Tag Archives: New York City

Aren’t you embarrassed by that little thing? A few words and a few photos.

So a couple things. Firstly, I likely got your attention enough to click this link by the silly heading. But more on that in a minute.

I was in NYC the last few days. Just a short get away. I always love the energy of that beautiful city. I shot nearly 200 photos in three days, and it could have been many more if I didn’t refrain myself.  

Anyhow, in an effort to travel light, or at least lighter, I recently purchased a small travel tripod for my camera. It is nice; it’s heavy duty but really easy to carry as I walked around all day. But the drawback is that it only extends to about 18 inches. So I tried to find something to set it on…a garbage can, mailbox, anything so long as it is steady. But if nothing was available I’d simply sit on the ground; this wasn’t the first nor the last time I’ve done that. Anyhow, I was doing just that when taking the photo of McSorley’s Ale House (below). After stopping in for a couple beers (they are always 2-for-one) I wanted a photo of the place but there was nothing to set my teeny tripod on. So I sat down on the curb. And as I was taking photos a women walked past. She stopped for a moment, looked as if she were going to keep walking, but then questioned, “Why are you sitting on the ground?” Motioning to the camera, I explained to her that I needed the camera steady for a night shot but my tripod was small and there was nothing to set it on directly opposite my subject. She sort of smirked a bit, and before continuing on her way, she replied, “But aren’t you embarrassed by that little thing?” I laughed out loud, sitting on the curb. So did she as she walked away.

And then a bit later, after walking over the Washington Square Park, I thought I’d take a picture of the arch (bottom photo). I did find a few things to set the tripod on but I wanted a shot off to the side. So I went over to the edge of the common area and sat on the ground. And now I started to feel a bit self-conscious…maybe I shouldn’t be sitting on the ground taking photos.

It was unseasonably warm, but because of the time of year it was dark even though it wasn’t very late, and the park was relatively crowded. And when I looked to my left there was a man in black tights and cowboy boots doing sun salutations. All I could do was smile and go back to my photo-taking. This was, after all, Greenwich Village…magnet to every eccentric on the planet. It was ok to be taking photos while I sat on the ground, and my teeny tripod was just fine. Click any photo for a larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

A poem about eating popcorn…

Eating Popcorn in the East Village

Drinking beer in a small East Village bar

I met an attorney

From Australia

An Australian esquire


That was her name

She seemed sad and arrogant at the same time

They are one-in-the-same, I suppose


I left

After too much beer

I needed to pee


I had to purchase something

to use the store’s scummy little bathroom

A small bag of popcorn

That’s what I bought

It cost 69 cents

It was night now

And I ate it while walking down Third Avenue

So this is how it came to be

That I ate popcorn in the East Village

While walking down the street

And thinking of Emma

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

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.

10 Random Things I saw While Walking in NYC this Past Weekend

I was in New York this past weekend. And whenever I’m in a large city–especially NYC–I love to walk. I had a camera with my (surprise, right?) and snapped a few photos. Actually I snapped nearly two hundred photos, and here are ten of them in no particular order (but I will give brief explanations to some of them).

Starting with the top photo you may be wondering if it weren’t snowing (nope), and what are the people clutching. Well, unbeknownst to me this past Saturday was National Pillow Fight Day and this is a photo a really large pillow fight just as it was ending in Washington Square Park (to see more pics and videos–at Huffington Post–click here). 

The first photo below is a shot on MacDougal Street. It’s the front of the basement comedy club, The Comedy Cellar, which is in the opening credits to the show Louis, starring Louis CK (to see the seen in the opening credits, click here).

This next photo is, of course, the Empire State Building, as seen from a block away on Broadway.

This next shot is of one of my favorite buildings in NYC, the Flatiron building. I walk past it each morning and evening on my way to classes I’ve been attending. Interestingly, I recently came across this video of the scene at the foot of the building in 1903. I was standing in the very spot (as a took a few other photos) that the videographer was likely standing when they shot the video…gave me goosebumps.

This next shot is of the Gem Spa in the East Village. Most likely know that this was a hangout for hepcats for generations…from the beats, to the hippies, and rockers. In 1973 the New York Dolls posed in front of this store for the photo on the back of their album. For interesting info on this store and it’s roll in urban hipster culture, follow this link.

Below is a photo of a group of Hare Krishnas blissed out singing and chanting in Union Square Park. The first time I came upon the Hare Krishas chanting in this park was 1985 while stumbling drunk around NY with some college friends. We talked with them (and even drunkenly chanted with them a bit). They were very nice and didn’t try to convert us; they even fed us free vegan food. I thought of this as I tapped my foot and watched them for a few minutes. Their chant is mesmerizing and in fact difficult to shake…it’s quite beautiful actually; simply singing to and calling out to God (Krishna). To hear a beautiful rendition of this mantra sung by George Harrison, click here.

Below is an image of a Joe Strummer memorial in the East Village. I’ve visited this numerous times and have watched this video at least twenty times. The video shows the mural being painted while Joe Strummer sings Bob Marley’s Redemption Song. I really hope you watch the video…very moving.

Below is a photo of a chicken-headed man playing chess in the park at dusk. Umm…how could I not take a picture of this guy? After I took the shot he looked up at me and stared without saying anything…I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or be freaked out. I did laugh, but then after the awkward silence, I left.

 Below is a photo of a building in the East Village. Do you recognize it? It’s the building that  is featured on the cover of Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti album. This building (or at least the front steps of it) was also featured in the Rolling Stone’s video for their song Waiting on a Friend.

And the picture below…well that’s just a lovely and warm sunset over Lower Manhattan.

Urban Simplicity.

Just One Reason Why I Prefer the Train over a Plane

There are many reasons I prefer the train over a plane for long distance travel (besides my mild fear of flying), but my favorite reason is simple…the view. These are a few pictures I took through the train window this past weekend; I had dozens of course, but thought I’d only bore you with these five. In the top photo, which was taken shortly after 7am, you can see the mist rising off the rolling corn field, and those below are taken after the train first hugs the Erie Canal to Albany, then turns right and follows the Hudson River down to Manhattan.

Urban Simplicity.

The Light Is In You

This evening I was looking for a document and remembered it was probably on an old computer, the computer I had before the one on which I type these words. And isn’t it interesting that a computer is considered old if it is a mere 8 or 9 years old (egad, it ran Windows 95). Anyhow, I dragged it out, plugged it in and booted it…then it crashed, and I rebooted it…then it froze and I rebooted it. Then, as I was remembering why I finally gave in and purchased a new one, it booted up fine. Slow, but fine. Anyhow, as I was searching through the small hard drive (by today;s standards) , I came across some photos I had forgotten about, including the one you see above. I can’t remember if I shared this story or not (I know I told it to a few people), but I searched this blog and couldn’t find it. So here it is.
The picture is from August of 2008, almost 3 years ago to the day. I was on holiday with my son in NYC; he was 13 at the time. It was hot; the type of hot that can only be felt in a large city like New York; grimy hot. We had pounded the pavement for much of the day, had eaten dinner, and were now walking through the East Village. I came upon a used book store, and is often the case, was drawn to it like a fly to a flame. I picked up a book by Ernest Holmes (who I was just starting to read at the time, but since has had a great influence on me). Anyhow, in the book he was talking about how not only do each of us have the spark of the Divine within us, but we are all connected, and that whatever we do–no matter how small or big–it effects others close to you in some way. And I truly believe this; I always have. We then left the book store and were walking back to our hotel. The sun had just set and it was finally starting to cool off. As we were walking, without talking, I was thinking about the book and we came upon the above inscription in the sidewalk. I stood and looked at it in disbelief, and took out my camera to take a picture of it (much to my son’s embarrassment). 
Coincidence? Maybe. But then again, maybe not.
The Light is in you…and me, and everyone you and I know. But sometimes–oftentimes–this is very difficult to remember.

They Paid Me Back

A few weeks ago while I was on holiday in NYC I put a twenty dollar bill into a subway machine and nothing happened. The machine didn’t seize up…it just took the money and waited for the next person to come along (who did, and the machine worked fine). Another twenty in the garbage I thought (if you’ve ever been to NYC you know how expensive it can be…I felt like I was throwing twenties into the wind all weekend). Anyhow, I told my story to the attendant in the glass booth, who was very nice, and he took down my information. That was that…he then gave me and my son free entrance to the subway…a pretty expensive ride I thought, fully expecting never to see the twenty bucks again. Then, much to my surprise, this check arrived in the mail today…they kept their word. I also have to add this final comment: while the people of NYC sometimes have the reputation of being harsh, sometimes rude, and often arrogant, I have never experienced this. While I live in the same state (albeit, the opposite end) and have visited the big apple dozens of times, I have never officially resided there and thus could be categorized as a tourist on my visits…what I’m getting at is that I always find New Yorkers friendly, helpful, and down-to-earth….anyhow, the NYC Transit Authority kept there promise and paid me back.