Tag Archives: Manhattan

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.

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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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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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Brooklyn Bridge Therapy

Man, it’s been a while. Two full months without a blog.  But Saturday night I had the camera, I had the tripod, and I made the time to get out and explore. In this city “exploring” doesn’t have to mean places you’ve never been before. Building after building, store after store, character after bizarre, intriguing or cover model character change. And there’s just so much of everything that whether it’s your second visit or seventieth, you’ll always see something new. Especially if you set out with a clear head.

Looking south from the on ramp

There’s something about the holiday season that is stressful.  For some it’s family.  For others it may be the year-end work crunch, the struggle to get everything done while office mates take their last remaining days of vacation and minds are generally elsewhere (where they should be). Others may just hate the cold.

The classic bridge shot. You have to take it.

I’m never one for touristy activities.  So why the Brooklyn Bridge?  I make an exception for this reason: it’s awesome.  As I walked along, admittedly in a bit of a fog, the flashes of cameras caught my attention. Groups of friends, families and sometimes just solo travelers snapped photos of each other and then poured over the viewfinder to see what they’d captured. Everyone was smiling, joking, and, in some cases, genuinely overwhelmed by the emotions stirred by standing on this historic bridge and behaving like children.  Though some were just shivering.  Their energy was infectious and soon I found myself dropping any anxiety over the side of the bridge. Not only was I lucky to be where I was, but to witness what for some was a once in a lifetime experience is special as well.  I’d walked only 25 minutes or so from my apartment and was standing on the spot people had traveled across state lines and even oceans to get to. (We pay exorbitant rents for location, convenience, right?)

Looking north from the on-ramp

I saw the awe in their faces, and it quickly restored the awe that I’ve felt for this city.  The awe that has taken a back seat to work and life and planning and self-enforced pressure to excel. Then I, as I recommend to anyone in New York, just stood back and took it all in — with camera in hand, of course.

At the 4,5,6 Brooklyn Bridge Subway Stop

Looking north from the on-ramp

Brooklyn Bridge

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Morning Clouds and More On the East River

I spent another early morning out on the East River today. The clouds were billowing up and down the skyline in all shapes, shades and patterns. Some grew straight up.  Some lay flat.  Others dotted the glow of morning against a background of gray. Altogether, it was a beautiful way to start the day on a river that gets a lot of flack for it’s “lack of beauty.”  Well, maybe these photos (and those from other posts) will help people come to check out the waterway and care for it.

And I had to find some way to make the ConEdison building look kind of quasi ok-ish. In doing so I found that graffiti really pops in the morning light.

There were some lone birds nibbling on whatever scraps they could find.  Then, they gather for flight. It reminded me of Henry Beston’s classic nature memoir, The Outermost House, where he says this of the birds on Cape Cod, “Birds which have been feeding yards away from each other, each one individually busy for his individual body’s sake, suddenly fuse into this new volition and, flying, rise as one, coast as one, tilt their dozen bodies as one, and as one wheel off on the course which the new group will has determined.”

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Solstice Shmolstice

This post goes out to those of you who, like me, were in the office until after that late summer sun went down. The Hudson was beautiful last night. Clear and not as sticky as further in Manhattan, where the streets hold in the heat. Happy evening solstice!

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An IKEA Adventure in Red Hook

It was Friday evening after a busy work week.  In this city, although you can really do anything and everything you want at any hour, if you’ve got the cash of course, finding peace and relaxation can be difficult.  I asked for a few suggestions in the office and was surprised when a coworker said, “You’ve got to check out the IKEA in Red Hook! Take the ferry!”  I’m all for easy-to-assemble furniture and Swedish sensibilities, but is IKEA really an escape?  No. It’s big and it’s blue.  But the five dollar ferry, and Louis Valentino Jr. Park just up the street will take your mind off just about anything.

Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge from IKEA Water Taxi

The water taxi, which you pick up at the pier at the end of Wall St., provides fresh views of Brooklyn and Manhattan. You get in a little closer, see the movement of cars and the inner-workings of the nation’s first “suburb”. But if you’re in it to take pictures, be careful.  This thing hauls!

Brooklyn!

On the Edge of Town

It’s when you pull into Red Hook that the views really get interesting. I’ll spare you the industrial shots, although one could say it’s all well and good. Instead of actually going in IKEA and wandering a maze of furnishings with names like Flurgen and Murgen, walk up to Coffee St. and bang a left until you hit, Louis Valentino Jr. Park.  You’ll know when you do.  This is what it’s all about.

Fisherman on the Pier

The man in this photo, let’s call him Morris, has been fishing this exact pier since he was 12.  Now in his early 50’s, he told me of when the pier was wooden and you had to watch your step or you could fall through.  There were also times he said where certain people in the area might want to push you through if you looked at them the wrong way.  He’s thrilled at the revitalization the area has seen. But for Morris, all that really matters is the fishing. “Caught a 38 in striper last week. Whoo boy, some nights this is some good fishin.”

Other Brooklynites gather for sunset as well.  Some are families, others on a date, and some, like me, just there to take it all in.  Each finds peace in the park.

The Perfect View, Louis Valentino Jr. Park

As a Water Taxi passed I realized I’d missed the last one from IKEA. Woops!  Luckily, there are a few busses that run routes from Red Hook to downtown Brookyln and Fulton Mall.  The stop is in front of the IKEA, where you made the left to get to all this good stuff in the first place.  Even though you feel a world away, it’s actually easy to stay until last light, when the sky begins to burn.

Liberty Catches Fire

A Real New York Sunset

Then, the moment we’d all been waiting for.  No one talked as the sun dipped behind the Statue of Liberty, melting into the swamps of Jersey.  At least I don’t think anyone spoke. I’d reached the place I needed to find — peace and a focus on the beautiful moments this city and this world provide.  My zen status was broken when Morris turned and said, “Beautiful, man. One more sunset. Now all I need’s a sunrise tomorrow and I’ll be cool.”  He cast his line and I walked to the bus smiling.  Had I just found philosophy courtesy of IKEA?

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Union Square Goings On

I walked home from work today to the most beautifully strange light in Union Square.  The dark clouds held it all in and the glass reflection off of a 14th street building only added to the effect.

There’s a very interesting art installation going on in the park too. The two guys in the background are sitting on stones labeled The Guilty, The Guiltier, The Guiltiest.  Makes you wonder what he was talking about on the phone.

Then I turned the corner and NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Are you kiddin me, man?  They’re putting in a TGI Fridays?  What crack in the culinary universe allowed this establishment to slip in?  Just one more reason to head down to the village to feel “local” again.  But next time I’m in the mood for some Prime Rib Stroganoff I know right where I’ll go.

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Kettle of Fish: Doesn’t the Sign Go on the Outside?

The sign used to be outside, at the bar’s old location. And when I say old, I mean it. Kettle of Fish has been around in one iteration or another for 60 years, always in the Village, always a good time. In the 50s the beat poets Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac (who has a photo of himself in front of the then outside ‘BAR’ sign) and the like would hang out there. Since the beat went on, a host of journalists, musicians and New York personalities have frequented the place.  Students in my writing class have even met there to review work (even though the famous beat poets never hung out at this location) and I give it my drinking stamp of approval, for what it’s worth. Just don’t look for it by the side. Sometimes they draw the shades.

Check out this video from the bar’s website. It pretty much says it all.
View Larger Map

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Another East River Evening

Growing up I remember mentions of the East River on the news or sitcoms to be, let’s just say negative. Now that I live in New York, I have an entirely different view.  Yes, times have changed.  The city is a safer place, which is a huge factor.  But if you already read my “Faces of the East River” post a while back, you’ll know, it can simply be the way you view the river that makes the difference.  This is a beautiful and inspiring stretch of New York.  The night time joggers, the strollers, the gazers and the ones who just don’t want to go home just yet, we all find something in the river that changes us, that gives us a new idea or triggers a memory, if for only a brief moment.  I hope these photos do the same for you.

East river new york city

(This shot was just featured on Gothamist.com. Check them out. Top notch!)

east river new york city

* For the photographers out there, I don’t do HDR. These are all single shots adjusted only for normal color and tone. Everything else is in camera white balance and a trusty flashlight that I used for the first time to add light to the rocks/wood while taking long exposures.

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Ode to the New York City Business Man

They head the call of progress.  Of duty.  Of the wild.  Ok, not that.  But they do spring out of subways, like this Christopher Street Path Train, into an uncertain world.

They walk past monuments erected for the triumphs of our forefathers — those who set the wheels in motion and whose great vision has inspired millions.  And then there is this guy…

Even when he walks down a quiet West Village street he  barks instructions into a, wait, what is that thing??? Is that a full headset?   Let’s take a closer look…

I can’t concentrate anymore. I’m done. Have fun at work!

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Friends in New York City

New York is a playground of activity. If you have the cash, or even if you don’t, you can always find about a thousand things to do each night.  But most times, the best times, are spent with friends in quiet moments.  Just being.  Taking it all in.  And capturing the moment in a photograph.

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Does Everyone Have to Run Because It’s Spring?

My alarm went off at 5:52 this morning. The goal: be out on the East River for sunrise to take some photos. But man, the sun is popping up earlier and earlier these days. My viewfinder was still looking blurring to my morning eyes. Within minutes I was surrounded by crazy people, these swift and agile gazelles hurling their bodies along the East River Greenway.

Every shot I lined up, every scene and angle, had runners cutting in and out.  So I embraced it. And, putting them in the shots burns calories, I think.

And of course, a good time was had by all.

Download the waterfront map here.

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A Manhattan Morning in Spring

From the banks of the East River…

to the peaks of the Midtown skyline…

the sun brings life to Manhattan.  This morning, dogs and their walkers stretched their legs to work off the winter chill.

And flowers, stretched their petals to soak up the sun’s invigorating rays. No doubt, they will be more radiant tomorrow.

It was another beautiful Manhattan morning.

(The first shot was taken Monday morning.)

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