NYC

A Video Essay: The NYC Subway System - The Conductor's View

One can't think of NYC without thinking of the MTA Subway system.  Next month, on Oct 27th, the NYC Subway turns 110 years old. This old lady is a vital part of the city carrying over 1.7 billion riders to their destination in 2013.

The NYC Subway has its pluses and minuses. It's largest plus in my opinion is its reach and the extensive network of stops especially compared to smaller systems such as DC, LA, and Atlanta. Sadly there are many minuses including the stops can be very hot during the summer with terrible odors, the trains overfill especially during peak travel hours on weekday mornings, and for some reason people feel it is okay to throw trash on the tracks. I thought the trash issue was a byproduct of living in a large city with a large subway system, but one could almost eat off the tracks on the London Underground system... not a sign of trash or rats anywhere on the tracks.

In my 10 years of living in NYC, I've never seen the underworld of NYC like I did a few weeks ago. Typically, there is a semi-transparent window at the front of the first car, however this time I had a clear window and my camera. So... Here's the conductor's view on the NYC Subway system.

I've sped up the portions in between subway stops by 2x.

A Photo Essay: Roof Garden Cáfe and Martini Bar at The Met

It is sad to admit, but it took me 9 long years as a New Yorker before I finally went to the Roof Garden Cáfe and Martini Bar at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met). Visiting the Roof Garden was always on my to-do list, but it just never happened. 

Imran Qureshi's Roof Garden Installation in 2013

In August of 2013, after reading about the Roof Garden Installation by Imran Qureshi, I decided I had waited long enough. I stopped by the museum on an overcast weekday and I was delighted to find that I was one of only 10 people up on the expansive roof top that afternoon.

The position of the Roof Garden within the perimeter of Central Park is truly unique and special. As an artist, can you imagine the opportunity to have the Roof Garden as your canvas with one of the most famous parks in one of the most famous cities on this planet framing your work? A very special opportunity to say the least.

Imran's installation was sublime especially given the contrasting green hue of the trees reaching up toward the Roof Garden and the towering cityscape beyond. The installation represented Imran's emotional response to decades of global violence and his hope for lasting peace and regeneration. On the day of my visit, when the place was quiet and mostly void of people, the roof top eerily felt like a murder scene surrounded by a still and silent city whose residents had fled the city streets for a safe haven.

Beyond the emotions triggered by the installation, the Roof Garden was an amazing way to take in the breathtaking view of the tree tops of Central Park and the city beyond the park's perimeter. I kicked myself for waiting so long and I knew I won't wait another 9 years before my next visit.

More pictures of Imran's installation from August 2013:

This August, I went back on a gorgeous Friday evening for drinks with visiting relatives. It was something I wanted to share with them as the views of NYC are second-to-none. I was hopeful that a good sunset was in store for us. 

The installation on the Roof Garden had changed (Dan Graham) as well as the size of the crowd. This time, I was one of two hundred plus. The weather was perfect, the mood was upbeat and festive, and the views were priceless. The energy of the crowd was only matched by the fiery colors of the sun and the sky as the sun approached the horizon.

August of 2014

Old Glory flying in front of the sunset

I will certainly be back as fall takes hold and transforms the color palette of Central Park.

A Photo Essay: The High Line - NYC

Today's blog post is in recognition of the High Line which celebrated its 5th Birthday yesterday. For me, the High Line is one of the best outdoor spaces in NYC and easily one of the best new spaces added to NYC in the last 10+ years. It is loved equally by locals and tourists which is a difficult task for any city to pull off. Every time I visit the High Line, I see something new be it seasonal plants, a new building, a new art exhibition within the High Line, new food vendors, and much much more.

While the full history is available here, I will highlight a couple of key dates:

  • 06.09.2009: Section 1 (Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street) opens to the public.
  • 06.08.2011: Section 2 (West 20th Street to West 30th Street) opens to the public.
  • 09.20.2012: Groundbreaking is celebrated on the High Line at the Rail Yards. Construction proceeds in three phases, with the first phase projected to open in 2014.

I visited the High Line in March when there was still a little snow here and there. And then I visited again as Spring took hold of the city in early May. Here's some of my photos.

The High Line along 17th St and 10th Ave.

The 10th Ave Square - The amphitheater-style seating provides an excellent place to sit and watch the city unfold beneath you and toward Uptown.

The ramp in the foreground is the Northern Spur - Built to carry trains into the adjacent refrigerated warehouse.

The building on the left is the Frank Gehry-designed IAC Headquarters Building which was completed in 2007. Originally, the desire was to build this "sailboat designed" building over the Hudson River, but it was moved inland once building permits were rejected by the numerous authorities.

Two other views of the IAC Building:

Jean Nouvel's Living Building in the background

These winter-friendly plants took a beating over the long, cold and snowy winter.

Chelsea Thicket

This piece of art always reminds me of the Google Doodle.

The 26th St Viewing Spur - Allowing visitors to view the city as if they were watching a film:

Art work exhibited along the High Line.

Love is in the air!

Plenty of real estate prime for re-development along the High Line.

The future section of the High Line extending over the Hudson Rail Yard.

Early May and the promise of Spring on the High Line:

A Photo Essay: A Stroll Through Williamsburg & Greenpoint

Spring is a special time in NYC, especially this year after a snow-filled and chilly winter. As temps warmed, I took a stroll through Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn on a gorgeous day in late March. While I've spent some time in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, I'm not nearly as familiar with these areas as I am with other parts of Brooklyn. So, exploring I went. Here's some of the interesting things I found along the way. I hope you enjoy!

Stickers, stickers, stickers - Bedford Ave, Williamsburg

A tree and light post dancing in McCarren Park, Williamsburg

Metal fencing in front of a row house in Greenpoint

Sweet Gum tree with gumballs that survived the winter - Java St, Greenpoint

Deteriorating graffiti on Java St

A gallery of pictures of the Empire State Building from the East River Waterfront in Greenpoint:

Homeless cat on Java St

Fantastic street art, sidewalk on Java St

Water tower near Milton St and Franklin St in Greenpoint

Amazing graffiti on Franklin St between Meserole Ave and N 15th St 

Interior of Dirck the Norseman in Greenpoint. A brewery (Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co)  and a restaurant. It's a great place for a beer in the late afternoon as the sun pours into the large glass garage doors.

An industrial lot in Greenpoint with a priceless view.

The council of the Manlift Straight Booms, Greenpoint

Graffiti - N 13th St in Greenpoint

The view of Brooklyn and Manhattan including the sunset from Ides Bar at Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg: 

A Photo Essay: The 9/11 Museum

On May 27th, I visited the recently opened 9/11 Museum in Downtown Manhattan. A somber occasion and a moving experience reliving the day that touched just about ever American alive on that horrific day as well as the supportive international community. Walking in the footprint of the towers where so many perished and so many heroes selflessly gave their own lives to help others was a humbling experience and one I would recommend to others living in or visiting NYC.

I've pulled together this photo essay to share my experience at the 9/11 Museum.

 The Twin Tower Tridents with Freedom Tower in the background.

The Twin Tower Tridents with Freedom Tower in the background.

 Looking down to the bottom floor of the museum. The wall to the left represents where the South Tower once stood. The mangled structure at the end of the hallway is the steel facade just below the point where Flight 11 struck the North Tower. 

Looking down to the bottom floor of the museum. The wall to the left represents where the South Tower once stood. The mangled structure at the end of the hallway is the steel facade just below the point where Flight 11 struck the North Tower. 

 Concourse Lobby of the Museum: A model of The Sphere and pictures of it (background) in its original setting next to the Twin Towers. It actually spun in the middle of the fountain and is now located in Battery Park with the damage of the fallen Twin Towers readily evident on the top and sides of the structure.

Concourse Lobby of the Museum: A model of The Sphere and pictures of it (background) in its original setting next to the Twin Towers. It actually spun in the middle of the fountain and is now located in Battery Park with the damage of the fallen Twin Towers readily evident on the top and sides of the structure.

 The Last Column, named as it was one of the last elements removed from Ground Zone.

The Last Column, named as it was one of the last elements removed from Ground Zone.

 The Slurry Wall: An innovative techniques deploy in the 1960's, based on Italian technical called slurry trenching, with the aim of keeping the Hudson River from flooding the basement of the Twin Towers. 

The Slurry Wall: An innovative techniques deploy in the 1960's, based on Italian technical called slurry trenching, with the aim of keeping the Hudson River from flooding the basement of the Twin Towers. 

 The World Trade Center Dedication Pedestal with scars and dents from 9/11.

The World Trade Center Dedication Pedestal with scars and dents from 9/11.

 The squares seen at the ground level, to the left, below the imposing structure are the box columns. They are the foundation of the columns that formed the outer framework of the World Trade Center. The imposing structure above represents the footprint of the tower. In this case, the South Tower. 

The squares seen at the ground level, to the left, below the imposing structure are the box columns. They are the foundation of the columns that formed the outer framework of the World Trade Center. The imposing structure above represents the footprint of the tower. In this case, the South Tower. 

 A quotation from Virgil's "Aeneld". The letters were constructed from medal salvaged from the Ground Zero site. The blue tiles represent the artist's attempt to recapture the blue color of the NYC sky the morning of 9/11.

A quotation from Virgil's "Aeneld". The letters were constructed from medal salvaged from the Ground Zero site. The blue tiles represent the artist's attempt to recapture the blue color of the NYC sky the morning of 9/11.

 A small portion of the radio antenna that resided atop the North Tower.

A small portion of the radio antenna that resided atop the North Tower.

 A portion of the North Tower Radio Antenna

A portion of the North Tower Radio Antenna

 A remnant of one of the powerful 10,000 pound elevator motors that pushed the World Trade Center express elevators from the lobby to the top of the building in just over a minute.  

A remnant of one of the powerful 10,000 pound elevator motors that pushed the World Trade Center express elevators from the lobby to the top of the building in just over a minute.  

 Box column remnants of the South Tower. This is where the foundation of the building was attached to the bedrock of NYC. 

Box column remnants of the South Tower. This is where the foundation of the building was attached to the bedrock of NYC. 

 The remnants of the North Tower (box columns) and the museum/structure that represents the footprint of the tower.

The remnants of the North Tower (box columns) and the museum/structure that represents the footprint of the tower.

Images of the 9/11 Memorial Fountains and surrounding World Trade Center buildings.