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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On the New York Streets, Then and Now

Midtown corner, NYC
Photo by myself in Midtown, around 5th Avenue and 54th Street.

The sidewalks were filled on Monday with visitors, vendors and all else.


Occasionally, I browse through the obituaries. That might sound a bit ghoulish, but really I enjoy reading the mini-biographies there. I'm drawn more to the twists and turns in peoples' lives than successes.

On Monday, the Times reported that Helen Levitt, a New York photographer, passed away at age 95. The bulk of her work included candid photography of street life and children, in New York.

Levitt was one of the first noted photographers to use color extensively. She associated with Walker Evans and Henri Cartier-Bresson. She had her first show at MoMA at age 30, yet is scarcely known by most people.

It's incredible to see the city streets in her images, taken in the 1930's and 1940's. Children of different races are shown playing on the asphalt together.

Helen Levitt died in her sleep this weekend, at her apartment in Greenwich Village.

Click here for Levitt's interview on NPR.
Click here for the Times obituary.
Click here for some of her photos.

Related posts: Taking a Glance at Columbus Circle, Decisions, Decisions and For the People.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Trading Spaces

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

There are some very pretty residences in Brooklyn. Some of the townhouses are set back from the street and have little gardens in front.


New Yorkers I know are moving. But they're staying in New York.

A couple I know is moving in with each other. After consulting a few realtors, they found a big one-bedroom apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

The place is described as having 'walk-in closets' and an eat-in kitchen, which are absolute luxuries in New York standards. Not only that, they managed to bargain the rent down by a hundred dollars a month, to $1,800. Unheard of!

It's a renter's market. The Times says so, too.

After 10+ years of living in New York, I never thought I'd see this day. It was a given that rents would go up, and renters were at the mercy of landlords. It was a given that if you saw an apartment in the Village Voice Wednesday morning, you'd find yourself competing with 50 other applicants that afternoon.

For those lucky enough to have stable jobs and incomes, their time has come.

Related posts: Parked in Park Slope, Rent and Lining Up, Election Day.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Look Who's Lighting Up Broadway

Vendor, Spring Street, NYC
Photo by myself in Soho, around Spring Street and Broadway.

These little kiosks look so cozy to me, when they're just glorified tin cans.

Many are fashioned out of stainless steel, with an imprinted diamond pattern.. The stainless steel means they won't rust in the rain, and the diamond pattern breaks the surface of the metal, to help against buckling (though you wouldn't know it from this photo).


The local New York news channel, NY1, televises an update on Broadway theater every weekend. There are many superstars you can see performing live, right now.

For instance, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini, Jeff Daniels and Marcia Gay Harden all appear in God of Carnage. Susan Sarandon and Geoffery Rush star in 'Exit the King'.

Meanwhile, David Hyde Pierce stars in a musical called 'Curtains', while Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons are in 'Impressionism'.

I don't recall so many well-known actors on Broadway, all at once. Does this have to do with the film industry? Is it because most current movies are big budget and action-packed, that is, less-focused on the actors?

Hard to tell. Perhaps all the above!

Related posts: On Seeing the World Through a Different Lens, A La Carte and Welcome to New York.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Street Serenade, Soho

Cello Solo, Soho, NYC
Photo by myself in Soho, around Prince and Greene Streets.

A talented cellist played Bach suites for passersby, Friday evening. The weather was finally nice enough to walk around without a heavy coat.


According to the Times, Saturday night, New York is observing Earth Hour.

Between 8:30 and 9:30pm, scores of major landmarks will be dimming their exterior lights. The list of participants includes the theater marquees on Broadway, the Empire State Building and all the major bridges out of Manhattan. Individuals are encouraged to turn off all lights and unplug devices as well.

I have to say, it's about time.

It lifts my spirits to know that so many other people all over the world feel the importance of this issue. Seventy-four countries are participating, with the target of 1 billion individuals.

The artist Shepard Fairey, who created the iconic Change poster of President Obama, created eye-catching images for the campaign.

Mark and I will be participating. I hope you'll join us!

You can see the list of landmarks here.
You can see the Flickr site here.

Related posts: Two New Yorkers, Now Playing on Sundance, We Don't Do Windows and Behind the Curtain.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away

6th Avenue, NYC
Photo by myself in Midtown, around 35th Street and 6th Avenue.

It rained later in the day on Thursday.


Spring rains are common in New York. In my head, rainy days seem to occur more often on weekends than weekdays.

But that doesn't seem logical, now does it?

TGIF, everyone!

Related posts: What's Scrolling in Midtown, Making an Entrance, in Midtown and Bright Lights, Big City.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Columbus Circle, in Black and White

Globe, Columbus Circle
Photo by myself in Columbus Circle, around 59th Street and Broadway.

The giant steel globe at Columbus Circle is very shiny in the sun.

Beyond, a modern building is home to Jazz at Lincoln Center.


Related posts: Brrrrrrrrrr, 1 Central Park, at Night and On Columbus Circle and le Cirque.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On Music and Elephants, Underground

Jazz underground, NYC
Photo by myself at the 34th Street subway station.

The Alex Lo Dico Ensemble played jazz to the rush hour crowd, Tuesday evening. I wrote about them earlier, here.


Like most places, it's not an easy time in New York right now.

The city is facing another subway fare hike. A vote today (Wednesday) determines whether the fare will jump from $2 a ride to $2.50.

Is it me, or does the subway fare seem to continually go upwards?!

As an antidote, I offer you this. The circus is in town and guess how the elephants get into the city?

They take the tunnel, of course.

Yes, the Ringling Brothers elephants walk themselves into Manhattan underground, via the Midtown Tunnel. It's an annual spectacle that I've heard about but never attended.

Hopefully next year, I'll give everyone a heads up - if you're near the tunnel entrance, you can see them all come out.

More about the elephants here.

Related posts: Tales From Below - A Subway Transcript, Pulling Strings on the Subway Platform and Art Underground the MoMA Way.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ready to Rumble, in Brooklyn

Harleys in Brooklyn
Photo by myself in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

A posse of motorcycle riders revved through Williamsburg, Brooklyn, this weekend. Their rides made quite a statement in this relatively quiet neighborhood.


Believe it or not, there is more than one B. Madoff in the New York City.

As reported in the Times, one B. Madoff was listed in the phone book. Only he wasn't the investor who's in prison for swindling his clients of billions of dollars. This B. Madoff was B. Jeffrey Madoff (pronounced Mad-off), an advertising producer.

It's remarkable to think that B. Jeffrey Madoff only received phone calls and a suspicious package. You'd think that he'd get a lot worse.

I hope the Madoff case doesn't set New York back in terms of our public relations. It's taken a long time for us to overcome the image of being a scary den of crime!

Related posts: The Three Pete's, Building Big and Taxi!.


Monday, March 23, 2009

The View from Williamsburg, Brooklyn

The view from Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Photo by myself from the edge of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.


The view of Manhattan varies quite a bit, depending on where you're standing. Some parts are quite plain.

From Williamsburg you see the east side of Manhattan, just below 23rd Street. The tower on the right is the MetLife Building. I took a picture of it here.

Between lower Manhattan and Midtown, the buildings decrease notably in size. Manhattan is built on natural bedrock but geologically some areas are stronger than others.

Neighborhoods are zoned so that skyscrapers are built only in areas that can bear their weight.

Related posts: A View from the Promenade, The View from Downstream and Where the Kids are - Williamsburg, Brooklyn.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Walk in the Park

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

On a recent cool day, Mark, Rupert and I took a stroll through the park in Brooklyn, near where we live. (The cat didn't join us, preferring the sofa cushion).

On weekends, the parks are typically filled with joggers, cyclists, couples and families.


The news on us is generally good.

One of my projects at the office is wrapping up and is turning out well - a three-bedroom renovation on the Upper West Side. The owners are moving in at the end of April, on schedule. (In my line of work, being on schedule and within budget is a miracle). I'm now helping out on a huge project on Fifth Avenue.

By the way, if you're looking to renovate, now is the time. Contractors are bidding fiercely on projects, significantly lowering their average per square foot costs.

Below, the most recent edition of the Rupert movies, that Mark whipped up. Enjoy!

Related posts: A New York Mascot, Doggone It, Rupert is Six Months Old and Prospect Park, Brooklyn.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dimming the Lights on Broadway

Mezzanine at BAM, Brooklyn
Photo by myself at the theater at BAM, the Brooklyn Academy of Music.


Lights were dimmed in theaters on Broadway this week, in respect for Natasha Richardson. Her passing has been all over the local and prime time news. Richardson performed extensively here on stage, and lived in the city before moving to upstate New York. Her wake was held Friday on the Upper East Side.

Charlie Rose aired a special on the actress Friday night, playing clips from several previous interviews.

During a 2001 interview, she recounted the 'scariest moment of her life' - she had to rush off a movie set because her husband Liam Neeson had been in a serious motorcycle accident. He had hit a deer but survived with some broken bones.

The actress was driven 10 hours to New York, not knowing his condition. Retelling the story, Richardson was visibly upset. It was uncanny to watch.

One can't help but wish 'what if'.

You can see the 2001 interview here (the part about the accident occurs late in the interview).

Related posts: From the Great White Way, Central Park in the Rain and A Peek at the Planetarium.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Inhale, Exhale...

Head Shop, the Village
Photo by myself around West 4th Street in the Village.

A dazzling display of hookahs of all shapes and sizes.

Head shops like this one are located in different neighborhoods in the city. It's legal to sell vaporizers, water pipes and rolling papers, which can be used with tobacco and other substances.


TGIF, everyone!

Related posts: Eco-Friendly Cardboard Design, The Markets in Union Square and The Mother of all Supermarkets.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

184 3/4 West 4th Street

The Silversmith, NYC
Photo by myself on West 4th Street, in the Village.

Yes indeed, there is a number 184 3/4 on West 4th Street. There, a tiny shop called The Silversmith sells all sorts of jewelry to passersby.


It was slightly Spring-like weather today, and as always, New Yorkers took to the streets. There was much strolling about, and lounging at sidewalk cafes, sipping beverages.

Just in time for the warmer weather, Spa Week comes to New York from April 13-19th. Dozens of spas around the city have special deals for treatments during that time.

Book your spa appointments now!

Related posts: Riding in Style in the Village, Down in the Village and 42nd Street.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Empire State on St. Patrick's Day

St Patricks Day, NYC
Photo by myself of the Empire State Building on St. Patrick's Day.

The Empire State Building is lit with LED lights. This means that the colors can be adjusted easily to any color imaginable. I'm sure in the past they must have been limited to a set palette of colored lenses.

You can see the schedule of the lights here. On days when nothing in particular is being celebrated, the lights are colored white.


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Here's another great thing about living in the city - you don't have to worry about drinking and driving. You can always jump into a cab, and the subways run into the wee hours. For a mere $2 a ride, you can get home safely, and even have a little nap on the way.

Did everyone wear a little green on Tuesday?

Related posts: What's Going Up, Near the ESB, Working Toward a Complaint-Free World and 42nd Street.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Night View at the World Trade Center

WTC, night view
Photo by myself of the World Trade Center site.

Cranes were silhouetted against the night sky, Monday evening, making for a dramatic view.


For those visiting the World Trade Center site, be forewarned. There doesn't seem to be a viewing platform of the construction now. The large platform in front of Century 21 on Cortlandt Street is gone.

Many streets in the area are blocked off or covered in scaffolding. It's best to bring a map and compass to you can find your way around!

I'm not sure how many people actually live near the World Trade Center. It's not your typical neighborhood. The scale of the buildings is large, many of the buildings house offices that close up after rush hour, and there are few visible amenities.

Battery Park City, a complex of modern apartment buildings, is within walking distance across West Street. BPC is a jam-packed with young families and enjoys a prime location by the water.

Related posts: Life Goes On, Almost, On Street Corners in the East Village and Seven Years Ago.


Monday, March 16, 2009

The Latest in Un-Model Behavior

Matching car coats and bags, NYC
Photo by myself in Midtown, around 5th Avenue and 40th Street.

It's still cold here, though Spring is around the corner. The blustery winds make days seem much colder than they look.


What's going on in New York right now?

Well for one, ridiculousness. This weekend, several women were injured when a stampede broke out among hundreds of contestants waiting to audition for America's Top Model.

Investigators are still trying to sort out what happened. Some screamed that there was a bomb. Some cried that there was a fire. In the end, they believe the stampede started over people cutting in line.

Oh of course, we New Yorkers and seriousness over queuing!

You can read more about the silliness here here.

Related posts: Cold Days in Midtown, Entrance to Fifth Avenue and New York's Near Miss.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Playing Ball in the Public Courts

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

A whiff of warmer weather on Saturday brought many people outside.

The public courts in Brooklyn were swarming with people playing handball and hoops. Nearby, the dog run was filled with dogs of different sizes, and the playground was humming with children.


City life means sharing public spaces with others. Private yards are a luxury here.

I've known a couple people lucky enough to live in garden apartments - the ground floor apartment facing the back, in smaller buildings. They were able to grow vegetables and host parties. The downside to these apartments is the safety hazard; they're not the best choice if you live alone and you have jumpy nerves.

Larger buildings often make the outdoors available to all their tenants. Some newer buildings also have landscaped rooftops and exercise rooms.

Related posts: More on Sport, The Latest Urban Adventure and No Hair at the West 4th Courts.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Columbus Circle, at Dusk

Columbus Circle, NYC
Photo by myself in Columbus Circle, at 59th Street and Broadway.

Despite the economic situation, the streets are still bustling here, with tourists, street vendors, cyclists, cabbies and regular New Yorkers.

This little corner near Central Park is one of my favorite places, with its mix of older buildings and new glass towers. There's a rotary and a fountain, and a large open space that makes for a dramatic view, day or night.


Work has been busy with late nights and stress. Friday, I stayed past nine for a deadline, and took a cab home with some coworkers who live nearby.

'Park Slope. Take the FDR to the Brooklyn Bridge, please.'

I could see the cabbie give us a look in the rear view mirror. He did not seem happy.

I've had cabbies refuse to drive to Brooklyn, but by law, they're supposed to drive you anywhere in the five boroughs. Their worry is that by driving outside Manhattan, they're less likely to find a return fare.

The common excuse is that they're wrapping up for the night and have to hand the cab off. Since taxi medallions are so expensive, (one sold for more than 500k last year), it's common for cab drivers to run in shifts, with the same vehicle.

There are gypsy cabs too, large dark sedans that quote you a price for a trip, however, these are not legal in New York. As a pedestrian you're expected to use a yellow cab, which are numbered and use meters to determine their fares.

Related posts: On Columbus Circle and Le Cirque, Taking a Glance at Columbus Circle and 1 Central Park at Night.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Making Off With the Lower East Side

Lower East Side, NYC
Photo by myself on the Lower East Side.

Believe it or not, there are still a few neighborhoods that retain the flavor of old New York. The Lower East Side is one such area with very few modern buildings.


The Bernard Madoff case has hit New York hard.

Madoff, whose deceptive business dealings defrauded investors of billions of dollars, had many New York clients. Investing and finance figure prominently in this town, so everyone has an ear turned to this story. News came this week that Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison.

I don't know anyone personally who invested with Madoff, but I do know people who know people who did. The hardest hit are the older people of course, who were counting on their money for their retirement.

With all the turmoil these days, it's tough to contemplate the mess that a single person can create for so many others.

Related posts: On Tenement Life and Cable TV, Nearly Perfect and Grace Church in Black and White.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

In the Streets with Silly String

Chinese New Year, Brooklyn
Photo by myself in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, earlier this year.

Traffic was stopped along 8th Avenue to allow for the celebration of Chinese New Year this year. Kids and adults played with firecrackers and Silly String.


Related posts: The Dragon Parade on Mott Street, Running Amok in the Streets and A Careful Choice in Chinatown.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Rupert Update

Photo of our 7-month old puppy, Rupert.


Life has been so busy that I haven't taken photos of Rupert recently. Here's a picture from earlier this year.

Our Boston Terrier puppy has turned 7-months old, and he is due for another movie. Mark has been creating little movies of Rupert every month. I will let y'all know when the next one is done!

In general, Rupert has been doing great, slowly becoming an adult dog. He plays well with others, enjoys the doggie run, long walks and liver treats. He does tricks. He routinely gets into trouble when tired.

Like any dog of substance, a romp with other dogs is preferred over food. Pastimes include chewing, rooting around and sleeping late under the covers.

Ah, the life of a pup!

Related posts: On Rupert and the Wild Parrots of Brooklyn, Doggone It, Rupert is Six Months Old and Prospect Park, Brooklyn.


Up With the Arts, at Lincoln Center

Lincoln Center
Photo by myself at Lincoln Center, at 63rd Street and Broadway.

Parts of this landmark in the background have been undergoing major redesign, so there are temporary walls and scaffolding everywhere. Many of the performance halls are being updated.

Most notably, Alice Tully Hall has been completely transformed. Once a limestone building matching the other buildings of the Lincoln Center complex, the lobby of Alice Tully Hall is now a modern glass atrium. The resulting space is striking and visually engages the street.


The streetscape in New York is constantly changing - there is always something coming down and something else going up. Don't get too attached to anything!

Lincoln Center was a huge modern project in its day. City blocks were torn down in the 1960's to make way for a vast urban space dedicated to the arts. It is now home to the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet and the Julliard School of Music.

The original design was modeled on the Capitoline Hill in Rome, where three related buildings surround an open square.

The Lincoln Center redesign has been in the works for years. At one point I'd heard that Frank Gehry had planned to cover the outdoor plaza with an enormous sculptural glass roof. For whatever reason (perhaps structural?) his design never went forward.

Related posts: The Majestic Ansonia, Living in Style on Riverside Drive and The Sky is Falling.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

On the Boardwalk, in Coney Island

The Boardwalk, Coney Island
Photo by myself on the boardwalk at Coney Island, Brooklyn.

Though the beach season hasn't yet started, some vendors were already serving customers this weekend. Hot dogs tend to be the crowd favorite.


On Sunday, Mark and I took our dog Rupert for his first walk on the beach. The walk was short-lived; unfortunately, the beach was littered with broken glass.

Coney Island is located at the tip of Brooklyn, about 20 minutes away by car. You can also take the subway. Lots of other people had had the same idea, since the weather was mild.

Coney Island is known for its boardwalk, an amusement park with a wooden roller coaster and an overall feeling of decay. Perhaps at one time the rides and storefronts were new, but the area always seems a bit run down. The neighborhood around the park is a bit depressing.

Related posts: More is More, Night View at the Carousel and Step Lively.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Suspenseful Bridges

Verrazano Bridge, New York
Photo by myself of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Once the longest suspension bridge in the world, the Verrazano-Narrows connects Brooklyn with Staten Island. It is 60 feet longer than the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Verrazano is the starting point of the New York City Marathon, which runs through all five New York CIty Boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx.


We had to study bridges in our structural classes in school, and the most notable suspension bridge we encountered had nothing to do with a long span or great heights.

The Tacoma Narrows was a good 2,000 ft shorter, and pre-dated the Verrazano by 30 years. It was located in Washington State, and earned notoriety from its famous collapse.

The design of the bridge had a fatal flaw, one which I couldn't begin to explain, (something to do with the wind in the area and the frequency of the cables). Miraculously, no one was killed.

Happy Monday everyone!

Related posts: From Under The Bridge, Moving on Up and Bridging the Gap.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

An Early Spring on the Lower East Side

Teds Formal Wear, Lower East Side
Photo by myself on Orchard Street on the Lower East Side.

A quirky little store called Ted's Formal Wear has t shirts and coats hanging outside.


With temperatures in the 60's, it's hard not to believe that it's Spring. I have the feeling however that we'll have another cold spell before Spring arrives for real.

Saturday, the outdoor public basketball courts and playgrounds were flooded with adults and kids. The dog runs were jammed packed with dogs of all sizes. Everyone just seemed to be outside wearing tee shirts and jeans (except the dogs).

Some lucky people live on the ground floor of buildings, or their buildings have accessible areas on the ground or rooftops. Most New Yorkers however share their outdoor space with the rest of the population!

Related posts: Still Life, Antique Store, The Apple Store, Continued and Christmas Shopping.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

On Manhattan Buildings and Brooklyn Beer

Municipal Bldg, NYC
Photo by myself of the Municipal Building, on Centre Street, near City Hall.

The front of this landmark building from the turn of the century says 'New Amsterdam' and 'Manhattan'. This landmark building was designed by the revered architectural firm McKim, Mead and White, known for their gorgeous high-end residences and civic buildings.


Apologies for the late post. Work has been nuts lately, with multiple deadlines going on for me and my coworkers. But it was nothing a tall pint of Brooklyn Lager couldn't solve!

Yes, Brooklyn has its own beer. If you have the chance to try it, it's quite good. On the less hoppy side, Mark describes it as 'halfway to a Sam Adams'. Most bars in New York have it on tap.

The Brooklyn Brewery is located in a huge warehouse space in Williamsburg. They conduct free tours on Saturdays and Sundays and it's open Friday nights. The times I've been there have been fun - the large open space is filled with young kids, there is art on the walls, music playing and general mayhem.

Beers are $4 each or buy $20 worth of tokens for 6 cups. There's a Winter Ale, Summer Ale, Weisse and Pilsner but the Brooklyn Lager is by far the most popular flavor.

You might need a Brooklynite to lead you to the Brewery. It's located on North 11th Street a little ways away from the L train in Williamsburg. Check out their website here.

Related posts: Looking Up in Park Slopes, Dusk Among Towers and The Met Life Building, All Lit Up.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Lost Near Macy's

Lost near Macy's, NYC
Photo by myself outside Macy's, at 34th Street and Broadway.

A visitor consulted a map for help. In the background are the decorated windows of the well-known department store.


TGIF everyone!

Related posts: Merry Christmas, All, Happy Thanksgiving, from Macy's and Lighting the Way.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Another Look at the New Museum, The Bowery

New Museum, The Bowery
Another photo of the New Museum on Bowery.

I posted another photo of this facade, here. I prefer the photo above because it's non-traditional and looks almost accidental. The museum is framed by the people and the bus.


Apologies for the abundance of black and white photos lately....I'm sort of going through a phase.

Work has also been a bit stressful. My coworkers and I sit at our desks all day, run out for a salad/sandwich/soup from the deli across the street and run back inside. Boring!

Anyhow, I hope to get out a bit very soon for my mental health. The promise of Spring is in the air (they say it will hit 60 degrees this weekend).


Related posts: East (Side) Versus West (Side), On Radio City and the Whitney Museum and Now on Center Stage.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Union Square in Black and White

Union Square, New York
Photo by myself in Union Square.

Two travelers crossed through Union Square after a recent rainfall. The statue in the background depicts George Washington on horseback.


For those of you who have seen Slumdog Millionaire, there's an incredible article in The New Yorker magazine about the children who live in the slums of Mumbai.

The piece in the New Yorker describes the poverty and life of one 13-year old boy. He barely survives by selling scrap metal from a nearby airport for a meagre profit. School is an unheard of luxury for such children.

You can read the abstract of the article here. If you're a New Yorker subscriber, you can get access to the article from the same page. The digital issue of the magazine is even available for purchase.

For a brief video diary on the New Yorker site of the lives of these children, click here.

Related posts: Night View, Canal Street, One Dollar, One Dollar and All Lit up on Canal Street.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Selling Grapes on Canal Street

Canal Street, NYC
Photo by myself on Canal Street in Chinatown.

Mark and I went to Chinatown in Manhattan this weekend for dim sum. On our way we encountered several street vendors selling the biggest red grapes I've ever seen. Where are these grown when it's 15 degrees outside?


On Monday, New York was hit with a big snowstorm. After much hooplah we wound up getting 10+ inches of snow.

Everyone on the subway Monday morning looked like they were extras in a snowstorm movie, with big swatches of snow on their shoulders and backs.


Related posts: Night View, Canal Street, One Dollar, One Dollar and All Lit up on Canal Street.


Monday, March 2, 2009

On the Brooklyn Bridge

On the Brooklyn Bridge
Photo by myself of the Brooklyn Bridge, out the sunroof of Mark's car.

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most recognizable icons in New York because of its distinctive stone piers and diagonal cables. If you're in town on a nice day and have the chance to walk across it, you should. Cars run on one level, while pedestrians and cyclists have the upper level to themselves.

Pedestrian access to the bridge starts near City Hall on Centre Street. You wind up on the other side in Brooklyn Heights, where you can walk on the Brooklyn Promenade along the East River.


Who doesn't like a happy ending? In the Times, you can read about a recent New York incident that turned out okay.

A woman named Hannah Emily Upp was found last year after going missing for three weeks. She'd had a rare episode of memory loss, where she forgot her identity, similar to Jason Bourne in the Bourne series (though not at all violent).

Upp wandered around the city without identification cards or money, and was found in the waters off Staten Island. Only now has she been interviewed about the incident.

Once in a while, you see 'Missing' signs posted on the street, and you hear something in the local news. I assume the person wanted to go missing, and they were either running from something, or being chased.

It's nice to see that 'Missing' can mean a happy ending.

Click here for the Times article.

Related posts: More of the Brooklyn Bridge, From Under the Bridge and The View from the Promenade.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Greetings from New York

Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn NYC
Photo by myself in downtown Brooklyn, Saturday.

Mark and I were stopped at a red light when we spotted two people dressed up as Lady Liberty, most likely working for a tour group soliciting new clients for an accounting firm.

One of the costumed 'Statues' noticed my camera and waved a friendly hello.


Mark and I drove out to nearby New Jersey Saturday, to visit some family. While shopping for sandwiches at the local supermarket, Mark scored cane sugar and two huge jugs of laundry detergent.

'The sugar is two dollars less here!' he said excitedly. 'Oh and we should fill up on gas.'

New York, meet New Jersey.

There are houses and lawns in New Jersey, and monstrous supermarkets to feed everyone. We have supermarkets in NYC, but nothing like the ones in the 'burbs. After all, most New Yorkers are on foot and can only drag a couple bags of stuff home and up three flights of stairs.

Real estate is also expensive. In New York, goods seem to be priced in terms of shelf space. I'm struck by how people in other cities can drive around to compare prices. We don't have that luxury.

Many New Yorkers are limited to a five block radius for the essentials. So within five blocks, you can usually find a dry cleaners, a laundromat, a grocery store, a shoe repair shop, a liquor store and a 24-hour deli. Oh and of course at least two Starbucks.

On the other hand, that saying about how you can get anything at anytime in New York is true. You can get just about anything here....provided you're willing to pay the price.

Related posts: The View of Liberty, Finally Home and Step Lively.