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Showing posts from March, 2013

Ready for their Close-Ups, or Not: A Walk in the Prospect Park Zoo

New York is famously photogenic. Visitors and residents routinely snap photographs of friends in front of its famous buildings, the blissful landscapes in parks, sunsets over the Hudson, newsworthy scenes on the street, celebrities on the red carpet, or whatever fanciful food dish has just been set upon the table.

We should in turn be accustomed, especially in this age of visual media - snapped, uploaded, and shared - to serve as the objects of this ubiquitous image-making. After all, we live under the surveillance of security cameras. Yet, while some individuals confidently pose in front of the camera, others shy away. Sometimes, we just want to get away from the crowds and the click-clicks of a thousand shutters. I was thinking these thoughts in the Prospect Park Zoo yesterday as I was taking close-ups of a Hamadryas Baboon.

It's understandable, if rather unsophisticated, to anthropomorphize our fellow furry residents of New York City or to project onto them some inherent cutene…

Raffia Horses and Steely Birds: Art and Performance from Grand Central to Flatiron Plaza

The holiday weekend this year is coinciding with the first hints of blossoms and spring in the city, well overdue. The blooming, in general, looks to be running well behind last year's season. Yet, from appearances of daffodils and eager buds on many a Callery pear tree, and a weather forecast that calls for temperatures in the mid-to-upper 50s, we may be in for a welcome weekend of natural and soulful serendipity. This could be the time, finally, when winter-weary New Yorkers emerge en masse from hibernation in their monochromatic city, rub their hands over their eyes, and awake to the sounds of migrating birds, the smell of lilies, and the spectacles of public art. If not this weekend, then the next one.

• Nick Cave. Heard•NY. Creative Time, MTA Arts for Transit. Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal. Through March 31, 2013.

I see horses. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of New York's historic thoroughfare, presenters Creative Time, MTA Arts for Transit, and artist

Back on the Boardwalk: Opening Day at Coney Island

I circled the date, March 24, back in January, because the opening day at Coney Island seemed distant and close at the same time. The winter has been long and cold in the city, and naturally, some of us long for beach days. (We even have snow in the forecast for late tonight and tomorrow.) But back in January, I looked forward to taking the subway ride out to Coney Island on Palm Sunday, too, because the day represented something larger than normal, and of course, I am talking about The Storm and its recovery.

On some days, you just need a long walk on the beach. For many New Yorkers, Coney Island is affordable and accessible. When you catch it in the right light and the right time, the spot is incomparably beautiful.

So on this bright morning, the day had come to revel in views of the famously blue waters of Coney Island, its resident birds, and the comfort of traditional images. Coney's repertory of familiar icons - the Parachute Jump, Deno's Wonder Wheel, the Cyclone, Natha…

The Difference the Day Made: Winter on Friday, Spring on Saturday

New Yorkers woke up to a fast and furious snowfall on Friday morning. The snow was heavy, sloppy, and slick in many spots, inconveniencing the morning commute and overburdening trees with heavy burdens. Throughout the morning, the snow blew around the city and settled on stoops, the tops of cars and bicycles, windowsills, and park benches. It was as if an overly caffeinated Old Man Winter was shouting, "I am not ready to sleep. I am not done with you yet!"

Uptown in Morningside Heights and in Riverside Park, the frosty scene erased any notion we lived in a big city. A woman glided past on cross-country skis. If I hadn't turned around to see the dome of the General Grant National Monument and the spire of Riverside Church, I could have easily imagined it was Lake Placid.

By Friday afternoon, the snow melted as fast as it blew in, and temperatures moderated upwards.

Four Months After the Storm: A Walk from the South Street Seaport to the Staten Island Ferry

This walk from the South Street Seaport and Lower Manhattan, in part, examines the effects of Superstorm Sandy on the area four months later. The 2-mile walk begins on Broadway, continues east to the South Street Seaport area and then through the oldest streets in Lower Manhattan to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.

Yep, you may as well call it a ghost town. If you've read that the South Street Seaport has been struggling to get back to normal, that would be correct. Many familiar places are still closed - the Bodies exhibit, many restaurants, and several businesses. (For comparison, read the post on this website, Views from the Porthole: A Walk to the South Street Seaport, from September 16, 2012.)

As some comfort, a few places are back in operation including the South Street Seaport Museum and Pier 17. A favorite restaurant and bar, Fresh Salt, is open. My favorite repurposed pier - Pier 15 on the East River Esplanade - is accessible, too.