Friday, June 28, 2013

Morning Walk #40 - Chelsea to Union Square

If you think it's not that funny - maybe a less amusing cartoon would be helpful
74 degrees, cloudy with a touch of a breeze

Rain was predicted most days this week. I was lucky that the mornings were dry although rain did fall at some point each day

I mention the constant construction but today it occurred to me how much harder it is to put up new construction within tight spaces. It must be a struggle to get supplies in without knocking down the surrounding buildings

The Spingler Building on Union Square was built in 1896 but its' predecessor was built in 1878 (a neighbor to Tiffany). And that Spingler Building was built on the site of the Spingler House Hotel (1864).  This all happened on Henry Spingler's farm which was on land he acquired in 1788.  He built his farmhouse on the spot where Union Square Park is now located.  Another Spingler House Hotel was opened in 1889 a few blocks away.  Henry Spingler died in 1814 but his name lives on 200 years later on the Spingler Building.

A bird drinks from a puddle left from last night's rainstorm

A squirrel running across the paved path stops to scratch his armpit

A female scream...I can't see her but a park employee chuckles...moments later the screamer walks up to me and tells me her story of the bold squirrel. She was prepared to share her breakfast sandwich with him but not at all amused when he ran up her leg.

A man sits by a sign indicating he is hungry and would appreciate donations. The slightly unusual part is that he is lost in the book he is reading.

Two dark skinned men are laughing and talking when one calls the other that word that is currently bringing down Paula Deen. They continue talking and laughing. Context is everything.

The Krup Kitchen store features a pink refrigerator and an eggplant purple stove

A truck full of porta-potties pulling a trailer full of porta-potties stops at the traffic least, 14 bathrooms from the CallAhead company

Steps: 8302

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Morning Walk #39 - Madison Square Park

75 degrees and gray

As I stepped out of my building the humidity grabbed me in a big sticky bearhug and squeezed till perspiration beaded up

But no rain...yet

A salon where a woman gets a haircut at 7am...unusual in an area where many businesses open around 10 or 11am

A playground with actual kids playing in it at this hour!  Is it a respite after a hot night or a headstart on a day with rain predicted?

The ornate 1902 Appellate Court building with its' landmarked interiors (not so common as landmarked exteriors)
Herman Melville Square named in honor of the "Moby Dick" author's 1863 to 1891 residency at 104 E 26th Street

The Hurricane Club, now a restaurant, was the site of annual celebrations (1846 - 1873) commemorating the South Pacific shipwreck of the Junebug captained by Drake "Goldbelly" Stillman and his first mate, Delilah "Little Rose" Netherlander

A delivery guy pushing a cart with some office's breakfast through the park (and returning with the empty cart sometime later)

The sun struggles to come out with some success

Steps: 8765

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Morning Walk #38 - West Village

75 degrees...same ol'....

It feels slightly cooler than my apartment

The quiet streets with 1800's brownstones look like movie sets

The Portsmouth built in 1888

Jefferson Market Library, a Victorian Gothic building constructed 1875 - 1877, was originally a courthouse.  Harry K. Thaw was tried here for the murder of Stanford White (a trial immortalized in E. L. Doctorow's "Ragtime".)  It became a women's court in the late 1920's.  Mae West was tried here on obscenity charges related to her Broadway show "Sex".

I was not heading for Washington Square park but those tangled streets got me again

Several people are sleeping on the lawn. They don't look like the homeless...maybe they escaped hot apartments though a rainstorm last night could not have left the ground dry

A park employee on a riding mower starts circling the one moves at first though the noise is enough to wake the dead.  Eventually 2 people move a little east but that will only give them another half hour before the mower approaches

The scent of newly mown grass evokes childhood memories...till I realize my eyes and face are not appreciating the dust and grass bits rising in a light cloud

The Northern Dispensary (1831) sits vacant after years of treating patients including Edgar Allen Poe and Jenny Lind

The Stonewall Inn (originally built as stables in 1843 - 1846) was the site of the Stonewall Riots in 1969 which led to the gay liberation movement

Another stop at Abingdon Square Park which was well populated until everyone got up and left.  Was it me?

Do you remember when people walking down the sidewalks talking aloud to themselves were thought to be mentally ill?  Now it's just people talking on cellphones...which may be a different type of mental illness...

Steps: 7526

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Morning Walk #37 - West Village & Hudson Riverwalk

74 degrees, hazy & slightly less humid than yesterday

The donut cart on the corner is gone...a sign of the end of school in the neighborhood

Heading through a bit of the West Village before cutting over to the river

Getting a little lost when the already tangled streets are closed due to construction leading to detours

Reading email in Abingdon Square Park

A man with a very short haircut combs his hair over and over and over

A woman attempts (in vain) to hail a cab on the West Side Highway - the traffic travels too fast here to stop easily

There are more and more runners on the Riverwalk as the weather heats up

Between the runners and work crews there are few other people along the river in the early morning

A group of young men in camouflage pants, Army green t-shirts and heavy looking vests runs by

The waves are gently rolling and hypnotic

A stop at the coldest grocery store in Manhattan

Teetering across cobblestone streets

Steps: 5917

Monday, June 24, 2013

Morning Walk #36 - Washington Square Park

75 degrees, hazy & muggy

Construction workers lined up at the breakfast food truck

Last Monday everyone seemed perky and ready for the week - not so today - people are dragging and wilted

New summer hours posted at the custom furniture shop: 11am to 6pm (normally Noon to 7pm)

Fine men's clothing store with old event advertising in the windows. Too bad that interesting concert was in 2009

Missed the Sunday sermon at 1st Presbyterian, "There's Nothing Really"

Man with an egg sandwich in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other...switching hands to push a baby carriage

Then a man and stroller in classic male form...walking alongside the stroller pushing with one hand

Noticing that Washington Square Park is as much concrete as grass

Dogs controlling their owners

Several people performing entire workouts (and brutal ones at that) in the park

A pedestrian and cab driver exchanging menacing hand motions

A quick compost dump at the GreenMarket

Avoiding subway stops with lines of people exiting on their way to work

Steps: 7915

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sculpture - Bottle

This bottle sits alongside the Hudson.  Inside it looks like an RV complete with a metal toilet in the back.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sculpture - A Skyscraper circle or Bed?

A companion piece to the sculpture I saw at the Flatiron Building on June 18.  This one is across from Union Square Park.

Sometimes it's art. Sometimes it's just another bed.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Morning Walk #35 - Union Square Park

After sniffing around my backpack this little squirrel refuses to turn around for his closeup.  As I give up on getting a decent photo I notice that 5 people are gathered around watching us...including another photographer who probably got better photos than this one!

64 degrees and sunny.  A perfect first day of summer!

The pink & blue matching houses on 15th Street

The ever present construction...this time with a huge crane hoisting supplies to the 6th floor of a new building

Interesting architecture at 33 Irving Place, built in 1909

A television crew setting up a shoot

Ichabod's on Irving Place...with an entrance labeled Headless Horseman in stone carved letters

Another restaurant "Closed by Order of the Commissioner of Health & Mental Hygiene".  An official sign on the door and the front window under which someone has taped another sign: "Closed due to Refrigeration Problems" --- That would be some serious refrigeration problems.

A man in the park wearing a hat presumably of his own looks like lots of colorful plastic bags were tied together to make a huge Afro sort of plastic wig

I'm just thinking I never see the same people in the park when the cantaloupe eating man walks to a bench and pops open his container of cantaloupe chunks

An Irish-sounding woman asks me to take a couple photos of her on her iPhone.  I try to pose her in the foreground of the sign she wants included in the shot...but she wants the standard tourist photo of a distant tiny figure in front of the park sign

I make a few purchases at the GreenMarket after dropping off my compost

I see that time has flown and the pet store is opening so I stop in to buy some pet food.  The woman behind me in the checkout line is buying a "cute" rat for her fiancĂ©...

Steps: 9494

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Morning Walk #34 - Hudson Riverwalk

Who decided an electronic sign was necessary to guide pedestrians on the riverwalk?

64 degrees and hazy sun

A street named Special Agent Everett E. Hatcher for the man who was killed on duty while serving with the Drug Enforcement Administration

Fluorescent green seems to be the popular color for running shoes today

What does it say if all the runners are fit already?  Do they eat and drink vast quantities that they need to burn off?  Are they addicted to exercise?

The juxtaposition of a concrete, metal and asphalt playground with a small landscape of tall wild grasses and boulders

A man on a bench brushing his dog while a second dog waits his turn

A woman and her trainer working out

A man in a suit with waist length dreadlocks

Steps: 7580

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Morning Walk #33 - Madison Square Park

Shakespeare on the Best Buy building at 6th & 23rd marks the spot of Booth's Theater.  Edwin Booth, arguably the greatest actor of his time built the theatre in 1869.  Today Edwin is, perhaps, not  so well known as his younger brother, John Wilkes.

59 degrees and hazy sun

My apartment is 84 degrees so the weather feels GREAT!

The new Dick Blick store opening Thursday

The "best sandwiches" food truck...a bold statement

A father and son (10ish) discussing how much money the father has

Theodore Roosevelt's home from birth (1858) to age 15

Calvary Episcopal Church (1848), religious home to the Roosevelts, the Astors & the Vanderbilts as well as Edith Wharton who used it in The Age of Innocence

A block long line at the Consulate of Guatemala

The Hot, Fresh Donuts truck featuring a Donut Ice Cream Sandwich

The statue of Chester Alan Arthur, 21st President of the United States

The Police Office Moira Ann Smith Playground named for an officer assigned to the Madison Square Precinct and the only female first responder to perish on September 11, 2001

Italian speaking tourist posing for photos in the park

Steps: 8492

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Morning Walk #32 - Madison Square Park

At the Flatiron Building

67 degrees and hazy sun

People are not so perky this morning

Sleeping people on the sidewalks

Close to 100% of the women who look like they are on their way to work are dressed in skirts or dresses

People setting up metal tables and chairs at the Flatiron

In the park, a man sets up equipment for the first of the Oval Lawn Series concerts this evening:  Suzanne Vega

A man in white shorts sits in a sunny spot on the sidewalk slicing up an avocado with precision

Steps: 7387

Monday, June 17, 2013

Morning Walk #31 - Stuyvesant Park & Union Square

70 degrees, humid, hazy sun

It's Monday and some people are heading into the week early

A woman with a huge load of dirty laundry in a cart waits for the Laundromat to open

Another woman waits for her Pilates Studio to open

A cheerful guy suggests I "make it a happy Monday"

A father and son walking to school. The boy walks on all the benches around the park then they each throw a coin into the fountain before continuing their walk

A man walks through the park clapping his hands

An older woman in desperate need of makeup walks the sidewalk in a white terry cloth robe

Julie Menin, a candidate in the primary for Manhattan Borough President, campaigns on Irving Place

Men playing chess on milk crates in Union Square

I drop off the compost. The mayor announced a new program to collect food scraps in the city so  maybe I won't have to walk my compost around town much longer

A sign at a pet store says "It's Summer! $200 off puppies"...good lord, how expensive are those puppies???

Steps: 10,242

Friday, June 14, 2013

Morning Walk #30 - Marginal Way

55 degrees and gray in Maine

Last night's rain still clings to the leaves

The sun burns off the haze and warms the rocky beach

Low tide

Waves break on the rocks

An impromptu rock sculpture

Seaweed and moss

Where are the birds?

Steps: 8907

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Morning Walk #29 - East Village

Keeping dry under the bench

68 degrees and a little sprinkly

People seemed to be prepared for cooler weather - more than necessary

Shriveled eggplants at the corner deli

The Expectations & Innovations Beauty Salon

When I saw the sign for Groom-O-Rama I had visions of tuxes and Groomzillas but it turned out to be a dog grooming business

As the rain starts falling more heavily, I find a dry bench under a tree in Washington Square Park but soon I am checking email under my umbrella on that bench

Another sign says Grosvenor Private Boarding Stable.  Although the stable was probably built during the Civil War it was a residence by the 1880's.  More recently it was home to Edward Albee and later Jerry Herman.

The Cooper Union built in 1859 offered free education until this year.  It hosted Abraham Lincoln in 1860 for his speech which ultimately landed him a nomination for the presidential race.

Gritty East Village neighborhoods with lots of old architecture apparently left alone rather than replaced with newer buildings

Sing Sing Karaoke is a good name but reminds me of the prison

The building with stone carved letters proclaiming Deutsch Amerikanische Schuetzen Gesellschaft (1889) was more interesting before I discovered that it means the German American Shooting Society

The notorious 10.5 acre Tompkins Square Park was new to me. A salt meadow in the early years it was eventually filled in and surrounded by an iron fence in 1835. Its first episode of violence occurred in 1857 when a protest of unemployed immigrants was broken up by police. The Draft Riots followed in 1863. The year 1874 marked the Tompkins Square Riots followed by the 1877 conflict when National Guardsmen broke up Communist speeches.  It remained a popular gathering place for labor groups. By the 1980's the park was occupied by the homeless and drug dealers.  Another riot broke out in 1988 when police moved in to clear the park of those living there. The homeless may have wished they had left then and missed the soup served in 1989 by The Butcher of Tompkins Square who made the soup from his victim's body.  But hey...the park is a real nice place now!

The park is on the edge of the Dry Dock neighborhood known for shipbuilding before the Civil War.

I make it all the way to the East River today

A building marked with the carved letters "Free Public Baths of the City of New York" leads to the discovery that in 1896 there was an average of one bathtub to 79 families on the lower East Side.  In 1905 the building opened with 94 rainbaths (showers) - 67 for men - and 7 bathtubs.  The baths closed in the late '50's and the building has been occupied by somewhat less interesting tenants since then.

My first glimpse of the famous Veniero Pasticceria (1894)

The return walk is spent mostly under my umbrella

Steps:  14,220

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Morning Walk #28 - West Village & Hudson Riverwalk

66 degrees with puffy white clouds in the blue sky

Lots of crossing guards out early this morning

Heading down to less familiar parts of the Village

White Horse Tavern built in the 1880's was a longshoreman's bar in its' first life.  It became a literary hangout in the '50's & '60's for Dylan Thomas, Norman Mailer, Jack Kerouac and more.

The Church of Saint Luke in the Fields, 1822, a maze of buildings and gardens was built on land originally given to Trinity Church by Queen Anne in 1714

The 1853 Italianate home at 81 Barrow, built for the merchant class not the wealthy (what?)

Thirty-eight Commerce Street, originally an 1817 silo on the Gomez farm gave way to a brewery in 1834, followed by a tobacco warehouse, a box factory and then since 1924, the Cherry Lane Theater

The Barrow and Commerce neighborhoods still have lots of older buildings along the narrow streets

I hadn't planned on visiting the riverwalk today but after blocks of tangled Village streets heading west for a familiar sight seemed a good idea

Wind blowing, white caps dipping, squawking geese, the buzzing of a lawnmower and the smell of newly mown grass

The 14th Street Park that has no built-in seating or benches...just plastic chairs...but it does have free wifi and lots of traffic noise from the Westside Highway

Steps: 8015

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Morning Walk #27 - Hudson Riverwalk

Along the Hudson

68 degrees, humid and cloudy with bits of blue sky peeking out

I had expected rain so the weather is a bonus

I head off in the direction that I used to walk to work...for the first time on my morning walk

Two guys in green plaid kilts, gray t-shirts and heavy backpacking backpacks - one wearing flip flops

The 1845 Saint Columba Church with its school (now closed) which had clearly marked separate entrances for Girls and Boys

Breezy and sunny on the Hudson

A little freaked out that my phone thinks I'm in Hoboken when I'm on the riverwalk

A man asks if I'd like to go for a swim

Walking back by Chelsea Piers, I always expect it to be busier with early morning athletics

The former National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) early 1900's manufacturing plant where Fig Newtons and Oreos among others were born - now it houses Chelsea Market, the Food Network and NY1

Steps: 6656

Monday, June 10, 2013

Morning Walk #26 - West Village

67 degrees and cloudy

It's a Monday and several people bid me a good morning

An NYPD Communications Command Post van parked on the street

An 1832 Federal Style home with 2 dormers on West 10th Street

A growth of ivy shaped into a peace sign on the front of another home

The 1846 gothic Grace Church made from marble mined by Sing Sing inmates

Seven people sleeping on the concrete steps around Union Square Park

A woman carrying an iPod in one hand and a comb in the other

A man peeling hard boiled eggs

The 1882 Baroque Church of St. Francis Xavier

A man in a black and white checked shirt carrying laundry wrapped in another black and white checked shirt

Steps: 7063

Friday, June 7, 2013

Morning Walk #25 - Madison Square Park

62 degrees and a steady rain

Almost no one seems to wear raincoats any more.  Exceptions:  some children and people who work outside and me

The Limelight - an 1846 Gothic Revival church was a dance club in the '80's & '90's (opening night was hosted by Andy Warhol) and now is full of shops selling trendy items.

Bakery trucks delivering breads to restaurants not yet open

Setting up tents in Madison Square Park for this weekend's Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

A guy pulls a milk crate under a tent and sits for awhile

A man with a fashionable leopard print umbrella

A woman with a zebra print umbrella and bright yellow rainboots

Why does the little guy under the huge golf umbrella expect everyone to get out of his way?

A stop for a few food items - seeing a guy pushing a grocery cart with one hand and a baby carriage with the other. Getting home in the rain is going to be fun!

Steps: 6581

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Morning Walk #24 - High Line

59 degrees again and cloudy

I didn't have a plan of direction this morning so I wandered

Two women buying breakfast at a food cart:  "I don't have breakfast food at home.  I only got eggs - no meat, no bagels." I wonder if she considers cereal a breakfast food.

A squirrel eats from a garbage can

A woman doing some Tai Chi on the High Line

The High Line landscapers are out in force this morning. One trims branches overhanging the walkway.

The vegetation has filled in so it doesn't look newly planted

Another woman starts doing exercises at a bench, on the bench, standing up, lying down

Those golf cart-type mini pickup trucks are SO cute!

More landscapers - 10 of them - kneeling and planting tiny clumps of a tall grass

Two boxers sparring

A Verizon technician pulls up his van to help jumpstart a woman's dead car battery. As the engine turns over the technician yells, "Verizon to the rescue!"

Steps: 6258

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Morning Walk #23 - Irving Place & Stuyvesant Park

Two unusual things - this gargoyle is only as old as 1929 and it's at eye level

59 degrees again but a slightly higher humidity made it feel warmer

Found a dime

A passerby says "good morning".  (He must be an out-of-towner!)

81 Irving Place, the 1929 home of the gargoyles

On Second Avenue, the 1902 New York Lying In Hospital is now residential.  (A "lying in" hospital was a maternity facility}. In the early 20th century this was the site of 60% of all hospital births in Manhattan.

Stuyvesant Park bisected by Second Avenue with its east section and its west section

A man hops off his bike and stretches out on a bench for a nap

Some of the trees in the part have had paved walkways designed around them

An older woman with the face of a longtime sun worshipper runs around the park with her little dog as if they were at a dog show

An older man with dreadlocks wearing plaid flannel pajama bottoms and using a cane slowly walks his dog

Scheffel Hall (1895) on 3rd Avenue now is home to movement classes but was once a German beer hall and restaurant and a must visit bar for West Point cadets

A quick compost drop at the GreenMarket

Picketers chanting against Castle Construction

Steps: 7731

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Morning Walk #22 - West Village & Washington Square Park

57 degrees, sunny & breezy

Either people didn't check the weather reports or they dressed for the afternoon temps

Women shivering in spaghetti strap dresses, tank tops and shorts

Reading names of businesses:  Mark Twain Garage Corp, Charlie Mom Chinese Cuisine, Think Pink Nails, Bombalulu's

The Go Burger food truck preparing for the day

The "Original" Joe the Plumber truck

Down to the narrow streets of Minetta Lane & MacDougal

Lucky 777 Chili, Saigon Shack, Creperie, Ninestreet Bubble Tea, Artichoke Pizza, Off the Wagon Bar & Grill, The Grisly Pear

Thunder Jackson's Urban Roadhouse, The Back Fence, The Red Lion, The Malt House, Wicked Willy's

Washington Square Park:  a colorful woman with purple hair, royal blue dress, and lime green purse

A saxophonist at the foot of the Garibaldi statue

A man wading in the fountain and filling a baggie with coins

Insomnia Cookies - "Warm cookies delivered late night"

School crossing guards wearing blue surgical masks at their posts near construction sites

Steps:  7740

Monday, June 3, 2013

Morning Walk #21 - West Village & East Village

70 degrees, gray and rainy

The Citibike racks in Chelsea and the West Village are mostly empty. Where did the Sunday riders leave all the bikes?

Lots of people out on a rainy morning

Sidewalks seem smaller when every pedestrian is carrying an umbrella

Looking for covered sidewalks for a respite from the rain

The New York Eye & Ear Infirmary established 1820 to serve the needs of the working poor

Murals on the walls of buildings

Stuyvesant Park with its original 1847 iron fences

The statue of Peter Stuyvesant, director general of New Netherland 1647 - 1664 - apparently intolerant of religions other than Dutch Reformed and also not so friendly with the Native Americans.  Maybe having a wooden leg made him grumpy.

At The Friends Seminary (established 1786) a woman bids everyone a Good Morning and shakes the hand of each child and parent entering the school

The GreenMarket on a wet Monday morning...still has some eager customers

Drenched people on their way to work and school...rain, Monday and wet clothes a not so winning combination

Steps: 9610

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June: A Month of Weddings

Better Homes and Gardens magazine tells me that 41 million Americans will be attending at least one wedding this month.

According to them wedding planner, Annie Lee, advises us to keep our cameras out of our faces at the wedding because the brides want to see faces not phones.  I wonder if that's true for non-celebrity brides.  It seems like brides appreciate all the cameras recording their special day...except maybe when they're eating.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sculpture: Sisters

Paul McCarthy's Sisters can be seen on the Hudson Riverwalk at 17th Street.