November 29, 2011


The other night I was walking through my lovely ghetto, I mean, neighborhood, and heard what sounded like gunfire. Now, it could have been fireworks but the last time I thought that I was corrected by Roy down at the corner, who said, "No, that was a machine gun." Anyway, that got me thinking--what is it about firecrackers that is so appealing? You light the fuse of this object, quickly jump away and put your fingers in your ears blocking the very reason you lit it in the first place. It doesn't make pretty sparks or colorful flames, it just makes a loud, obnoxious noise. Again, a noise that you cover your ears to avoid. This makes no sense to me. Even though I love firecrackers.

While up on a friend's roof I snapped this shot with a point-&-shoot camera. Later played with it in Photoshop (very limited skills). Wouldn't this make a nice cover of my favorite magazine, the New Yorker?


I've had Thanksgiving dinner at expensive restaurants and crappy diners and everything in between. I have to say, I think I like the diners better. The expensive places do weird things to what should be simple dishes: chutney this-and-that, cranberry-walnut-raisin-fennel-apple stuffing, shallot mashed potatoes, turkey rubbed with exotic herbs. I just want the basics. And, that's what I got at the Village Den diner on Greenwich Ave.

November 27, 2011


Little shaft of late afternoon light in Chelsea

Laundry day in Inwood

There are constant bulletins on the subway and the news telling New Yorkers that "if you see something, say something." If you see any suspicious packages, suitcases or boxes to report it to the police. Here's the problem: you see an unattended suitcase, box or strange package a few times a day.

November 23, 2011

Last Remnants of Fall

A mini rainbow. A tiny blip of color in the sky.

Reflections along the High Line.

A glimpse of geese flying over in Van Cortlandt Park.

Fall path

The last of the leaves have fallen for the most part. Now comes the bleak long winter. I like winter but I'm not looking forward to the biting winds and black slush in the streets after a snow. I have to appreciate and enjoy these last few days of fall.

November 21, 2011

Not Much to Report (obviously)

I find graffiti interesting for many reasons. I understand the whole "street art" concept. A frustrated artist skulking off into the night with his cans of paint to find a barren wall or billboard to scrawl his message upon. Think Basquiat, Keith Haring. I never really got the turf war concept of "tagging" over each others street art. The 80s seemed to be the height of the graffiti era. The first time I came to New York in the 80s the red line subway cars were covered in graffiti. I sort of miss that.

This this is deep. Why bother to scribble such nonsensical bullshit on the wall? Not particularly funny--though I admit I did smile briefly when I saw it--not creative and just plain stupid. The "unimaginative graffiti artist." Well, unless he actually did shit himself.

Me standing on 6th Avenue at a bus stop. Not waiting for the bus, but using the lights of a broken lighted advertising display of the bus shelter for a quick self portrait.

November 18, 2011

Odd Night

I went out tonight to see my good friend Mike Ault playing with the PRS Experience including the AMAZING Davey Knowles (Back Door Slam) and David Grissom. They were doing a little promo gig at a beautiful guitar store in Soho called Rudy's. Strangely, only about 30 people showed up to see these world class musicians jam.

Afterwards a few of us cabbed over to Raj Mahal in the east village for some awesome Indian food.

What's better than hearing some great guitar playing followed by a big plate of Chicken Sag, some chana bhaji with naan bread, a few Kingfishers and stimulating conversation? Not much.

Paul Reed Smith and Nicky Moroch (above), Mike Ault below.

The night got more interesting when I hopped on the L train across to 8th ave. A person in a skeleton getup wearing a red dress and leather jacket was standing on the platform ravenously eating something from McDonald's. I walked up, pulled out my camera, showed it to the character and said "May I?". A semi-feminine voice replied..."Certainly".

Subways can be frightening late at night. For more reasons than one might think.

Where else but New York City?

November 16, 2011

Pee & Tree

There are many different types of urinals throughout the city. These occupy the bathroom at Van Cortlandt Park. Though some urinals around town are very modern, these might be better suited in a prison than a park.

And yes, I feel a bit weird shooting in bathrooms so obviously I wait until everyone is gone so I won't be caught and perceived as a pervert. I always wanted a home with a urinal in it. They seem so practical.

MOMA's ultra modern urinals.

Nothing to do with urinals, while in Van Cortlandt Park I found this very interesting tree consuming a fence .

November 13, 2011

Republican Noms

I've seen a few of the debates on TV and it looks like Mitt Romney probably has the best chance of being the Republican nominee.

Just read some interesting facts and quotes on Mitt Romney. This is why he's a douchebag:

He's a devout Mormon (cult member).
Quote: "Freedom requires religion in society."
Against abortion.
Would like to overturn Roe v. Wade (though he's flip-flopped when need be).
Vetoed emergency contraception for rape victims.
Vetoed stem cell research bill.
Quote: "Cut taxes and Grow! Apply Reaganomics."
Wants to add 100,000 troops to military.
Quote: "Bush and Cheney made mistakes but kept us safe."
Quote "$700 Billion was well spent to win freedom in Iraq" (said in 2009).
Against gay marriage.
Wants to drill in ANWR (Alaska National Wildlife Refuge).

Other possibilities?

Newt... A lying, hypocritical sack of shit. What I loved best was that he was cheating on his own wife during the proceedings to impeach Clinton for perjury. Actually known to have cheated on both previous wives. He's now on his third marriage. And, he's fat.

Michelle Bachmann? Please! Crazy eyes, crazy mind! She's religious, says idiotic things and doesn't believe in global warming. Enough said.

Herman Cain? He did it.

Rick Perry? Comes from Texas, loves George Bush. Has A+ rating from the NRA. A total buffoon. Enough said.

Rick Santorum? Religious zealot. Every decision he makes is based on his misguided religious beliefs. Here's a terrifying fact: After giving birth to a premature baby (20 weeks), who died 2 hours after birth, he and his wife brought the corpse home, introduced it to their other living seven children and slept with it in their home until the next day before taking it back to hospital. Fucking crazy!

Jon Huntsman? Not bad actually. Believes in global warming and evolution. But he is a Mormon, which is scary.

Ron Paul? My choice. Stance on foreign policy is consistent non-intervention. Believes in pulling all troops out of Europe, Japan and Korea. That's enough for me.

It'll be an interesting race. The Republicans better get their shit
together and find someone with a brain.

November 12, 2011

Autumnal Bliss

Truly spectacular colors in the park. So vivid and rich. Walking down a path, I looked up to see a flock of geese flying over, honking in their V formation. Another Courier & Ives moment.

There are places where it's summer year round and places where it's always winter; if it existed, I'd move to a place that had never-ending fall. By far, my favorite time of the year!

A Walk in the Park

Today I took a long walk in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. The air was brisk and the wind was howling. I've been battling a chest cold for a week and discovered quickly that I hadn't worn enough clothing for a long jaunt in the woods. Van Cortlandt has a vast variety of maple trees that have blanketed the ground with an array of colors. Hard to believe I was in the Bronx, it felt more like upstate New York.

November 10, 2011


"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." Mark Twain

November 8, 2011

The Perfect Crime

Sunday I heard a knock on my door sometime in mid-afternoon. I opened the door to find a small-framed woman around sixty looking back at me with a somber expression. She said something in Spanish when I interrupted her with, "No, no, Ingles."

Then she spoke in clear but semi-broken English, "I'm sorry to bother you, there was a tragedy in the building."
Me: "Really, what happened?"
Her: "A small child died in the building last night." (She was noticeably distraught.)
Me: "What? That's horrible, what happened?"
Looking as if she was going to cry she replied, "A small child bit into an electrical cord and was electrocuted."
Me: "Oh my God...That's terrible. What apartment?"
Her: "5-E." (while looking down at the ground)
Me: "What apartment do you live in?"
Her: "5-B."
Me: "Right across the hall."
Her: "Yes." After a pause she said, "We're collecting money for flowers for the family."

I stared at her with a concerned look...trying to read the validity of her emotions. I reached into my pocket. I had five one-dollar bills and two twenties. I unfolded and straightened out the five ones and held them out to her...then paused and said, "This isn't some sort of scam?"

She looked at me with a disappointed look as if wondering how I could think such a thing.

I handed her the cash. She looked down and quietly said, "Thank you," and turned and walked away. I watched her go around the corner leading to the steps. For a brief second I wondered why she didn't go to another apartment and then thought that maybe I was the last one she tried on the floor.

I closed the door and shook my head at what a sad tragedy that was. I also thought back to the night before trying remember what time I had gotten home, wondering if I would have seen all the commotion with police and paramedics. I was disappointed in my cynicism.

Today, just out of curiosity, I went over to the other side of the building and walked up the steps to the 5th floor. I saw a hispanic woman in the hallway, about 30 years old. I said, "Excuse me, did you hear anything about a child dying on the 5th floor yesterday?" She looked back at me surprised and said, "No, I haven't heard anything."

I paused and then slowly walked down the steps and had to smile to myself.

I realized that my cynicism was not unfounded. She was a pro, that poor, sad woman had hustled me. Wow, she was really good. Like, Oscar winning good.

November 5, 2011

City Snaps

Cloud cover

Landing zone (click on photo)

Early commute

November 3, 2011

Da Bronx

Twice this week I've gone up to the Bronx very early in the morning just after sunrise. The Bronx used to be a very scary place back in the 80s. I read that people would sleep on the steps of their local police stations during the summer nights because they were terrified of being shot in their homes. A lot has changed. Obviously good from a safety standpoint but it's not exactly the Bronx I was hoping to capture. It's a bit homogenized these days, like everywhere else in New York. Photographically speaking, safe places are not that visually stimulating.

Graffiti, remnants of days gone by.

Bronx commuters.

Under the #1 train

On the bridge between Manhattan and the Bronx.

My breakfast at some little corner diner for $3.50. Not a caucasian in the place.

November 1, 2011


As if Americans weren't fat enough. Along comes KFC with its solution to the problem: a big bowl of cheese and bacon. I guess they didn't get the memo that America has become a nation of obese, sloth-like pigs who love HUGE portions and rarely move a muscle. I read the other day that the average person in Dallas walks one tenth of a mile a day (the average New Yorker walks about 2/3 of a mile).

What marketing genius came up with this cardiac surgeon's fantasy? Incredible.