Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Chelsea working pier again; I don't know what those big wheels are for, perhaps it is some kind of bridge. Or maybe whatever is transported on those trolley rails get moved by these wheels somehow. That little dock on the left goes to the red tugboat beside it. This is the same sort of boat that surrounded the plane that landed in the Hudson this winter, this one was probably out there too. 
I had been watching General Hospital which they interrupted with the news. The announcer teared up, assuming the worst, and I turned the TV off. My gym is on Christopher Street and I went there to avoid watching any more of it. I didn't expect to witness a miracle, since it happened way uptown, but by the time I arrived, the current had moved the plane there as well. I stood on the icy pier for half an hour as the rescue armada floated passed, then left when the paparazzi showed up pushing the civilians out of their way. And later at the gym the televisions were on the news and I got to watch it all over again.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Chelsea is an interesting area, not really a neighborhood, and the waterfront is still industrial although they have started renovating parts of it. This pier is part of a cluster of them at 25th Street, and is as close to a working pier as I've ever seen in New York. Those are trolley rails on the flooring, and the whole thing moves with the water like a ship, these beams make a creaking sound that can be rather alarming. Right next to this is another pier where luxury yachts are moored with a very nice gazebo that I didn't shoot because it was full of homeless people and their baggage who were ignoring the helicopters taking off from the heliport a few blocks away.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A few weeks ago I took pictures in Chelsea but the weather was dismal, rather like today, and I said I go back when it was sunny. So during my little Flower Festival, I did. Here are a couple of them, there will be more for the next couple days as well. This particular afternoon, the river was very low and quite a bit of the water's edge was exposed. The first day I was here, none of what's in the right hand photo showed. And below, the ever-present geese in a lovely V formation, on their way to swim around and eat algae off of those decaying posts.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Another Newport shot, with the harbor in the background; then the one below at the Houston Street pier after riding the PATH home again. Newport has this red and white striped lighthouse, which I know nothing about historically. All clean and modern, at least what I saw of it that afternoon, I assume the town has been there for centuries. If you look closely at the bottom photo, the lighthouse is at the base of the shiny building with the slanting rooftop. And further to the right is the Holland Tunnel terminal from yesterday's posting. 

Friday, March 27, 2009

Two more shots from Newport, that low wide ivory colored shape along the water in the top one is the Houston Street pier; the red building to it's left is the Archive which has appeared in a number of the Christopher Street photos. If you click on it, you be able to see the black water tower from a few weeks back. That big silvery structure that looks like a cigarette lighter is the most recent monument to Donald Trump's ego. Quite the controversy surrounding it, he fought tooth and nail to build it in Soho but the Historical Preservation Society prevented that, so he put it up on Varick Street, the border of Soho, and there have been a number of worker deaths related to it. The second photo is self-explanatory, the big box is the terminal for the Holland Tunnel. If you look closely at the top photo again, you'll see its twin, which is on the Canal Street pier where I like to sunbathe.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Before my flower tangent, I mentioned I might take the PATH train over to Jersey and shoot the West Side from there. Just for fun. Well, I did, and here are some of the results. I went to Newport, which is across from the piers I generally haunt. To the left is the breakwater for the marina with its rocks and waves, and below is the World Financial Center in maximum zoom. The rounded structure under construction is in the Battery Park photos from a few weeks ago. That recessed space between the buildings to the far right is where I shot those harbor sunsets. Tomorrow, the Houston and Canal Street piers, I promise.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Don't know the official name of these, I've always called them African daisies, but that's got to be wrong. These reside next to yesterday's lotus blossoms, you can see the pebble filled barrel of water that they grow in in the left hand background. Clearly I like pink, something I didn't realize until posting all these flowers and recent rosy sunsets. Fuschia is my favorite of that hue, both my wallet and clever folding umbrella are that color, although you'd never know it to look in my closet at my solidly Soho black wardrobe. Ever so chic, but obscure.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It took me months to get this photo of these lotus blossoms, although the plant always had big fat buds, which I'd shoot, every time I saw it. I still don't know if they open and close like morning glories, or if I just kept missing the opportunity between cuttings. I was surprised to see they were so yellow inside, having only seen the purple of the outer petals in all my visits to the Laguardia communal garden.

Monday, March 23, 2009

So here they are, my cherry blossoms! Maybe in the world outside of Manhattan, they're not so miraculous, but for me, there are few things as thrilling as walking under a city block of low hanging limbs of this glorious pinkness. Still weeks away, they can't get here soon enough.
I know, way too early for hydrangeas and peonies, but it's only 28 degrees this morning, that dreaded down coat weather again although the sun is shining brightly, and I thought these might warm things up a bit. Soon enough, I'll be complaining about the heat since it certainly gets hot in New York in the summer. Tomorrow, my favorite, the beautiful pink cherry blossoms!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Yeah! More flowers! These, again, are from last year in the communal garden next to my supermarket on LaGuardia. I don't know what the blue blossoms are, I thought they might be larkspurs, but probably not. The garden, almost a city block wide, is surrounded by an 8 foot chicken wire fence which one has to have a member's key to get in. This is New York and there are countless idiots who'd trash the place if they could. I don't understand why, the impulse to destroy, but they'll laugh gleefully while they do it. 

But back to the garden with its gate and keys, I spend a lot of time sticking my camera lens through the chicken wire, as you will see. They do have two evenings a week when it's open to the public, but there are too many people, and too many rules, stay on the path, stay on the path, for me to enjoy it. I prefer my spy tactics, my solitary experience, for my urban commune with nature.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Actually, the tulips aren't up in New York yet, I took these photos last year, but I haven't worn my down coat in a week and my windows are open a few inches so winter is over as far as I'm concerned. It's not done, I'm sure it will drag on and on, it may even snow again but who cares! I'm putting my Uggs away, well, maybe not today, but let's look at flowers for a while; those sunsets can just wait for a couple more days.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Enough sunsets for the time being, it's Spring! The Vernal Equinox, even though we had a little snow this morning. The buds are out, I saw tiny nibs on the cherry trees by NYU yesterday as I ran errands in the rain. This was shot at the communal garden by my supermarket on Laguardia, one of my favorite places to shoot photographs in the city. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A gloomy morning here in Gotham, it promises to look like this in the evening unless it's pouring. Appropriate weather for feeling sad about Natasha Richardson, who I saw in Streetcar Named Desire a several summers back, and she was luminously magnificent in spite of  John C. Reilly's unbearable performance as Stanley. Sorry, he was bad. But Amy Ryan was a great Stella to Natasha's brilliant Blanche DuBois. Another reason to be grateful about living here, sometimes I forget.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One more sunset from the Battery before we mosey back up towards the Village. It occurred to me that we've really been looking at New Jersey, although that is the Hudson. So, in the next few days, I think I'll take the PATH across the river and shoot Manhattan from there instead; or perhaps Brooklyn. Ah, New York, always the adventure.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another sunset, taken the same evening from the same spot only at a different angle, as the last one. Here's the harbor, without the zoom I used for the view of Jersey City; it is a rather large body of water as far as metropolises go. The Hudson itself can be a mile wide in some of these photos, which why there aren't more bridges, I suppose. That's the Statue of Liberty to the left, and Ellis Island, with Staten Island, and New Jersey with those twinkling lights, in the background.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Anyone for sunsets? Let's have a few, shall we. Which will be easy since there must be 1000 of them in my IPhoto library. I took at least 30 the evening I shot the one above, so perhaps that will be the theme this week. Sunsets, over the Hudson, and lovely Jersey City. This was taken along the lower end of the Battery Park waterfront just west of Ground Zero; when I turned to see what was behind me, there was the summit of the pyramid shaped World Financial Center building.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Two shots of the same thing, perhaps half an hour apart. The sun shining through buildings to the west of Ground Zero has moved across the wall as it begins to set. I used to go down there all the time, on my first visit the huge pile of debris was still on fire and surrounded by gun-totting soldiers; I even wrote a letter to Giuliani about the need of a viewing place for civilians to mourn from and he wrote back that it was already in the works. I haven't been since I took these photos last winter, the men in Hazmat suits from the Deutsche Bank building demo site next door freaked me out.  

Saturday, March 14, 2009

New pictures, as promised. These were taken two days ago, and in spite of the sun, it was only a degree or two above freezing and really breezy. To the left is the new walkway that used to be cracked and crumbly. You can see they've made progress with the structure that had a crane on top of it last fall, and most of the equipment on the new Chambers Street pier is gone in the lower photo. The river was especially shallow that day; take a another look at the pier posts barely sticking out of the water in yesterday's image and compare it to the one below. And for the record, for those who do not live in New York, the World Trade Center Towers were in the wide empty space between those two new buildings, and were at least twice as high as anything else around them.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Here's Battery Park City as of last fall, tomorrow I'll post an shot or two I took yesterday to show the progress. That shiny silver structure reflecting the clouds to the left was built to replace the #7 WTC Tower, which fell late in the afternoon of 9/11. If you click the image, you can see a tiny US flag on one of the government buildings way to the right. And a magnificent water tower on a fairly recent building. But what may be more interesting is the construction going on along the water. That's a new pier going up covering some old posts at what I believe is Chambers Street. This is where the plane that landed in the Hudson this winter ended up tethered between this new pier and the Battery waterfront. Perhaps one of these very cranes struggled to pull it out of the icy water and place it lovingly on its final destination barge.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Two images taken the same afternoon during a walk along the river before they started renovations. It was the spring of 2007, when I first started using my camera. This view no longer exists, there are new buildings blocking the skyline space that had been left empty at Ground Zero. The old posts in the left hand photo are now being covered with a new pier and the walkway itself now has a garden deck and hi-tech benches. The bottom photo is my desktop image, it looks so different without all my icons to distract me. It's of the Canal Street pier, where I like to go when I'm in the mood for sunbathing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another dreary day in Gotham. Not raining exactly, spritzing, or schvitzing, as they say. Just enough to wreak your hair, as it did mine this morning, on my way to an interview that I had obsessed over what I was going to wear to most of last night. Grey tights to break up all the trendy black Soho clothing and my beat-up but still beautiful Burberry bag; and then my hair, so tidy in my mirror this morning, doing its thing. C'est la vie. This is a color photo, if you click on it you'll see the pinks and yellow ochres across the river in New Jersey. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Just in case you didn't believe me, here are two of maybe fifty shots of the old pier posts that are up and down the river. They speak of history, and also the power of nature. Everyday it's a different image, depending on the tide and the sun. These posts can't be removed because of environmental issues, they're New York's answer to the Roman Forum and the ancient Parthenon. 

Monday, March 9, 2009

I spent the last few days in Chelsea at an art fair there. Yesterday I took my camera to shoot the river and the numerous water towers in the area, but the weather was too dreary so I'll go back when the light is better. I did take a few shots, all dark and dramatic, which reflect the grimy industrial flavor of the neighborhood that is so similar to how Soho was when I moved here in the 70's. I like this shot, I am a big fan of the old river posts that dot the waterfront. There's something very sweet about the way these lean against their companions.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Back to the water front, as we look towards land, from the pier above Christopher Street. A little stylistic mixture of architecture along with some of those charming water towers. 
Can you see the tiny airplane mid way through the clouds in the bottom photograph on its way to LaGuardia? They stopped flying over Manhattan for awhile after 9/11; and although it has been deemed safe again, it still makes me nervous to see them. 

Another water tower shot on the corner of Houston Street and West Broadway, the gateway to Soho. There are more towers on the front building, but for some reason, they don't make a nice photo. Believe me, I've tried, there must be 50 shots of this corner in my library. There are 6 of this cloud formation alone. Big sky, bad clouds blowing over. As I recall, there were torrential rains further uptown but all we got was the drama. Manhattan narrows at 14th Street and that does something to the weather patterns. I picked this image because today is my birthday and it is how I'm feeling. There's something beautiful about it, but I'm also a bit gloomy. Sunshine tomorrow, I promise.

Friday, March 6, 2009

This a pretty typical water tower, it's on Houston, this is the Sullivan Street side; I usually see it from Thompson, the next block over. One thing I like about Houston Street is the big sky effect, few buildings are more than six stories high, mostly they're 19th century walk-ups, and the street itself is quite wide with a meridian in the middle so there's an open space that's rare for the city. Even the narrow cross streets, Sullivan, Thompson, MacDougal, turn into canyons; six stories high or not. Houston is a great place to watch the weather; and running east to west and back again, there's always an interesting sunset.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I love the old downtown water towers; I see 4 in this image, although the stilted black one is the Star. They're uptown too, on buildings of a certain age, but the younger, taller structures block them from view. I live in a tenement with 1868 on its cornerstone, there's a tiny but very deep lion-clawed bathtub in the kitchen. We had a water tower when I came in 1980, but it was torn it down. There's still one on the building next door. And across the street, I think. They're hard to see from the ground, they sort of sneak up on you. In a non-threatening way, they are always a nice surprise. At least for me and my camera.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ah yes, now I know where I am. So much nicer than yesterday's snow scene, which has started to melt and is getting gnarly. Not as bad as January of 1994 when it snowed almost everyday for two weeks and there were multiple layers of ice under filthy heaps of pushed back snow. Or the winter in the late 70's when we had a terrible blizzard during a garbage strike; I was working at Saks that year and can remember walking down Fifth Avenue from the subway and not being able to see across the street because of the snow that had been plowed on top of the week old trash bags lining the sidewalk. But, on the other hand,  I got to wait on John Lennon and Yoko Ono that day; I was tending the boutique in front of the elevators when they got off in those fur-lined parkas looking for sweaters, which is what I had to sell. I would wait on them again a little later at the restaurant I'd moved on to. I have his cigarette butt that I saved after capping his ashtray. Ebay worthy but mine alone, I intend to keep it always. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

So after my crack about snow two days ago, we got hit with the blizzard that pummeled the East Coast yesterday. Manhattan, surrounded by rivers, only got 8", but the suburbs where it's always worse, got 14". Boston, I'm sure, is buried in it. It's 16 degrees at the moment, high noon, but the wind chill factor makes it more like zero. Here's my corner, not a pretty picture, those lovely snow scenes of New York are usually Brooklyn, where they get plowed later than we do. That's Houston Street, a quarter mile from the pier, which is one of downtown's major roads. As you can see, St. Anthony's church has cleaned their sidewalk but the rest of us are on our own.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Here is the perfect comparison of New York and Boston, what makes them different, by example of their geese. Yes, I know, they are migratory, and those birds here one day could be there the next; but just like the weather, where you are changes the effect. This tough customer to the left is on the Houston Street pier and has that New York stare, that what are you looking at attitude. He needs a Mets t-shirt or a Yankees cap. The ones below, so stately in the Charles River rocks, could almost be having tea. And how fitting it is to have our return home be about geese since the last New York post was all about them as well. 

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Boston again, still the Charles River, with the North End business district on the right side and Charlestown on the left. Pretty in the morning sun, and ever so civilized. One can walk right up to water's edge, feed the ducks and geese swimming there; or stroll across the bridges and enjoy the fresh air. Of course there's traffic and drugs and gangland crime, they even have a user friendly subway system; but it's not New York, with it's metropolis on steroids life style. I could live in Boston, but it's about those winters. We had a little snow in New York today that's already gone, but Boston's probably knee deep in the stuff by now. I mean, I love my down filled coat and fur lined boots, but I'm so sick of wearing them I could scream. Sounds like a New Yorker, that screaming, about having to wear a coat, even to me.