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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

On Napping in Bryant Park and Parking in Brooklyn

napping, nyc Photo by myself, in Bryant Park.

A shoeless fellow napped while witting on a cafe chair, in Bryant Park. It must have been perfect napping weather.

This photo is from the stash. Bryant Park is the ideal place to nap, under the cover of tall trees. In the background is the carousel, which runs pretty much all year.

Yes, I'm back in New York. I arrived very, very late last night.

One of my first tasks was to wake up early this morning to move the car. Oy. Mark traded our Mini Cooper, Clive, in for a car that I can actually drive. That means I must share in the parking duties.

New York conducts street cleaning, which means a zamboni-like thing crawls along the streets with big brushes to move debris, which means that every few days, you must move your car.

In Manhattan, each side of the street gets cleaned twice a week. In Brooklyn, only once a week. So your car cannot be parked along certain sides of the street on certain days, else you get a ticket. Often, people leave their cars on the street and get tickets because it's cheaper than putting the car in the garage.

Before going to LA, I parked the car on a Tuesday side. That meant finding another spot before 8:30 am today. I stumbled out with very little sleep to find a parking space. Dangerous. Excruciating. But I somehow found a spot, and managed to park without damaging anything.

Only on certain holidays or during heavy snowfall, is this practice suspended. I'm sure there were more than a few Seinfeld episodes about parking? I remember either George or Jerry sitting in a car, ranting. That's exactly what it's like.

Related posts: Crossing Broadway, on Wheels, On Wheels, in the Financial District, and On Skateboard Graphics and Subways in Mid-Air.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Sailing Above the Sand, on Venice Beach

Skate park, Venice Beach Photo by myself at the skate park, on Venice Beach.

A large skate board park on Venice Beach, invites skate boarders to practice and perform. Not in view are the railings that surround the large park, protecting the audience from accidents.

There are several different swooping areas to skate here, with varying degrees of difficulty. The most acrobatic skate boarders sailed through the air, doing twisty tricks. It was mildly hypnotic to watch.

Venice Beach is just a short walk south from Santa Monica. It was brightly sunny (as it is most days) but the sea breezes make it very comfortable.

Skate park, Venice Beach

My family and I walked along Venice Beach the other day, along with hundreds of others. There were food carts outside and artists selling their work.

I'll be flying back to New York today.

Related posts: Crossing Broadway, on Wheels, On Wheels, in the Financial District, and On Skateboard Graphics and Subways in Mid-Air.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

The View Down Seventh Avenue, in Midtown

Down 7th Avenue, nyc Photo by myself around 7th Avenue and 55th Street, in Midtown.

Looking down Seventh Avenue from the back seat of a cab, you can see the taller buildings near Times Square.

If you're ever visiting New York, I recommend getting in a taxi on a nice day and sailing up or down one of the busier avenues. You get a view that is wholly different from the typical pedestrian view. Another alternative is to get on one of the many city buses. The fare is the same as a subway ride ($2.25 per ride).

Because you move faster than on foot, you're not hung up so much on the little details, and see the sweeping view of the street.

This photo is from the stash. I'm currently in Los Angeles until Monday.

Looking through tons of photos to post for today, I started getting very homesick. I know it sounds ridiculous to idealize bumpy cab rides while vacationing among sunshine and palm trees!

By the way, when New Yorkers say we're heading 'down Seventh Avenue', it's understood that you're moving south. If you're heading 'up Seventh Avenue', you're moving north.

Traffic on Seventh Avenue runs north to south, however, so if you're in a vehicle, the only way is down.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

On the Subway Shuffle, Below Ground

Subway, nyc Photo by myself, in a subway car.

A man wearing a highly decorated jacket stood in a subway car.

A photo from the stash, taken when people wore more clothing. Sometimes while sitting on the subway, there will be various body parts or backpacks or purses in front of your face. It's hard to get away from people.

Speaking of subways, there was a short video clip on the front page of the Times website the other day. On subway platforms where an express train is on one side and the local is on the other, riders have to choose between which train to board. You will see people running back and forth between trains.

Sometimes the train that pulls in first leaves first. But not always. It can be a sometimes funny sight to watch riders scamper back and forth in their flip flops.

The Times calls this 'the Subway shuffle'. New Yorkers call it 'commuting'.

 Related posts: Sunset, on the Ride to Brooklyn, Ghoulish Greetings, on the R Train, and All Clear, Below Ground.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Greetings from Casa del Mar, in Santa Monica

Shutters on the Beach Photo by myself at the beach in Santa Monica, California.

It's blustery and cool near the beach, in Santa Monica, California. The above photo was taken at sunset, next to the fancy hotel next door, 'Shutters on the Beach'.

I'm visiting my fiance Mark, who is here for a work project. We're staying at a super fancy hotel called Casa del Mar. Situated right on the beach, the rooms are prettily decorated and have ocean views.

Very often, you will see celebrities in the lobby, having brunch or drinks. So far, I haven't see any, but I am on the lookout, haha! I must say Casa del Mar is one of the prettiest hotels I've stayed in. It is a welcome departure from the steamy sidewalks of New York City.

Photos will continue on this blog, while I'm away.

Casa del Mar A photo from our well-decorated room at the Casa del Mar.

Casa del Mar The walls are a powder blue, and the furniture is whitewashed. It's difficult to remember that you're still in the 21st century.

Casa del Mar The spacious lobby at the hotel. A huge double-sided gas fireplace was roaring, even though it's the end of July.

Related posts: Greetings from Santa Monica, The Hotel Shangri-La, in Santa Monica, and More Notes, from the Left Coast.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Look, Outside the Flatiron Building

Flatiron tourbus, nyc Photo by myself outside the Flatiron Building at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue.

A tour bus stopped for a nanosecond in front of the detailed facade of the Flatiron Building.

You can see all the gorgeous stonework beyond. Meanwhile, a man gave me 'a look'.

More apologies are in order on my part for missing yet another day on this blog.

Yes, it's been insanely busy as usual. I'm also off to LA on Thursday to visit Mark, who is working there on a project. Photos will continue here, as usual!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Giant Bird, on Broadway

Bird Sculpture, uws
Photo by myself on Broadway and 79th Street, on the Upper West Side.

One of the many whimsical sculptures of animals by artist Peter Woytuk is located on the median strip along Broadway.

A giant raven is balanced on three giant green apples. In front of the sculpture, a typical New Yorker was standing in the pose of the moment, checking his mobile phone. Notice also another fellow in the background checking his phone, while sitting on a bench!

I have to wonder whether sculptures of people will show them in this contemplative pose, just as life-sized Roman emperors were depicted in costume, looking out in the distance at worlds they wish to conquer.

Eighteen of Peter Woytuk's works are displayed along Broadway, from Columbus Circle at 59th Street, all the way up to 168th Street.

For more about the artist and locations where is work can be found, click here

When New Yorkers talk about being 'on Broadway', we are usually referring to Broadway, the street, that is, the very, very long street that runs north-south.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

On Greene Street, in SoHo

Greene Street, Soho Photo by myself at Greene and Spring Streets, in SoHo.

One of the many nice things about SoHo is that some of its streets are still cobblestone.

It makes for a nice texture, though not so great in the winter or when you're wearing high heels.

When my mother visited New York long ago for the first time, she thought 'SoHo' was a name in another language.

Nope. 'SoHo' is short for 'South of Houston Street' (pronounced 'Hows-ton').

There is a 'Soho' in London, too. Wikipedia says that city was named 'in the 17th century. Most authorities believe that the name derives from a former hunting cry.'


Friday, July 20, 2012

Portrait of a Cab Driver, on Fifth Avenue

Cab Driver, nyc Photo by myself, on Fifth Avenue.

A cab driver posed for a portrait after taking me on a trip up Fifth Avenue. You can just see the lush foliage of Central Park, in the background, and a little of my reflection in the rear window, haha.

We had just had a long, animated conversation about lots of things, during our 60+ block trip uptown. We took a shortcut by going north through Central Park, avoiding the stop-and-go of traffic lights.

Right now, you can enter the park at 59th Street and exit at 72nd Street on either the east or west side. The park extends all the way up to 110th Street, but the upper portion of the park is closed to thru-traffic.

I don't often talk with cabbies, but after he honked angrily at another driver hogging up two lanes, we commiserated about bad drivers, Mayor Bloomberg, the upcoming city-wide bike share and how surprisingly few accidents take place.

We were both not enthusiastic about the upcoming bike-share, where scores of bikes can be rented and dropped off at various locations. Just imagining loads of cyclists who might not know what they were doing sounded like potential disaster to us, crotchety New Yorkers.

I asked the cabbie if I could take his photo at the end of my trip, and he told me his name, but....by the time my meeting was over, I completely forgot it. Argh!!! He was such a lovely fellow!!

By the way, most New Yorkers refer to Central Park as 'the Park', just as they refer to Manhattan as 'the City'.

No, we are not so egotistical that we think there are no other cities or parks on this planet. We are lucky to have many parks to choose from. It's just an easy shorthand for people when speaking.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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 a Guy on Sixth Avenue, and Portrait of a Dog Owner, in Tompkins Square Park.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Empire State Building, Bathed in White

Empire State, nyc
Photo by myself, at 35th Street and Broadway, in Midtown.

The Empire State Building was all lit up in white, the other night.

The lights on the ESB are color-coded for various holidays. White is the default, neutral setting. Red, white and blue marked the July 4th weekend. Red and white honored Canada Day, recently.

As many as three different colors dress up the ESB on any evening. Most of July, the building will remain white. Whenever there is a 'subway series' game (when the Yankees play the Mets), the tower is lit up in white and blue.

For an up-to-date calendar of the lights at the Empire State, click here.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Riding the Escalator with Groceries, on the Upper West Side

Trader Joe's, nyc Photo by myself at Trader Joe's, on the Upper West Side.

In cities, floor area is limited. So one option for more space is to go up or down.

At many supermarkets and drugstores, escalators take people and their shopping carts to other levels. The street level might have an entrance and a small display area, but larger lower floors provide more area for shopping.

It's a win-win situation: windows aren't necessary for stores, and buildings can rent out large underground expanses in one fell swoop.

At Trader Joe's on the Upper West Side, an escalator brings shoppers down to a larger basement floor. Their shopping carts ride on a separate escalator alongside. There are two basement levels at this store, one for produce and the checkout lines, another for frozen foods and other items. The store was packed as usual, Tuesday night.

Trader Joe's is known for its grass roots aesthetic, reasonable prices and interesting foodstuffs. There are many grocery store chains here, each with their own personality.

By the way, I ran around town Tuesday while carrying: architectural drawings, a 25-foot measuring tape, wallet, pens, tracing paper, a notebook and my big Canon DSL camera. Without exaggeration, my bag must have weighed 15 lbs!

Life has been much busier than usual, with weekends spent at the office, and early mornings at my desk until late at night. I'm working on several things: a townhouse kitchen renovation, a two-part renovation on Central Park South, a small project on the Upper East Side that is just finishing up, and another project on the Upper East Side that just started. Yipes.

I miss walking around the city with my camera. The craziness will end soon, thank goodness!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Upside Down on the R Train

subway performer, nyc Photo by myself on the subway, below ground.

A young woman performed some acrobatics on the subway ride home on the R train, Monday.

Young acrobats use the rails in subways that are there for passengers to hold onto. Sometimes you can see footprints on the subway ceiling, haha (!).

This was the first female performer I'd seen. Her performer friends are standing in the background. Meanwhile, a loud soundtrack played on.

Related posts: Enjoying a Fling, on the R Train, Enjoying a Fling, on the R Train, and On the Floor of the Subway and the Recent Quake.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dog Days of Summer, at Prospect Park, Brooklyn

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

To cool off during the summer, dogs enjoy the cooling waters of the pond, in Prospect Park.

A fence is put up in the pond, to prevent dogs and their toys from going out too far. Ducks and turtles can often be spotted on the the other side.

Sometimes, owners wind up going in, too, at least, up to their knees.

Apologies again for sporadic posting, folks! It's been crazy busy at the office.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Manhattanhenge, 2012

Manhattanhenge 2012 Photo by myself in Midtown.

Tuesday night marked one of the days of 'Manhattanhenge', where the location of the sun at sunset aligns with the street grid of Manhattan.

I happened to be walking out of the office, around 8 pm. When I saw people standing on street corners facing west, I knew. It was that time of year again.

Manhattanhenge takes place twice a year, at the end of May and the beginning of July. The exact alignment only lasts a couple days.

For my photo of Manhattanhenge photo in 2010, taken in the same area, click here.

Related posts: Occupy Town Square, in Tompkins Square Park, Occupy Wall Street, One Day at a Time, and Tibetans of the World Unite.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Thinking Outside the Box, in Union Square

Occupy Union Square Photo by myself in Union Square.

An Occupy Wall Street demonstration was held some weeks ago in Union Square.

The Occupy movement has dispersed from its original location in Zuccati Park, near the World Trade Center. The mayor had the park cleared out when businesses started to be affected by the crowds and news cameras.

You now see smaller, transient groups of people with signs of protest in various locations, including Union Square and Tompkins Square Park.

Related posts: Occupy Town Square, in Tompkins Square Park, Occupy Wall Street, One Day at a Time, and Tibetans of the World Unite.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Watching for Rain, in Washington Square Park

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

A few visitors sat in Washington Park during a light rain. They snacked on what looked like fancy pastries.

Related posts: On Rainy Steamy Streets, in Midtown, Sixth Avenue, in the Rain, and Under Cover, in Midtown.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Outside Bleecker Bob's Records, in the Village

Bleecker Bob's, nyc Photo by myself on West 3rd and MacDougal Streets, in the Village.

Bleecker Bob's Records, a vinyl record store in operation since 1968, will be closing soon.

When I was in the neighborhood a couple weeks ago, the store was open, though the awning was in tatters and a 'For Rent' sign was displayed in front. Bins of old records stood patiently outside.

According to the Times, Jimmy Page, the lead-guitarist for Led Zepplin, and Frank Zappa were friends of the store's owner, and once worked the cash register.

Rumors were abound that yet another Starbucks would be moving in, but the a new tenant has not been found. As of this writing, the store is still open.

Related posts: Outside Strider Records, on Jones Street, Outside All Saints, on 13th Street, and All Aglow, on 57th Street.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Remembrance, at The World Trade Center Memorial

World Trade Center, nyc Photo by myself at the World Trade Center Memorial.

Names of all those who perished from the destruction of 9/11 adorn bronze panels at the World Trade Center Memorial, downtown. The names encircle the footprints of two reflecting pools, where the north and south towers once stood.

I visited the site yesterday, along with hundreds of other visitors, wandering around the memorial in the summer heat. Around us were the glass towers of the complex, still under construction.

Each name is cut into the metal, so that you can see through to a shallow pool of water, below. At night, light shines through the openings, which must be an incredible sight.

Overall, I was impressed by the simplicity of the memorial. All the details were well-conceived, from the mechanism that controls the waterfalls to the street lights. And of course, the sheer number of names is overwhelming.
  World Trade Center, nyc Water plunges thirty feet, then drops again within the center of each pool. The bronze panels are climate controlled, so they can be touched at all times of the year.

World Trade Center, nyc In the background, you can see the stainless steel panels of the future World Trade Center Museum.

Young oak trees are planted throughout the space, to soften the spare aesthetic of the memorial. Over time, they will grow to form a canopy around the pools. Simple stone benches are scattered throughout.

Tickets to visit the memorial are free to the public. You must go through airport security to enter, but once the memorial is completed, the barricades and security will be taken down.

To read more about the memorial and to reserve visitor passes, click here.

Related posts: Salvaged from the World Trade Center, Night View, at the World Trade Center, and Remembrance, at the World Trade Center.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sausage Guys, in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Sausage guy, Brooklyn Photo by myself on 7th Avenue, in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Street fairs are a regular occurrence in the summer months. Above, a guy at a sausage kiosk gave me a friendly wave.

Streets are shut down to car traffic, allowing pedestrians to wander from booth to booth. Booths sell all sorts of food and handicrafts, including t-shirts, jewelry and hand-painted art.

The only trouble with street fairs is that they interrupt traffic patterns, and you're not allowed to park on that street. On every single day of every weekend, there is a street fair taking place somewhere.

For a comprehensive schedule of the street fairs in the city and some parts of New Jersey, click here.

Related posts: Yet Another Street Fair, Bleecker Street, Mad. Sq. Eats, in the Flatiron District, and Buon Gusto.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Hot and Humid Days, in Chinatown

Canal Street, nyc Photo by myself on Canal and Lafayette Streets, in Chinatown.

We've been having a very hot June, with bright sun and high humidity. Yesterday we had very little cloud cover. The sun beat the street relentlessly, and everyone on it.

Most people who live in Manhattan do not own cars. Parking on the street is not reliable, and parking garages are expensive. As a result, you combat the elements every (freaking) day.

I've seen people carrying double basses, trash bags full of stuff, dogs and cats on the subway. For larger or more complicated trips, you can always hail a cab or rent a car.

Zip cars, the cars that you can rent for just a couple hours or a full day, are also very popular. Many folks rent a zip car for large grocery purchases, though most grocery stores deliver for no surcharge.

Related posts: Bright Lights, at the Beacon Theater, Twinkly Lights, at the Breslin, and What's Playing Around Town and at Home.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, at Sunset

Manhattan Bridge, sunset Photo by myself from the East River.

This photo is from the stash, from a boat ride around Manhattan. Above is the Manhattan Bridge around sunset, with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background.

It was a slightly cloudy night, with a storm lurking. The clouds had just parted, showing white highlights in the sky.

If you're ever visiting New York, a boat ride around the island is a worthwhile treat. There are tours available that travel up the Hudson on the West Side, cross over to the west side up near the George Washington Bridge, then travel down the East River toward the Statue of Liberty.

This was taken last summer during our office party, on a private boat.

Happy July 4th!

We all have the day off today, in celebration of America's independence. Most people spend the day lounging at barbeques and picnics. Since the 4th falls on a Wednesday, a lot of folks are taking half the week off out of sheer laziness.

It's been insanely humid here and a bit hot. This morning, Brooklyn woke up to 97% humidity. Yipes!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Maitre D's, on Broadway

Toshi's Living Rm, nyc Photo by myself on Broadway and 26th Street.

A little dog and some young ladies welcomed guests to Toshi's Living Room, in the Flatiron District. The little dog looks to be a Schnauzer and belongs to the bar's owner.

Toshi's Living Room features live music almost every night. The day I walked by, a jazz quartet was setting up.

For the bar's website, which includes a list of scheduled events, click here.

Related posts: Bright Lights, at the Beacon Theater, Twinkly Lights, at the Breslin, and What's Playing Around Town and at Home.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Outside Pinisi Bakery, on East 4th Street

East Village Bakery Photo by myself at East 4th Street and First Avenue, in the East Village.

Very few things are offered for a dollar, here in the city.

A small bottle of water, if you're lucky. Or perhaps a greasy slice of pizza.

Cupcakes are sold for a mere dollar each at the Pinisi Bakery on Mondays thru Wednesdays, in the East Village. I was drawn to their colorful storefront.

For another photo of this bakery from the sidewalk, click here.

Related posts: Baked Fresh Daily, in Soho, Outside Jane's Buns, in the East Village, and Sweet Treats at the Doughnut Plant, in Chelsea.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Playing Foosball, in Herald Square

Foosball, Herald Square, nyc Photo by myself around 33rd Street and Sixth Avenue, in Herald Square.

Foosball tables have been installed in Herald Square, along the pedestrian strip. A mother and her son enjoyed a battle earlier this week. By her expression, I'm thinking the son was either winning or cheating.

The median strip in Herald Square is quite large, with seating for people to rest or have lunch. There is lush planting, too. A bit to the left, out of frame, is Macy's department store.

Reading a little about foosball, I was surprised to find out that its roots are European and it's been around since the early 1900s.

Related posts: On Herald Square and Bodega Cats, Get Your Zumba on for Free, in Herald Square, and Windows onto Another World, at Macy's.