Already, my short trip to LA is over. Drat. I hear it's warm and humid back in New York.
Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Related posts: Madge + Macy's = Mayhem, And the Crowd Roared, in Bryant Park and Across the Crowded Sidewalk, in Midtown.
Photo by myself on Ocean Avenue around Arizona Street, in Santa Monica.
Happy Memorial Day! It's beautifully sunny here in Santa Monica. There is a constant cool breeze, so it's best to wear a hat and light jacket.
The public beach below can be accessed through parking lots. There are eateries, bike rentals and public restrooms along the 8-mile bike path that runs between Santa Monica and Venice.
I'm visiting my fiance Mark, who is here on business. We're staying at the Shangri-La, a deco-inspired hotel that was recently remodeled. 'Shangri-La' refers to a fictional Eden, of sorts.
The people of Santa Monica should seriously consider renaming their town Shangri-La. When walking through the streets, you get the feeling that nothing bad ever happens in this land of palm trees and sunshine.
The private courtyard at Hotel Shangri-La. Empty in the early morning, this space fills up with people and music all day long.
The bar just off the lobby at the hotel.
One of the custom light fixtures in the bathroom. I am tempted to put it in my suitcase!
Just half of the large bathroom. Pardon our mess. An enormous oval whirlpool tub is just out of view.
I have to say I encounter this land with a degree of New York skepticism. Really? Should life ever be this good?
Mark is more easily seduced. He has been dropping hints about moving here. I don't blame him. He is only human, after all.
For the Shangri-La website, click here.
Related posts: Sand and Surf, Mexico, Tropical Luxury, at the Caribe Hilton, Puerto Rico and Buenos Noches, from Mexico.
Photo by myself along Union Square West.
New Yorkers have a love affair with their pizza.
The pizza served by this truck must be good, since the truck is covered with graffiti. A sign on the truck says 'If you like our pizza, sign our truck'.
I'm sure the price tag (a dollar a slice) makes this pizza taste even better. To make it easy, they make only one flavor of pizza, which is made right on the truck.
To check where the truck plans to be every day, you can tune into Twitter (pizzatrucknyc) or check out their website, here.
I'm out in Los Angeles until Tuesday. Posts will continue here as usual.
Related posts: Pizza, Pizza, Greetings from a New York Pie, in Midtown and Food, Glorious Food.
Photo by myself at Arizona Street and Ocean Avenue, in Santa Monica, California.
The view from our hotel in Santa Monica is pretty incredible.
This was taken around 6 am today. The strip of green is a public park that overlooks the beach. The stately palm trees are typical of this area.
It's hard to tell from this viewpoint, but there is a huge drop between Ocean Avenue, the street directly below, and the beach. The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) runs along the beach, out of sight. There are beachfront properties that can just barely be seen.
To get between the beach and the main part of Santa Monica, there are a series of pedestrian bridges that span the PCH. Ascending the sheer cliffs are ramps or steps. I prefer the ramps, ha.
One of the sculptural walkways between the beach and the main portion of Santa Monica. Note the sheer cliffs in the background.
The bar at Blue Plate Oysterette looks into the open kitchen. The day's specials are written on chalkboards.
There is outdoor seating at BP Oysterette. The place seems to always be hopping.
My fiance Mark is in LA on business and I'm here for the long weekend. My parents also live out here, so it's been a nice, relaxing time. We are staying at a super cool hotel (more on that in a later post).
Mark and I had dinner on Thursday at Blue Plate Oysterette, a nicely decorated restaurant along Ocean Avenue. They have a great selection of raw oysters and seafood dishes.
Mark had the lobster roll, which was top notch. I had the bouillbaisse, which was divine. The soup part seemed thin at first but was utterly transformed after adding slices of buttered, crusty bread.
I just loved the interiors, which had the right balance of rustic and refined. The Blue Plate Oysterette is a smaller version of Blue Plate, another restaurant in Santa Monica.
Their website is as well-presented as the restaurant. To see it, click here.
Related posts: The Sunset View, from Malibu, Greetings from Santa Monica and California Dreamin'.
Photo by myself at 18th Street and 5th Avenue, in the Flatiron District.
Old Town is one of the few remaining old bars in New York. It is usually packed every night with business people in the early evenings, and kids in the wee hours.
As you can see of the bar, Old Town is not pretentious. You would never know it's located steps away from trendy restaurants and luxe furnishing stores.
Old Town has been known as a 'writer's bar'. Frank McCourt, Nick Hornby and Seamus Heaney used to come here. Some of their signed photographs are on the wall.
For the Old Town website, which includes their menus and some historic photos, click here.
Photo by myself at Union Square subway station.
The lighting at the platforms at Union Square is pretty damned great.
The platforms are washed in light, while the tracks are relatively dark. The result is dramatic and stage-like.
Mark is away on business in LA (Los Angeles). Without him here, I couldn't figure out which photo was better of the same scene. What do you think?
There are more people in focus and in frame in the photo below, but I like the stance of the red-headed woman in photo above. She provides a central focus.
Photo by myself in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Yes, even in cities, kids set up lemonade stands.
Three young ladies set up a table this weekend on Fifth Avenue, a very busy street in Park Slope. I'm not sure how they did, but lots of people noticed and stopped by.
Photo by myself in Midtown, at 34th Street and Sixth Avenue.
Just outside the subway entrance, people are prone to make last-minute calls before jumping on the train. More than a few people were talking or texting there, Monday night.
The trouble is, standing in front of the stair means blocking half the space. This is most obvious when train-loads of people are climbing up to the sidewalk.
Related posts: Texting, Schmexting, Passing the Time, Underground and On the Platform, 34th Street.
Photo by myself at 5th Avenue and 5th Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Residents of Park Slope, Brooklyn, are lucky to have a Farmer's Market every Sunday afternoon, rain or shine.
At the Park Slope Farmer's Market, purveyors of locally grown veggies, poultry, fish and flowers set up stalls. There are also vendors of homemade pasta, pickles, baked goods and even chocolate.
Most of the farms and vendors are located an hour or two away, in upstate New York. For nine months out of the year, they set up stalls every Sunday outside.
Above, near-perfectly round and ripe tomatoes were arranged beside spears of asparagus. All sorts of fresh flowers were ready for planting. Mark and I strolled by, Sunday afternoon.
Made by Molly displays scrumptious baked goods in their homemade vitrines.
Feather Ridge Farm raises fresh eggs and poultry in the Hudson Valley.
Doc Pickle's booth was crowded with fans of all things pickled.
After browsing around, Mark and I felt absolutely spoiled. Next time, Sunday dinner will be planned around what we can get at the market.
For the Park Slope Farmer's Market site, including links to most of the vendors, click here.
Related posts: Bright Lights and Cured Meats, on the Upper West Side, Going Mad, at the Mad. Sq. Markt and Fresh on the Upper West Side.
Photo by myself around 23rd Street and Broadway.
Yes, it's still raining here. This photo is from an earlier rainy night.
Live Bait is a restaurant just down the street from the Flatiron Building. It serves up Southern-inspired food like gumbo, crab cakes and catfish sandwiches.
If you're like me and judge a place based on its side dishes, you will love this place. Who could resist black-eyed peas, dirty rice and candied yams? Yum!
For a brief blurb in New York Magazine, which includes the Live Bait menu, click here.
Related posts: Neon Storefronts, in Midtown, Night View, Canal Street and Open 24/7, in Brooklyn.
Photo by myself, around Park Avenue and 75th Street.
The lobbies of Park Avenue buildings are as refined and elegant as the exteriors.
This is the view at 812 Park Avenue, a pre-war residential building on the Upper East Side. There are plaster friezes above the windows and stone floors.
The lobby is spacious. This is the view of one of two windows. I wish I'd taken a photo of the ceiling, which has ornate coffers and a large chandelier hanging in the middle.
The brass plaque to the right is shows what floor each elevator is on. There are multiple doormen at this building. Friday morning, the doormen were milling about, getting the mail and deliveries sorted.
The doormen were so nice, answering my questions about the building. Later, one hailed a cab for me and held an umbrella over my head! What super-deluxe treatment!
Related posts: It's All in the Details, on the Upper East Side, Hovering Above Park Avenue and Glitzy Glam, Outside the Pierre.
Photo by myself in Midtown.
A familiar sight when it rains. A whole line of cabs passed by this woman, having fares already.
It's much harder to find cabs in the afternoon and on stormy days. There have been times where I've tried in vain to find a cab in the rain. Gypsy cabs (non-yellow cabs that do not use meters) will pull by, offering to take you a few blocks for a high rate.
Gypsy cabs are safe, however it's best to negotiate a rate before you get into the car, to avoid a dispute.
Photo by myself at the Columbus Circle subway station.
It's been raining constantly, this week.
With rain comes delays with the subway. Yes, I know it's the 21st century, but that's how it goes. For some reason, rain means switching failures, which means delays.
This morning it took Mark and I over an hour to get to work. On a good day, when all transfers line up, it takes 35 minutes.
We were stalled in the station, stalled on the tracks. In an over-crowded train with no air circulation, no less. Mark and I just stood in the car rolling our eyeballs at each other. Argh!
Photo by myself at Broadway and 63rd Street, on the Upper West Side.
Construction has been completed at Lincoln Center.
The 1960's landmark has been updated to reflect the 21st Century. The result is pretty cool.
LED lighting makes the Lincoln Center sign (above) visible from faraway. Glass canopies connect the buildings to the street. A super-large sign supports huge bilboards announcing upcoming artists (not shown).
At the steps leading to the street, LED lights scroll through various messages (below). The word 'welcome' is translated in many different languages. Upcoming artists are also announced. It is an effective way to draw people into seeing a show.
In a way, architecture intersects with commerce at the new Lincoln Center. Let's face it - our institutions need patrons to survive.
Words illuminated with LEDs are in constant motion below the steps leading to the raised plaza. In the foreground, youngster with requisite i-ware.
Related posts: Making a Splash at Lincoln Center, Outside the Sunburnt Cow, Avenue C and Shoot the Freak, Coney Island.
Photo by myself in Washington Square Park.
A photo from the stash.
A woman sat in Washington Square Park with her puppy. The dog looks like a labradoodle to me, which is a combination of a labrador retriever and poodle.
Photo by myself at 22nd Street and Broadway, in the Flatiron District.
At 901 Broadway is stunning European-inspired building with tall windows and very little wall area. You can see the reflection of the Flatiron Building next door, in the windows.
Cast iron columns support the facade. These original windows must be about ten feet tall.
The ground floor of this building are stores, but above are actually loft apartments for rent. Currently a 2,700 square foot apartment is on the market for rent at $14,000 per month.
For the listing of the apartment, click here.
Related posts: Duane Street, Tribeca, The Flatiron Building, in Detail and Trinity Church, at Dusk.
Photo by myself from Central Park South.
After a long winter, Central Park is suddenly green.
The view above Central Park is nice enough from the east and from the west, but it's altogether different from the shorter ends. You get a real sense of how deep the park is, spanning fifty blocks north to south.
I have to say that the views during Fall are the best of all. Stay tuned in another four months, when the leaves change color.
For a look from the same window in January, click here.
Photo by myself around Columbus and 80th Street, on the Upper West Side.
Outside the Natural History Museum on the Upper West Side, there was the sound of a lone sax playing a soulful tune.
We are having wonderful weather these days, though cool at night. It's perfect for strolling about.
This musician graciously allowed me to take his photo while he played.
Photo by myself outside the Plaza Hotel at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue.
A temporary sculpture by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei lines the fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel.
The installation is called 'Zodiac Heads'. Twelve bronze heads depict the signs of the Chinese zodiac. Believe it or not, each head is actually four feet tall.
Ai Weiwei is one of those rare artists whose work spans many different disciplines, including conceptual art, sculpture and architecture. Weiwei was one of the designers of the Bird's Nest building for the 2008 Olympics.
In early April, Weiwei was arrested by the Chinese government, for no apparent reason. Weiwei has been an outspoken political activist in Beijing.
The sculpture will remain in place until July 15th, when it will travel to Los Angeles, Houston, Pittsburgh and Washington. Another set of heads is on view in London.
For a review of the installation in the Times, click here.
Each animal bust is rendered with a spare sense of detail.
Related posts: Time for Valentine's, Public Art at the Lever House and At the Base of Merchant's Gate, Central Park South.
Photo by myself in Union Square.
Several colorful characters were out in Union Square, Monday night. Victor Sheely, a street performer, posed for me above.
Victor, aka 'Coyote Butterfly', tells stories and illustrates comic books. Victor often performs in galleries as a street artist, but he was out in the beautiful Spring air, yesterday.
There is a large open space at the south end of Union Square. Often it is the site of political protests, artistic performance and markets, sometimes all going on at once.
A man dressed in colorful garb, in the name of tourism. Several banners advertising Jamaica were on display.
Photo by myself in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
It was brightly sunny this weekend, in Sunset Park. The canopies were up in the background, to keep pedestrians cool.
This area is the equivalent of Chinatown. Amazingly, just a couple blocks away is a very Hispanic neighborhood. Just take the 'R' train to 53rd Street and Fourth Avenue. Sunset Park is tucked in between Windsor Terrace and Bay Ridge.
You can find Malaysian, Vietnamese and Chinese cuisines here.
Open markets make for a lively experience during the day.
English is a second language in this neighborhood.
Fish markets were loaded with fresh seafood.
A shoemaker set up his temporary space on the sidewalk.
For more information from the Village, Voice, click here.
City Portraits is an ongoing, once-in-a-while installment featuring parts of New York.
Related posts: City Portraits - Coney Island, City Portraits - The High Line and City Portraits - The New York Public Library.
Photo by myself in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Happy Mother's Day! It's Mother's Day in the States.
Flower stores are open with bouquets for last-minute gifts.
The florist above is in our neighborhood in Park Slope, Brooklyn. They were open very early on Sunday, with a young man standing guard.
Related posts: A Community Garden - An Urban Oasis, Happy Summer and Flower Power, Bryant Park.
Photo by myself at 17th Street and Broadway, at Union Square.
A statue of Andy Warhol was installed near Union Square at the end of May. It drew attention from passersby, Friday evening.
Cast in chrome by the artist Rob Pruitt, the statue was sponsored by the Public Art Fund. Warhol's art studio, 'The Factory', was located near Union Square in the 70's and 80's.
Flowers and Campbells soup cans have been left at Warhol's feet. The artist used to stand on the same street corner, handing out copies of Interview, the magazine he founded in 1969.
The statue will be on view until early October.
For an article about the statue in the Times, click here.
For a free app by the Public Art Fund describing the statue's history, click here.
Related posts: Playing Pianos as Public Art, Charging Through Wall Street and Public Art and Other Freebies.
Photo by myself, somewhere in Midtown.
For every building with a public elevator, there at least one service elevator. This one had its doors wide open to the sidewalk.
This service entrance looked like an odd and informal gallery. There was a 'Mona Lisa', a view of the World Trade Towers and a portrait in graphite. At the metal doors of the service elevator, American flags were painted on the panels.
Happy Friday, everyone!
Related posts: Cereal Killers Mural, in Williamsburg, On Target, On Houston and Sand Artist, in Washington Square Park.
Photo by myself at the Gramercy hotel, at 21st Street and Lexington Avenue.
Just to the east of the Flatiron District is a tiny park called Gramercy Park. It is a tiny, fenced in park that is open only to those who live directly in the neighborhood.
The Gramercy Park Hotel is in the area. The lobby is other-worldly, done up in red velvet and black and white tile. There is an enormous chandelier and fireplace to suit how high the ceiling is.
Massive paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst and Keith Haring adorn the walls. The hotel was renovated by the artist Julian Schnabel in 2006. Schnabel is an eclectic artist, painting large scale works and directing films.
Rooms and suites range between $450 to $2,400 per night. As part of their stay, guests are allowed access into Gramercy Park.
The original hotel had a glamorous past, having been a favorite of rock muscians. A movie called Hotel Gramercy Park was made about the renovation and was featured at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2008.
For the Gramercy Park Hotel's website, click here.
For an earlier post about the movie 'Hotel Gramercy Park', click here.
Related posts: The Royalton Renovated, All Lit Up, Outside the Gershwin Hotel and On A Winter Day, at the Plaza Hotel.
Photo by myself on Madison Avenue and 75th Street, on the Upper East Side.
The modern facade of the Whitney Museum of American Art includes a huge canopy made of concrete, that is supported at the ends. The building was built in the mid-1960s. I was in the neighborhood on Monday for a doctor's appointment.
The museum's permanent collection includes work from Matthew Barney, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and my personal favorite, Berenice Abbott.
I'm not hip enough about modern art to know anything about the current exhibits, which are ultra-modern and include conceptual and video art.
To check out the Whitney website, click here.
Related posts: From the Rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, High Above the Metropolitan Museum and Another Look at the New Museum, on the Bowery.
Photo by myself at Vesey Street and Trinity Place, in the Financial District.
News crews broadcasted live across the street from the World Trade Center, Monday evening. In the background, the exposed trusses of the Freedom Tower can be seen.
I heard that the crowds at the World Trade Center were reported to be twice as large as usual. I stopped by the World Trade Center site on my way home.
Strangely, there weren't nearly as many people as I thought. People milled about quietly, taking photos and paying their respects.
Commuters and visitors walked by one of the towers in construction. It was business as usual.
A small show of American flags. Ongoing construction of the World Trade Center is reflected in the glass.
Related posts: Night View at the World Trade Center, Salvaged from the Wold Trade Center and On Street Corners, in the East Village.