July 29, 2013

The Hood & the LX5

Walking through the neighborhood I came upon another group of kids happily playing in another fire hydrant. A very nice guy named Tito and I struck up a conversation and he told me that he'd been playing in the exact same hydrant for over 40 years. He was born in the building you see in the first photo and now lives directly across the street. He's never left the block. A once a predominantly Irish neighborhood is now all Dominican.

A few days after I took these photos I went to Coney Island to meet my friend Rafaella (below). We had only been shooting an hour or so before a huge storm suddenly came through with incredible wind and rain. Running for cover, along with twenty thousand other people, everything I had was soaked...including my favorite street camera, my Lumix LX5. When I came home it was dead.. I tried to dry it out by leaving it in rice for a few days but nothing worked. The dilemma...send it out for repair, which will be costly, or look for a new camera. Three years...it was good to me. 

July 20, 2013

Rare Sighting, A Chelsea Hydrant

 Walking through Chelsea after art night last night I came across this fire hydrant the authorities had put a flow restrictor on. Unlike Inwood (my hood) this is a rare sight downtown. More of a curiosity to onlookers, there were no kids playing in the water, mostly tourists taking photos, a few people cooling off and a few bicycle riders pedaling quickly through the stream. It was hot as hell and the water was cold and very refreshing...

 Some people cooled off their reluctant pets.

 He let out a scream like a little girl

 Some people casually walked into the stream. Clothing, shoes, bags, whatever.

 Happy bikers

Lots of cars cleaning the windshield....Others, just the face.

July 17, 2013

Nights of Music

My lovely and talented niece Laura and her boyfriend Jameson's band Lobo Marino was playing in a little bar/coffee shop in Brooklyn Sunday night. Coming from Inwood combined with various track repairs made the journey quite the trek.. The A train to the F train to the J train to a bus. We got there at 9:00pm and watched a few acts before they went on. Though there was no A/C and the venue had the same temperature as a Bikram yoga studio, it was a very fun show. Leaving at midnight it took nearly 2 hours to get back to my apartment. Well worth the journey. I was a proud uncle.

 Easily 95 degrees

Monday night I got a call around 5:30pm from my friends at Conde Nast to shoot "what they're wearing" at the Philharmonic in Central Park. What I found was 100,000 people dripping in sweat. I walked through the crowd for an hour an a half searching for anyone wearing anything remotely "designer-like". Any other time of year this would be a piece of cake. With temps in the 90s, however, nearly everyone was in shorts and a t-shirt. But, I found some kind people who posed for me. Mission accomplished, I found my friends Michael and Neal who were having a picnic and who graciously shared their fresh vegetable platter, hummus, grapes, cold water and the most deadly cosmos I've ever had... Three of those and I could barely walk to the subway (I'm such a lightweight). I rolled in at midnight drunk, took a shower and went to bed. Great night.

 Just as the music stopped, there was a nice 15 minute firework display at the south end of the park. A perfect ending.

July 11, 2013

Urban Sprinkler 2

This past week was the first I'd seen of uncapped fire hydrants this summer. Last year I was shooting large groups of kids, 10 or more, cooling off by late June. Seems nearly every single block had at least one hydrant illegally spewing out hundreds of gallons of water a minute. This year the attendance has been sparse at best. I found this particular hydrant on Sherman Ave., spraying water in a large circle due to the ingenious placement of a old discarded board positioned directly in front of the water spout. Because of the pressure, it took two beefy Hispanic guys to get it into the right position.  And, only a handful of kids were there to enjoy it. After about half an hour three large firemen showed up and capped it back up. And the fun was over.

July 9, 2013

A Small Town Fourth

Not wanting to battle the crowds along the Hudson River Park to watch the fireworks, my friend Jen and I decided to take the train up to Cold Spring. It's $20 round trip on Metro-North and takes a bit over an hour to get there from Manhattan. Cold Spring is a very small town and most businesses are along one single block. That being the case, there was a high likelihood of getting bored and returning to the city an hour after we got there. Arriving just before 3:00 p.m., we made it just as the big parade started. Ten veterans, followed by the bagpipe brigade, a local councilman, a police car, a few fire trucks, an ambulance, kids on bikes and the art club. 3:20 p.m., parade over. We walked slowly up Main Street, stopping in various shops filled with over-priced antiques and others full of junk. Nearly starving, we stopped at a local restaurant and had one of the best Cobb salads I've ever had. Stuffed, we made our way down to the tiny "fairgrounds" to find a few hundred people enjoying the day. Blankets strewn about, dancing, picnicking, playing with the kids and listening to one of the four bands that played. We sat in the grass, drank a Budweiser on tap and listened with the townies. An hour later we walked down to the pier and scarfed down a four-scoop ice cream sundae from MooMoo's Creamery ($5, it was a bargain) while watching a large group of kayakers settling in to watch the show.

It was so relaxing. Around 9:15, the first burst went off, which was fantastic from our seats on the pier. They continued for the next half an hour. Just before 10:00 the crowd gathered their belongings and headed home while we headed for the train. I was sorry to leave. Especially after arriving in Marble Hill and waiting 40 minutes for a bus standing in the filth at 225th Street and Broadway. The smell of garbage was overwhelming. I found myself scratching my head saying, "Why do I live it this overcrowded, expensive cesspool?"

Almost a week later  I'm still trying to figure that out...

The best 4th of July I've experienced in years. Manhattan's got nothing on Cold Spring!

July 2, 2013

Just for the Fun of It

My friend Olga and I decided to take some pictures on Sunday afternoon. We hadn't shot anything together in quite awhile and had no concept of what to do, nor did we have a place to shoot. Expecting rain I asked my friend Kristi, who was away in Florida, if we could use her apartment. Olga went into "stylist mode" and wrapped herself with a piece of white fabric and then tied some simple black tulle in her hair.  She stood next a window, looked at me and said "Do Meisel."  Voila...Vogue. If nothing else, we had fun.

The other day my friend Tatiana and I went to Central Park and laid (or is it layed?) in the sun on my $4 tie-dyed thrift store sheet. The ground was a little damp so we had to double it. A late start, but the tan has begun.

July 1, 2013

Bad Blogger Update

 Walking down the street in Chelsea the other day I saw a dead dragonfly on the ground. I stopped, picked it up and studied it. I was fascinated with the incredible detail of him especially in the eyes and the wings. Like a little intricate helicopter. More than a few people stopped while I was taking photos asking what I was shooting. I guess like me, one doesn't often see recently deceased dragon flies lying around the sidewalks of Manhattan. 

 Cab driver taking a quick nap on a found mattress on 18th street. I'd have to be pretty damned tired to rest on a discarded mattress. 

 Sleeping watchman in the Chelsea Art District

 I don't mind artsy, witty or interesting graffiti but this was a waste of paint... I mean, why bother? Stupid.

Speaking of stupid: Recent show of Jeff Koons's RIDICULOUS... "sculptures"? Have a "team" of people copy some ancient Greek statues and place a blue orb on each one. One of the stupidest, nonsensical things I've seen in an art gallery in years. And, Koons is laughing all the way to the bank. Notice to art world: Wake the f#ck up and stop buying into this absurd bullshit!!!

My good friend Aly and her family are moving to Berkeley California next month and I went to going away party for them. Beautiful apartment in Tribeca with a great view (34th floor). But, the schools there are so much better, and, they can get so much more for their money where they're going. She's been here for 20 years and feels it's time for a change. She's been a very good friend, I wish them well. I'm always sad when a friend leaves the city.  My friend Brooke is moving to California this week as well. Everyone is leaving.