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Monday, April 30, 2012

On Monday Mornings and Time to Make the Donuts

Morning, in Midtown Photo by myself, somewhere in Midtown.

Oh boy, it's Monday again. How does that happen?

Here's another photo from the stash, showing a typical scene in Midtown - a bevy of taxis, asphalt, and a couple of guys slogging away, lol.

I rooted around this blog and was surprised I haven't posted the clip below before? It's one of my favorite ads. Some of the most well-known commercials from the '80s featured a little guy named 'Fred the Baker', for Dunkin' Donuts.

The slogan was 'Time to make the Donuts', meaning that fresh donuts were being made constantly, and poor Fred had no time to relax (!).

My fiance Mark had to work all weekend. Mark also works in advertising. There is a connection in there. Enjoy!

 Related posts: Looking Up, in Midtown, Crowd Crossing, at 34th Street, and On Crossing the Street, and Living Dangerously.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Morning, in Park Slope, Brooklyn

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

It's just another Sunday morning in Park Slope.

A laundromat had a sign out on the sidewalk. There was a bench outside for people to sit and wait for their wash. And a Brooklynite walked his dog.

By law, dog owners have to pick up after their dogs, or risk being fined. The 'Pooper Scooper law' was first instated in 1978 and carries a $250 fine. Sidewalks and parks remain relatively clean, as a result.

Friday morning, my fiance Mark drove into the city. I tagged along, looking forward to walking across town and taking photos. I got out around 23rd and 10th Avenue.

People were walking to work, coffee cups in hand. Store owners were rolling up their gates and hosing down the sidewalks. And..then..I discovered I forgot to put the battery back in my camera. D'oh!

It actually turned out to be a nice walk. I shuffled through the Flower District, all abloom with Spring. I heard the morning traffic and snippets of passing conversation.

All too often, the camera cuts you off from what's going on. You zoom in with all your senses to one scene or another, rather than taking the whole world in. And you stand a bit outside the scene, distanced from the goings on.

Of course, there were missed opportunities: the glint of morning sun on a passing profile, the expressions and sounds of people passing by. But in the end, I was so glad I was 'hands free' and fully *present* in the City.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Stoop Sale, in the East Village

Sidewalk Sale, East Village Photo by myself, somewhere in the East Village.

Sidewalk sales of used stuff is commonplace in the East Village.

What looked like a historic black and white photo showing New York hung in the background.

Related posts: Selling Stuff Streetside, in the East Village, On Shopping on West 4th Street and My Insider's Guide, and Pawn Shops, in the Diamond District.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Fake New York Marathon, at Columbus Circle

Fake NYC Marathon, Columbus Circle Photo by myself in Columbus Circle, at 59th Street and Central Park West.

A podium and many signs were put up the other day for the New York City Marathon, in Columbus Circle.

The New York Marathon is normally run in the beginning of November (!) There were bright lights and cameras set up. This must have been the stage set for a movie or commercial. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to ask any of the crew.

While I wouldn't say it's an every day occurrence to see film crews in the city, it is certainly not rare. Usually, large white trucks are parked within a few blocks for the cast's changing rooms, and there are tables out with food. Production assistants mill about, making sure the sidewalks are clear.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Correction: Reader John, below, commented that this was a ceremony for runners chosen by lottery to run in this year's marathon. Every year, many, many more runners sign up than there is space for.

Related posts: Filming on Location, in Soho, A Film Shoot, in Midtown, and Campaign Offices, Set in Midtown.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

On Taking Naps Outside and Images Around the Globe

Bryant Park nap Photo by myself, in Bryant Park.

Some photos from the stash show a couple things: the cliche about New Yorkers being overworked may be true after all, and that Bryant Park serves as a convenient rest stop.

Bryant Park is surrounded by tall-ish office towers. In the warmer months it's difficult to find a seat, let alone a spot of grass on the lawn.

During lunch, I have seen men take off their ties, shirts and undershirts to tan. Egad.
  Bryant Park nap

Just before leaving for vacation, I was happily involved with a gesture that was romantic on different levels - a fellow from Poland named Tomasz wrote to me, requesting photos taken at New York landmarks. The only hitch - that I hold up a sign saying 'WNUCZU *heart* KUCIA'.

I wrote back saying I would do it, and then procrastinated for a few days. I was busy preparing for my trip, and wound up taking the photos the day before I left.

Tomasz told me he was compiling a set of photos taken around the world for his girlfriend's birthday. I was floored by the video he made, showing photos taken in Dubai, London, Paris and Tokyo, among other places.

In the world of Photoshop, this is a refreshing idea - to show photos that are taken at particular places, rather than slapping text on images from the comfort of one's couch. And it's refreshing that photographers around the world joined to help a perfect stranger.


The first four New York photos of Times Square, the New York Public Library, the Empire State Building and the Plaza are from me.

 Related posts: Zzzzzzzzzz, As the World Walks By, on Fifth Avenue, and Stealing a Nap, Underground.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Atop the Canopy, at Radio City Music Hall

Radio City, nyc Photo by myself, on Sixth Avenue and 50th Street, in Midtown.

A television interview was being held on top of the Radio City canopy. Meanwhile, people walked around as usual, below.

Sixth Avenue was slightly less teeming than usual, Monday afternoon. We've been hit with much cooler weather. The blustery winds make the air feel like it's in the 40's F, or around 8 degrees Celsius.

As you can see, the lettering on the Radio City is old school. It doesn't move. It doesn't flash on and off. Every week or so, the letters have to be placed by hand to spell out upcoming shows.

This photo was taken from the back of a speeding cab.

So of course, it's business as usual, back at home. My time away went by so quickly, I feel as if I blinked, had a dream about being away, and now I'm back.

I think part of the issue was that a lot of time was spent on planes or napping at odd hours. It feels good to be back, though. I am happily reunited with this city!


Monday, April 23, 2012

The Watery View from Battery Park

Sunset, nyc Photo by myself, in Battery Park.

Battery Park is at the very southern tip of Manhattan.

From there, you have a view of the Statue of Liberty and parts of Brooklyn. The structures in the distance are actually immense cranes that are used to load cargo onto ships.

This is another photo from the stash. In actuality, we were besieged with a rain storm that lasted almost the entire day on Sunday.

By the way, thanks to everyone for all your good wishes! The jet lag is less terrible than I thought. Going to work again, is another matter. (Cue funeral music).

Related posts: Lady Liberty, in the Distance, The View of Liberty, and Sunset View from Battery Park.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

The View from the Brooklyn Bridge

Manhattan Bridge, nyc Photo by myself, from the Brooklyn Bridge.

The view from the Brooklyn Bridge up the East River is a scenic one. Here, you can see the Manhattan Bridge. One of the piers of the Brooklyn Bridge is to the right.

Today's photo is from the stash, taken in 2009 with my trusty Canon G5. I'm back in Brooklyn after my vacation, after flying from LA last night. 

My trip abroad went by much, much too quickly. I can now understand why people take 2 weeks off at a minimum when going around the world. Most of my time was spent napping at odd hours.

The week ahead will be rough, but I'm very happy to be back home. I was welcomed late last night at JFK airport by Mark and Rupert, our Boston Terrier.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Yawning on the Job, on Broadway

Yawn, Midtown Photo by myself at 30th Street and Broadway, in Midtown.

A fellow was mid-yawn during his work, delivering boxes. Meanwhile, another fellow zipped by on a skateboard. It was a nice, Spring day.

Often, trucks double park to unload on the street, making driving annoying, to say the least. If you ever have the chance to drive in New York City, try to choose a non-rush hour time.

The police are visible, but they often look the other way for smaller violations. It used to be that pedestrians could be ticketed to jaywalking, for instance. No longer.

I thought this photo was ironic, since the items in the boxes were made in China. Though a great deal of manufacturing occurs in China, many items are not affordable there to the common person, especially brand name US goods.

I was horrified to learn that a Nike t-shirt that is made in China can cost four times the amount as it does in the States.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Stampede, in Midtown

34th st commute Photo by myself, at 34th Street and 9th Avenue, in Midtown.

 Here's the typical morning rush hour - a bunch of people walking as quickly as possible, wearing serious expressions, eyes focused on some distance point ahead.

 I call this the 'don't mess with me look'. As you can see, the majority of guys don't wear suits to work. Business casual is more the norm.

 Likewise for women, high heels and stockings are rare. Many women wear tights in the colder months. As the weather warms up, sandals and bare legs are common, since it can get quite hot on the pavement.

I have to say that we are spoiled in America, where traffic and space operate on a completely different plane from Asia. The streets are so much narrower and less crowded in Manhattan (and of course, even less so in smaller US cities).

I'm traveling back from Beijing to LA. My fiance Mark is helping me post photos, in the meantime.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Last Look at Beijing, China

Beijing, Lama Temple Photo by myself at the Lama Temple, in Beijing.

Worshippers young and old gather daily to pray and burn incense at the Lama Temple, in Beijing.

My father and I visited the Lama Temple in Beijing, on Tuesday. The Temple is composed of many courtyards and large, ornate wood pavilions dedicated to the many Buddhist gods. The temple was constructed in the 1700's and somehow escaped destruction, despite Beijing's turbulent political history.

We are set to leave Beijing today (Thursday). Our time here was divided between visiting my brother's family and touring about. Most of our time was spent in Guo Mao, a very ritzy but small area filled with high rise apartments, hotels and construction sites.

We took several car trips through Beijing to various locations, and I could not fathom how immense this city is. It's like contemplating infinity. Our drivers were local people who grew up in the city. They knew the streets very well and said that Beijing has completely changed in the last 20 years.
 Beijing, Lama Temple A likeness of Buddha was carved out of a single sandalwood tree. The statue stands 26m (66 ft) high.

Beijing, Lama Temple One of the many colorful pavilions on the temple grounds. It is difficult to believe that these structures are made of wood.

CCTV, Beijing The widely photographed CCTV building in Beijing is called 'the pair of trousers' building by locals.

CCTV, Beijing
A closer look at the CCTV building, which seems to defy gravity.

Beijing, China Huge swaths of Beijing are under development right now.

My fiance Mark is helping me post photos while I'm in China. Blogger is banned, and I regret that I cannot respond to your comments or visit any blogger-hosted blogs, while I'm here.

Posts will continue here while I'm on vacation. Some pre-scheduled posts will occur with photos of New York City.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Peek into a Barbershop, Downtown

barbershop, nyc Photo by myself, somewhere in Manhattan.

A typical neighborhood barbershop offers haircuts to men for $14. This photo is from the stash.

You may be able to find places that are a tiny bit cheaper. Mens' cuts are much, much less expensive than womens', which can run anywhere from $60 upwards to over $200, depending on what you're getting done.

Once again, I managed to leave out any real signage when I took this photo, a while back, so I'm not exactly sure where this was taken. I've since learned that it's best to shoot a couple photos so you can remember where you took the photo (duh!).

My fiance Mark is helping me post photos while I'm in China. Blogger is banned, and I regret that I cannot respond to comments or visit any blogger-hosted blogs, while I'm here.

Posts will continue here while I'm on vacation. Some pre-scheduled posts will occur with photos of New York City.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Visit to the Great Wall, in Beijing, China

Great Wall, China
Photo by myself, from the Great Wall, Beijing.

My father and I visited the Great Wall, near Beijing on Monday.

There are two access points to the wall, near Beijing. Ba Da Ling is the more popular one. Mutianyu is less popular. We hired a car to visit Mutianyu, which is about 1.5 hours outside the city.

There are two cable cars you can choose from to ascend to the wall, which is high up on a ridge. I highly recommend taking the cable car; a round trip ticket including entrance to the wall costs 120 yuan per person, or about $20USD. Getting up the slope to the wall is a hike, and walking along the wall is plenty of exercise in itself.

The car ride is steep but perfectly safe. As can be imagined, the vistas when on the wall were incredible. You walk up and down steps are as shallow as 2" or as immense as 14" in some places. The 'down' part is fine and gradual...it's just the 'up' parts that resemble mountains.

 Add the thin air and sun, and you get a workout. I recommend visiting on a non-weekend day, not in the heat of summer. The tourist season is April-October. This visit has been perfectly timed to avoid the crowds, and the weather has been ideal.

Great Wall, China A view from the cable car at the wall. My brain was going 'yipes' at this point.

Great Wall, China Fortunately, the steps are wide enough that you can sit and take a break. The vistas are absolutely incredible.

Great Wall, China Tiny steps coming down the wall become a sheer mountain of steps when going back up.

Great Wall, China One of the many little stalls selling trinkets at the foot of the hill. The shopkeeper was taking a nap.

For more about the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, click here.
My fiance Mark is helping me post photos while I'm in China. Blogger is banned, and I regret that I cannot respond to your comments or visit any blogger-hosted blogs, while I'm here. Posts will continue here while I'm on vacation. Some pre-scheduled posts will occur with photos of New York City.


Monday, April 16, 2012

From High to Low, More Photos from Beijing

Wang Fu Jin, Beijing Photo by myself, of an outdoor street market in Wang Fu Jin, a neighborhood in Beijing, China.

Saturday, my father and I opted to visit a couple neighborhoods near Guo Mao, where we've been staying near my brother. Guo Mao is filled with modern office buildings for international trade, business and law. There are also many luxury hotels and high-rise apartment buildings.

We went to Liou Li Chang, a street known for its antiques, book and stationery stores. Booksellers settled there in the 1600s; prior to that, the area was known for a porcelain factory used during the Ming dynasty. Afterwards, we visited Wang Fu Jin, a popular area for locals, that has huge shopping malls.

An outdoor street market there was lined with little eateries. Similar markets are found here and there in Beijing, and are popular tourist attractions.

Our day trip proved how diverse the landscape is in Beijing - from outdoor escalators and huge LCD screens, to ancient narrow streets.

Liou Li Chang, Beijing Stores selling books, paper, brushes and art populate Liou Li Chang.

Wang Fu Jin, Beijing At an outdoor street market in Wang Fu Jin, you can get all sorts of delicacies on a stick. At this stall were lizards and crickets. Another stall had scorpions (!)

Wang Fu Jin, Beijing
More delicacies. I'm not sure what was being sold at this stall, possibly tripe.
Wang Fu Jin, Beijing Outdoor escalators and pedestrian bridges are common at busy locations, so crowds can cross the street.

Guo Mao, LCD Screen Bystanders ogled at the underwater display on a huge LCD screen in Guo Mao.

To read more about Liu Li Chang, click here.

My fiance Mark is helping me post photos while I'm in China. Blogger is banned, and I regret that I cannot respond to your comments or visit any blogger-hosted blogs, while I'm here.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Crochet Lady, in Midtown

Crochet Lady, nyc Photo by myself around 35th Street and Sixth Avenue, in Midtown.

A woman with a crocheted hat, cape and skirt crossed the street in Midtown. She carried a crocheted purse.

I'm assuming these items were self-made, since they (at least the clothing) was made with the same color yarn. Good quality yarn is surprisingly expensive and the art of crochet is done more for passion than thrift.

I'm currently on vacation in Beijing, where Blogger is not available (!) This is a pre-scheduled post.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Tour of The Summer Palace, In Beijing, China

Summer Palace, Beijing The cherry blossoms were abloom around parts of the Summer Palace, in Beijing, China.

The Summer Palace is a must-see destination, northwest of Beijing's city center. It was first built around 1750 and comprises 2.9 square kilometers (about 1.8 square miles). The palace has a large man-made lake that is fed by natural springs. Pavilions, walkways, and courtyards encompass the lake. I visited the Summer Palace with my father, sister-in-law and niece on Thursday and we were absolutely astounded by its enormity and grandeur.

During our afternoon visit, we were able to see only a fraction of the pavilions and buildings. As you can imagine, the lake provides a cooling focal point during the summer months. Visitors can purchase tickets for boat rides and walking tours. From what I noticed, all tours were held in Chinese.

You can get to the Summer Palace via taxi or subway. Fortunately, the grounds are large enough to absorb the crowds of people. Choose a non-weekend day to visit, to avoid the largest crowds.

Summer Palace, Beijing One of the many small buildings and bridges around the lake.

Summer Palace, Beijing
A view of the man made lake, at the Summer Palace.

Summer Palace, Beijing A ambidextrous performer created beautiful calligraphy letters on the flagstone, using long brushes that were dipped in water.

Summer Palace, Beijing A pavilion perched in the hillside is approached by a steep stairway.

Summer Palace, Beijing Visitors relaxed in the shade of one of the outdoor pavilions.

For the wiki entry of the Summer Palace, click here.
For more photos and history of the Summer Palace, click here.

My fiance Mark is helping me post photos while I'm in China. Blogger is banned, and I regret that I cannot respond to your comments or visit any blogger-hosted blogs, while I'm here. Posts will continue here while I'm on vacation. Some pre-scheduled posts will occur with photos of New York City.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Balancing Act, Below 42nd Street

Balancing act, 42nd Street Photo by myself at the Times Square subway station.

A large group of spectators watched while several guys put on a show to hip hop music at the Times Square subway station.

These fellows performed a mix of gymnastics and dance. There is a large space at this station that seems ideal for live performances. Pedestrian tunnels to the N, R, 1, 2, 3 and 42nd Street shuttle lines intersect.

I'm currently on vacation in Beijing, where Blogger is not available (!) This is a pre-scheduled post.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

From the Forbidden City, in Beijing

Forbidden City, Beijing Photo by myself from Tianamen Square, Beijing.

My father and I ventured to Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City, Thursday. It was a brightly sunny day and hot in the sun.

We didn't have time into the heart of the Forbidden City, which is located beyond multiple layers of gates. It was enough to walk around in the vast open spaces of the outer portions, and ogle at the gates themselves.

Forbidden City scrollwork Some of the clay tiles that is typical of the ancient architecture. Modern infill panels can be seen below, with signs about ticket prices.
  Tianamen Square, Beijing There are many guards posted in this area of the city. All bags are checked by machine in the subway.
  Rickshaw, Beijing Pedicabs ride alongside cars on the busy streets. Ride at your own risk!

Tianamen Square is the main city center, comprised of huge civic and arts buildings. To get there, we took the subway, which is safe and easy to navigate.
The subways are packed to the gills, however, so it's important to travel lightly, during non-rush hour time. And be prepared to be squished! We New Yorkers should never complain about our subways, which are spacious in comparison.

Posts will continue here while I'm on vacation. Some pre-scheduled posts will occur with photos of New York City.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Greetings, from Beijing China

Beijing, side street Photo by myself, in Beijing, China.

A woman rode a bike down a narrow side street in Beijing.

Behind her are tall, modern apartment towers. The contrast of old and new are striking here, depending on what part of the city you're in.

This part of Beijing has dozens of modern office and apartment buildings. Many of the stores are westernized and very expensive. Meanwhile, only a small street or two harken back to previous times.
  Beijing towers A view from the 28th floor in Beijing. All the buildings in this area look to have been constructed at the same time.

Beijing towers Some of the office towers have only been built within the last year. There are many still under construction

Apologies for the late post!!

All my plans to post via email were quickly dashed. Not only is blogger banned, one cannot even email a post to blogger, so my fiance Mark is taking precious time out of his busy day to post for me.

Posts will continue here, with some pre-scheduled posts of New York City.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

On the Sidewalk, in the Flatiron District

odd guy, nyc Photo by myself around 24th Street and Broadway, in the Flatiron District.

I'm convinced that you see the same people in New York more often than you think, but you don't notice it because the people you see aren't generally noticeable.

The fellow in the right is certainly noticeable. I've seen him before wearing the same garb, in the same area. On the other occasion, he nearly got into a fistfight with a passerby.

I'm traveling from Los Angeles to Beijing today, for vacation. This is a pre-scheduled post. Posts will continue daily here.

Related posts: Down and Out in Soho, On Needy Causes, in Midtown and Beyond, and The World Walks by, on Fifth Avenue.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Sunset, from the Hotel Shangri-la, LA

Sunset from the Shangri-la, LA Photo by myself from the rooftop of the Hotel Shangri-La, in LA.

Being on the very edge of the west coast means that the ocean is the backdrop to every sunset. Very nice and peaceful.

Below are Ocean Avenue and the public beaches of Santa Monica. One can walk, bike, skate, or jog along the west coast, literally.

The rooftop of the Hotel Shangri-La is occupied by a small bar. There are comfy seating areas outside and gas-powered fire pits. The flames kick up dangerously high with each gust of the wind.

I'll be traveling out to Beijing today. Posts will continue here in the meantime.

Related posts: The Hotel Shangri-La, in Santa Monica, On Needy Causes, in Midtown and Beyond, and On Hotels and Hype, Along Fifth Avenue and Beyond.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Occupy Wall Street, in Union Square

Occupy Union Square, nyc Photo by myself, in Union Square.

Friday, the Occupy Wall Street protest continued peacefully in Union Square.

Above, a fellow in color dress carried a sign that read 'Money is the route of all bullsh-t'. Behind me, a few policemen stood quietly on watch for any funny business.


I was near Union Square doing errands on Friday, getting some last-minute things for my vacation.

People had left the office early, and we had flooded the sidewalks to enjoy the beautiful Spring day. There was a general hubbub of excitement for the long weekend ahead.

And I had one of those moments, where I was missing New York before I'd even left. This happens often, where I simply fall in love with the city. Sometimes I get that feeling and I'm not even leaving!

Related posts: Occupy Town Square, in Tompkins Square Park, Occuying Wall Street, One Day at a Time, and En Route to a Peaceful Protest, Downtown.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Congregating Outside, in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Procession, Park Slope Photo by myself at Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street, in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

A procession with hundreds of followers wound their way through Park Slope on Friday. Many people were in attendance, bearing crosses.

The procession ended just outside St. Thomas of Aquinas Roman Catholic Church. Yesterday was Good Friday. Most businesses were closed in observance.

Related posts: Salvaged from the World Trade Center, Grace Church, in Color, and St. Thomas Church, on Fifth Avenue.


Friday, April 6, 2012

The View from Bryant Park, at Dusk

Bryant Park, at dusk Photo by myself at Bryant Park, in Midtown.

We had a gorgeous Spring-like day earlier in the week, and it seemed quite magical at dusk.

Bryant Park is not a large park, surrounded by tall office buildings. A lawn is circled by paved terraces and plantings. In the summertime during lunch hour, the lawn is usually packed with people, in various stages of undress.

A large fountain is located at the western end, out of view. On the eastern end, behind and to my right, is the main branch of the New York Public Library.

I leave very early Saturday morning for a trip to LA, where I'll see my fiance Mark and my parents. I'll be leaving Monday with my father to Beijing (!) for a bit, to visit my brother. He was transferred by his job to to work there.

Posts will continue on this blog, with photos of New York and my travels. The format may change a little since Blogger is not accessible in China. Stay tuned!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Peace Bike Ride, in the West Village

Peace Bike Ride sign, west village Photo by myself around West 4th and 12th Streets, in the West Village.

A bike chained up against a pole was decorated with tinsel and plastic flowers.

On the basket, a sign advertised the Peace Bike Ride that occurs on the third Sunday of every month. Its starting point is the Gandhi statue in the southwest corner of Union Square. The bike rides tour through historical peaceful sites in New York, including the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial and the Labyrinth for Contemplation, in Battery Park.

I must confess that never heard of the Peace Bike Ride before. Of course not, because the organizers are peaceful and quiet about it! It seems like a nice idea.

I was in the West Village a couple weeks ago because I committed the most basic mistake a New Yorker could make.

I was looking for the Chinese Consulate, which is located at 520 12th Avenue. Only I thought I was looking for 520 12th Street. 520 12th Avenue is in a completely different neighborhood, way north near 42nd Street. D'oh.

Very few people mention 12th Avenue, since technically, the West Side Highway is the same thing. Everyone mentions the West Side Highway, but I guess 520 West Side Highway is a bizarre address. 

Anyway, when looking for a particular place in the city, save yourself some grief. Do get the address right.