Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bigelow's

Over on 6th Ave:


I read somewhere that until 1981 they still had a soda fountain.

I wonder when was the last time anybody, anybody ordered an egg cream in this town.

At least anybody under the age of 70.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Busking

In Washington Square Park:


Taken with the Rolleiflex sometime in the summer. I'm finally getting to these leftover 100 ISO rolls in my fridge. I believe I took this picture with a lit cigar in my mouth. It was all so very old school. I don't see enough photographers out with film cameras and cigars in their mouths. I believe this will be the cause I will take up. That is, until Bloomberg's plan to ban smoking in parks (no shit) goes into effect. I don't even smoke regularly (just the occasional cigar) and I'm against it. It was a good day to mill about a park with a smoke and a camera.

It's the little things, I tell you...

Okay, I'm just realizing it was a different day that I was milling about the park with a cigar and a camera, but why should I discard the above prose over a slight techicality? What do you want in your online blogs, unadulterated truth or a bit of "creative" musing? Besides, don't we all experience and interpret reality on an individual basis (though I'm sure the court system would feel otherwise)?

I'm experiencing hunger, and the familiar feeling that the Mets aren't going to win tonight.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Looking to Home

Returning from Ellis Island:


Walking around the displays in what once was the grand hall of Ellis Island, I couldn't say I felt a connection with the experience my grandfather had when he came through the very same place at age 14 some 90 years ago. I know he told me of the experience of lines and chalkmarks, but I can't really remember much of what he said. I know he told his stories to many relatives, so the experience is not lost to (my family) history, though his experience on the surface was not unique as he was only one of so many that came through that very place — I'm sure stopping by the souvenir shop before heading to Manhattan and a new life.

Though one thing I remember him telling me....when they sailed into the harbor and saw the Statue of Liberty, everybody on the boat started yelling, "Look, it's Christopher Columbus!"

I never knew Columbus was a cross-dresser.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Leaving Manhattan

Not permanently, just long enough to visit Liberty Island:


It still looks funny (not funny "ha ha") without the towers there. I think people tend to talk about the loss of the towers without remembering the loss of life that took place there. We reminisce about them, how they were the anchor of lower Manhattan, how we always looked forward to seeing them at the end of a long drive home from whenever. I suppose some would argue that in discussing the loss of the towers the loss of life isn't forgotten, but the memory of their demise is implied. But that's easy to say for those of us that didn't have personal ties to anybody that died (myself included).

Again, how to remember the gravity of an event without getting too moribund about it. How to keep it just sacred enough so it won't turn into a day of clearance sales and Twilight Zone marathons. I know I referenced this Ken Burns quote already in this blog somewhere, but I'll reference it again:

It's New York's phantom limb.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Few Steps Behind

This is one of those photos that I just like for some reason:


Oh, who am I kidding. I could sit here and write and say that I'm trying to capture a conversation between two people walking down the street but hell...I dig that chick's ass on the left. And on the right. And the one all the way on the left in the front a little. Chances are if I'm walking down the street behind some nice behinds and I have the SWC in my hands I'll be snapping away. It's not like my life's goal to take pictures of chicks' asses, it's just the way these things work out sometimes. And I'm not some kind of crazy ass guy or something, or ass obsessed. I don't prefer one part of the female anatomy over another...I don't even know what I'm writing about anymore, and I've probably written too much. Okay, Boardwalk Empire is starting. I had better get to watching that instead of just digging myself deeper into the pervert hole.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Boyce Path

I figured I'd take a trip back to the Boyce Institute. This wasn't an actual trip, but more of a writing device (no, not a pencil or a word processor, but a metaphorical device):


Jack Bruce jackboots.

Friday, September 24, 2010

UNDER the PENALTY of the LAW

You best believe it!


I sometimes forget about the simple truths of life. No, I ALL THE TIMES forget about the simple truths of life, once being the healing powers of music.

Yeah, today was one of those days again, but instead of bringing here in some vague fashion, I decided for some music therapy (by the way, am I the only person that looks at "therapist" as a compound word?).

I was reminded of my limo driving days, sometime in 1999 or 2000 when I was also having a down day. Left to my own devices, I did the only sensible thing I could think of and blasted Slayer (Seasons in the Abyss)as I tooled around the streets of NYC, exploiting the fine stock sound system of the Lincoln Town Car to it's maximum decibelness. And no, I wasn't "heavy" at the time ("heavy" is limo lingo to say that you have a customer. "Light" is the opposite of "heavy," to say that you currently have no job). The Slayer definitely did the trick.

Later that night, coincidence of coincidences, I get a call to go AD ("AD" is for "As Directed" in limo lingo, that is, you go wherever the client tells you go to. "As Directed!) for the night with Rick Rubin. We didn't talk much during the course of the night as I took him from midtown to Brooklyn, but I did tell him my little story of my Slayer therapy from earlier in the day. I think he was appreciative. Well, I hope he was more appreciative than creeped out.

Today it's not Slayer making the rounds. I started with Adrenalin O.D., one of the finest contrupuncti to ever contropunct, and maybe the finest ever to come out of New Jersey. I followed this with some DOA., and while I didn't play any MDC, I reflected on how much their music meant to me (and still does, all these bands). And right now I'm listening to The Meatmen's, We're The Meatmen And You STILL Suck! and it's yet to fail to move me, even 22 years later. Of course, it's not recommended to play in mixed company ("mixed" being any decent-thinking human being), but fortunately those kind of people don't come around here much.

We'll steamroll you, you'll eat our poop!

Finer words were never written, Tesco...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yes, We Have Bananas

They had bananas that day!


And I'm pleased to report that FINALLY, someone has put up on youtube Chris Elliott's performance of the "Banana Dance." I won't even begin to explain, it's just one of those things...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Scratching and Diving

A walk-by shot with the SWC at Waverly and Broadway:


So it's officially Fall.

People say, "Spring has sprung," but what about Fall? Has Fall fallen? Did Fall fell? If Fall falls and nobody's around to hear it did Norman Fell this Fall on Fox?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cheng


Cheng was one of many the other day who sojourned to Liberty Island to see the big green (as she became) lady the French gave us some 124 years ago. He kept pointing to the Rolleiflex saying, "I used to use one of those," in a heavy Chinese accent, and as you can see, he was kind enough to pose for a picture.

"Where are you visiting from?" I asked.

"What?"

"Where are you visiting here from," I repeated.

"I live here. A friend of mine wanted to see the statue."

Great. I meet the only Chinaman at the Statue of Liberty who's actually from NYC. This is what I get for making assumptions.

ABOUT THE IMAGE:
I used Porta 160 for this, probably marking the first time in over a year that I've used negative film instead of slide. And I don't really know why I thought I'd like going back to negative film. Though I bought only five rolls, but still...I mean, this is where color blindness can really be a bitch. With the Ektachrome, I know exactly what to do in photoshop to color correct so my colors are coming correct. With this shit...I have no idea. More green? Less green? Red? Blue? WTFOMG! Any suggestions out there?

Yeah, I know, I should be printing in a darkroom. And if pigs could fly my aunt would be my uncle and I'd see which one fills up first. Which reminds me...

Today I saw a woman let her dog shit on the sidewalk without even picking it up. She was engaged in conversation with a nice looking man in a suit as they waited for the light to change. Them waiting and the dog shitting. Though in all fairness I think she might not have noticed what was going on. I thought of saying something, but instead decided to enjoy the indignation of her just walking away like nothing happened. In hindsight, I really should have picked up the shit (yes, with my bare hands), plopped it in her hand and said, "your dog dropped this."

Oh, but I am full of missed opportunities...

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Future's So Bright...

I've...no. I can't. I can't bring myself to do it. I just can't:


Sunglasses and cellphone/ipod/iphone accessories.

I really gots nothing tonight, even though I'm awake. I've got reticence in spades, yo.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Trying

I'm trying to figure out if there's something to this shot, or if it's even worth trying to get:


I've been fiddling with this shot for a while already, with various different cameras, yet nothing has really come out to my liking just yet. I'm wondering if I should keep trying, or if my artistic vision here is lacking.

I'm also not too thrilled with the "No Standing Anytime" sign finding its way into the frame. I suppose if I were more digitally capable I'd be able to remove it with nobody being the wiser, yet that's not really what I'm doing with my photography. You may have noticed that I'm not a cropper and like to use the image to the edge of the image which was imaged in the camera.

Knowing me as I do, I'll probably keep pounding away at this until something works, or more likely (hopefully) something will strike me and I'll figure out how to make it work. The fact that I'm watching Project Runway right now is purely coincidental to that last bit.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Alley

Over by Bleecker Street:


This may or may not be the terminus of an old alley system that connected Great Jones and Bleecker in the last century (19th, not 20th last century). I've consulted a few maps and they don't conclusively show where this alley ended at Bleecker, so it may be, it may not be.

Either way, it's a photo from a "lost" roll that I took on the Nettar, and developed yesterday.

Friday, September 17, 2010

West Village

I think this was 10th Street, way west:


This is the "best" shot on what I think is a pretty lackluster roll through the Rolleiflex. It's one of those rolls you develop and you can't even remember taking any of the pictures on the roll because it was just a blah kind of roll.

So here's to blah.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Downtown Balloons

On Vesey Street:


There's something about this one I like, even if it seems that there's too much headroom. For me, it's the woman coming towards the camera on the lower right. If she's not in this picture I'm not sure I'm liking it. I have another one of these balloon girls with less headroom and more balloon room but I'm not sure that I like it as much.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

STOP

If I knew how to type upside down and backwards then the title of this entry would look a little different, more like the letters you see below:


I'm not tired, and as things go I feel pretty good right now. However, I don't have the foggiest idea of what to write here today. I know...I'll watch the rest of Pardon The Interruption, take a shower, and then see where I'm at.

So I lied. I did all those things and then went to the drugstore (to get my drugs, man), the grocery store, the market, and then talked on the phone with the old man. And still, after all that, I'm no closer to figuring out what I should be writing here than when I first started writing this entry.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

xican American Kitchen

Downtown:


This was on Church Street (I'm pretty sure it was Church, and soon to be Mosque!) just a few blocks away from where those buildings depicted in the mural (does that really count as a mural, or is it more of just a wall painting?) used to stand. I don't remember the giant hands and rosary in the sky that morning, but there was some crazy shit going on that day, trust me.

Maybe one of those hands could have grabbed the planes and crushed them like when King Kong did with that helicopter when was up there back in 1976. And where the hell was King Kong when we needed him? He could have helped those people to the roof instead of them having to jump.

I think as New Yorkers we still don't know how to deal with that day on the most basic, individual level. I sure can't. But maybe we're not supposed to know how to deal? I mean, is being able to compartmentalize such an experience a good thing? Can we keep it uncompartmentalized without constantly wallowing in it?

I hear helicopters outside.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Girl, Scouts

This was sometime back in July or August, next to St. Paul's:


I'll admit, this has definite cropping possibilities. And perhaps I will take to cropping it, but not now. I'm too pooped to crop. I hear that's better than being too cropped to poop. I have no idea what that means.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Through a Window

Well, what once was a window:


Yes, another shot from my rundown muse known as the Boyce Institute, and I still have two more rolls to develop! It's just as well, since I haven't been out shooting much lately.

I've been thinking a lot about the whole desire/suffering relationship lately, and the Buddhist take on it. I'm not sure if anybody actually said, "desire is suffering," but they do say that desire is pretty much the root cause. It's like you have a craving, a desire for something, whether it's food, sex, leveling up on a video game, whatever. Once that desire is sated, you're soon left feeling empty, and desiring it again, and you're on the wheel. Now maybe this doesn't sound like a description written by someone who got an A- in his Indo-Tibetan Buddhism class (and I'm willing to hear from all the other Buddhists out there reading this since I know you're out there), but it's the best I can do for now.

I'm thinking I really should get back into reading those books, especially The Universe in a Single Atom by HHTDL, since I only read a little of it when it was assigned. Basically HH lays it out that there are no incongruities between modern science, the scientific method, and the Buddhist Universe. Since one of the tenets of Buddhism is that you shouldn't take anybody's word for anything. You have to investigate for yourself.

I mean, The Buddha could be a real jerk like that. Somebody would ask him a question, then he'd lay out this long explanation and at the end he says, "But I might be full of shit. Who knows!" You don't see Moses coming down from Mt. Sinai with "The Ten Suggestions." They're commandments. "Thou Shall." Thou Shall NOT." There's no, "Well, god says you really shouldn't kill people but who is he to tell you what to do with your life."

Now of course killing is frowned upon in Buddhism, but the choice is yours to be a nice person or to be a jerk. If you kill someone, don't be surprised if you wake up in your next life as a hungry ghost (I can't even begin to explain that one, and no, that isn't something you find on a takeout menu). It's like the Buddhist universe and the way it works is laid out to you. How you want to live in it is up to you.

I suppose you could say that about the rest of the world too.

Know you've heard the others, phonies to the lovers
Then of course, the choice is yours.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Reflecting Pool

They're saying that today is a day for reflection. Though do you ever wonder how much time it will take for this to go from a day of remembrance to a day of clearance sales? I suppose you could reflect on that for a while:


My friend Tommy used to call it "Glance Dyslexia" when you look at a word quickly and you think it's one thing but it's really another. I think I might be suffering from it. For the past few days I've been wondering why some preacher in Florida wants to burn Koreans.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Houston Street

Well, what's left of it:


A lot of people can remember where they were 9 years ago tomorrow. But can they remember what they did 9 years ago today? I can.

My biggest concern was the mouse.

I'd been living in my place for 7 years and in that time I never had any serious issues with insects or rodents. I just didn't have them. Even today, it's rare to see any kind of roach or waterbug hanging around. Of course there's the giant lizard, but thankfully he doesn't set any traps to kill me. .

I thought I was losing my sight, or maybe my mind. Every so often out of the corner of my eye I'd think I'd see something. A dark blur of movement. Or did I? My sanity was put to ease when out of the corner of my eye one night I saw this dark thing scurry across my kitchen floor to the alleyway between the oven and the counter. It was my first mouse.

I got some classic Victor traps and some swiss cheese (I didn't watch cartoons all those years for nothing, you know) and set them up on either side of the oven. There was no way he was getting by me. So, traps at the ready, I left home that Monday afternoon and killed some time down at Mars. God, it's amazing how much time I spent at that joint. I'm glad I don't go there anymore. Hell, I don't go anywhere anymore, which is fine too.

I came back a few hours later to find that blur in my eye trapped and fully dead. Mouse and trap were disposed of together, but I set up another one just to be sure that he wasn't one of an army. I considered going out that night (back to Mars, of course), but ended up falling asleep on the couch.

The next morning I woke up on my own, at about 8:40. I laid there groggily for about five minutes when I heard that sound scream overhead, heading south, and feeling it shake the entire building. That can't be good was my first thought.

I don't remember how long I left the traps set until I finally decided there were no other mice.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lafayette Torn Up

It's amazing that we never question why things are getting torn up or worked on, we just accept it as part of life:


Yeah, I'm feeling quiet lately. I know this. You know this because you read this, who ever "you" may be. You put up with this (if you so desire), or maybe you just look at the pictures (which is the prerogative of the blog reader) and say that they're just pretty pedestrian lately, much like the writing.

But if you have been putting up with this blog, you know I have my moments, even if those moments last for a little while. It's just part of the cycle of life. I have no idea what I'm talking about anymore.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Three out of Four

This is directly to the right of the main entrance of the Boyce Institute. I'm not sure I approve of that graffiti on the bottom right:


I'm not tired, but I'm not all there. Or is it that I'm not all here? No, I'm here, but I'm not all there. I might be a woman. I'm drowning my not-thereness in ice cream (haagen-dazs, chocolate peanut butter), soon to be on the couch watching Top Chef. Though I think I really need to laugh. Maybe I'll put in Bedazzled (the original, that is). I quoted it yesterday, so why not watch it? Besides, after using the quote last night, I ended up watching a lot of Dudley Moore videos online. I always loved that little genius. He was always more to me than just Arthur.

And he's buried in New Jersey, like I'll be someday. What could be better than that!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

These Guys

I don't know these guys? Do you know these guys? Who do these guys think they are? What's the deal with these guys, and what does that guy of these guys got a camera:


Now this guy saw these guys and saw that guy with a camera so this guy with a camera pointed it at these guys including this guy with a camera and took a picture of these guys there.

With few exceptions I have little respect for any man over the age of 40 that wears a t-shirt out in public. Grow the fuck up already.

Today is the day after Labor Day. This marks the first day in four years that I'm not going to school. It feels a little weird if I think about it a little, but then it goes away. I think I might have said somewhere on this blog that I'll have to push myself even harder now that I'm out of school for the time being. So have I?

In some ways yes, in others...well...it's nothing I want to get into just yet.

I guess the thing I miss about school (and there's a lot I don't miss) is the research papers. Maybe that sounds funny, since I think a lot of students hate writing papers. However, I loved it, especially if it was a subject that I was able to choose and mold (with teacher approval, of course).

I wrote some damn good papers there. Stuff I'm proud of, and stuff that got As or A Minuses. I think I only got one A- on a paper. I miss my bed being mostly covered with books...cleaning out the library on whatever subject I was investigating. God forbid someone else would want to write a paper about General Douglas Haig, or examining the treatment of Thomas Jefferson's slaves. There were days I'd have to take a cab home I'd be so loaded down with clearcut forest.

And as much as those things consumed me, as much as I enjoyed developing and defending an argument — and even moreso starting a paper about one thing and discovering another idea I wished to explore — I'm hard pressed to sit here writing research papers for nobody; fun as that may be.

Let's face it, I'm a ham. I wouldn't be doing this blog if I weren't.

I'm on my knees won't you please come and love me,
Oh love me....

Monday, September 6, 2010

Greenhouse

Wow, I went two whole posts without posting a decrepit greenhouse......until now!


Scans tomorrow. Developments to come. That is, film developments. I thought I was going to write a bit about watching 7 Days In Tibet and my own semester of taking a Buddhism class with "Bullet" Bob Thurman (I know the only "Bullet Bob" is Bullet Bob Hayes, but I likes alliteration a bit too much to resist), but I'll save that for another time. But I will say that he's a pretty awesome dude.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Debris

No, this isn't a picture of my apartment (though it's pretty damned close to it), it's just another part of the Boyce Institute:


Despite my apartment's current state of messitude, it is good to be home after a long days' out. I'm showered, there's a nice cool breeze coming through the windows and I'm in full Columbia gear; sweatpants and long sleeved Columbia University thermal. I'm leaning back in the office chair I have here and am just typing, typing away.

I never bought any NYU apparel when I was there, but it's not like I wasn't proud to be there. Around the time I got in the NYU shirt (NYU on simple gray) was a pretty popular fashion item, made so by that movie where Jimmy Smits and what'sherface from Sea of Love end up (Ellen Barkin, oh yeah!) changing bodies and she's (or is that he's?) jogging with that very NYU shirt on. Lest anybody think I'd jump onto a trend, I refrained. That's the same reason why I cut my hair and shaved my goatee in 1992. I was sick of people saying, "Dude, what are you? Grunge?"

No, I was just lazy, young, and who doesn't want to grow their hair long, and didn't feel confident enough at the time that my facial hair could fill out a full beard. And I had been wearing flannel shirts since I was a kid. Somehow looking like a scumbag became popular.

So I was walking home today and saw all this hoopla by one of the NYU dorms. Police, Fire, and multiple ambulances. There was this fresh looking middle aged black dude standing by the open rear door of a van and I asked him, "Do you know what's going on?"

"Yes, I do know what's going on," he replied.

Oh, but I do love a good wiseass.

"Well what's going on?" I asked.

"Somebody's threatening to jump."

"Goddamn," I said, "and school hasn't even started yet!"

"And all this for just one life."

"I went to NYU. I didn't like it so I dropped out, just not from a window."

As he laughed I went on my way.

Always leave 'em laughing.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Corridor

Here marks the farthest (furthest?) point that I went into the Boyce Institute:


Long day. Just ate. Two word sentences. Three word sentences.

Say goodnight Gracie...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Greenhouse Complex

This is like the center "hallway" with the greenhouses shooting off both left and right. I think it sort of has a cathedral motif going on, if that cathedral is in Reims apr├ęs La Grande Guerre:


I like this one. Actually, I think all my greenhouse shots came out pretty cool, but I promise I won't hit you over the head with them every day. I'll space them out tastefully. And hell, I've only put up SWC shots. I've yet to even start scanning the Rolleiflex stuff from that day, which I'm also pretty gosh darn happy with.

The reason I mentioned Reims (and why wouldn't I), is that I was there six years ago. I actually spent a month traveling through France. I suppose it was my own "Eat Pray Love," except that A: I had never heard of the book, and B: I didn't do any of those things while I was there. Well, of course I ate, but I didn't go on any gastronomic explorations. There was no lapin, escargots, or even cheval pour moi. I was just as boring over there as I am over here. But the story of this journey through France will have to wait for another time. There's too much of it. Maybe I'll finally get to writing the real story, or even a book about my exploits. I'll call it, "Cry Masturbate Sleep."

Wait, that's actually not much different than my life right now...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Max


I'd seen max hanging out with some of the art vendors in the park, yet I didn't quite know what his deal was. Today I asked one of the art vendors just that.

"Max has dignity," Louis (who helps sell his wife's paintings) told me. Louis went on to say that even though he's homeless and sleeps in the park, he never asks for anything or tries to squeeze the vendors for a few bucks if he does them some small service (like getting someone coffee, for example). Louis told me he's currently in the process of dealing with the city to get housing. I've talked with Max just a little bit. The first time it was about the Flatiron building, and how when he stood right under it and looked up, he felt like it was going to fall on him.

The second time was right before I took this picture. I was out with the SWC (I'm sure you can guess that from all the headroom) and he noticed it right away, and we were soon discussing ISOs. He had also been a photographer once upon a time before he called a public park his home.

Hopefully that won't be for much longer.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Greenhouses Affected

By over 30 years of neglect:


I found some info about the Boyce Institute from the always infallible internet.

Apparently the Yonkers facility was built in 1924 and was vacated in the late '70s (a new version of the institute was built up at Cornell). Wow, I thought I was going to have more, but that's about it really. Dig the shot (if you please) taken by the SWC. Besides that and the Rolleiflex, I also shot an exterior roll with the Medalist with good old-fashioned Ilford Delta Pro 100 (which of course, has yet to be developed).

We took some pictures of the native girls but they weren't developed.
But we're going back again in a couple of weeks...