(The shot above ended up being featured by the great people at Gothamist.com!)
(The shot above ended up being featured by the great people at Gothamist.com!)
The High Line, New York’s recently uncovered and renovated above ground train line, is a superb feature to photograph. Especially if you’re into flocks of tourists and lounging West Villagers. The lofted vantage point also provides new perspectives on New York City life. That’s what I wanted to explore. Here are just a few from a quick stroll the other day when I met up with a friend who is moving on from a job she’s held for six years. Good luck, Anna!
And the obligatory sunset shot (Without a filter this is the best it got.)
How cool is it to work in New York City and be able to talk your shoes off and chill out on a dog-free lawn along the Hudson? Yes, I said dog-free. Not that I don’t love the little guys, but I’d rather not lay in their stuff while I’m trying to catch some quick rays before retreating to my cubicle. The Christopher Street Pier and surrounding grassy areas along the West Side Highway is the perfect spot to relax and soak up the sun. Even on Friday, it was bikinis and bathing suits galore. No, I did not take pictures of them.
The grass is so nice I wish I had my wedge and a few golf balls to play around with. But, if the parks people zip around in their mini Urkel-mobiles to tell people to get their dogs off the grass I’m sure they’d have a few words for the guy hacking chunks out and yelling “fore!” at passers by.
Sometimes the best way to see a place is to go outside of it and then look in. I’d say that principle has a much broader reach in our lives. But, for now, let’s just go to Hoboken, NJ and take a look at Manhattan.
For New Yorkers, this is our mountain range. These are our peaks. We spend our days in the canyons, in the caves, exploring every interesting nook and every new artifact. But, when you look upon the mountain range from afar you realize all you have, as well as all you’ve given up.
I always thought “light pollution” was a ridiculous term until I moved here. How much do we gain by living in a city where you can buy virtually anything anytime of night and day? And how much do we lose by not seeing the star-lit sky? By not being able to tag along with Orion on his great hunt across the cosmos. To read the fascinating stories of Perseus and Cassiopeia and so many others without being able to see the stars that inspired them? Our connection to the Greek classics is reduced to two-dollar gyros on street carts.
It’s up to you to answer how much you lose or gain by living in Manhattan. So we don’t have the stars. But have you seen how beautiful all the lights reflecting off the water can be? Have you seen the twinkling angels at Rockefeller Center during Christmas? Maybe your inspiration comes from these man-made stars too. And trips from inside the mountain out can provide the balance to appreciate both. What an adventurous journey that would be.
(By the way this shot was taken with a self timer, so that’s me on the railing. Hi.)
I noticed something when the sun went down last night on the Hudson – I wasn’t freezing to death! In fact, it was a beautiful night. And aside from the welcomed warmth, I noticed that the weather brought new sounds as well. Cyclists now wooshed along the West Side pathway. Joggers chatted in between breaths. All the while, I fixated on the Hudson River sunset.
Cars rushed south on the West Side Highway. In winter, they greedily hold in heat and sound. Tonight, windows were down and even as commuters blew past me, I could hear music coming from their systems. Rolling Stones, Jay-Z, and even a quick hit of Aretha Franklin at one point. Of course if you’re on the phone or eager for a moment’s peace, this isn’t cool. But, for anyone who like’s to sing “sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me,” forever on end, hey, that sound bite of Aretha is all you need.
When the cars were still, the sound of kids playing on brightly lit astroturf fields filled the air. Coaches blew their whistles and called out instructions. Their energy radiated to all who passed by, probably pausing to remember when they were just a kid on a field, dreaming of going pro some day. All the while, the city skyline, quiet as the clouds, speaks louder to New Yorkers than all the joggers, cars and soccer-playing kids combined.
Here comes spring in New York City.
“The mood is right, the spirits up. We’re here tonight, and that’s enough.” Sir Paul should have been in the village last night. It was crisp. It was bright. And the mood of Christmas hit me. It also hit my camera while I was doing a long exposure and somehow managed to move it enough to capture the sign and all of the lights around it in one big explosion.
Only in New York can a simple walk home from work turn into a television appearance. Yesterday, as I was enjoying a rainless commute, I noticed that the Desert Truck of East Village fame had been transplanted to 23rd and 5th. There were camera men scurrying about, a man with a backpack and a walkie talkie talking over everyone about release forms and try the deserts and this and that. What? I can be on television just for eating desert? Spoon please!
I couldn’t find out the name of the show (some upcoming series) but chef Claire Robinson was one of the chefs preparing deserts at breakneck speeds against a team of male chefs on the other side of the truck.
The cameras started rolling, the chefs tossed out a few lines of witty banter, and before I knew it I was standing at the table being handed a cup of ice cream overflowing with caramel sauce and brownie bits. I grabbed it completely aware of every every twitch in my body, every movement in my face.
I scooped mouthfuls of the melting vanilla bean in my mouth as two cameramen inched closer and closer. I was taking pronounced bites, as if my chewing could trasnmit the taste of the ice cream on film. You could say I milked it — my signature move being the bite and ponder. With every bite I’d pitch my head up to the skyline and squinting slightly as the setting sun. I did that a few times, until convinced that the cameramen had already noted it as their closing shot. Then I tossed the empty container in a trash can and walked off. By the time I reached the corner I was already wondering if anyone had ever looked like a bigger idiot eating desert.
We’ll have to wait and see.
I’ve seen these little robot alien-type guys all over Manahattan streets lately. What the hell are they? Who’s putting them there? Aliens?
As of today, I am proclaiming a boycott of the salty snack Combos due to it’s naming of New York City in last place on a list of the manliest cities in the country. For those of you scoring at home, this is now my fifth boycott, added to Abercrombie & Fitch, Dunkin’ Donuts, Eden Farm Grocery on 20th and 3rd, and the ten dollar bill (Alexander Hamilton was a dueling madman).
Combos’ new website is called The Combos Man Zone: Home of the Combivore (are you kidding me?). It features tools for becoming a Combivore and a sweepstakes called “The Ultimate Mancation.” And here I thought the cheese was only inside the snack.
The criteria for determining manliness is an interesting one: “using criteria such as number of professional major league sports teams, popularity of tools and hardware and frequency of monster truck rallies. Cities also lose ranking points for emasculating characteristics like the abundance of home furnishing stores, high minivan sales and subscription rates to beauty magazines.”
I’m going to throw out a wild guess here and say that the beauty magazine subscriptions are probably going to, oh, I don’t know, women. It’s just a guess though, I’m not the manliness expert.
Who came out on top of this rock-solid search for manliness? Nashville, Tennessee. Yes, Nashville, music city, home to uber-manly guys like these:
Commonly perceived manly cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh didn’t even crack the top 25. And is Orlando, Florida really ranked 14th? Really guys? Were you counting all the tourists that come from Philly and Pittsburgh to see Disney World and then get the heck out of there?
Oklahoma City came in third thanks to it’s country-topping purchasers of salty snacks (like Combos). In an unrelated contest, Oklahoma City was recently named the Best City to Have Heart Failure In.
What really gets me, and I know will steam all New Yorkers, is that Los Angeles actually finished ahead of us on the manly meter. Los Angeles.
For New York itself, we might not have the abundance of Home Depots and no, there is no NASCAR track nearby, but you go to Harlem and tell a few guys that they live in the least manly city in the country. Tell the thousands of men not doing simple home repair, but working their asses off in the toxic subways and up on skyscrapers, doing things men in other cities wouldn’t dare dream, and see what you come back with. Tell the tens of thousands of men who may not have the “manliest” of jobs, but have to endure all hardships that this city throws at them.
Every summer I see tourists from the so-called “manly cities” losing their shit in 110-degree subway heat, their wives yelling at them because they can’t figure out how to get to F.A.O Schwartz. Every Christmas they get run over by cars, yelled at by cabbies, bums and psychotic over-caffeinated Wall Street types. Get up close to one and you can literally see the fear in their eyes.
So, my former friends at Combos, nice try. But I think New York deserves it’s own place in your rankings of Manly Cities. It’s a different beast. One that eats spit-fired lamb (the guy said it was lamb) from a street cart, pastrami sandwiches the size of your arm, and a half a pepperoni pizza at 4 in the morning. And that’s just our women!
You can keep your pretzels Combos. We know what we have here, even if no one else understands.
Read the full Combos article here.
For anyone who is as interested in random New York information as I am, you have to check out Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York.
But for those of you on NYC overload, interested in a more up to the minute news, websites, info and musings, you might want to check out Twitter.
Oh, and follow me on Twitter @marccaps.
You have to check out this blog from the NY Times and illustrator Christoph Niemann.
During the cold and dark Berlin winter days, I spend a lot of time with my boys in their room. And as I look at the toys scattered on the floor, my mind inevitably wanders back to New York.
What do you get when you find a ten dollar bill in your pants’ pocket and walk outside to find it snowing? That’s right, you get a taxi cab to work! This is the first time in over a year that I’ve stepped inside a yellow chariot to get to work. We set off down 3rd Ave. and when we turned right on Houston I realized why taking a cab to work isn’t always the best idea.
Traffic ahead, traffic behind, and you know what notion just crossed my mind? I should have walked. Alas, I stayed warm and finally made it to work. With tip it was $11, so only $1 over the ten I had found earlier. It was worth it.
Walking to work this morning I got a nice surprise from my iPod random playlist. I was crossing fifth avenue when a classic Springsteen song came on. Granted, with my limited playlist the chances of hearing a Springsteen song is about as good as hearing a taxi honk its horn. The Boss is always welcomed. Taxis, shut up. (Did you see him at Halftime last night? It was one of the best halftime shows I’ve seen in a long, long time.)
The song that played for me was Does this Bus Stop at 82nd Street?, an oldie but goody. If you live in NYC, you have to check out the lyrics. It’s a snapshot of things seen on a typical bus ride, and how vivid and concise Springsteen’s imagery can be. Let me know what you think.
Does this Bus Stop at 82nd Street?
Hey bus driver keep the change, bless your children, give them names,
don’t trust men who walk with canes
drink this and you’ll grow wings on your feet
Broadway Mary, Joan Fontaine, advertiser on a downtown train
Christmas crier bustin’ cane, he’s in love again.
Where dock worker’s dreams mix with panther’s schemes to someday own the rodeo
Tainted women in Vistavision perform for out-of-state kids at the late show.
Wizard imps and sweat sock pimps, interstellar mongrel nymphs
Rex said that lady left him limp. Love’s like that (sure it is).
Queen of diamonds, ace of spades, newly discovered lovers of the everglades
They take out a full page ad in the trades to announce their arrival
And Mary Lou she found out how to cope, she rides to heaven on a gyroscope
The Daily News asks her for the dope
She says “Man, the dope’s that there’s still hope”.
Senorita, Spanish rose, wipes her eyes and blows her nose
Uptown in Harlem she throw a rose to some lucky, young matador.