Tag Archives: NYC

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.

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.

This is Harry…

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.”
Matthew 25:35
If you’ve been to this blog before then you know that I have a soft spot for the homeless. My view is that it can happen to any of us. I really believe this. I don’t think that a homeless person ever aspired to or thought they would be in the predicament they may find themselves. But they are. As for myself, if I were unable to earn a paycheck it would only be a couple weeks before I would be in financial trouble.
Anyhow, this is Harry. I saw him on 14th Street just off Union Square. I’m in NYC for the weekend and was on my way out for dinner and then a few beers before walking around and taking photos. And as I passed him on my way to a favorite Thai restaurant I saw him eating his dinner on the street.
After dropping a couple bucks in his hat and introducing myself I asked if I could take his photo. Surprisingly he said “sure.” Not all the people I ask agree to have their photo taken, later this day two other guys declined. Anyhow, I told him that I like to hear people’s stories, and that I do this to bring an awareness to the homeless or semi-homeless.
Harry told me e was from Kansas City, then had to leave (he declined to tell me why). He first landed in New Orleans, where he squatted with a few other people in an abandoned building. New Orleans attracts a lot of homeless these days, he told me, because ever since Katrina there are a lot of empty buildings. I told him how I lived in NOLA quite a few years ago for a short period (mid-1980’s) and that I was actually very near being without a place to call home at the time, and that it was the first and only time I was truly hungry (and somewhat scared).
He then headed up here, to NY where he is sleeping outside a building on the lower east side. We talked briefly about his safety and he was concerned, but where he sleeps now is pretty safe, he said. He also said that he was just going through a rough patch right now, but he’ll be ok. After a bit more talk we shook hands and parted. I went to a Thai restaurant while Harry ate his dinner on the street. And as I ate the food didn’t taste as good as it usually does. Not that the restaurant was at fault…I stop here whenever I’m in NYC, and it was as good as usual. It’s just that I couldn’t stop thinking about Harry. I hope he is warm tonight, because as I type these words it is raining outside

Urban Simplicity.

Two photos and a poem about a train and a city…

7:25 
The Train was scheduled for 7:25am
I arrived early
The train was late
Really late
Two hours late
Finally we board, at various points
More than 200 souls
Passing through the state
New York
That’s where it pulls us
We ride
Then it stops
We ride
Then it stops
And so it goes
Eight hours turns to twelve
But finally
We arrive
Into the night, we are thrust
From our train cocoon
Into the New York night
Into the chaos that is New York City
Beautiful chaos
Divinely orchestrated chaos
The train was late
Really late
But I no longer remember
 

Two photos and a poem about a train and a city…

7:25 
The Train was scheduled for 7:25am
I arrived early
The train was late
Really late
Two hours late
Finally we board, at various points
More than 200 souls
Passing through the state
New York
That’s where it pulls us
We ride
Then it stops
We ride
Then it stops
And so it goes
Eight hours turns to twelve
But finally
We arrive
Into the night, we are thrust
From our train cocoon
Into the New York night
Into the chaos that is New York City
Beautiful chaos
Divinely orchestrated chaos
The train was late
Really late
But I no longer remember

Greenwich Village at Night (pictures and words)

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…

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

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.

Washington Square Park in the Rain

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

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.