New York Skyline Serenade

New York SKyline EMpire state building

Manhattan — The sky, the weather, the color and clarity of light, each change by the second.  New buildings rise and old buildings fall.  But for those photographing the iconic skyline, the greatest variations come from behind the camera — from emotions born within, formed by our relationship with the city and then recast, consciously or not, in megapixels that reflect our momentary disposition.  The result is not always rosy–it is New York.

New York Skyline Empire State Building

The city is a kinetic force, strong enough to unhinge its inhabitants and fast enough to keep them in a perpetual state of striving. “If only this place could be still for a second,” we say.

New York SKyline EMpire state building

The city can feel detached, cold, and we may walk its streets blindly, without recognizing the available warmth of so many who share in our hopes of happiness and contentment.


Choices abound — almost too many to grasp — and focus is sometimes lost.  Yet the essence of the city and of our dreams remains.

New York SKyline EMpire state building

But oh! there are the rich and resplendent times, when the city is as colorful as a comic book, deeply saturated with opportunity, and where we are limited only by our imagination. These are the times to hold onto.  Reflect.  Print them, hang them firmly on walls and place them on cubicle desks in beautiful frames where they can be seen everyday.  Give them to a friend.

New York City skyline in a wine glass

Ultimately, we have the power to shape our city lives, and from time to time we need to reassess, to pull back or charge forward, to shake things up a bit.  Eventually our lives and the skyline regain clarity — perhaps more than before.  And although it may be seen from a different perspective, the image is still classic New York, and we are still classic New Yorkers simply trying to capture it.

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Polar Migration to Brooklyn

It happened this morning.  The second snow of the year brought visitors to New York City once again. This time, Colonel Penny Loafer and Arctic Stu left their polar homes and explored the brownstone lined streets of Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

“I swear, I heard Spike Lee lives on this block!”

They paid their respects.  (What up Brooklyyynnn!!!!!)

 Then they headed back on the C train.

After several delays due to an overly cautious dispatcher they were back in the wild, ready for their next adventure.

Iconic NYC Christmas!

Visions of a Morning Commute

Here it is. Pretty straightforward. This is what I saw today.

The Skyline Lights

Midtown lights, new york city,


Scenes from a West Side Run

Taking advantage of the ridiculously warm day yesterday, I went out for a run along the west side highway path. My iPhone has quickly become a great tool for my photography, but in situations like this, a hindurance to my health. How can you keep running when you can capture these scenes?

Evening from the Office Rooftop

Such a fun night after work to hit the roof and take some shots of the Empire State Building and Christopher street pier.

You Know What This Train Needs? A Mariachi Band!

What NYC commute would be complete without something completely random and unexpected happening just a few uncomfortable inches from your face? Enter the flash mariachi squad.  Bop bop ba da di dop!

These guys burst through the door like an instant parade and were pretty good.  Unfortunately, it was a tough crowd.  There were a few claps but I didn’t see many dollar bills changing hands after their song.  Then, a few seconds later a the train pulled into the station they were gone, off to entertain another car.

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I Spy NYC Eats Spam For Breakfast

Although this site doesn’t generate very much traffic (what website needs traffic to be successful anyway?) it does generate a fair amount of comment spam. So, instead of hitting the delete button as I always do I thought I’d share some of the more interesting recent spam comments.  Keep in mind, this is a blog about my photos and findings in New York City.

This one came in from “freeshipping 2011 cheapest DV136” following a post about a solar panel I found in the Hudson River:

“I love the jeans at the first glance but I feel hesitate because of the price, but when I put them on, I was shocked at how perfect they fit!”

Thanks for sharing, DV136. I’m shocked too.  And you really do look good!

Next up is a gem from “Sac Hermes” after a post on eating lunch outside in the West Village :

“I like the way in which you could have frameworked the following matter and yes it does offer my family several fodder to get thought. Nonetheless, via precisely what Concerning observed, My spouse and i hope because actual views group about that people these days remain place and you should not begin a new cleaning soap container affecting several other announcement of the day. Still, appreciate this glorious position even though I won’t actually agree with the fact by using it within totality, We respect the thoughts and opinions.”

Sac, you nailed it. So many people clean their soap containers only to affect the announcements they want to make later that day. What are they thinking?  I, for one, do not respect their thoughts and opinions. You’re much more empathetic than me. And I respect your thoughts and opinions for that. Thanks for contributing and I’m glad my little blog provides your “family several fodder to get thought.”  Diito here.

Lastly, MonsterBeatsDre said following my post about paint spilled on 20th street: “Superior posting. Is extremely excellent point of view and so i want to we appreciate you intriguing, notable and ideas. Thank you so much!”

No, I “want to we appreciate you” too, MonsterBeatsDre!  Your superior spamming and exellent mastery of language has inspired me to write this post. And I’m spent.

Maybe this will become a usual feature, I just need enough traffic to keep attracting the spammers. And the world goes round and round.

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Yankees Stadium – Watch Out for Bats and Balls

My dad and I were enjoying the Yankees/Rays game tonight when he noticed this sign on the back of the seat. “Be alert for bats and/or balls.”  Bats?  We were in the middle deck in right field!  Even Sammy Sosa at his most roided out condition couldn’t wing a corked bat within a mile of our section. If they shot the bat out of a hot dog canon it would barely make it past the $1,000 reach-out-and-grab-a-player seats.  I guess they saved some cash by printing all the same sign.

After joking about the sign for a minute or two we went back to watching the game. It was an OK game.  Pretty slow.  Then a Beer Man came out of nowhere and hit me with a bat.  I should have been more alert.

Fan on the lookout for stray Louisville Sluggers .

The Lonliest Solar Panel in the World

Found near the Christopher Street Pier in the West Village, NYC.

Honestly, if anyone knows what the heck this thing is doing please let me know.


Come Fly Away

Unfortunately the window was beyond dirty, so the shots lost a lot of texture and detail. The landscape looks like a miniature Legoland from up high, but here it is – Manhattan, Queens and bits of Brooklyn.

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NYC on September 11th, 2011

For many New Yorkers honoring the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the most fitting testament to progress was that a day so unforgettably extraordinary could not have been more peaceful, pleasant and ordinary.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I stood with a handful of friends on the roof of George Washington University’s Fulbright Hall and watched the smoke rise from the Pentagon. An army tank parked at the campus shuttle bus stop. Guards in riot gear patrolled the sidewalks with oversized guns and dogs eager to sniff out the slightest traces of terrorism. We called our parents and anyone we knew in New York. Was everyone safe? Who was doing this? What does it all mean? We didn’t yet realize that, as Americans, many who were studying foreign policy, this would prove to be the most defining day of our young lives.

Ten years later, I am riding my bicycle on the West Side Highway path and enjoying the cool breeze along the river. The afternoon clouds are low and thick, casting a steel gray light over Downtown Manhattan.  The tennis courts are full. The dog walkers are out.  The rollerbladers are taking up both lanes as they always do. Guys are checking out the girls running by.  Guys are checking out the guys running by and everyone is checking out each other in the magnificently open and distinctive way that New Yorkers do.  It’s a quiet Sunday in the city.

At the North Cove Marina two young boys and a girl chase each other around a flag pole. They laugh and scream and do all the little things that little kids do. The girl runs off and the boys quickly follow after. Once they catch her she runs the other way and the game goes on and on. They are wearing untucked white t-shirts, each a size or two too large, with a photo of a man’s face printed across the front.

Ground Zero is mere blocks away yet, as joggers pass by and a family throws breadcrumbs at geese in the water, all I can think of is how refreshing the breeze feels.  Most people at the marina walk with newspapers, dog leashes or ice cream cones in hand.  A few hold American flags or signs displaying the name of a particular person or rescue department.

Then, as I turn the corner onto Liberty Street, I hear a name called out – Glenn Wilkenson.  It quickly echoes before being replaced by another name.  Jeff Willett.  I stop.  The realization of what the names mean holds me still like a stiff arm from one of the countless guards protecting the area. I stand with a group of people at the barriers and listen.  Brian Patrick Williams.

A middle aged woman with purple hair and a camouflage-print skirt stands fixated on the large screen replaying the morning’s memorial service.  She has a soft, distant look on her face and her eyes are glassy, but not tearing.  Next to her a tall blonde man in a gray business suit gazes at the ground and next to him a couple in matching, green Jets t-shirts holds hands.  A dozen cyclists stand by their bikes while a woman with dreadlocks down to her waist walks up and weeps as she looks at the space where the towers once stood.  We watch the video monitor in silence as the remaining names are read.  Zucker.  Zuckelman.

A few more minutes of silence pass and the purple-haired woman walks away, then the cyclists, the Jets fans and soon I am on my bike riding towards my apartment, teary-eyed and reflecting on the names with each revolution of the wheels.

Planes from JFK, LaGuardia and Newark fly overhead and kids play with large bouncy balls while their parents chat nearby.  A man with ripped pants and a collection of plastic bags yells obscene nonsense at the USS NY dominating the view to New Jersey.  Tourists with large cameras stare at the man while an older couple barely an arm’s length away talks nonchalantly over a shared a cup of strawberry ice cream.

Despite the planes, the children and the sameness all around, I am reminded by the signs, the t-shirts and the television reports that life has been profoundly altered as a result of 9/11.  Ten years gone and troops are still fighting.  Police and fire fighters and a staggering number of men and women are still working to make the United States a better place. Lives are still on the line.  At Ground Zero, crews have been breaking their backs day and night so that the families of those who perished can find closure.  Hopefully they have found some today.

When I return to my block I get off my bike at the Italian sandwich shop on the corner.  The owner, a lifelong New Yorker, is outside.  He greets me with his trademark smile and a “How you doin’?”

“Pretty good,” I say.  “How you doin’?”

“Perfect,” he says.

To me, that’s progress.

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Black Bear Lodge Officially Extinct?

No more Big Buck Hunter. No more back room fireside chats. No more beer soaked carpet.  No more feeling like you’re in Colorado for a few hours before stepping back out onto 3rd Avenue.  Black Bear Lodge, you will be missed.

Anyone care to share a Black Bear Lodge story in the comments?

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