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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Life is but a Game, in Bryant Park

Bryant Park, NYC
Photo by myself, in Bryant Park at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.

Sun worshippers were lunching and lounging in Bryant Park, last week.

The lawn was painted to resemble a football field. Last Wednesday, a game was played among various retired NFL players, including Dan Marino, Barry Sanders and Jerry Rice. The game was taped and will air on August 28th, during the Oakland vs. New Orleans game.

This park is a wonderful relief from the buildings and asphalt in Midtown. It's not uncommon to see office workers sunbathing during their lunch hour.

Tons of events are scheduled in the park every day. This coming week, there is the traditional Monday night movie ('Cool Hand Luke'), Tai Chi, juggling and live music.

For the Bryant Park Events Calendar, click here.
For an article about last Wednesday's game, including photos, click here.

Related posts: Having a Ball, in Bryant Park, Fierce Competition, in Bryant Park and Serious Fun, in Bryant Park.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

On the Water around Manhattan

New Jersey at dusk
Photo by myself, from the Hudson River.

Another view from my boat ride around Manhattan.

Just across the Hudson River is Jersey City, in New Jersey. The Goldman Sachs Tower is the tallest building in that state, recently built by the architect Cesar Pelli. It is 42 stories tall and was completed in 2004.

In the tower are offices, a cafeteria and full service gym, including a clinic for physical therapy. For more about the building, click here.


Last week, my office chartered a yacht for a ride around Manhattan. We went up the Hudson to the George Washington Bridge, across to the East River and down to the Statue of Liberty. It was the first time I had seen Manhattan from a boat.

There is nothing more civilized than a bunch of architects on a yacht, haha. We were lucky to have good weather until the very end, when we were bombarded with rain. Fortunately, no one got seasick.

You don't have to charter your own boat for such a treat. There are several companies that offer sightseeing rides year round.

On the East River
Passing below one of the many bridges on the East River. You can see the shadow of our boat in the foreground.

Related posts: Looking Out Yonder, to the Far West Side, A Sunset View, from Battery Park and A View from the West Side Highway.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Get Your Zumba on for Free, in Herald Square

Free Zumba, Herald Square
Photo by myself in Herald Square, at 34th Street and Broadway in Midtown.

Only in New York will you have free exercise classes right outside Macy's, on one of the busiest blocks in Manhattan.

Every Thursday night at 6pm, through September 30th, you can take a free Zumba class outside. The speakers were blaring 'La Vida Loca' and a crowd gathered around to watch.

Zumba is an aerobic workout that combines dance moves from salsa, merengue, mambo and hip-hop. The instructor, above in the blue top, looked very fit.

With the new pedestrian-only blocks, the city has a vibrant, festival atmosphere. We had nice temperatures Thursday too, which made such jumping around okay.

Free Zumba, Herald Square

Free Zumba, Herald Square

The free classes are sponsored by DanceSport. No pre-registration is required. You just show up.

For a little more about the Zumba classes on Thursdays, click here.

Related posts: Running Along the Edge of Manhattan, Leg Lunges, 9:25 am, Midtown and Running Atop the Brooklyn Bridge.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Willis Avenue Bridge, on the Harlem River

Bridge, East River
Photo by myself, on the Harlem River.

The Willis Avenue of the many bridges connected to Manhattan.

The Manhattan, Brooklyn and George Washington Bridges are by far the most known. The Willis Avenue bridge is small in comparison, connecting Manhattan to the Bronx.

Manhattan is to the left, out of frame, here. I was on a boat going downstream on the water. The sun was setting and the sky was gorgeous.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Related posts: Gone Fishin', Along the East River, Red Skiff, in the East River and On Rain and the Brooklyn Bridge.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It All Ends, Above Chelsea

From the High Line
Photo by myself around 19th Street and 10th Avenue, in Chelsea.

Another view from the High Line.

The cataclysmic billboard for the last of the Harry Potter movies looks directed at the High Line structure.

Tenth Avenue is one of the wider avenues. Along its length are apartment buildings, some small stores and restaurants, and gas stations. Above 59th Street, 10th Avenue becomes Amsterdam Avenue.

The Empire State Building is in the background.

Related posts: On Mulberry Street and Small Packages, The Quality Mending Company, SoHo and Our Commander in Chief, Above Seventh Avenue.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fine Italian Pastries, on the Lower East Side

Fine Italian Pastries
Photo by myself at Ludlow and Stanton Streets, on the Lower East Side.

There is no shortage of movies showing older Italian men in New York, hanging out with each other and cooking.

This mural is a part of an ad campaign by Umbro. Hand-painted murals are located in neighborhoods showing groups of real people wearing the Umbro insignia.

Umbro's New York campaign targets its urban audience, showing real New Yorkers wearing their clothing.

To see the photo the mural was drawn from, including the whole New York Umbro series, click here.

Related posts: Sand Painting, in Washington Square Park, Serial Killers Mural, in Williamsburg and The Writing on the Wall, on Avenue A.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Pork is the Answer, on the Lower East Side

Pork is the Answer
Photo by myself on Orchard and Houston Streets, on the Lower East Side.

The sandwich board style sign has a picture of a pig turning into bacon. The text reads: 'Sun Fried? Pork is the Answer!'

The sign was outside Georgia's East Side BBQ, a restaurant on the Lower East Side. I've never eaten there, but the reviews are generally very good.

Their lip-smacking menu includes goodies like baby back pork ribs, pulled pork, fried catfish and burgers that weigh half a pound. Yeesh.

For New York Magazine's review of Georgia's East Side BBQ, click here.
For their website, click here.

Related posts: Signs of Hope, Absolutely No World Cup, in Park Slope, Brooklyn and Last Call, Park Slope, and 10 Things to do in New York.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Looking Cool in the Heat, in Chinatown

Sunny, yet cool
Photo by myself, somewhere in Chinatown.

As it is in many places right now, it's been extremely hot here in New York. Temperatures have been hovering in the high 90s and low 100s.

You can tell the man on the right is squinting into the bright sunlight. Umbrellas help on these sunny days.

To the right, most people are limited to buy what they can carry home, which can be a good thing.

Related posts: From Under the Banner, in Chinatown, Shopping Til Dropping, on Canal Street and En Masse, On Canal Street.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

City Portraits - The High Line, Part Two

On the High Line
Photo by myself on the High Line, somewhere around 24th Street and 10th Avenue, in Chelsea.

The second section is open on the High Line, the elevated pedestrian park in Chelsea.

The park now runs from Gansevoort Street in the West Village, all the way up to West 30th Street. It makes use of an abandoned elevated railroad trestle.

The elevated views are pretty incredible. At times, you are winding around the back sides of old tenement buildings or along billboards.

On the High Line
The plantings have filled out quite a bit since this park opened. Above, the Standard Hotel.

On the High Line
A new water feature allows visitors to cool their tired feet. Water skims the surface of several rows of stone. The row where people have left their shoes are open grates for drainage.

On the High Line
At times, the walkway juts out as platforms overlooking the street.

On the High Line
The view north. There is a final undeveloped portion ahead between 30th and 34th Street that includes the rail yards.

On the High Line
The view west toward the Hudson River.

On the High Line
The view east toward Chelsea.

I definitely recommend visiting on a day that is not too sunny. The light colored concrete becomes a reflective surface in the summer, radiating all the heat up at you. It is really, really hot.

For the official High Line site, including its history and a calendar of events, click here.
For an interactive map, click here.
For a look at my first tour of the High Line, click here.

City Portraits is an ongoing, once-in-a-while installment featuring parts of New York.

Related posts: City Portraits - Shelter Island, City Portraits - Central Park and City Portraits - Coney Island, Brooklyn.


Friday, July 22, 2011

All Clear, Below Ground

Stand Clear
Photo by myself at the DeKalb subway station, in Brooklyn.

Stand clear of the closing doors is the recorded mantra you hear all the time on the subway, followed by an electronic ding - dong.

Every time the doors close, subway operators stick their heads out as reliably as groundhogs on Groundhog Dog Day. The operators check that no one and nothing is stuck in the doors, before the train moves on.

The red light to the side of the door shuts off when the door is completely closed. Sometimes people running onto the train and get a hand or bag stuck in the doors. Eek.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Related posts: Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, Underground, On Rain and Trains and Wednesday Morning, Below Brooklyn.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bikini Clad, on Prince Street

Giant Bikini
Photo by myself at Mulberry and Prince Streets, in SoHo.

A giant bikini-clad woman looked down from her perch in SoHo.

As you can see on the right, there are still some empty lots, even in this neighborhood. This area is known for one-off boutiques selling very expensive items.

Most of the stores are for clothing. There are knick knack stores and restaurants, too.

I always thought it would be tough to live as a student in New York, where you are bombarded with advertising at a time when you're not earning a dime. A friend of mine who went to NYU said it was not easy.

Related posts: Strung Along, in SoHo, Deck Yourself Out, in SoHo and Windswept, in SoHo.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

He Went Thataway, on the Lower East Side

He went thataway
Photo by myself, around East Houston and Norfolk Streets, on the Lower East Side.

A woman in a kimono was getting directions, on the Lower East Side.


It has been very hot here, with temperatures in the mid-to-high 90's.

On the subway platforms, it's been stifling. I've been trying to get a photo of how hot it can be while waiting for a train, but New Yorkers hold their own pretty well. You can't even tell they are suffering.

Related posts: Sitting Outside, on Broadway, People Watching, in Union Square and Waiting, in Times Square.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Big Wampum Poster, on Houston Street

Big Poster
Photo by myself on Houston Street and Bowery, in NoHo.

This gigantic mural caught my eye, Monday morning.

'Lakota, Dakota Nation' refers to two Native American reservations in North Dakota. The installation was done after the artist, 'JR', received a $100,000 grant awarded by TED, a non-profit agency dedicated to innovation.

'JR' is a street artist. He specializes in large scale portraits placed in urban settings. For his online portfolio, click here.

For more about the Houston Street mural, click here
For more about the TED award, click here.

Related posts: On Target, on Houston Street, In Full Color, on Houston Street and Images of Hope.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Outside Strider Records, on Jones Street

Strider Records, NYC
Photo by myself on Jones and Bleeker Streets, in the Village.

Yes, the above photo was taken this year. It's a record store. Remember those?

Strider Records sells vinyl in their store and online. They've been around for 30 years and have a large selection of all sorts of music. They are very proud of an extensive collection of Elvis Presley records.

I didn't get to go inside. From the photos on their website, the store looks to be packed full with records, from floor to ceiling. Obviously you need a record player to enjoy these things. Ha.

Strider ships worldwide. You can search for oldies but goodies on their website here.

Related posts: Open 24/7, in Brooklyn, Shining Bright, at Live Bait and Outside Zucco, on the Lower East Side.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

In the Sun and in Shades, near Union Square

Union Square, NYC
Photo by myself near Union Square, at 15th Street and Union Square West.

It's been sunny here, with low humidity for now.

Crowds of people were walking around shopping, Saturday afternoon. The sidewalks were crowded with folks enjoying the nice weather and outdoor street fairs.

Related posts: Uggs in Times Square, Beautiful People, East Village and Fall Fashion Week, Bryant Park.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Taking a Dip, in Prospect Park Pond

At the Dog Pond, Prospect Park
Photo by myself at the dog pond in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

We had a beautiful morning on Saturday. In celebration, the dog pond was chock full of dogs enjoying the water.

One corner of a pond is cordoned off with a low fence, so dogs can swim about. The bank of the pond is covered in concrete. There, the owners stand to watch.

Rupert loves to play ball in the shallows, getting his head wet, before playing an intense game of fetch in the fields.

At the Dog Pond, Prospect Park
There are equal shares of sniffing and play. Just visible in the background is the low fence in the pond.

At the Dog Pond, Prospect Park
Our dog Rupert loves to play fetch.

Related posts: Cooling Off hot Dogs in Prospect Park, Roaming Free in Prospect Park, Brooklyn and Off Leash, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Say Cheese, in Times Square

Hello KittyPhoto by myself in Times Square, at 42nd Street and Broadway.

It's hard to believe sometimes that the above photo was taken in New York City rather than Disneyworld. Huge billboards and pedestrian-only blocks in this area cater to visitors.


In general, it looks and feels relatively safe in New York these days. It's easy to walk around as if there's no reason to be careful.

Crime goes on, though. In the last couple days, the city has been shattered by a shocking tragedy in Brooklyn. An 8-year old boy was recently found dead after he became lost, while trying to walk the few blocks home from camp.

The incident took place in what's considered a very safe neighborhood in Brooklyn. The alleged killer dismembered the body before being caught. Horrible. Many young kids navigate the city on their own.

For an article in the Times, click here.

Related posts: Public Art at the Lever House, At a Crossroads in Times Square and Only in New York.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Morning Serenade

Morning Seranade
Photo by myself, on the subway.

A trio of musicians on the subway is not an unusual sight. Wednesday morning, an accordion player accompanied two fellows playing guitar.

The subway was swaying a bit while I took this photo. I raised the ISO setting on my camera and held onto my fiance Mark at the same time, lol.

Related posts: Serenading the Crowds on the Subway Platform, The King of Song, Below Ground and On Bach Partitas and Danger Underground.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Delays on the B Train, Underground

Photo by myself at the subway platform in Columbus Circle.

It's been sweltering here above and below ground.

Swelteringly hot and humid. The temperature was around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, Tuesday. With tropical humidity, it felt like 110.

The last thing you want to do is stand very close to someone you don't know. Above, there were delays on the subway. I'm sure most of the people were thinking, 'What the (#&@#! is the problem???!!'

A minority of guys wear suits or blazers to work, like the fellow on the right. For most, just a nice shirt and slacks will do.

Guys in more creative or informal professions can wear cargo shorts and tee shirts. He looks very cool but I can't imagine how hot the guy in the suit feels.

Related posts: Wednesday Morning, Below Brooklyn, Don't *@#&! with Me, Underground and On the Platform, at 34th Street.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Along for the Ride, in Columbus Circle

Riding Tandem
Photo by myself in Columbus Circle, at Central Park South and Columbus Avenue.

Just as the light turned color, this duo crossed my path in Columbus Circle. You can see the globe sculpture near the Trump International Tower and subway station in the background.

I had barely enough time to grab my camera, so this photo is a bit overexposed.

Fortunately for everyone, this little dog had his leash attached to the inside of the carrier. He was very, very excited and jumped up and down, yipping and yapping.

Related posts: Doggy Bag, on the Q Train, Dogs in Fur Coats, on Madison Avenue and On Dogs and Dogs.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Riding Piggyback, in Midtown

Piggyback, Midtown
Photo by myself, in Midtown.

A little girl rode piggyback in Midtown.

It's not easy for parents to get around the city with young children. When in a crowd, the best view is from higher up. There is also a lot of walking involved in the city.

Young children riding around in strollers can also be a tough situation. Parents have to cart the stroller up and down stairs to the subway. Typically there are no elevators, though New Yorkers will often lend a hand.

Related posts: It's a Kid's Life, in Brooklyn, A Family Moment, in SoHo and Running Amok in the Streets.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Spray of Summer, in Park Slope, Brooklyn

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

In the summer, there are block parties in Brooklyn.

Signs are posted along the sidewalk the night before, so that people move their cars the next day. Then the street is closed off to traffic and a hydrant opened, to spray water for people to cool off.

People haul their barbecues and picnic tables into street. Someone turns on a boom box. Kids run around with squirt guns.

And there you have it, a block party. You have to get permission with the city, beforehand. Entire families hang out in front of their buildings in lawn chairs and enjoy the summer.

Above, Rupert and a couple of his buddies enjoy the water. A little dog friend was just out of frame to the right. It was very hot and sunny, Saturday.

Little wet dog pointing west
A moment of contemplation. Rupert's little friend faced west, toward the setting sun.

Related posts: Last Bit of Summer, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Through the Haze, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn and Summering in the City.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Best Hot Dogs, in Times Square

In Times Square, NYC
Photo by myself in Times Square.

A vendor offered 'The Best Hot Dogs' in Times Square.

As you can see in the background, there is tons of different types of traffic going on, from buses to cars to motorcycles. With that and all the moving signage, this area is the place of distraction.

This photo was taken on Thursday. Friday we had insane humidity and thundershowers. Walking through the streets was like being in a steam bath.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Related posts: Passing the Time in Times Square, Tete a Tete, in Times Square and Looking Up, at Times Square.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Checking it out, on Leroy Street

On Leroy Street, NYC
Photo by myself on Leroy and Bleecker Streets, in the West Village.

A few visitors seemed overwhelmed with the choices in postcards, the other day.


By the way, we're having a sort of heat wave here. It's been hot and very humid, in the mid-80's. Down below in the subway stations, it's been much more unbearable than usual.

When you are standing outside, all you can hear is the whirr of air conditioning. Eek.

Related posts: At a Crossroads, in Times Square, On Fashion Sense and the West Village and On Looking Like a Tourist on Holiday.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Ghostly Glow of Times Square

On 42nd Street
Photo by myself at 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue.

The signs around Times Square light up a huge portion of the night sky. You can see the ghostly glow from several blocks away.

We've been having warm summer nights. Tons of people were walking about, Wednesday evening.


By the way, I received a really nice email from the people at Prospect Park, yesterday. They enjoyed my recent photo of women playing badminton and posted it on their Facebook page.

You can see the photo on their wall here.

Related posts: At a Crossroads, in Times Square, Bewildered, in Times Square and The Naked Cowboy, in Times Square.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

On NYC Stories, in Midtown

Your NYC Story
Photo by myself at 41st Street and Sixth Avenue.

The latest slogan for a Citibank location is 'Write your NYC story'. The windows of this building across from Bryant Park is often decorated with interesting displays.

I have to wonder what this man's story is. The American flag he's toting is a remnant from the Fourth of July.


For a while, I was going to a pastry cart guy on the block where I work. I always got the same thing (cheese danish), and was greeted with a cheery 'good morning' and playful banter.

But now I'm on a new diet, one that says cheese danishes are a no-no. So I walk a couple blocks around and take a shortcut through a parking garage to avoid that fateful corner. Anything to avoid having to explain myself (it's not you or your pastries, it's me!).

This is my roundabout way of saying there are NYC stories everywhere. Even a large city can seem like a small town at times.

Related posts: Power to the People, in Midtown, The World Walks by, on Fifth Avenue and Homeless Woman, 34th Street Platform.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pedaling around Columbus Circle

Pedicab, Columbus Circle
Photo by myself at Columbus Circle, at 59th Street and Columbus, in Midtown.

New York is becoming more people-powered, lately.

Bicycle lanes are more common and there are plans for city-sponsored bike rentals. Generally, the vibe here is that driving, except for cabs and deliveries, is not so desirable.

Our Mayor, a very pragmatic businessperson, has been making the City more and more efficient. This is a good thing, I suppose. For people who live or around the city, it's a mixed bag.

Owning a car has always been difficult in the city. You can park on the streets but you need to move your car every other day and risk damage. Those who can afford it rent spaces in a garage. Monthly costs are in the hundreds per month.

In the outer boroughs such as Brooklyn, it's a little easier. If you park on the street, you only need to move your car once a week.

Related posts: Working It, How's About a Ride? and Enjoying a Ride, in Central Park.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Playing Badminton in Burqas, in Brooklyn

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

A group of young women enjoyed a game of badminton in Prospect Park, Saturday. They wore burqas and traditional clothing and scarves over their heads.

This is one of many cases where I wish I had my dSLR camera on me, for better detail. Drat!! We were taking Rupert on a walk and I didn't want to be weighed down with a heavy camera.

I have to wonder whether these garments keep you cooler. It's been very humid and rainy the last couple of days here.

I hope everyone's weekend has been a restful one! Mark and I hosted a barbecue on Sunday and will spend the day recovering on the sofa.

ps: Thanks to dear Catz in British Columbia for clarifying what garments these women were wearing (abayas and hijabs)!

Related posts: Playing Ball, in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Having a Ball, in Bryant Park and From the Sidelines.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Under Candelabra at One if by Land, in the West Village

One if by Land, West Village
Photo by myself at One if By Land, a restaurant on Barrow Street in the West Village.

Mark and I dined at One if by Land, Two if by Sea, a well-known restaurant, Saturday night.

One if by Land is touted for being one of the most romantic restaurants in the city. It is also very expensive. Mark received a gift certificate from a business contact over a year ago, and we finally got around to eating there.

There is a piano player in the front of the house, as well as a well-stocked bar. A double height space is lit with candelabra. The vibe is Old New York, with exposed brick walls and very low lighting.

We opted for the six-course chef tasting menu but should have gone with the four-course prix fixe menu instead (there are only these two options on weekends). We were absolutely stuffed by the fifth course. And then there was dessert!!

One if by Land, West Village
The bar and seating, in the front room. A fireplace is out of frame, to the left.

I had pate, a beautiful summer salad and steak, among other dishes. Mark had lobster, pan seared scallops and halibut. Some of the courses were just okay, some were divine. Overall, our food experience was a good one.

I don't have any photos of our food, unfortunately. We were sitting between to two other tables and I felt strangely embarrassed to take photos with such limited space.

There are mixed reviews to One if by Land online. Frankly, Mark and I prefer down-to-earth ramen places and Ethiopian food to fancy places.

For a review in New York Magazine, click here.
For the restaurant website, which includes current menus, click here.

Related posts: The Flatiron Building, in Detail, On the Market and Details, Details.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Looking Up at Pointy-Eared Creatures, at West 73rd Street

Apple Savings Bank
Photo by myself outside the Central Savings Bank at 73rd Street and Broadway on the Upper West Side.

The Apple Bank, formerly the Central Savings Bank, is located just where Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway intersect, on the Upper West Side. Pointy-eared creatures look down from the railing above.

The building was originally built in the 1920's. The upper floors were converted into condominium apartments in 2006.

Two bedroom units were originally sold for $5.8 million. A three-bedroom unit was originally sold for $6.65 million, or $2,204 per square foot. The average price for apartments in this neighborhood is $1,299 per square foot.

All apartments were outfitted with their own laundry rooms and kitchens with top-of-the-line appliances. The building also has an indoor gym and 24-hour doorman.

For an article about the building, including photos of the apartment interiors click here.

Apple Savings Bank
A better look at the pointy-eared creatures.

Related posts: The Flatiron Building, in Detail, On the Market and Details, Details.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Flipping Out, on the B Train

Dancing on the B Train
Photo by myself on the B Train, on the Manhattan Bridge.

A group of kids performed dance moves on the subway, Thursday night. Performers usually turn on a boom box or shout an announcement. Then they run down the aisle doing handstands or grabbing a pole and flipping themselves upside down for contributions.

People were engrossed in their own thoughts, or sleeping, or texting at the time. Ha. Musical and acrobatic performances on the subway are not uncommon.

There is a moment when the trains to and from Brooklyn emerge from the tunnels and cross the Manhattan Bridge. The cars are bathed in daylight. It's the ideal time to check text messages or to make a quick call.

This weekend is July 4th weekend, a holiday in the States. People celebrate by having barbecues or picnics. Most people have Monday off from work. Happy July 4th weekend, everyone!

Dancing on the B Train

Dancing on the B Train

Related posts: The Trains are Hopping, Funky Chicken, in Park Slope and Cowboy Dancer, in Midtown.