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Showing posts from August, 2011

Aftermath of Irene: The View from Greenwich Village

There's not a lot to report. While the flooding and winds and power outages grew dire in parts of New Jersey, the Catskill Mountains, and terribly in Vermont, Lower Manhattan experienced minor issues with the passage of the storm Irene.

People woke in my neighborhood on Sunday to see steady rains out their windows. We were expecting more. We still had power to watch TV coverage, and in the morning hours CNN's Anderson Cooper was conveniently stationed nearby at the corner of W. 3rd and Thompson Street, just a block south of Washington Square Park. When the meteorologist Jacqui Jeras explained to him that the storm was falling apart, Cooper seemed to share our surprise. This was as bad as it was going to get, we understood, and there was not a lot of weather drama to report from Greenwich Village. We lost some tree branches here and there.






Actually, the worst part came later in the afternoon - several hours of relentless winds - but by that time many of us had ventured down Bl…

Scenes from a Pre-Hurricane Walk to the Hudson River

The waiting is tedious. It was time to leave the apartment and take a walk. I had watched television coverage all day about the track of Hurricane Irene, posed to threaten the New York area beginning later tonight and into tomorrow, and I was getting a little restless. I appreciate the dangers of the storm. In the early afternoon on Saturday, though, I seized the moment before the storm's arrival to take a long walk through the West Village to the Hudson River.




The farther I walked west, the fewer people I encountered. I walked west on Bleecker Street and past MacDougal Street and then up Bleecker where it curves to meet Christopher Street. From there I wandered to the river through Zone A, the designation for our low lying areas at the water's edge. In normal circumstances, we call this particular area in Zone A the Far West Village.

Photos: Improbable Signage in Washington Square Park: "Hurricane Condition - Park Closed Today"

It's muggy this morning. Manhattan feels like an island.



The scene in Washington Square Park looked fairly typical for a late summer morning, except for the signs. A few people took their dogs for a stroll. Several homeless people - but fewer than usual - started to wake up from their usual benches. One or two people stretched and exercised next to the fountain area.





At around 8 a.m., in preparation for the potential impact of Hurricane Irene, staff members of the NYC Park Department finished closing the park by arranging barricades at the entrances, affixing chain licks, and posting signs. The signs read "Hurricane Condition - Park Closed Today." Some people ignored the signs and walked around the barricades.



In advance of the storm, I worry a lot about the trees.

Images by Walking Off the Big Apple. Around 8:15 a.m., Saturday, August 27, 2011. All rights reserved.

Before Hurricane Irene: Views of New York Harbor from Battery Park, Friday Morning

Update: 9:21 p.m. The Port Authority says all airports in the NYC region will be closed to arrivals at noon on Saturday. Most departures are being cancelled.
Update: 7:49 p.m. Several people are reporting on Twitter that the line at Trader Joe's wine store is really long.
Update: 7:48 p.m. Most everything is closed tomorrow.
Update: 7:40 p.m. More closures. JFK Airport will be closed at noon Saturday for international flights.
Update: 7:00 p.m. Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel is reporting live from Battery Park. He said that the Doubletree Hotel (8 Stone Street) where he is staying will close tomorrow. He reported that Battery Park (below) could experience a surge of 10 to 12 feet, depending on the timing of high tide.

You've heard about the storm. What was assumed to be a sleepy time for New Yorkers, these last dog days of August, has suddenly required everyone to become fully alert.



Hurricane Irene is coming. Low lying areas along the city shoreline are being evacuated. The …

25 Artistic Things to Do in Chelsea

(revised, 2015) The phenomenal popularity of the High Line on the West Side has no doubt introduced many visitors to the pleasures of Chelsea, the multifaceted eclectic neighborhood that stretches out below. On the west side of the rails, between W. 13th and W. 29th or so, the Chelsea Gallery District is home to hundreds of contemporary art galleries in repurposed warehouses. New luxury residences rise up around these spaces, taking advantage of the stunning Hudson River views. On the east side of the line, the iconic Empire State Building comes into the picture, but closer in, the Gothic Revival outlines of the General Theological Seminary represent the neighborhood's roots in an earlier century.

Chelsea is a remarkable neighborhood bound together by an artistic and visual history, but it's also a community held together by social institutions - schools, historic houses of worship, affordable housing under the auspices of the city's housing authority, and businesses wit…

Breakfast at Standard and Poor's

Standard and Poor's downgrading of the credit rating of the United States sent enough shock waves through the global financial markets early this week that a morning walk to its headquarters at 55 Water Street seemed like a good idea. The corporate building that houses the firm, built in 1972 by Emery Roth & Sons and at the time the largest private office building in the world, does not warrant that much attention, but setting out on a stroll near this intersection of Water Street and Coenties Slip, the latter an old walkway named in Herman Melville's Moby Dick, provides yet another opportunity to walk off the Wall Street bears. The walk around the Financial District brings several pleasures - small charming plazas, a mostly hidden garden, and breathtaking views of urban canyons, not to mention the generally hectic scenes around Wall Street at the beginning of a trading day. It's easy to find good strong coffee down here.



The idea of walking off a problem has long been…

Summer Streets Returns to New York City This Weekend

For three consecutive Saturday mornings in August, the city of New York shuts down Park Avenue and connecting streets from Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park to vehicular traffic so that residents and visitors alike may enjoy the streets without the presence of cars and trucks. In this popular program of NYC DOT, many ride bicycles, some walk, and a few skate, but by whatever preferred means of transportation thousands of New Yorkers have been taking advantage of the Saturdays to exercise and to explore the streets in this novel way.



Summer Streets for August 2011 will take place August  6, 13, and 20 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. According to DOT, this year's iteration will feature sand boxes and live sand sculpting by Matt Long in Foley Square, free bicycle and rollerblade rentals, performances by Fringe Jr. Festival, and even a guacamole making demonstration.

The event also offers a rare opportunity to look at some of the city's great architecture from a new perspective. Sitting in a …

The BMW Guggenheim Lab Opens in New York

The inaugural BMW Guggenheim Lab, a mobile public think tank designed to serve as a temporary community center for a participatory exchange of ideas about the city, opens today (Wednesday, August 3) near the crossroads of Second Avenue and Houston Street. The high-tech modernist structure itself, designed by Tokyo-based Atelier Bow-Wow, is airy, long and structurally lofty, wedged rather uncannily between two tenement structures that front 1st Street to the immediate north. State-of-the-art theatrical lights line the skeletal structure overhead, while sheer white movable tracked curtains function as the walls. These can be pulled and swirled in circles, designed to improvise shifting boundaries among different groups in various modes of conversation and interaction. Flat screens affixed overhead project the agenda and game plan.



For the next ten weeks, the Lab has scheduled over 100 programs that focus on the idea of urban comfort, inviting members of the public to participate in work…