street photography

A Few Days in New York

Like so many people I love New York.  Hard not to.  It's a unique place, with it's own look, feel, and special kind of energy.  Last week I spent five days there, seeing some opera and spending as much time as I could exploring different parts of the city with my camera.  I visited the East Village, NoHo, a bit of Little Italy, and Williamsburg in Brooklyn.  I used the subway and the East River ferry to get around and was surprised how fast, inexpensive and easy it was.

This time I wanted to visit areas I hadn't been to before, and Astor Place in NoHo/the East Village was the first stop.  This huge bronze sculpture jumped right out at me.   Installed in mid-March it has been met with both delight and derision.  Called The Last Three it was created to honour and bring attention to the last three remaining northern white rhinos on the planet.  I found it quite beautiful.  


The sculpture had been up less than a week when the male rhino, Sudan, died.  He was 45 and is survived by his daughter and granddaughter.  


The sun was out this morning, lighting the buildings and casting shadows.  Old and stately residential buildings with their cast iron fire escapes, sections painted in different colours, with a slim and elegant church making up part of the block.


On another day It was wet and cold much of the time, but the streets were still busy and the rain made the colours pop.


A brightly painted coffee shop.  Some inside enjoying a break, a man outside heading somewhere in the rain, another with a shopping cart perhaps out for groceries.  This is a neighbourhood with more residents than tourists.


One of the many steam vents that can be seen on the streets, part of the New York City steam system.   Steam produced by the steam generating stations is carried under the streets and used to heat and cool residential buildings and businesses. Excess is expelled through the vents.  In use since 1882 it's the largest steam generating system in the world and services much of Manhattan.


Walking around is a delight.  There is beauty everywhere - the buildings, the people, the streets.  I simply couldn't get enough.  


I turn the corner and come face to face with art on the side of a building.  Based on an old Blondie poster dating back to a concert that took place in 1979.  I stood and looked at it for a while. People strolled by, some not seeming to notice - perhaps they've seen it many times before - others, like me, stopping to take it in.


As in most big cities there's construction everywhere.  From the look of the paint and graffiti these barriers have been around a while.  People and traffic simply move around it all.


These two guys were movers, carrying things down from a walkup, then taking it all to a truck they had parked around the corner.  Not an easy job that's for sure. 


A pause at the edge of Little Italy.  Not enough time to wander through it.  Perhaps that will be part of my next trip.


An Asian lady walks by, and then stops to have a chat with an Asian man who was eating a sandwich in the outside seating area of a local coffee shop.  I watched them for a while as they talked to each other, oblivious of the many people walking by.


Another day that began with trip on the subway.  And just as I could spend hours on the streets I could do the same in the subways.  There is so much to see.  There's art in many of the stations, musicians playing in some, and lots of the subway cars are brightly painted.  And of course there's the people.


Roy Lichtenstein's Times Square Mural, 6 feet by 53 feet, commissioned in 1994 by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and installed in 2002.  It's remarkable.


Brightly coloured subway cars, these two painted with themes from The Walking Dead.  A musician playing and singing and a group of people waiting for a train.


After the subway, a ferry across the East River to Williamsburg in Brooklyn.  Going down and across the river you see both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge up close.  Two beautiful and amazing feats of engineering.    

First the Brooklyn Bridge...


---and then the Manhattan.


Once across the river in Brooklyn, looking at Manhattan from the other side you get a sense of the size, scale and density of the place.  The East River Generating Station is on the left, the Empire State Building in the middle, and the spire of Chrysler Building visible just a little to the right.


The United Nations Building in the Foreground and the Chrysler Building to the left.


A walk through parts of Williamsburg, and then the ferry to travel back up the river and across to Manhattan once again.


Manhattan's East River Generating Station seen from the ferry dock.


A great few days in New York.  Walking around with my camera, trying to take it all in, a feast for the eyes.  And in between, opera at the Met, a feast for all the senses.  New York is a gift to the world.  I can't wait to return.