Tag Archives: New York City

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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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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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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The LOFT Gets Presumptuous With 23rd Street Ad

Has an ad ever made you stop and question the very fiber of your being as much as this one from LOFT?  Witnessed on 23rd and Broadway, I was nearly trampled by a line of commuters close on my heels as I paused to contemplate its claim. Who is this woman that I, a man of 30, am supposed to be? Do I really look this happy in a double-button sweater jacket?  Should I have left the black rimmed hat at home?

And is it ever any time other than now?  A few more moments of contemplation and I confirmed that this is in fact not me but this is most definitely now.  And now is now, too.  With those questions out of the way I thought about the actual “you” in the ad — the model.  What happens when she sees this?  Does she stop and say, “holy shit, LOFT!  You’re right!” and hi-five the thing?   If so, I want to be there when she does. That would be an I Spy NYC moment for the record books.

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Weird Gristedes Sign

I walked into Gristedes to find this sign on the door and then again inside near the stacks of baskets. Although the phrase is virtually owned by Seth Myers and Amy Poehler, “Really, Gristedes?” How many ways can you apologize for a typographical error by replacing it with a grammattical one? Were masses of peach and strawberry loving customers complaining about the sign? How bad is the error? “Three strawberries for $wehatepuppies”?

Idea: just change the original peaches and strawberries sign. We wouldn’t have known.

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This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef

On 1st Avenue between 9th Street and St. Marks Place you’ll find a tiny sandwich place barely big enough to turn around in. It’s fitting, because I wouldn’t recommend leaving anyway.  The place is “This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef” and it’s sole purpose is serving up hot roast beef sandwiches so delicious even the most hardened Philly cheese steak enthusiast would give a tip of their Eagles cap to the chef.  (Yes, they come with cheese wiz.)  Perhaps the msot interesting aspect of the shop is the decor — a seemly endless assortment of bills, written on in Sharpy and taped to the walls and cieling.

The food becomes secondary as you scan the hundreds of bills, each unique and telling some sort of story (Mookie visited NYC 9-26-10 and “Dave P. Runs this sho”).  But then the sandwich is placed on the counter and the full scene starts to take shape – the strangely textured walls, the cramped space, the savory aroma of perfectly cooked roast beef on a hero with aujus and cheeze wiz filling the air.  It truly is a carnivore’s fairy tale.


This Way: roast beef on a roll with aujus and cheez wiz.

That Way: roast beef on Italian bread hero with gravy and fresh mozzarella.

The Other Thing: pastrami on rye with coleslaw and spicy brown mustard.

Something Else: roast beef on Italian bread hero with cheez wiz, fresh mozzarella, gravy, aujus & hand-cut fries.

There is also beef stew and some sides. But really all you need is the roast beef, aujus and cheese wiz. Any way you slice it, if you like roast beef sandwiches, consider This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef to be the Arby’s on steroids. Delicious.


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New York Photographic Memories

Lonely Snowy New York Street, originally uploaded by marc.cappelletti.

I was going through my iPhone this morning and found this shot from the last snow storm we had. Something about it just spoke to me, and not because I liked the shot, but because I had forgotten that I even took it. So many times our memories betray us. Sometimes by skewing the facts, other times by cutting out altogether. Photography is one of the only tools we have to capture our memories as they were, and then have the ability to tweak them ever so slightly. Or, as it is not a black and white world, adjust them in a more profound way, to layer on another dimension of feeling to the memory.

Go through your phone and computer often and revisit photos, your visual journals. You may find memories you never thought you had. And that’s a good way to spend a gloomy Saturday in the city, any city..

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New York Dogs

Dog waiting for his owner in the supermarket. 

Took this shot with my iPhone, by the way.

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An Open Letter to the Guy Who Brought an iPad into McSorely’s Old Ale House, NYC

Dear guy who brought the iPad into McSorely’s,

This may come as a shock, because you didn’t take your eyes off of the ultra-high resolution screen in front of your face, but McSorely’s is a traditional place. I think the wrinkled and chipped photo of the “McSorely Nine” baseball team, all with mustaches that would make any Williamsburgian hipster tear up with pride should have tipped you off. If that didn’t do it, then perhaps Houdini’s handcuffs, the saw dust on the floor or dust-laden chandelier would have done it. Actually, you should watch the iPad around all that dust — can’t be good for it.

I understand how proud you must feel to show off your new iPad to your friends. If I had one I’m sure I’d want to let them feel how thin it is, slide their fingers across the touch screen and then snatch it back with a smirk and say, “Get your own.”  

But not in McSorely’s, man.

Have a brew.  Talk it out.  Check out one of the few women who are brave enough (and awesome enough) to walk through it’s iron grate doors. 

McSorely’s is one of those rare spots with the power to transport you to another time, another state of mind.  How many places in America have both Abe Lincoln and John Lennon, and a myriad of other notables, downed a pint in?  It’s a special escape.  That’s why you go there.  It’s certainly not for the food or the amazing array of beers (McSorely’s Light or McSorely’s Dark).  But you have to let it do it’s magic and embrace it for what it is.  Abe would have left the iPad in his cabin.  And, if he wouldn’t have brought his iPad, then, my friend, I believe your unconscionable act spits in the face of presidents.  It defies the constitution.  And is as unAmerican as french, I mean freedom fries (which McSorely’s doesn’t serve), tango (which McSorely’s thinks is a Sylvester Stallone character from the late 80’s), and falafel (which you can get down the street and is actually quite tasty).

Next time, think before you bring your iPad into historic bars.  Abraham Lincoln would have wanted it that way. And John Lennon too.  Don’t tell me you don’t like the Beatles now, too? 

See you at the bar.

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How to Beat the Heat in New York City

Can you think of a better way?

Kids play in the fountain at Washington Square Park, NYC.

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New York Tourists Try Not to Melt

There’s nothing like the breeze that comes with riding around all day in an open air sightseeing bus. Woooo doggy.

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Oh To Be a Kid Again

Walking home tonight through Washington Square Park tonight I was struck by a few kids playing in the fountain. So much fun!

This is what it looked like when I first walked up…

But with one walk around, just a few feet from this spot, I found this…


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Union Square Goings On…


The little gate in front of the Gandhi statue on the southwest corner of the park was open so I stepped in to take a look.  Funny how a twenty inch tall gate had kept me from getting new views of the park for the longest time. Maybe it’s been open before, I just didn’t notice.

There was a street fair, a market of sorts in Union Square today.  And, surprisingly, there were no organic turnips or naturally fermented pickles. It was for NYSERDA, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the stands were to promote clean energy ideas.  If you’re passing through today, check it out!

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