Within of my favorite places, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, I recently discovered the reinvigorated Native Flora Garden. I found it to be an incredible escape from thejangle of life in New York City. Brookyn’s three million human inhabitants so often get the upper hand and it is easy to forget that we are not alone in the city. This garden is cool and quiet and ripe with life, the perfect respite on a busy summer day.
Over the past 15 years, I have been primarily interested in documenting city life both at home in New York and abroad. Parks and green spaces within urban areas have also been a frequent theme in my photography. However, last fall I began taking some photography classes that have encouraged me to expand my repertoire. These experiences have encouraged me to look up, down, and sideways for the unexpected within the city’s confines, for happy accidents that create interesting visual imagery.
Here are a few of my recent photographic experiments. I hope you enjoy them!
A few of Vik Muniz’s “characters,” or people seen riding the subway, from actual photos
The dawn of a new year has brought considerable excitement to residents of Manhattan’s storied Upper East Side, to Q line subway riders (myself included), to transit enthusiasts, and to admirers of public and contemporary art (me again!).
Glass encased station entrance
Inside a sparking new station
The multi-billion Second Avenue Subway project, decades in the making, opened with a bang on New Years Day 2017, debuting a reconfigured 63rd and Lexington Avenue Station, and three bright and spacious new stations at 72nd Street, 86th Street and 96th Street and Second Avenue, all serviced by the Q train.
It’s not often that we New Yorkers feel good about our subway stations, but what I saw blew me away. I won’t go into great detail*, as much has already been written, but will share some images of the permanent art on display.
Over the last 20+ years, commissioned public art has become much more commonplace in the City’s transit hubs. The art is usually added to rehabilitated stations. This time, the art and the stations where designed with each other in mind and the result is stunning!
Sarah Sze’s monumental “Blueprint for a Landscape” at the 96th Street station
Some of the murals and mosaics can be viewed by simply entering the stations before one reaches the turnstiles, like this one, by Chuck Close.
To see all of the art work, one can pay only $2.75, ride up to 96th Street, and then visit each stop: 86th, 72nd and 63rd on the way back downtown. There’s no need to pay $25 to visit a local art museum!
The slideshow below features images by Chuck Close at the 86th Street Station
Kudos to all who worked to complete these stations. They are worth a visit!
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.
A walk around New York’s Lower East Side and East Village never disappoints. Surprises abound. Perhaps the most surprising for me during a recent walk there is that in the midst of constant change, gentrification and “progress”, there are some locals clearly on a quest to remain the same. Old New York lives on through their businesses–this is no easy task in our city.
In addition the places shown below, my quest took me to a Polish butcher shop, two antiques stores and past an old Dairy Restaurant, so named for it’s adherence to Kosher provisions regarding serving dairy and meat products in the same area.
Of New York City’s five boroughs, The Bronx often seems to get the short end of the stick. Brooklyn once rivaled it for grit and swagger but today has become rather like an extension of Manhattan, hip, glamorous and a burg of widening extremes. This summer I decided to make only my third trip up there to walk the borough’s grandest Avenue: the Grand Concourse.
The Concourse, designed to be a self-contained residential and commercial hub, did not disappoint. In reading about it before my visit, I learned that the number of Art Deco buildings still standing along the Grand Concourse is rivaled only by Miami Beach. I also remembered that of all of New York’s boroughs, The Bronx has the most parkland and also the City’s largest park, Van Cortlandt.
My walk took me near Yankee Stadium, past three small parks, grand Art Deco government buildings and apartment houses, into the Bronx Museum of the Arts (it’s free!) and past a large shopping mall.
In response to the Daily Post prompt for July 30th, I immediately thought about creativity. I admire this quality because it doesn’t require money, material goods, or specialized education. All it takes to be creative is to challenge oneself to be expressive, to solve a problem or to see something in a new light.
At the same time, social media reminded me that I was in Buenos Aires nine years ago this month. It was my second trip to the city, the first being the year before, when the Argentine summer brought music and dance out in to the streets from noon to well past dusk. This time it was winter, and although it was chilly and grey and the city was suffering from the great recession, creativity still managed to crop up around nearly every street corner in the city center. Here are some of my favorite photos from that trip. The streets were alive with creativity!