Looking out over the skyscrapers of the New York City skyline. Midtown.
There is an inherent romance that can be found in the sheer density of the architecture of New York City.
Buildings huddle close like lovers before a nervous first kiss. Their bodies rise up to the sky proud and majestic each one holding dozens if not thousands of stories.
If you look intently you can see their bold spirits traveling with the wind carrying the hopes and dreams of those who share their world to soaring heights of possibility and promise.
If you didn’t see my initial contest entry post for the current Artists Wanted photography contest, you can still help me out by going to my contest entry page and clicking collect me
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New York by Gehry and the New York City skyline under storm clouds.
In very, very exciting news my photography was discussed on a live on-the-air show called “Great Google + Photographer Discoveries” on Monday night. To my surprise (and many other people’s surprise too), Sergey Brin stopped by during the recording (yes, this Sergey Brin. I think my jaw literally dropped when he ‘popped in’. I was super honored to be one of the photographers discussed but I can’t even describe how it felt to hear/see my photography discussed while Sergey Brin watched. It’s one of those moments I know I will cherish forever.
You can view the broadcast here. I highly recommend it if you are looking for some insanely awesome visual inspiration because the other photographers highlighted are truly phenomenal and gorgeous examples of their work are also displayed and discussed (all photographers are also linked in the link below in case you want to browse their work:
And if that wasn’t enough excitement to last for ages, I sat in as a panelist last night for a live on-the-air discussion with the one and only Thomas Hawk and the inimitable Lotus Carroll for their weekly video broadcast called Photo Talk Plus. If you have ever wanted to hear me talk or see me try to not completely die of stage-fright on another great show highlighting photography (the theme last night was New York!), feel free to watch here:
What a week, right? I have no clue how anything could top it :).
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“When the sun hits”. Lower East Side, New York City.
It’s been exactly a year since I moved from the border area of Spanish Harlem in Upper Manhattan down to the Lower East Side. This photo will forever remind me of what a turning point this move was for me. My life has changed in so many ways since I moved that it feels as if my life has been divided in two parts now; life before moving to the Lower East Side and life after moving to the Lower East Side.
Having been notified that I had to find an apartment in a period of only two weeks because of a not-so-great landlord issue I spent every waking moment scouring Manhattan for a new, affordable apartment (a rarity). New York City was experiencing a dramatic heat wave at the time with temperatures in the triple digits and humidity at nearly 100 percent for days on end. On a 100 degree + (Fahrenheit) weekend, I moved into a tenement on the Lower East Side. This was no easy feat considering that my new apartment was on the 5th floor of a walk-up (it’s 76 steps up to my apartment! I have grown to love it). With no air conditioner, no fans, no internet and two extremely angry cats, I experienced the heat wave in all its glory.
I spent that memorable weekend roaming the nearby streets taking photos between ducking into places hoping to catch some relief. I would spend the rest of my time laying out ice blankets and pans of ice water for my cats because the temperature in the apartment was close to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the middle of my first week living on the Lower East Side, I decided to take a two hour tour at the Tenement Museum. Since my apartment is one of the early tenements and I am an avid New York City history buff, I couldn’t resist finally going to this museum. To say that it was one of the most incredible experiences I have had would be an understatement. Being the daughter of an immigrant to the United States (my mother came here as a concentration camp victim of WWII when she was nearly 10 years old) and growing up in the dense cultural center of Flushing, Queens (a borough of New York City), I have always enjoyed learning about other people’s experiences with immigration to New York City and the United States.
On our tour that day, we learned all about the families who lived in the tenement apartments we toured (kept as they would have looked like when the families lived there) and viewed census records, photographs and keepsakes. At one point we listened to a short oratory recollection by an inhabitant of one of the apartments via a recording. She spoke about what it was like to live in the tenement we were standing in during the beginning of the 20th century. Being able to visually see these recollected remnants of someone’s experiences as they described them was a special experience. My group was also taken through a non-restored apartment in various stages of decay. Writing etched into crumbling walls indicated the amount of garments that had been stored in the room by tenants who would often share these tiny dwellings with their large families. Every object, every garment meant so much to them.
Since it was the two hour tour, we were able to ask a lot of questions of the historians and engage in quite a bit of spirited discussion. At the end of our tour through the early tenements, we spent a good half hour around a table in a cooled room eating cookies and drinking iced tea while listening to each other’s family histories. We cried and laughed together and when it was all over we hugged each other as if we had become a family right then and there. It was a quintessential New York City experience.
This photo for me represents the heat of that summer, the heat in my apartment that was similar to the heat felt by the tenants over one hundred years ago before there was air conditioning/reliable fans and many of the amenities we are used to in our modern living environments. It represents the heat of the hot tears that ran down my face while I cooled off that one morning at the Tenement Museum after sharing my own family’s history and listening to other people’s family’s immigration stories.
The sun hit the buildings in the most beautiful of ways that summer. The sun hits the buildings in the most beautiful of ways all year here. Because the Lower East Side is home to many of the original tenements which are shorter than modern buildings, it’s one of the neighborhoods where the sun can be seen regularly as it illuminates the fire escapes on the tenements that housed early New York City residents who carried with them many of the same hopes and dreams as those who inhabitant the same tenements today.
I wouldn’t trade the light and the heat for anything.
Bow bridge in the winter covered in snow. Central Park, New York City
It’s another super hot day in New York City today. The temperature is currently something like 101 degrees (fahrenheit) with heat index values climbing up to around 115 in certain places. I have decided that the only way to cope is to look at photos of New York City in the dead of winter like this one.
This particular image was taken back in January during a blizzard. New York City got something like 19 inches of snow and this was only weeks after the first blizzard of the season which practically shut the city down.
Central Park in the midst of heavy snowfall is absolutely magical. Because of the heavy wind gusts and storm conditions, the only people in the park were either very adventurous tourists trying to make the best of their vacation to New York City and other crazy photographers reveling in the beauty of Central Park’s landscapes covered in ice and snow. I spent around 4 hours there in total and only came across less than 10 people in total. The people I did come across were very friendly and in awe of the environment.
This is one of Central Park’s most popular bridges, Bow Bridge. It’s one of my favorite spots in the park. It’s usually packed with people enjoying the views from on the bridge itself. Under Bow Bridge sits The Lake which spans 22 acres and is Central Park’s largest body of water. It is fully iced over and covered in snow.
“Bow Bridge, shaped like an archer’s bow, was built between 1859 and 1862. It connects the Ramble and Cherry Hill, and spans more than 60 feet of the Lake. Because the south bank was higher than the north, construction of the cast iron bridge included raising the height of its northern abutment. Janes, Kirkland, and Co., the firm responsible for the dome of The Capitol in Washington, D.C., did the ironwork for the span of Bow Bridge. Vaux and Mould created the ornamental iron railing that incorporates elements of Gothic, Neo-Classical, and Renaissance design.” Source
Additionally, I won some swag from Gansevoort Hotel due to being one of two winners of a contest they ran called Gansevoorthenge where they asked for Manhattanhenge photo submissions via Twitter. You can see an embarrassing photo of me taken a few days ago in the midst of this heatwave (I hate all photos of myself!) with the winning swag here: Our #Gansevoorthenge Photo Contest Winners!
The Banco Santander and DuMont Buildings. Midtown, New York City.
One of the most distinctive features of the Dumont Building is its broadcasting antenna that dates back to the skyscraper’s role in the first ever television broadcasts of the station WNYW in the late 1930s.
“WNYW traces its history to 1938, when television set and equipment manufacturer Allen B. DuMont founded W2XVT (re-named as W2XWV in 1944), an experimental station. On May 2, 1944, the station received its commercial license — the third in New York City — on channel 4 as WABD after DuMont’s initials. It was one of the few stations that continued broadcasting during World War II, making it the fourth-oldest continuously broadcasting commercial station in the United States.” Source
The Williamsburg Bridge pedestrian walkway, New York City
I might be a bit biased since I live so close to the Williamsburg Bridge and have crossed it quite a bit on foot but it’s one of the bridges in lower Manhattan that remains close to my heart. Spanning a little over a mile, It opened in 1903 and it’s one of only two bridges in New York City that carries train and car traffic.
There is just something so oddly endearing about its steel architecture and bright red fence.
Broadway buildings bathed in sunlight and thoughts on Google +. Soho, New York City.
Spent quite a bit of time last night exploring Google +, Google’s new social network. My (not totally set-up) profile is here: My profile on Google + . If you are already on there, feel free to add me to any of your ‘circles’!
I have to say that I am really psyched about it! The interface is super easy to use and I am loving the ‘circles’ feature which I think is miles ahead of Facebook in many regards in terms of usability and privacy.
Basically you are able to add people to categories called ‘circles’. Everyone shows up as just being a part of your ‘circles’ so you don’t have to worry about others getting upset at which ‘circle’ you have put them in. You can also even disable sharing circle info on your profile entirely if you wish.
The ‘circle’ categories are customizable and there are also pre-set ‘circles’. The pre-set ‘circles’ are ‘Friends’, ‘Acquaintances’, ‘Family’ and ‘Following’. The ‘Friends’ circle allows you to post only to the people you feel closest to and are comfortable sharing certain things with. The ‘Acquaintances’ circle allows you to post to people you have met but ‘aren’t particularly close to’. The ‘Family’ circle is for posting or following people you consider your family. Finally, the ‘Following’ circle allows you to follow people you may not know personally at all but find their content interesting enough to read. You can also then create as many different other circles as you wish. The tools for doing this are straightforward (drag and drop!) making it easy to put the people you know or are interested in into the correct categories. You don’t have to worry about adding your mother or that person you worked with 2 years ago or someone from school you aren’t close to. By using the ‘circles’ function and putting everyone in the best ‘circle’ you can share what you want with who you want at any time.
While Facebook has allowed you to do almost the same thing with their ‘Lists’ function, the settings to do so are relatively buried and not highly intuitive. This is where I think Google + excels in that right off the bat, the way to control how you share is easy and simple to do as it is a major part of their interface. The drag and drop controls are also a pleasure to use.
You can also control visibility of what you share in each post you make as well as edit your statuses and posts once they are made (!) which is awesome (considering that I have never understood why editing of a status on Facebook never seemed to make it to the Facebook interface). The only thing I have found to be mildly annoying so far has been dealing with photos primarily because I want(ed) to upload a small portion of my photos on Flickr to my Google + account. Picasa, which belongs to Google is the photo hosting service for Google + and so I have been spending some time uploading what I need to my Picasa account using a workaround. It’s mainly a sticky point for me since I have quite a bit of photos I want to share on Google +. I am not so sure that this would be a huge issue for others :).
In general though, I am happy with what I see so far. I can’t wait until more people are on Google + and until Google + adds their business ‘pages’ function later this year. I did want to make a photo page there like the one I have on Facebook here: NY Through The Lens on Facebook. However, they are discouraging people from making these types of pages and any non-user pages will be disabled when the actual ‘business pages’ function rolls out. This video which describes the future functionality for those pages sounds great: Google to Businesses: Don’t Create Google + Profiles Yet.
We will see how all of this plays out. I see Google + as being a good step forward in terms of privacy and ease of use for a social network but I am sure that Facebook will end up rolling out new features on par (or better) with Google +. Either way, this is a possible game-changer.
The Empire State Building towering over the New York City skyline. Midtown, New York City.
“Architecture is the learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light.” -Le Corbusier
The Globe in front of Trump Tower. Columbus Circle. Upper West Side, New York City.
I love the huge globe that sits outside of Trump Tower near Columbus Circle. There is something vaguely old-school futuristic about it. Perhaps that is because I grew up relatively close to the Unisphere in Flushing here in New York City that I have these sorts of associations.
The Flushing Unisphere was designed specifically to celebrate the beginning of the space age, representing a theme of “global interdependence”. I am not quite sure that this particular globe has such a lofty theme but it’s an interesting association, nonetheless.