October 7, 2013

King of the Parade


Many of the side streets in Midtown were closed on Sunday afternoon for the 76th annual Pulaski Day Parade, otherwise known to all the locals who are inconvenienced as the Polish Day Parade. Without even trying, I stumbled upon an elderly gentleman on 56th Street who, just purely based on his unique sartorial choices, is clearly the King of the Parade.

October 2, 2013

TV Party Tonight


New York City is the capital of anything goes, so when it comes to unusual behavior there isn't much that is off limits. You don't see this happen very often, but don't be surprised if you see a guy wearing earphones (better to block out the street noises) who finds a clean lamp post on 57th Street across from Bergdorf Goodman, opens it up to hack into the electricity, plugs in a old school full size television set and sets up a chair Archie Bunker style right on the sidewalk at 10PM. It's unlikely anyone will bother you, so cozy up next to a telephone booth and you can watch all your favorite shows in relative comfort. The fall weather in the city has been exceptionally nice so bust out the wide screen and get out on the street.

September 11, 2013

Weiners and Losers


Embattled former mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner appeared at Connolly's Pub in New York City to concede the Democratic Primary on Tuesday evening. It's clear he came in a dismal fifth place because he couldn't overcome his recent scandalous activities and capture the interests of New Yorkers. His online paramour, Sydney Leathers, was rumored to be waiting outside the pub on 47th Street in midtown to greet him, but I didn't see any sign of her. He is in the middle of a large group of reporters as he leaves the bar right after giving his concession speech to an obviously disappointed group of animated supporters.

June 12, 2013

Window Washer's Nightmare

Here's something you don't see very often. This afternoon one of those crazy window washing devices that ferry men up and down skyscrapers came loose off the Hearst Tower located on 57th Street and 8th Avenue. According to various news reports, two window washers are currently trapped way up there on broken scaffolding near the very top of the building.

This is way scarier than the singing garbageman I saw a few months ago.

June 11, 2013

Fries for Three

There's nothing quite like a delicious bag of fries from McDonalds, but these three have an extremely valuable lesson to learn. Sure, it's nice to share, but it's no fun to share your french fries from McDonalds. You need your own bag. Also, no wonder the youth of America have so many back problems because it looks as if these kids are wearing 60 pound backpacks filled with 30 days of rations and ammunition that are more fitting for soldiers stationed in Afghanistan. Of course, if they filled them up with french fries that would be cool too.

Also the woman in the background (their mom?) has a pretty serious early summer tan.

June 9, 2013

Snake Charmers

It's only once a year, but it is one of those events that is always sure to create some sort of chaos or at least a lot of loud noise all day long in Midtown. I'm talking about the Puerto Rican Day Parade. The yearly parade is a huge source of pride for the island, one of only six inhabited unincorporated territories of the United States. In case you were wondering, the others are American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Wake Island. I've never heard of Wake Island and neither have you unless you play the game Battlefield.

Invariably, at one of these large parades rolling down 5th Avenue, you will find a couple of what I call "the snake charmers." These are always virile young men who think it is exceptionally cool to walk around with a slithering legless reptile strapped around their neck. I am not entirely sure, but there must be a group of women who find this really appealing. To the people that aren't repulsed by these creatures (the snakes, not the young men), they are endlessly fascinating. I'm not sure it's healthy to bring your snake to a loud outdoor event, but since most people think snakes are deaf anyway, I'm sure it doesn't matter much to these snake charmers.

June 6, 2013

Points and Angles


If you've traveled up 6th Avenue this year and taken a look out the right hand side of your taxicab window then you've surely seen the large, single-hued, kaleidoscopic, blue metal man standing at attention on 53rd Street. It's called "Jean-Marc" and is a rendering of the artist Jean-Marc Bustamante by the French artist Xavier Veilhan.

June 5, 2013

What Time It Is

Did you notice that this kid is wearing an enormous watch? Location: Somewhere in the 40s on 6th Avenue.

June 4, 2013

A Sunny Day For Cameron Diaz

Did you ever notice that the sun always falls just right on Cameron Diaz? Spotted on 41st Street and 5th Avenue at 3PM today.

June 3, 2013

The Last of the Newspaper Men

In just a few short years, there will no longer be street vendors selling newspapers on the streets of New York City. They used to be all over the place hawking the papers and shouting the headlines out loud, but this is one of the only remaining ones I see selling papers on the street. I sure would have enjoyed hearing him bellow out, "SEX GAVE ME CANCER" this morning, but mostly this vendor sits quietly and waits for someone to intermittently buy a paper.

This should be no surprise to anyone as it's been a long time coming since there are only really three viable newspapers in Manhattan right now: The New York Times, and the two tabloids, The New York Post and the New York Daily News. I guess you could also include The Wall Street Journal, but to me that is more of a nationally-focused newspaper though they do have an excellent local section. The tabloids always have the best headlines and today's editions focus on the 25 shootings that happened in the city over the weekend and Michael Douglas' surprising revelation that he caught cancer from having oral sex (presumably with his wife). That seems so unlikely to me and my best guess is that Douglas is an investor in some dental dam company and this is a great way to boost their stock. Who knows!

This street vendor is located on the NE corner of Madison Avenue at 47th Street and does a reasonable decent business to various commuters and businessmen (and women) who are mostly on their way to or from Grand Central Station. There is an entrance to Grand Central Station and the the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad on this corner as well. Of course, there are still plenty of what you might call "newsstands" in the city, but they mostly sell magazines, candy/gum, lottery tickets and cigarettes, but they are disappearing rapidly too.

June 2, 2013

Bruce Willis Wasn't

Bruce Willis was in Midtown Manhattn on Wednesday night at the Zeigfeld Theater for the premiere of the mostly unwatchable and supposedly Scientology-inspired new Will Smith movie, "After Earth." I caught the always jovial Mr. Willis as he was headed to his awaiting SUV with his beautiful girlfriend Emma Heming. Of course it was a spur of the moment picture-taking opportunity so I didn't realize that my camera was on the wrong setting. I noticed a few minutes later as their car zoomed away that just about all my pictures were super blurry and out of focus. This is the best of the lot, but sometimes you take what you can get.

April 4, 2013

Google Makes Driving Easy


The Google Self-Driving Car made a test drive in New York City on Thursday afternoon at around 5pm. I came across the car illegally parked (partially in the crosswalk) on 55th Street and Lexington Avenue. There was a guy crammed in the back seat and a driver in the front seat.

When I told him that he was cheating by sitting in the driver's seat he replied, "New York State law requires a driver in the car." I am sure Google's presumably trying to get this law changed. Some guy walking by told me that it was the "first test drive," but you can't believe everything a random stranger in New York City tells you or next thing you know you'll be driving off the Brooklyn Bridge.

Also no idea if the car parked itself or not or how it performs U-turns, illegal right hand turns, navigating potholes, running red lights, hitting bicyclists, or brushing up against pedestrians at crosswalks in the city, but judging from the scrapes on the side of car it will do just fine in our fair city.

February 15, 2013

Lost Eveything


Sometimes I feel like I have lost everything too, but then I realize that I haven't really lost anything at all. There are a lot of people in a city as large as New York that are looking for something. Things they've lost, things that they need, things that seem completely elusive. Simple things that many of us take for granted like shelter, a hearty meal, or even just a warm blanket and a couple of dollars.

February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Shuffle


Today was a clear winter day that was just perfect for a brisk walk up Madison Avenue looking in store windows at Valentine's Day presents.

February 10, 2013

Snow Sweeping

The massive snow storm that hit the city this past Friday largely spared New York City and dumped only about 11" in Central Park. It started early Friday afternoon when the freezing rain turned to snow. Here are a few maintenance workers in front of the Credit Agricole CIB skyscraper at 1301 6th Avenue breaking out their Gravely Snowbrush to begin making early passes at snow removal. What's even more interesting to me in this picture is that despite the freezing temperatures and icy snow, people are outside buying hot dogs on the street and taking a smoke break against the building.

February 8, 2013

Basquiat Bonanza

There was a very, very crowded art opening tonight on 24th Street in Chelsea at the Gagosian Gallery for a major exhibition of paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat. I waited in a long line in the freezing cold for over 20 minutes just to get in the front door. Gagosian is one of the largest galleries in NYC and it was was filled with over 50 large colorful paintings and lots and lots of people. Mr. Gagosian was standing right near the entrance greeting wealthy collectors and other assorted art fans. You certainly wouldn't know it from my picture above, but the place was packed. I would have taken more pictures, but a guard warned me not to take pictures even though I saw dozens of people snapping cell phone pictures which are probably posted all over Instagram.

This painting is entitled "Eyes and Eggs" and is from 1983 when he was producing lots of great art. This enormous painting is nearly 10' x 8' in size and is acrylic, oil paint stick and paper collage on cotton drop cloth. Since Basquiat often painted on the floor, you can see his dirty sneaker prints directly on the canvas. The show runs until April 6th and is completely free so you have plenty of time to get over there.

December 7, 2012

Happy Go Lucky

Chinese restaurants always chose the most positive names such as "Happy Joy." I suppose a name like "Sad Anger Chinese Food" wouldn't go over too well. Situated way over on 10th Avenue in Hells Kitchen, they appear to do a brisk late night business keeping all the hungry New Yorkers happy.

Christmas is...

I can think of a lot of things Christmas is, but worshipping doesn't immediately come to mind on my top 10 list. It's probably situated someone around number 327 or so. This monstrous and creepy billboard is located above the Majestic Delicatessen Cafe located in the middle of the Times Square area on 50th Street and 7th Avenue. Whoever put this up was probably hoping to take advantage of Mitt Romney's religious affiliation even though that didn't help get him into the White House.

Eat Meatballs

Meatball Obsession (Home of the Original Meatball in a Cup) is one of those places that I noticed a few months ago and was curious enough to try it out. It's located on 6th Avenue, just south of 14th Street. This is definitely a no-frills kind of experience because the shop is located on the street next to a subway entrance and you order standing right on the busy sidewalk.

Totally capitalizing (or exploiting) the latest culinary trend to sweep the city, they offer one thing and one thing only. You guessed it, meatballs. I stopped by to try their food a few months ago and I can tell you that if you like meatballs then this place is for you. They offer steaming hot cups of turkey, beef or pork sausage meatballs that are supremely delicious and not too expensive either. You can also get your balls served in a pocket sandwich, but their specialty is obviously served best in a cup. To top things off, they offer a choice of cheeses and a good selection of soft drinks including my favorites Cherry and Vanilla Cream. There is a small table with a lamp pushed up against the side of the building where you can stand up and casually eat your food on the street if you choose or you can always take it and run.

Also nice to see that they've totally festooned their shop for Christmas.

December 5, 2012

Gingerbread Crane

Every year at Christmastime, Le Parker Meridien hotel sections off a portion of their lobby for a wonderful display of gingerbread houses created by various local bakeries and restaurants. This year the theme is "Landmarks Around The World" and they have some truly great creations. My favorite was the "Hurri-crane."

Of course, you'll recall the construction crane that nearly toppled right onto 57th Street from the skyscraper site during the middle of Hurricane Sandy. The 90 story building depicted in gingerbread above is One 57 and its located almost directly across the street from Carnegie Hall and the hotel. The police and fire department forced the hotel to shut down for almost an entire week after the storm because all of the streets around the hotel were closed and residents were evacuated.

If you drop in to check out all of the gingerbread creations, make sure to stop by the front desk and buy a raffle ticket for $1 to vote for your favorite. The winner will get a 5 night stay at the luxurious Parker Palm Springs and all the money raised is going to the food rescue charity, City Harvest.

Origami Christmas

The holiday season is in full swing and since it's now the first week of December all of the hotels and stores in the city are decorated for the upcoming holidays. Le Parker Meridien is a nice hotel on 56th Street and they have an enormous 15' tree in their lobby decorated with what appear to be hundreds of multi-colored origami swans.

If you have extra time in your busy schedule, I recommend taking a minute or two to saunter into a few of the many hotel lobbies throughout the city to see some of the more creative Christmas displays. It's a fun thing to do and you'll find way better trees than the vastly overrated Rockefeller Center tree.

December 4, 2012

Not "The Little Drummer Boy"

It's hard to imagine how this happens, but apparently no one will stop you if you show up on 42nd Street and 6th Avenue with a full drum kit and just start banging away. This guy wasn't a bad drummer, but it sure adds to the noise of the city for him to be beating the skins late at night (9:00PM) without any sign of stopping. For the record, he wasn't playing Christmas songs.

Skater Dater

There is a relatively new public park right off 6th Avenue between 29th and 30th Street and it couldn't be better designed for skateboarding. This evening after I was checking out a store around the corner I chanced upon an excellent skater taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to perfect some tricks.

November 28, 2012

Christmas in Midtown

There are an enormous number of hotels in Midtown, but if someone else is paying or you are splurging on a nice place then The Peninsula Hotel is as nice as any. It's located steps away from 5th Avenue and has a great luxury breakfast place on the 2nd floor that's expensive, but perfect for a business meeting. There's also a great bar on the rooftop. They did an excellent job on the Christmas decorations this year.

Cartier Christmas

The high-end jewelry store Cartier has an fairly incredible location at 52nd Street and 5th Avenue right in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Every year at Christmas they cover the building with some type of enormous ribbon or beautiful lighting, but this year alongside the usual lights they added their signature panther high up on the upper floors.

I find it sort of confusing though because Cartier has the trademark on "Panther" and they have a Panthère jewelry brand, but some people say it's not really a panther at all, but is actually a leopard. You'll see what I mean when you look at this commercial. Isn't that a leopard? I have no clue and I suppose it doesn't matter either way. Their classic men's timepiece is the Tank watch so I assume it looks a lot nicer to put a ferocious wild animal in lights on the building than a ferocious military vehicle.

Atheist Parking

Parking a car in New York City is really expensive, but if you happen to be in Chelsea and are going to visit art galleries or the Highline don't look to get any help from above. This is also true for just about anywhere else in Manhattan.

November 25, 2012

The MetLife Building Christmas Wreath

Christmas decorations are out in full force in New York City. The MetLife Building which is connected to Grand Central Station has a particularly large Christmas wreath on display this year.

October 24, 2012

Art Daze

There was an art opening this past Saturday night for a group photo exhibition, "Attachments," at The Hole Gallery on Bowery in the East Village. It features a wide selection of new work by Andrew Kuo, Asger Carlsen, Jason Nocito, Jessica Eaton, Jim Mangan, Kate Steciw, Peter Sutherland, Sandy Kim and Tim Barber. Sometimes the work is so captivating it puts you in a trance.

Preppy Afternoon

A couple of prepsters were out for an afternoon stroll headed down 6th Avenue on a cloudy afternoon.

Halloween Deli

The pumpkins are out in abundance in New York City for Halloween. A typical Korean corner deli on 57th Street and 9th Avenue.

October 20, 2012

Streetcorner Staredown

I ❤ NY umbrellas and waiting for the light to change on Madison Avenue in a light rain on Friday afternoon.

42nd Street Sprinkle

It rained on Friday and everyone in the city had their umbrellas out. Crossing 42nd Street at Madison Avenue is especially treacherous even when it isn't raining.

October 13, 2012

Uptown Kate Upton

At a New York Festival party on Friday night for the film "Casting By," I was lucky that I had my camera because it's not often that you capture the exact moment that Sports Illustrated cover model Kate Upton falls in love with you.

September 28, 2012

Central Park Breakfast

There's really not that much better than a homemade breakfast above Central Park on a beautiful morning.

September 24, 2012

City Camping

I know it is completely illegal to go camping in Central Park, but a silly regulation like that won't stop New Yorkers who feel the need to be at one with the Great Outdoors.

All you have to do is just plop down your sleeping bag on the sidewalk next to a busy subway stop, snuggle up comfortably inside, and take a mid-afternoon siesta. What's even more amazing is that there are hundreds of people assembled only one block away yelling and screaming all day long to protest against the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who is staying at the Warwick Hotel this week. Did I also mention the dozens of heavily armed policemen stationed outside the hotel as well?

If these sorts of things don't bother you then you have what it takes to be an urban camper. You'll also quickly learn to ignore things like taxi cab exhaust, curbside trash, cigarette smokers, and the thousands of people that trample by your camp site as they walk on by in Midtown Manhattan on a typical Monday afternoon.

August 2, 2012

Under the Streets

Did you ever wonder what's under the bustling streets of New York City? It's no wonder the streets are getting ripped up all the time. What a mess down there.

Jumping for Joy

Not entirely sure what prompted this high flying split on 56th Street, but I just happened to be walking by and caught it at exactly the right moment. Tryouts for the US Olympic Street Gymnastic team perhaps.

August 1, 2012

Super Summer Stylish

Random skater girl looking super summer stylish in Midtown.

Rainy Oysters

Another rainy night in Midtown Manhattan.

I love the neon of the Famous Oyster Bar, but I've never been there. It's been around forever and about the only thing I can think to recommend about it beside the neon is the location. It always gets uniformly negative reviews on Citysearch and Yelp.

If you are from out of town and are looking for a place to go for oysters, go to the Grand Central Oyster Bar. It's located in the basement of Grand Central Terminal and and I highly recommend it. It's definitely not to be missed if you visit New York City.

July 31, 2012

Birthday Nap

After a great day of celebrating your birthday, it's perfectly okay to take a nap on the long subway ride home.

July 24, 2012

Summer at the Guggenheim

A view of some museum goers on a recent Saturday night after the Guggenheim Museum closed for the evening.

The best day and time to visit the Guggenheim is Saturday night from 5:45PM to 7:45PM. The museum is open late (though not late enough in my opinion) and the admission fee is reduced from $22 for adults to the very reasonable "Pay What You Wish." If you're on a budget or traveling or otherwise aren't swimming in $22 bills, it's a great time to get uptown and experience a wonderful museum for a nickle or a dime or a dollar or whatever you think is appropriate. There's usually a line, but don't worry it moves quickly.

On a recent evening, I went to see the retrospective of the Dutch photographer Rineke Dijkstra. It was exceptionally well-curated and is a highly recommended photography show.

Saturday Smashup

I was replacing a lightbulb in my kitchen on Saturday morning and I heard a long, loud screeching of brakes out the window. I raced over to look out and there at the intersection of 55th Street and 6th Avenue was a fairly major accident judging from the condition of the car sitting in the middle of the street. Luckily, everyone seemed unhurt although the car appears totally demolished. I'm not entirely sure what happened, but someone was obviously speeding or ran a red light or something. This sort of thing will certainly screw up your Saturday afternoon.

The Age of Miracles

If I'm lucky I can usually find one or two books every summer that I really enjoy. This summer it's been "The Age of Miracles" by Karen Thompson Walker. I've been reading it in Central Park on the weekends and I am really enjoying it.

She gave a reading and book signing last week at Barnes & Noble on the Upper West Side and even though I missed the reading, I arrived just in time to be the very last person to get their book signed. There's nothing better than a signed first edition hardcover of an author's first book.

July 18, 2012

Polka Dot Balls

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is having a massive resurgence in popularity this summer with a retrospective at the Whitney Museum which runs from July 12 through September 30th. There is also a collaboration with Louis Vuitton for clothes, handbags and mores that is being promoted with the entire storefront and outside walls on 57th and 5th.

Passing by the restaurant at the Whitney on Saturday night, I saw that it is decorated with these oversize and festive polka dot balls.

Hustler Highway

From time to time, I see this truck driving around midtown Manhattan. It's obviously just advertising for men to go to the Hustler club, but I can't help but think they are missing out on an enormous business opportunity here. A mobile strip club.

Here'e the idea. Pick the business guys up in the Hustler truck down on Wall Street after trading closes at set times (4:15PM, 4:30PM, 4:45PM etc.) and offer free shuttle service home to the Upper East Side, Greenwich, Westchester. Not so sure their housewives will appreciate seeing their husbands getting dropped off at home in this sort of truck, but they're probably going to go there anyway and it sure beats taking Metro West or the subway.

Are mobile strip clubs even legal?

July 17, 2012

More Minutes, Please

Today was one of the hottest days of the year and there seemed to be an abundance of homeless people staked out on 5th Avenue in the 50s.

File this one in the Liz Smith "Only in New York" category because here's something you don't see every day. In New York City, even the homeless people soliciting for money on 5th Avenue have cell phone plans. Who gives money to a homeless guy talking on a cell phone?

I didn't notice until later when I took a look at my photos from today that he gave me the finger for taking his picture. He didn't get off his call though. That made me laugh.