May 30, 2010

Weekend sights

This could be the nastiest ATM on the planet. Spit and goo and God knows what else covers this thing. Not to mention it smelled like pee. I'd be scared to put my finger on one of the number pads... disgusting.
Around 38th street.
Spikes, a hat and something I can't explain. Sort of a jet black, ill fitting, half rug, half spray on hair thing.

People take such good care of their bikes here in the city. Houston street.

Drunk guy in front of the Thai place were I had dinner. I ordered a sweet and sour soup as an appetizer and told the waiter three times..."NO bell peppers". The soup came with bell peppers floating all over the top, I sent it back. Next I ordered steamed dumplings... They came fried. Finally I ordered a version of pad thai with glass noodles. A big bowl of soup came. I found this incredibly aggravating and funny at the same time. Not a single thing right out of three.
An hour later my stomach was rebelling and I needed to get home fast. I'd be willing to bet the cook put something in my second unordered soup for sending back the first soup. Just as I was leaving the subway after my uncomfortable 50 minute ride, I discovered I had left my keys at a friends house. I almost panicked. I had no choice. I got back on the downtown subway and started my hour long journey to retrieve my keys. What else could I do? A really bad situation...

One shaft of light illuminating the building's bright red standpipe.

May 22, 2010

On a lighter note,

On the High Line they have these little flimsy chairs for people to sit on. People group them in odd ways. Did 4 people sit abreast?

On a ledge in front of a church. I'm guessing you're not welcome to rest your weary bones there.

For people like him who don't get the hint. Perhaps they need spikes too.

Whenever I look up in the sky and see a plane going over I can't help but wonder where it's going. I never think of Cleveland or Dallas. I imagine it's headed somewhere more exotic like Morocco or Bangkok. Each one reminds me that I'm not living life to the fullest and I'm filled with wanderlust. I should be on that plane. Unless it IS going to someplace like Des Moines or Detroit.

Most of 42nd Street has become as commercialized and sterile as Disneyland but for some reason the area around 42nd and 9th Avenue is still as shitty as ever. Actually it's the only interesting part of 42nd Street left. It was so much cooler years ago with it's seedy strip clubs, whores and hustlers. At least then it had character.

May 21, 2010

Remembering Mario

I took this last photo of Mario a few days before he died. He looked peaceful and content. He was looking forward to going home.

Mario, Tracy and I on the steps at Union Square. He'd call and ask me to meet him there and bring a toasted sesame bagel with cream cheese. Mario loved sitting out there watching everyone.

A happy snap taken sometime during treatment.

One of our many days at Union Square.

Today (actually yesterday) is the second anniversary of the death of my wonderful friend Mario. Anniversary sounds like a happy date as in "wedding anniversary". When you look it up in a thesaurus you also get synonyms such as commemoration, celebration even jollification. May 20th signifies nothing but sadness and loss for me. A day hasn't gone by since he died that I haven't replayed at least a part of the night and following morning we spent with him before he died. Truly the saddest day of my life. I hoped this feeling would have subsided more after two years but it hasn't. Perhaps I'm suffering some form of PSTD or maybe I'm too sensitive. After all, most everyone has suffered the loss of a close relative or friend. But, I think there is a difference here. Most people hear about a death after the fact. It may have happened the previous day in a car or a battlefield or the hospital. They rarely actually witness the persons passing. They get the unexpected call, they cry and feel the loss and then days later attend a sterilized church service glancing at a beautifully polished wooden box sitting like a piece of furniture covered with flowers in front of the bereaved friends and family. They pass the box and sometimes even place a hand on it. They drive to a serene parklike area and lower this beautiful box into the ground. There is a huge difference when you're there with that person at the end and you realize that there's nothing you can do to help them. It's the most helpless feeling in the world. That moment is completely out of your control. No amount of screaming, yelling or pleading with doctors can do anything to change that course. One moment the person you love is there, heart beating, breath going in and out of them and then suddenly the flame goes out. They don't look any different, they're quiet, the room is silent except for the sounds of the people around you crying. Then you suddenly realize that at that moment, everything in your life has changed forever. This is not sterile. This is brutal and incredibly hard to accept. There's a brief moment of denial and you find yourself wanting to reach over and shake this person you love and expect a response, a stir, an eye to open and glance your way.
I'm torn because one side of me knows it would have been so much easier to have gotten a call early that morning on May 20th 2008. The other side of me feels honored to have been there. Selfishly, part of me wishes I hadn't experienced the overwhelming sadness and the helplessness we all felt. I also felt guilty because I couldn't bear to watch the life leave his body and I walked out of the room moments before the machines stopped. I went back in minutes later and sat with his family surrounding his bed. Very little was said. The lights in his room were off but diffused gray light was filling the room as the sun was coming up. It was if we were all watching him sleeping. We stayed with him for a very long time and then finally one by one hugged each other said our goodbyes. I walked out of the hospital and stopped on the street to call my sister. She got that terrible unexpected early morning call.
I miss my friend very very much.

May 20, 2010

Do you see what I see?

Nosy neighbors in Inwood

Acrobats in Union Square (I can do that)

Hunchback of the Highline

SpongeBob passenger

May 19, 2010

Last weekend

Billboard in the 30s. Looks more like it's saying "Can you please help get this starving little girl a cafe con leche?" That's a latte she's holding....

Cop's daughter with face paint at street fair, 42nd Street.

This is without any doubt the biggest nerd I've ever seen in my life, bar none.

This is the dumbest haircut I've ever seen in my life.

A fat guy riding these things? Call 911.

May 17, 2010


I've been going down to the corner of Nagle and Dyckman, pulling a flattened cardboard box from a fruit vendor's trash and sitting on the street, mingling with the locals. I'm definitely a fish out of water. Most people are very nice to me but at the same time very suspicious of my motives. They see that camera hanging around my neck and wonder what I'm doing there. Yesterday I was hanging out with Al, Roy, Willy, John, Linda, Piggy and a few others, most of whom have been hanging out on that same corner every day for the past 30 years.
When I arrived, Willy extended his hand to shake mine but then didn't release it. He held on tighter than one would expect from an old man while saying quietly, "Come on man, buy me a half pint." Roy piped in, talking over Willy, telling me I shouldn't enable him. Then he scolded Willy and said, "Relax Willy, let go of the man's hand. You don't need no pint." A self-professed alcoholic, Willy asked me 3o times where I was from and if I was Irish, in between his badgering me to buy him a drink. I walked across the street to take some snaps and when I returned 5 minutes later Willy had obviously talked someone into getting him a bottle of Georgi vodka for $2.75. He was finally quiet and content. Like a baby with a bottle of milk.
Forty-five minutes later, the bottle was empty and Willy made his best attempt at a beeline to the street to relieve himself. After a few minutes a couple of us got up and helped him to his feet.

About an hour later, as his buzz was beginning to subside, he turned to me, extended his hand and said, "Hey Brother... get me a half pint."

May 13, 2010


A few months ago I ran into an old friend Iveta on a go-see who I knew when I first moved to NYC. I hadn't seen her in 15 years. She's still modeling and is as beautiful as ever. After a few emails we decided to do a quick test on the Staten Island ferry. Yesterday was cold, rainy and windy but we decided to shoot anyway. The weather sucked but it was fun nonetheless. We ended up spending more time catching up than shooting.
Towards the end we wrapped a scarf around her head and went for the Amelia Earhart look. A fun wet afternoon.

May 11, 2010

Shelby Lynne ripped my heart out, twice.

I remember as a little kid watching this tv show called "McMillan and Wife". It starred Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James. I loved that program. It was the first time I had ever experienced a real crush on another human being. I was so in love with Susan Saint James it would tear my heart out to watch because I knew there was no way in the world I could ever meet her, much less be with her. I had to stop watching the show, it was too painful. Tonight I'm feeling a bit of deja vu.

A few months ago I heard Shelby Lynne on the radio singing a Dusty Springfield song from a tribute cd she did. I rushed out and bought the cd and it was great. That hooked me and I watched nearly every video I could find on YouTube of her. Tonight I went to see her at a tiny theater on West 64th Street. Holy shit! She put on one of the top 3 greatest shows I've ever seen in my life. When that woman sings one of those sad ballads she almost starts crying. I sat there watching her with binoculars (and I was already really close) as she poured her heart and soul out on every song. She had lived that pain. I love her puffy eyes, that furrowed brow and that face that shows every one of those dark smokey bars and honky tonks she's played for the past 20+ years. So worn and beautiful.
That same helpless lovestruck feeling I had watching McMillan and Wife came rushing back.

Now here's the sad part of this little tale. This afternoon I had a meeting with a client down on lower Broadway. I mentioned that I was going to see Shelby Lynne tonight. He smiled and said, "Shelby Lynne the dyke?" I laughed and said, "No, the country singer." He said, "I think she just came out a week ago." I felt a rush of panic. Could this be? I had visions of her and me walking hand-in-hand with our dogs through a golden field of grass up to our cabin on a hill. Me with a camera, her with a guitar. We would've made the perfect little couple. (I'm joking... sort of.)
I walked around his desk and plinked out Google on his computer. There it was: "Shelby Lynne gay." To further confirm these reports, at the concert tonight she had a new little hairstyle. Short in the back with a little rat tail. And, she was wearing a wide leather bracelet. It's true... my client was right.

It's the end of the world.

May 10, 2010

Saturday scenes

I walked about 4 miles Saturday. A beautiful day. I started out early at the Perry Street annual sale, went to a few thrift stores, then to the flea market on 39th Street, then continued up through Hell's Kitchen where I had this great lunch at an Israeli place. All those sales and I didn't buy a single thing. I finally figured it out... I want nothing.
As I stepped outside the restaurant I couldn't help "butt" notice this "hipster" guy wearing very uncool ass-crack pants. Not pretty! Hey, cool guy, might want to wear a longer shirt or higher waist jeans and forfeit the cool look.

Who does this? Dogs in baby carriages? People are crazy.

Sunny day in Hell's Kitchen.

Germans. Obviously they wear pants differently over there.


Yellow place, yellow shirt, yellow cab.

May 6, 2010


This is Megan. She reminds me of a cross between Liv Tyler and Anne Hathaway. We did a quick shoot last Wednesday right after my gig with Mary J Blige. My friend Kristi did her makeup. She was very easy to photograph and a joy to hang out with. And what's better than that?

I think too much

It's 4:00am and I need to go to bed. I started editing images at midnight and now here it is 4 hours later and I'm putting images on my blog... I must be crazy.

There are certain mundane, everyday things that I see that make me want to cry. No, I mean that literally. Some mother yanking her 2-year-old's arm on the subway and screaming profanities at him to stop crying. Obviously she was brought up that way so the cycle continues. Sadly, I see it often. Things like that bother me... as did this image. Now, he may be very content and happy to have a job but I watched him for a pretty long time and he didn't move. He sold one paper and finally dozed off. What is this guy's life like? I couldn't imagine a more unfulfilling job than selling papers at the subway entrance.
Spring cleaning in the village.
I've never been a successful dog owner. Having pets in our house as kids was always a disaster. When I go past the dog run I have this paternal pull to own one. Then they poop, I watch the owner scoop it up, and the feeling passes.
Where is that thing going?
Every day at least one musical group gets on the A train. Sometimes two or three will get on during one ride. These guys were right off the truck from Mexico... Like, that morning. They were good and still enthusiastic. Big spender, I gave them a buck.

May 2, 2010

Mary J. and my flu

Wednesday I had a job to shoot the R&B singer Mary J Blige. The job was for the cover of WWD. I took a car service with a load of equipment down to a studio near the Meatpacking District near the West Village. I arrived at 11:00am and walked onto the set. Walking in from outside, the studio was pitch dark and as my eyes adjusted I could see about 40 people shuffling around quietly doing various jobs while Mary sat at a grand piano surrounded by lights, camera gear and thick fog. They were filming a commercial for her new fragrance. Oddly, no one even asked me who I was. At about 12:00 I finally spoke to her assistant who told me I could shoot on set. That's rare, usually another crew doesn't like anyone shooting using their lights and equipment. These people couldn't be cooler. During a lens change on their camera I jumped in, adjusted the light just a bit and started snapping. I had to jack my asa up to 640 to get a decent exposure but with my new Canon 5D that wasn't a problem. The shots came out nice. A little later I asked if I could shoot at her makeup table and was told that probably wasn't going to happen. I told them I needed another photograph for the inside. They finally let me back in the makeup area and I got the second shot (page 3 of article). I left about 3:00pm and ran over to my friend Kristi's to shoot a girl I met on the A train a few nights before. She was a spitting image of Anne Hathaway. We all had a good time shooting and she did a great job. I'll post some snaps of her in the next few days. Click below to get to the WWD shots:

After getting home Wednesday night I suddenly came down with the worst stomach flu/virus I've had in many many years. It was awful. I'm just starting to feel a little bit better after not eating anything for 3 days.