossing, at 34th Street.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Colorful Cab, in Midtown

Hilfiger cab, NYC Photo by myself around 35th Street and Sixth Avenue.

A colorful, striped taxicab drew some attention from onlookers a few months ago.

The painted geometric motifs refer to Hilfiger's 'Promise Collection', a recent collection of clothing and accessories inspired by African motifs. All of the proceeds from the collection go toward helping communities in Ruhiira, Uganda.

For more about Hilfiger's commitment, and to purchase items from the Promise Collection, click here.

Related posts: Cabs Galore, on Lexington, Stuck on 8th Ave, and Fixing Flats, in the Streets.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Drum Circle, in Tompkins Square Park

Drum Circle, nyc Photo by myself, in Tompkins Square Park in Alphabet City.

A drum circle of sorts took place on some benches in Tompkins Square Park, Sunday afternoon.

You could hear the sound of drums across the park. A moment later, another musician joined in on the wood block, standing in front of all the conga drummers. Everyone was out and about, enjoying the vibe and park air.

We had a lovely weekend, after a string of insanely hot days.

Happy Monday, everyone!
  Drum Circle, nyc

Related posts: The Sound of Drums, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, On Drums and the Brooklyn Bunny, and Swinging to the Welf Dorr Group, at 34th Street.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Women in Black, Against War

Women in Black, nyc Photo by myself at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.

A peaceful protest held on the steps of the main branch of the New York Public Library was held last week.

A small group of ladies held up a sign that read 'Women in Black Against War'. They handed out leaflets and stood quietly, a calm testament of their convictions. Meanwhile, the rush hour crowds streamed by.

Women in Black is un-related to the movie, Men in Black. Their group includes women from all over the world, who hold similar peaceful vigils in public areas.

For more about Women in Black, including a history of their vigils worldwide, check out their website, here.

Apologies for skipping yet another day, yesterday. Mark, Rupert and I have been having much too much fun this summer.

We spent the day with friends at their house, bbq-ing in Long Island. Ex-New Yorkers with an 18-month old, they had moved in favor of more space and a yard. They both commute to work in Manhattan by train.

Related posts: En Route to a Peaceful Protest, Downtown, Tibetans of the World, Unite, and Occupying Wall Street, One Day at a Time.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Portrait of an Entrepreneur, on the Upper East Side

Entrepreneur, nyc Photo by myself around 84th Street and Fifth Avenue, on the Upper East Side.

A budding entrepreneur named Charlie was staked out on the sidewalk this week, selling lemonade, cold bottled water and candy. You can see the nice limestone buildings typical of the Upper East Side, behind him.

Charlie says he does this for several hours a day in between the end of school and summer camp. He had a customer while I was talking with him and pulled out a big wad of cash. He's been doing well!

I asked about his sign, which showed 'Dum-Dum's for sale (small lollipops). The original price was fifty cents, but was crossed out and relabelled twenty-five cents.

'How come there was a price drop?' I asked.

'Well, the deli down the street sells them for twenty-five cents', Charlie admitted. 'And they have air-conditioning'.

Ah, Charlie has the makings of a real businessman. First rule of business - know your competition!

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

Related posts: Portrait of a Young Man, Without a Home, Portrait of a Prince, on Elizabeth Street, and Portrait of a Guy on Sixth Avenue.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Vent Your Annoyance, for a Buck

Tell me off, nyc Photo by myself at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, in Midtown.

A fellow sat just outside the main branch of the New York Public Library. His sign reads 'Tell me off for $1.00'.

It was really, really, really hot and humid in the city on Wednesday. Everyone was either holed up inside or on the streets, sweating and moving very slowly. A lot of folks, like the fellow above, resorted to taking off their shirts (all of them were men).

I've seen my share of signs in New York, and this one ranks near the top of the list. It strikes a nice balance between humor and urban rage.

Related posts: More Free Hugs, in Union Square, Hippy Sign, on Prince Street, and Death Before Decaf, in Brooklyn.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Airplane Art, Outside the Plaza Hotel

Paola Pivi sculpture, nyc Photo by myself at 60th Street and Fifth Avenue.

A kinetic sculpture was being installed at the southeast corner of Central Park, the other day.

By the artist Paola Pivi, the sculpture is composed of a real twin engine plane is suspended by its wingtips. When fully installed, the plane will spin around, doing somersaults (!).

The tall white building in the background is the Plaza Hotel. I will have to revisit very soon and take a photo of the plane when upside down!

The sculpture is sponsored by the Public Art Fund. For more about the sculpture and artist, see the Public Art Fund website, here.

Related posts: Giant Head, in Madison Square Park, Zodiac Heads, Outside the Plaza Hotel, and Outside the Elizabeth Street Gallery, in Soho.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sweatshop, in the Garment District

sweatshop, nyc Photo by myself around 7th Avenue and 37th Street, in the Garment District.

You'd think there weren't any sweatshops left the Garment District, but not so.

Buried on various floors of older high rise buildings are work rooms, filled with sewing machines and thread. There, samples are made for fashion designers for fittings and photoshoots.

One of my hobbies is sewing, and I was looking for a fabric store on Monday. Only I had wandered onto the wrong floor of the wrong building.

But for a split second after getting of the elevator, I looked through an open door. There was a treadle-operated sewing machine straight ahead (that black thing on the table) - a sewing machine run by a peddle that an operator pumps up and down with her foot.

Spools of different colored thread dangled precariously. A general mess. A fire waiting to happen. A step backwards in time.

Related posts: Tailor Made, in the Garment District, Over the Shoulder in the Garment District, and Fashionably Late.


Monday, June 18, 2012

A Four-Legged Co-pilot, on Flatbush Avenue

Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn Photo by myself on Flatbush Avenue, in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

While stopped in traffic Sunday afternoon, we found ourselves next to a guy on a motorcycle and his little jack russell terrier, who was wearing pink goggles.

The little dog was standing on the bike, helped by a wooden contraption. She was shaking but obviously loving the ride.

'A little girl dog?' I asked the biker, while we waited for the light to change. He nodded and gave us a smile.

Flatbush Avenue is the main drag in Brooklyn, right after you get off the Manhattan Bridge. It runs through Downtown Brooklyn and Fort Greene. It's riddled with potholes and terrible, aggressive Brooklyn drivers.
  Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn

Related posts: Along for the Ride, in Columbus Circle, All Ears in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and In Thought, in Washington Square Park.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

On a Tree in Brooklyn

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

A gaggle of little kids clung to the trunk of a big tree in Prospect Park, Saturday. For whatever reason, they kept walking around and around. Haha.

We've been having some pretty days here - cool and sunny. Paradise!

Related posts: It's a Kid's Life, in Brooklyn, The Carousel, in Bryant Park, and A Careful Choice, in Chinatown.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Outside Big Nick's, on the Upper West Side

Big Nick's, Upper West Side Photo by myself at 77th Street and Broadway, on the Upper West Side.

The neon signs outside Big Nick's Burger and Pizza joint show a variety of choices. Big Nick's has been around a while.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Related posts: Only in New York, Shining Bright, at Live Bait, and Neon Storefronts, in Midtown.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Filming Outside Grand Prospect Hall, in Brooklyn

Grand Prospect Hall, nyc Photo by myself in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

A movie was being filmed outside Grand Prospect Hall, some time ago.

Grand Prospect Hall is a popular locations for weddings and other venues. I haven't gone inside, but a friend of mine did a photoshoot there and said the interiors were absolutely stunning.

The street was partially blocked off and people milled around the set. Movie production entails a lot of waiting around. Movies such as Prizzi's Honor, Cotton Club and Foxy Brown have been filmed here. 

As you can see, the exterior of this building has some pretty decoration. It is 140,000 square feet large and was completed in 1892. This was actually the first commercial building in Brooklyn to have electricity!

For the Grand Prospect Hall website, including some history and photos, click here.

Related posts: Filming on Location, in Soho, Movie in the Making, in Alphabet City, and Making TV Shows and Rain, on the Upper West Side.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Statue of Liberty, on Madison Avenue

Statue of Liberty, nyc Photo by myself at Madison Avenue and 61st Street, on the Upper East Side.

You'd think one Statue of Liberty would be enough for this city, but no.

A mini-Statue of Liberty stands in front of an office building on the Upper East Side. This mini statue was cast from the original plaster model made before the big one. It is exactly 1/16th the size of the statue standing in the harbor.

This replica cost more than $1M US, and was installed last October. A developer named Leonard Stern brought her over from France.

Mark and I were lucky enough to catch part of 'Treasures of New York' on PBS, the other night. The show tells the story of Costas Kondylis, an architect who has built dozens of high rises in New York City.

Kondylis' work includes many of the Trump buildings and the towers near Riverside Drive. He is known as a 'developer's architect'.

The documentary is a fascinating look at Kondylis' success in New York. There are some wonderful aerial views of the city from a helicopter, too.

You can watch the entire one-hour show online! Just click here.

Related posts: Posing with Miss Liberty, on Central Park South, Lady Liberty, in the Distance, and Way Off in the Distance, Miss Liberty.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Big Wave Hello on Fifth Avenue

Taxi Driver, nyc Photo by myself at 5th Avenue and 56th Street, in Midtown.

While stopped at a light on Fifth Avenue, Monday afternoon, I stuck my camera out the window. The driver of the cab next door rolled down his window and gave me a big, goofy hello.

And I mean big. Like many New Yorkers, this fellow was not shy.

He yelled to me that I should enter the photo in a contest, and I might win some money. Like a million dollars.

We laughed about it. Then the light changed, and off we went.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Outside a Smoke Shop, in the Village

Wooden indian, the village Photo by myself, in the Village.

A colorful, carved wooden Indian stood outside a smoke shop, in the Village. You can see the smoking contraptions in the storefront, beyond.

When you work uptown like most New Yorkers, a walk around the Village is a breath of fresh air. As you can see, the afternoon sidewalk is empty of people. There are trees. And you can actually cross the street without looking for cabs, busses and speeding cyclists.

It seems like nothing bad could ever happen, in the Village.

Related posts: Night View, Near the Dakota, The Ghostly Glow of Times Square, and All A-Glow in Soho.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

West 10th Street, at Night

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

A night view on West 10th Street. The storefront of a jewelry shop was in the background.

Sorry for the late post today, folks.

Related posts: Night View, Near the Dakota, The Ghostly Glow of Times Square, and All A-Glow in Soho.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Tattooed Man, in Herald Square

Tattoo guy, nyc Photo by myself in Herald Square, around 34th Street and Sixth Avenue.

A fellow with a lot of tattoos was nice enough to stop and pose for me, the other day.

I was crossing the street in Herald Square, when I noticed a guy with a ton of tattoos walking in front of me. I asked whether I could take his photo, and nicely agreed.

'I have tattoos on 75% of my body', he said, and all of them have personal significance.

I didn't ask about the 25% that wasn't tattooed, haha! He thought I was ridiculous because I wouldn't be able to decide on a tattoo, and so I don't have any. 

Related posts: Working Under Bright Lights, at the Wooster Street Social Club, Daredevil Tattoo, on Ludlow Street, and Get Your Tattoos, Downtown.


Friday, June 8, 2012

On Crossing the Street and the Ban on Sugary Drinks

Crossing, nyc Photo by myself, in Midtown.

A quick photo from the back of a cab, somewhere in Midtown.

My cab rounded the corner quickly, and I snapped a photo of a fellow was crossing the crosswalk. He had a worried look. The woman behind him looked like every other person on the street, that is, glued to her phone.

One of the many, many Starbucks locations lurked in the background

By the way, you might have heard about Mayor Bloomberg's plan to ban sugary soft drinks from places like restaurants and movie theaters?

I wouldn't say that people are outraged or that they spend all day talking about it around the lunch table. But I would say that the subject has been making an impression on the local news.

Many people feel that banning large servings (over 16 ounces) of sugary drinks will help, but many also feel that if you want to drink that much, you can drink two 8 ounce servings.

The Mayor's plan intends to help reduce high rates of obesity. For an article about Mayor Bloomberg's proposed plan against sugary drinks, click here.

Related posts: Moving and Shaking, the Diamond District, Back to the Grind, in Midtown, and People, People, Everywhere, in the Village.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Portrait of a Chess Tutor, in the Village

Chess tutor, nyc Photo by myself at Thompson and West Third Streets, in the Village.

Robert, a chess tutor, teaches the game to youngsters and adults alike at Chess NYC, a store in the Village.

I had a fun, long chat with Robert, Tuesday afternoon. He had just finished up teaching an older gentleman at the store. Open 24-hours a day, the store has a clubhouse vibe, with chess boards and trophies crowding the walls, and many chess boards set up at tables, ready for play.

Robert has been teaching chess for the last 20 years (!) after competing against adults as a youth. He now teaches both youngsters and adults the art of chess.

'The chess pieces come alive to kids', Robert explained, "The pawns can be 'storm troopers'. The rook...a 'wookie'. Part of teaching kids means understanding their language."
  Chess Shop, nyc Different chess pieces line inhabit the motley storefront.

Besides instilling discipline and patience, Robert told me that learning chess helps kids manage their time.

"The kids develop...'poise'," he told me. With every game, there is a winner and a loser. And chess is one of the only sports where a kid can find him or herself competing against adults.

Chess NYC coaches school chess teams and runs several summer camp programs in Manhattan. The camp schedule includes practice, play and coaching with a Grandmaster, several of whom are affiliated with Chess NYC.

Starting August 20th, Magnus Carlsen, the Number 1 ranked chess player in the world, will be teaching summer camp at the store (!).

You can sign up for classes and camp on the Chess NYC website, here.
Sign up using the special password 'rholyfield10', and receive 10% off!

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

Related posts: Portrait of a Bike Messenger, in Midtown, Portrait of Five New Yorkers, on the Upper East Side, and Portrait of a Film Shoot, in Brooklyn Heights.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

On Custom Bikes, in the Village

Custom Bike, nyc Photo by myself at Sullivan and West 3rd Streets, in the Village.

Two fellas discussed an unusual custom bike, Tuesday afternoon. The seat is about five feet off the ground (!).

The fellow wearing the shades had custom made the frame. His buddy was asking about how to get onto the bike. Apparently the bike's owner hasn't had an accident (yet). 'I count on other people to avoid me', he confessed.

And if about to crash? 'I grab onto the nearest trash can.' Aha.
  Custom Bike, nyc Yes, the bike works!

Custom Bike, nyc The friend tried but failed to get on the bike. Alas, too high a climb!

Related posts: Summer Streets, on Park Avenue South, Enjoying a Ride, in Central Park, and Pedaling Around Midtown.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Waiting Together, along Fifth Avenue

Support Photo by myself around 34th Street and Fifth Avenue, in Midtown.

An older couple stood patiently, waiting for the light to change.

For some reason, this photo has been languishing in my stash for a while. I would quickly pass it by, judging it solely on whether the image shows enough action, variety, New York interest, etc.

But last night, I had some time, and I flipped through images with more thoughtfulness. I'm glad I did.

The sidewalks in New York can be terribly uneven. Fortunately in recent years, the city has taken to shaving down uneven parts. It's still best to walk with care, if you're in a crowd or if you're older.

Related posts: Older Birds, on Fifth Avenue, Tough Times, on the Sidewalk, and Old Friends, in Alphabet City.


Monday, June 4, 2012

The Look, in Times Square

The look, in Times Square Photo by myself in Times Square, at 42nd Street and 7th Avenue.

Just a split second at Times Square. There were crowds of people as usual and I caught a woman looking a little miffed.

Times Square is not just the location of bright lights and signage. The 42nd Street subway station services many, many train lines, and the bus station at Port Authority sees tons of commuters daily. Buses run to Boston, New Jersey, upstate New York and elsewhere.

At each intersection, there is a mix of commuters scurrying quickly to catch their ride home and visitors wandering around slowly. The area can be overwhelming.

Related posts: You Looking at me? in the Perfume District, The Look on Greene Street, Soho, and The Look, Outside the Dakota.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Rupert Update from Prospect Park, Brooklyn

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

In the mornings, the rolling green lawns of Brooklyn are sometimes misty with fog. Above, our Boston Terrier, Rupert, was playing keep-away with friends.

Before 9am daily, dogs are allowed to run around off leash for exercise and play*. After 9am on the weekends, the fields are filled with Little League baseball games, with teams of little kids dressed in uniform.

Prospect Park is large and an incredible amenity for Brooklynites. There are public grills and picnic tables for public use, ponds filled with wildlife, and enough space to be able to relax without sitting on top of each other.

Here's a recent video I shot on my iphone of Rupert playing fetch. I call him 'Pupkin' in the video because his full name is Rupert Pupkin, after a character in the movie 'King of Comedy'.

 *In case you're wondering, all owners are required to clean up after their dogs at all times. Most do.


Related posts: Boston Terriers Gone Mad, at the Mad Dog Run, In Chinatown and a Rupert Update, and Roaming Free, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sharing a Bench with Public Art, on Broadway

Making up, uws Photo by myself on Broadway and 61st Street, on the Upper West Side.

A woman applied lipstick while seated on a bench next to a realistic bronze statue, on the Upper West Side.

The statue depicts Jeremiah Lanphier, a businessman who advocated daily prayer to New Yorkers in the mid-19th Century. The statue was created by Lincoln Fox in 2007 and stands outside the American Bible Society (out of frame, to the left).

For more about the statue and Jeremiah Lanphier, click here.

Related posts: Communing with Public Figures, in Midtown, Painting the Town, in Soho, and Village People, in Sheridan Square.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Hurdy Gurdy Player, in Union Square

Hurdy Gurdy, nyc Photo by myself in Union Square.

A fellow named Davin sang along to an instrument called a hurdy gurdy in Union Square, Thursday evening. I'd never seen one of these before, though wikipedia says they are common in European folk music.

A crank on the bottom of the instrument turns a wooden wheel, which rubs against six strings. The result sounds like a nasally, stringed version of the bagpipes. Meanwhile, the player presses keys with the other hand to change the pitch.

At one point, Davin rubbed the wheel with a square of rosin, the same stuff that violinists use on their bows. The rosin maintains the friction between the wheel and the strings, which creates the nasally sound.

I managed to speak with Davin for just a minute, between songs. He said he fell in love with the instrument after hearing it by sheer accident. When I got home, a quick search on youtube shows Davin playing in the same area just last night (!).


Related posts: The Morning Serenade, Young Man, on the Subway Platform, and The King of Song, Below Ground.