Yesterday I was lucky enough to encounter beautiful music in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park. The pleasing chords trilling through the fall air caught my attention in what can be an overly noisy scene. The shiny grand piano in the middle of a path drew me closer.
I listened happily for a while to Chopin, Glass and Rachmaninoff, then started to walk away when I noticed the piano’s inner workings and shot the chords as I peeked under the hood.
I tend to wax poetic in my posts about New York City. Today I will not cover art, music, dance or culture. I will simply share some photos taken with my Samsung Galaxy 7 camera while enduring an extra long wait for the bus in Brooklyn. Waiting, after all, is part of contemporary life, especially for urbanites.
This is a mini post to serve as an update to last summer’s chronicle of my trip to The Bronx’s Grand Concourse neighborhood. Two friends and I recently went back to the area, braving the January chill to climb the many hills of Riverdale in the Northwest Bronx.
It was a great escape, we felt like we had travelled Upstate, but in fact we never left New York City. There’s a lovely, leafy suburban vilkage feeling to the place, even in the dead of winter.
If you go, I recommend fortifying yourself at Tin Marin, where you can enjoy tasty tapas and drinks in avrelaxed setting. http://www.tinmarintapas.com
On 9/11/16, about 100 other New Yorkers and I went to a pier on Manhattan’s west side to dance Argentine tango. The event takes place every Sunday, weather permitting, but this evening as the sun went down we were also in a prime spot to view the annual commemoration, via a beam of light, of that tragic day now 15 years in the past, when our city was attacked by terrorists.
Now that the new Freedom tower is up, the light beam memorial looks a little different. This is a quick photo taken on my phone that doesn’t do the image justice, but I feel it definitely conveys the concept of Missing.
A few unusual and colorful roads run parallel through Brooklyn’s diverse beach communities. Brooklyn’s beaches occupy a small jetty of land that runs three or four miles east to west, with the Atlantic Ocean to the south and Sheepshead Bay, Jamaica Bay and Coney Island Creek to the north east.
The pictures that follow were taken along Oriental Boulevard, Brighton Beach Avenue and Shore Parkway. I hope that they capture some of the great diversity of life in these communities.
While waiting for the train yesterday yesterday, my boredom was interrupted by an unfamiliar sound, a different sort of chugging noise. I looked up to see a vintage subway train riding along the track across from me, full of smiling people sticking their heads through the large open windows. My curiosity was piqued, so I googled “vintage subway” and “2016” and found that the New York City Transit Museum was running historic trains in celebration of their 40th anniversary.
The MTA New York City Transit agency is more than 100 years old and made up of the amalgamation of what were once several different lines, some elevated, some underground, some travelling between boroughs and some running more local routes. In this post I will take you on a photographic replay of the trip I made through the Brighton Beach/Coney Island area on two vintage trains, one built in the late 1920s and one built in 1915.
The advertising in the cars was quite interesting, there was everything from 5 cent soap to corned beef in a can and Liberty Bonds for sale.
Interior, 100 Year Old Car
I couldn’t end this post without a comment on the view. I travel this route frequently, although at higher speeds and without the benefit of open windows. The scenery, while not beautiful or even remarkable, does comment on this story. The tight blocks with their facades of varying ages and views of the long-storied Brighton and Manhattan Beaches are players in this saga, just like the vintage trains themselves. Time marches on
Fifteen years ago this month, I moved to New York City with a suitcase and a new job and very little else. I have learned and lived a lot during this period. In this post and the next, I am going to highlight the top 10 things about the City, in my point of view, in no particular order.
#1 The spectacle of the urban landscape. I took my first photography class as a teenager, but my interest in taking pictures really began to take off after moving to the City. There is never a shortage of picture-worthy scenes and moments here. Here are a few of my favorite shots.
Clockwise from top: site-specific dance piece set in an old airplane hanger in Queens; Conservatory Garden, Central Park, site-specific dance on Governor’s Island and Times Square in rain and fog.
#2 Access: If the City becomes too much for you, take advantage of easy travel options In addition to train and bus hubs, there are two international airports in the area. From here, I have traveled to South America and Europe multiple times to explore and deepen interests developed here in the City. For example, in 2008 and again in 2009 I went to Buenos Aires, first with a group of friends and tango dancers and later to study Spanish.
A painted storefront in Buenos Aires and posing with Carlos Gardel.
#3 Parks: Living in a big city changes your perspective on open spaces, greenery and the like. These places take on a greater significance, and we have some wonderful ones.
Central Park, Washington Square Park and Madison Square Park
#4 Tango/Social Groups: I’ve been part of the Argentine Tango scene here since 2007. Strangely though; I didn’t take to it the first two times I encountered it. I finally became hooked in 2007 thanks to personal connections with my teachers and fellow students. I cherish the good times and friendships that I have had and built in the local tango community. TANGO NOT FOR YOU? There’s a group and a “scene” for just about any social activity you can think of in New York.
Pictures 1 and 2 are Argentine Tango dancers, the third are Salsa dancers.
#5: More than an urban jungle. I learned from the start that it’s not all about skyscrapers here. New York encompasses the usual features of a metropolis, but can also feel like a lively village or a charming suburb if you’re willing to explore its outer limits.
Winter market, Union Square, City College, Flatbush houses, Brighton Beach
I hope you have enjoyed these. Stay tuned for the second installment!