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365 days in the life of a bike in NYC…

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So this is pretty cool. A bike was left locked up on the street for 365 days in NYC and a photo was taken of it every day and turned into a time-lapse video…it’s only 51 seconds and worth watching.

Urban Simplicity.

Greenwich Village at Night with a Few Words…

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I was in NYC this past weekend, and no matter what city I find myself I am always drawn to it’s funkier neighborhoods. I love their color, flavor, visuals, and eccentricities. If I’m in Toronto, for example, I usually gravitate to Queen Street West or the Kensington market. The half-dozen times I’ve been to Paris I’ve stayed on the Left Bank. When I spent a very brief time in New Orleans in the late 1980’s I had an apartment in the heart of the French Quarter. And the neighborhood in which I currently reside–Allentown–has these same qualities but on a much smaller scale. So it should come to no surprise that when I visit NYC I usually end up in the Village, I always have. Technically not all of these photos are from Greenwich village, a couple are from Union Square, which of course is the next street over. The above photo is one of my favorites. It’s a group of Hare Krishna followers who are in Union Square every time I go there, they have been for as long as I can remember. I often listen to them sing and watch them dance for a minute or two. And this time I took their photo. After I did I dropped a couple dollars in their collection bowl. And as I turned to leave a young woman thanked me and offered a candle for me to place on a small altar with a hundred others (to the left of the photo). There was a small cushion to kneel if you’d like, and say a prayer. I did. It was lovely really. To kneel briefly in the midst of the hustle and bustle of this incredible city and say a silent prayer. When I closed my eyes it was as if I shut everything out and I went in, if even for just a few seconds. As I stood and turned to leave again, she thanked me again and asked if I were hungry. I declined, but it was truly lovely. Anyhow, while there this weekend I took a few photos and thought I’d share. Click any for a slightly larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

A City Bird, a Country Bird, a Sleeping Pig, and a few Other things I saw While Walking Recently…

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These photos were taken over this past week either in the early morning hours while having coffee in Union Square Park or while on walks at Stony Point Retreat Center. Some of them are obvious of their location while others are not. I find nature in the heart of a city especially beautiful.

Urban Simplicity.

Six Photos of NYC

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I was in NYC over the weekend and snapped a few photos along the way. I was busy for most of the weekend but took photos as I walked to-and-fro. What’s interesting (I think) is that in my continued efforts to travel light (or at least travel lighter) I brought only one camera with me and it was this small pocket sized point-and-shoot. So yes, it was difficult to hold my hand steady for some of the dusk or evening shots on such cold nights. But still it is possible to capture the feel of a place while looking through an inexpensive lens…

Urban Simplicity.

Four Photos of NYC at Night

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Washington Square Park in the Rain

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I was in NYC over the weekend when I shot these photos. I was walking back to my room after having a couple beers at the Back Fence. It was raining and I cut through the park…sometimes it feels so good to walk in the rain. Walking through places like this gives me such a sense of history…of all the people–famous and not–who have walked the very ground where my feet fell. For me it has a bit of personal history as well; albeit rather minor or brief. In my college days we–friends and I–would make nearly weekend pilgrimages to NYC and would most often end up in Washington Square Park…we were poor and it was much cheaper to pass a bottle in the park and people-watch than it was to go to a bar. I can’t remember if I shared this story or not on this blog, but on July 4th, 1986 we shared a bottle with a guy who claimed to be Jaco Pastorius. I remember the date specifically because it was the Fourth of July and also because this guy jumped up on a short wall (on which we were sitting) and played the Star Spangled Banner Jimi Hendrix Style, except it was on an electric bass. In person, the guy was drunk, likely high on drugs, and super-obnoxious (which sounds about right) but he played the bass lucidly and incredibly beautifully. But that’s not what I was remembering or thinking as I took a short-cut through the park on my way back to my room while the cold rain pelted me. As I walked I was taken by how timeless the park looked and felt at night and in the rain. If not for the passing cars and lights it could have just as easily have been 1912 as it was 2012. The only camera I had with me was my little Sony Cyber-Shot point-and-shoot, so that’s what I used. And that too–I think–helped capture the moment. Click any photo for a slightly larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

Bike-Friendly NYC

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These are a few photos I took on my most recent trip to NYC. Though I’ve never lived there I–like multitudes–have been going to NY for decades. It is, in fact, America’s largest city and I find the energy intoxicating. But it has only been in the last few years that there seems to be an incredible emerging bicycle infrastructure…and I do mean incredible. But, as I often do…I’m jumping ahead. The above two photos are a couple delivery bikes I saw outside a business (I am always naturally drawn to work/cargo bikes). In a city of this size, sometimes (often) it makes the most sense to deliver things by bike.

The photos most immediately above and below are a few I snapped on my walk back to my room from a class I took this past weekend. Above shows segregated bike lanes, and the green lane above runs along a beautiful public and car-free space that occupies a good portion of Broadway. And the below pics are a few of signage along the way. Anyhow, I find it all really impressive and I thought I’d share. To read previous posts on this topic, click here or here.

Urban Simplicity.

Five Photos of NYC (with a few words)

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You’ve probably gathered by now that I enjoy taking urban photography. The opportunity is seemingly limitless, even in my tiny hometown. But I was in NYC this weekend–just a quick overnight jaunt–and was like a kid in a candy store…I see art and photos almost everywhere I look and have to consciously put my camera away now-and-again, lest I look like a tourist (egad). Anyhow, here’s a brief background on these photos.

I sometimes enjoy graffiti, and the image above I think is awesome. It’s painted on the outside of the Back Fence, a bar in Greenwich Village (which I’ve been known to visit)…it’s one of the most interesting neighborhoods in the world and in one of the most exciting cities in the world (in this bloggers opinion), and someone just scrawls, YAWN. I had to laugh to myself…and that’s all that was on the wall so I had to take it’s picture.

The next two photos (immediately below) were both taken on Sixth Avenue. The one just below was taken first, at dusk, and it looked to me then–just as it does to me now–to be an urban canyon…dark canyon walls with glowing light eking down from above. The next one is a former church that I have dubbed the Church of Consumerism…it has been turned into a series of stores some years ago–you can now purchase clothing in what was once the church’s sanctuary–and correct me if I’m wrong, but I also think it was a night club some years ago (I think I have been there but not sure).

The bottom two pictures are related, sort of. Earlier in the day I had read that there was going to be an Occupy Wall Street gathering in Washington Square Park so I made a point to visit. Seems like the movement has lost most of its steam but there were still a few dozen souls giving it all they had. Because it was publicized there were also a lot of police there, flanking the entire park at every entrance. Anyhow, as I was exiting the park I saw the three police officers standing there as you seem them in the photo. It looked like such a classic New York scene to me that–rather unlike myself–I asked if I could take their photo. I explained that I wasn’t a journalist, just a guy who likes to take photos. The two guys on the right were fine with it, but if you see the look on the guy’s face on the left you can see he is not…he wouldn’t even look at me, just clench his jaw tighter as I spoke to him (and I really wondered what they all had in those pouches hanging on their sides…made me a little nervous actually). Anyhow, I told him–as he still looked away–it’s OK if you say no (to having his picture taken), I won’t be offended. After an awkward few seconds silence, the guy in the middle says, no problem, take the photo. So I did. And then thanked them for allowing me to do so.  As usual, click any photo for a larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

A Few NYC Photos

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I thought I’d share a few photos from my recent trip to NYC. The above and the bottom are two of my favorites. When I was a child and would run through the house my mom would sometimes yell, “Slow down…whad’ya think this is, Grand Central Station?” I never knew what she meant until I first visited it years later. That’s it pictured above. Those directly below are a collage of some street scenes. The one on the left was taken on 6th Avenue in Chelsea looking south towards Greenwich Village (dusk and dawn, I think, are the most magical times of the day…they also offer really interesting light for photos). The photo on the upper right (below) is of the Gem Spa in the East Village (it was a hangout of not only bands such as the New York Dolls (click here for a picture) and the Ramones, but also Allen Ginsberg and other Beatnicks (and later hippies). The photo on the lower right (of the collage) was just an image I thought looked interesting…the way the neon sign glowed in the night. The bottom image is one of my favorites not only because of its fame and beauty but also because of a personal connection. While I have never lived in NYC I have been there dozens of times, and in the mid-1980’s I went to school about an hour north and spent many drunken weekends there. Sunday afternoons were often spent drinking wine in Washington Square Park, whose entrance is pictured below. My personal brush with fame in that park took place on July 4, 1986, where we (friends and I) shared a bottle of wine with a drunken and crazed guy who claimed to have been Jaco Pastorius. I’m not sure if it was him or just a crazy guy, but at one point he jumped up on a wall and played Star Spangled BannerJimi Hendrix style–on an electric bass. Whether it was him or not needn’t matter (but I believe it was)…it’s a fond memory. Click any photo for a larger view.

Urban Simplicity.