Friday, February 29, 2008


These are images of the New York City Hall that I made on a snowy day when I last visited Downtown Manhattan. 

From Wikipedia:
New York City Hall is located at the center of City Hall Park in the Civic Center section of Lower Manhattan between Broadway, Park Row and Chambers Street. The building itself is the oldest City Hall in the United States that still houses its original governmental functions, such as the office of the Mayor of New York City and the chambers of the New York City Council. Constructed from 1803 to 1812, New York City Hall is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[1],[3] Its rotunda is a designated interior New York City landmark. The architectural style of City Hall combines two famous historical movements; French Renaissance (exterior design) and American-Georgian (interior design). 

New York City Hall has played a central role in several films and television series. Spin City (1996-2002), set in City Hall, starred Michael J. Fox as a Deputy Mayor making efforts to stop the dim-witted Mayor from embarrassing himself in front of the media and voters. City Hall (1996) starred Al Pacino as an idealistic Mayor and John Cusack as his Deputy Mayor, who leads an investigation with unexpectedly far-reaching consequences into the accidental shooting of a boy in New York. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Outside the new 7 World Trade Center is a small plaza where a striking sculpture is located. It's called BALLOON FLOWER (Red) by internationally acclaimed artist, JEFF KOONS. Overlooking Ground Zero, the art installation is located in a park bounded by Greenwich Street, Vesey Street and West Broadway. The Balloon Flower consists of seven elements: six large blossom- or balloon-like shapes of various sizes, and one bar that can be taken as a flower stem. They are all aglow in bright red, so that they can see themselves and the world around them reflected. It's been said that the true appeal of the Balloon Flower is that it attracts people to look at it, and then reflects them back at themselves.

Jeff Koons was born in York, Pennsylvania. As a young man, Koons revered Salvador Dalí. Koons attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Maryland Institute College of Art, and studied painting. After college he worked as a Wall Street commodities broker, while establishing himself as an artist. He gained recognition in the 1980s, and subsequently set up a factory-like studio in a SoHo loft on the corner of Houston and Broadway in New York. This had over 30 staff, each assigned to a different aspect of producing his work—in a similar mode to both Andy Warhol's Factory and many Renaissance artists. Last year, his art piece "Hanging Heart" sold at Sotheby's auction house for $23.6 million becoming the most expensive piece by a living artist ever auctioned. It was bought by the Gagosian Gallery which also purchased another Koons sculpture entitled "Diamond (Blue)" for $11.8 million from Christie's auction house.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


One of the things that I've always wanted to do is to take the 4-minute tramway ride from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island. And I still haven't, even though the Tram Plaza is not far from where I live. The Roosevelt Island tram began operating in 1976. It is the only aerial commuter tram in the US. Originally built as a temporary means of transportation for island residents by New York State's Urban Development Corporation, it has become a permanent part of the life of the island and a treasure for New Yorkers and tourists alike. The capacity of each cabin is 125. The tram makes approximately 115 trips per day, and about 100 on weekends. It glides at approximately 16 miles per hour and travels 3,100 feet. At its peak it climbs to 250 feet above the East River. Two cabins make the run every fifteen minutes from 6:00am to 2:30am (3:30am on weekends) and continuously during rush hours. 
Roosevelt Island offers great views of Manhattan and has 5 parks and 6 historic landmarks dating from 1796. The island is a beautiful residential island with a very limited traffic, and inhabited by a mixed income multi-ethnic community, including scientists working at the medical and research institutions on the Upper Eastside. The tram has been featured in numerous movies including City Slickers and Spiderman.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Just like last year, 50 Oscar statuettes are on display at the Times Square Studios at 1500 Broadway at West 44th Street from February 15 through February 23. Tourists flocked to the studios to see the statuettes, and to have their pictures taken while holding an actual Oscar statuette. I took some photos of the exhibit earlier this afternoon. One display showed the statuettes in different stages of manufacturing. The statuettes are made each year by the Chicago-based R.S. Owens Company.The official name of the Oscar statuette is the "Academy Award® of Merit." Each statuette is 13.5 inches tall and weighs 8.5 pounds. Each statuette is made from the britannium and is then plated in copper, nickel, silver, and finally, 24-karat gold. Designed by Cedric Gibbons, the Oscar statuette depicts a knight holding a crusader's sword, standing on a reel of film. The film reel features five spokes, representing the actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


This was the picturesque scene last Sunday afternoon at the WOLLMAN RINK in CENTRAL PARK. Wollman Rink was built in 1949 when Kate Wollman donated $600,000 for it's construction. It is now run by Donald Trump. The rink has been a major success from the day it opened - over 300,000 skaters glided across the ice in its first year of operation.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


At the annual BROADWAY BEARS fundraiser, the Spamalot bear (image from autographed by CLAY AIKEN and DAVID HYDE PIERCE fetched the most money ($17,000) last Feb. 17 at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on West 42nd Street. Broadway Bears is an annual auction featuring one-of-a-kind teddy bears outfitted in original, handmade costumes created by Broadway’s leading costume designers and representing memorable Broadway show characters. The Sir Robin bear was created by Brionna McMahon, and the original designer is Tim Hatley. The auction benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and involved the live audience up against the telephone bidders. Broadway Bears XI was hosted by Bryan Batt and earned a total of $127,000 for the charitable organization. To know more about Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, visit their website at this link or call (212) 840-0770.
Starring as Sir Robin in the Broadway musical, Monty Python's SPAMALOT, Mr. Aiken continues to draw big crowds at the stagedoor of the Shubert Theatre as shown in the photo above taken last February 15.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Situated on New York's Upper Westside, TAVERN ON THE GREEN is at the corner of Central Park West and 67th Street, just three blocks from Lincoln Center. I took these night photos of the famous Central Park restaurant over the weekend.
A grand café overlooking Central Park, Tavern on the Green is one of New York's most dazzling dining experiences - a real show- stopper overflowing with crystal chandeliers, hand-carved mirrors, and stained glass. Nestled in its own magical gardens, Tavern on the Green exists in a fantasy-like setting. It is no wonder the critics say, "If Oz had a restaurant, this would be it!"
Built to house sheep in 1870, the building now known as Tavern on the Green became a restaurant in 1934. In 1974, Warner LeRoy, who revolutionized the American dining scene with his legendary Maxwell's Plum, took over the restaurant's lease and embarked upon a $10 million renovation. Tavern on the Green re-opened in 1976 and is currently the highest-grossing independently-owned restaurant in the United States with annual revenues in excess of $34 million and over half a million visitors a year.

Monday, February 18, 2008

PRESIDENTS' DAY - Decision 2008 Dream Teams according to SCORES New York

On this Presidents' Day, presidential candidates are getting more attention than the present or past presidents. Above is a banner endorsement of Democrat and Republican teams, and encouraging people to vote. I'm sure Oprah won't be amused. The endorsement is from SCORES, a well-known strip club (or I think they prefer to be called "gentlemen's club"). Inside Scores, their private room is called "President's Club" (according to their website). The banner is displayed outside SCORES on 60th Street on the Upper Eastside.
The original version of the holiday was in commemoration of George Washington's birthday in 1796 (the last full year of his presidency). Washington, according to the calendar that has been used since at least the mid-18th century, was born on February 22, 1732. According to the old style calendar in use back then, however, he was born on February 11. At least in 1796, many Americans celebrated his birthday on the 22nd while others marked the occasion on the 11th instead. By the early 19th century, Washington's Birthday had taken firm root in the American experience as a bona fide national holiday. Its traditions included Birthnight Balls in various regions, speeches and receptions given by prominent public figures, and a lot of revelry in taverns throughout the land. Then along came Abraham Lincoln, another revered president and fellow February baby (born on the 12th of the month). The first formal observance of his birthday took place in 1865, the year after his assassination, when both houses of Congress gathered for a memorial address. While Lincoln's Birthday did not become a federal holiday like George Washington's, it did become a legal holiday in several states. In 1968, legislation (HR 15951) was enacted that affected several federal holidays. One of these was Washington's Birthday, the observation of which was shifted to the third Monday in February each year whether or not it fell on the 22nd. This act, which took effect in 1971, was designed to simplify the yearly calendar of holidays and give federal employees some standard three-day weekends in the process. Apparently, while the holiday in February is still officially known as Washington's Birthday (at least according to the Office of Personnel Management), it has become popularly (and, perhaps in some cases at the state level, legally) known as "President's Day." This has made the third Monday in February a day for honoring both Washington and Lincoln, as well as all the other men who have served as president.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Above are pictures that I made of the beautiful ironwork at the main entrance of ROCKEFELLER UNIVERSITY as well as fence panels displaying the pioneering scientific discoveries of the university's world-renowned scientists. Founded by John D. Rockefeller, the ROCKEFELLER INSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH was incorporated on June 14, 1901. It was the first institution in the United States devoted solely to biomedical research aimed at understanding the underlying causes of disease. It was renamed ROCKEFELLER UNIVERSITY, and has a become a leader in basic scientific research and graduate education. Among their many discoveries, scientists at Rockefeller have discovered that genes are made of DNA, found the Rh factor in blood, pioneered the physiology and chemistry of vision, demonstrated the connection between cholesterol and heart disease, developed vaccines against meningitis, introduced methadone to manage heroin addiction, discovered that distribution of proteins to various cellular compartments is accomplished by a "ZIP code" system, determined that cancer can be caused by a virus, and developed the AIDS “cocktail” drug therapy. In its history, Rockefeller has been associated with 23 Nobel laureates.
The Rockefeller University shares the intersection of York Avenue and East 68th Street with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital/ Weill Medical College of Cornell University. The university's main entrance is at 1230 York Avenue (at East 66th Street) on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I made this image of one of the tiny window displays at TIFFANY's flagship store at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Manhattan. TIFFANY & CO. is a U.S. jewelry and silverware company founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany and Teddy Young in New York City in 1837 as a "stationery and fancy goods emporium." The store initially sold a wide variety of stationery items, and operated as Tiffany, Young and Ellis in lower Manhattan. The name was shortened to Tiffany & Co in 1853 when Charles Tiffany took control, and the firm's emphasis on jewelry was established. Tiffany & Co. has since opened stores in major cities all over the world. The company is strongly associated with its Tiffany Blue color, which is a registered trademark. The flagship store is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The polished granite exterior is well known for its tiny window displays. The store has been featured in a number of movies including "Breakfast at Tiffany's", starring Audrey Hepburn, and "Sweet Home Alabama."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


The new GUCCI FLAGSHIP store opened last week in Manhattan. Located at 725 Fifth Avenue, the store is the world's largest Gucci store and the company's grandest architectural endeavor to date. The striking building has three glass-enclosed floors. The structure was designed by Creative Director Frida Giannini and constructed in collaboration with celebrity architect James Carpenter. The space, filled with radiant natural light, rich materials and the iconic Gucci symbols, provides an elegant environment in which to browse Gucci's luxury products. 
To celebrate the city it loves, Gucci sells the limited edition "Gucci Loves New York" bags. Proceeds from the sale of these bags will benefit the Playground Partners of the Central Park Conservancy. This donation will go towards the maintenance and operation of the 21 children's playgrounds in Central Park. For more information on the Conservancy, visit

Monday, February 11, 2008

SWEETS AND SPICE - Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham goes to Dylan Candy Bar

VICTORIA BECKHAM and her son CRUZ visited DYLAN'S CANDY BAR on the Upper Eastside last Saturday, February 9. I didn't manage to make a photograph of the former SPICE GIRL, but I was able to capture the scene outside the famous candy store on my way to the subway from my apartment. During her rise to fame with 1990s pop group the SPICE GIRLS, VICTORIA was dubbed POSH SPICE by the British tabloid press. Universally referred to as "Posh", she is married to English football player DAVID BECKHAM.
Dylan's Candy Bar is the supersize candy store located at 1011 Third Avenue 
at 60th St.across the street from Bloomingdale’s. The store is the brainchild of DYLAN (daughter of RALPH) LAUREN and JEFF RUBIN (an FAO Schweetz co-creator). Boasting a ten-foot artificial chocolate bunny and staircases laden with gummy candies, the candy retailer's Manhattan location has become a tourist draw in its own right. It owns its own line of candies and chocolate, and stocks other brands as well, including M&Ms, PEZ, Dubble Bubble, Wonka, and Jelly Belly. In addition to candy and chocolate, candy-themed clothing can be purchased here. Many places also sell ice cream or ice cream floats. Dylan's has added four more locations (two more in New York; and two in Orlando, Florida and one in Houston, Texas) and has plans to expand to the West Coast.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Rat figurines, colorful Chinese lanterns, chimes and trinkets in one
of the stores in Manhattan's Chinatown (Feb 10, 2008)

According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2008 is a Year of the Rat (Earth), which begins on February 7, 2008 and ends on January 25, 2009. First in the cycle of 12 Animal signs, Rat Year begins the sequence and recurs every twelfth year. It is a time of renewal in so many ways. From New Year to Valentine's Day, to the arrival of spring, may all the blessings and delights of the New Year be yours.
A Rat Year is a time of hard work, activity, and renewal. This is a good year to begin a new job, get married, launch a product or make a fresh start. Ventures begun now may not yield fast returns, but opportunities will come for people who are well prepared and resourceful. The best way for you to succeed is to be patient, let things develop slowly, and make the most of every opening you can find. People born in an Earth Rat are said to be logical realists, shrewd, charming, ambitious, and inventive. Of course, the entire horoscope must be considered when making any personality assessment.
In Chinese, the Rat is respected and considered a courageous, enterprising person. People born in the Year of Rat are clever and bright, sociable and family-minded. They have broad interests and strong ability in adapting to the environment and able to react adequately to any changes.
They are gifted in many ways and have an easy going manner. They are active and pleasant, tactful and fantastic, and are able to grasp opportunities. They seem to have interests in everything and hope to participate in doing it and usually do it very well.

Friday, February 8, 2008

@ the stagedoor: CLAY AIKEN, star of Monty Python's Spamalot on Broadway

Youtube video by Yollie950

Joining the list of American Idol alumni who become celebrated Broadway performers is recording-artist, CLAY AIKEN. He made his Broadway debut as Sir Robin (among others) in Monty Python's SPAMALOT at the Shubert Theatre (225 West 44th Street). He will be with the production through May 4, 2008. I made pictures of Mr. Aiken signing autographs for enthusiastic Idol-worshipping Claymates at the stagedoor of the Shubert Theatre after this evening's performance. 
Directed by Mike Nichols, who won his eighth Tony Award for his direction of the new musical, Monty Python's Spamalot has a book by Eric Idle, "lovingly ripped-off" from the screenplay of the Pythons' best- loved film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. The music is by Eric Idle and John DuPrez. The show was choreographed by Casey Nicholaw while sets and costumes were created by multiple Olivier Award-winners Tim Hatley. Hugh Vanstone is the lighting designer.
Clay Aiken, probably one of the few successful American Idol contestants, has sold more than 6 million albums, co-wrote a best-selling book, and, played six sold-out concert tours. He gained fame when he won second-place in the second season of the hit FOX television reality show "American Idol."
Winning more awards than any other show in the 2005 Broadway Season, including the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Grammy Award for Best Cast Recording, Spamalot has set box office records since opening on Broadway to critical acclaim in March, 2005 at the flagship Shubert Theatre.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Youtube video from Improv Everywhere
This is another Improv Everywhere stunt. On a cold Saturday in New York City, the world’s largest train station came to a sudden halt. Over 200 Improv Everywhere Agents froze in place at the exact same second for five minutes in the Main Concourse of Grand Central Station.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Celebrating the NEW YORK GIANTS' SUPER BOWL victory

This was the scene at Foley Square yesterday at 10:00 AM, an hour before the start of the ticker tape parade to celebrate the New York Giants' Super Bowl victory. Large crowds wearing blue and white began to descend to Lower Manhattan near the City Hall where a ceremony was held after the parade.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Today is "SUPER TUESDAY" when a large number of states hold presidential primary elections. I voted early this morning and I was reminded of how antiquated the voting system is. My polling place still uses LEVER MACHINES. A voter enters the machine and pulls a lever to close the curtain, thus unlocking the voting levers. The voter then makes his or her selection from a list of switches denoting the appropriate candidates or measures. The machine is configured to prevent overvotes by locking out other candidates when one candidate's switch is flipped. When the voter is finished, a lever is pulled which opens the curtain and increments the appropriate counters for each candidate and measure. The results are then hand written by the precinct officer at the conclusion of voting. New York and Connecticut are some of the few states that still permit the use of these machines.
I am for HILLARY'S Vice Presidential running-mate, that is.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


These are DKNY.COM's bright orange painted bikes which caught my attention while walking on 42nd Street last Saturday. DKNY suports the city's initiative to help cyclists explore the city. New York's high population density and flat terrain make it an ideal city for cycling. NYC promotes cycling as an environmentally friendly and healthy way to get around since it is non-polluting and is a good form of cardiovascular exercise. The city is rapidly buiding a far-reaching network of innvatively designed bike lanes and new parking facilities. 

Saturday, February 2, 2008


LIVE or DIET ad on a taxicab on Sixth Avnue in front of the 
Bryant Park Fashion Week Tents 
The MERCEDES-BENZ FASHION WEEK has just started and above are photos of the iconic tents at Bryant Park. This season, the tents take a Greco Roman "Temple of Fashion" design. To showcase the Fall 2008 Collections to fashion-lovers are new designers as well as well-established American designers like Michael Kors, Vera Wang and Diane Von Furstenberg among others. The collections debuting inside the Tents include 3.1 Phillip Lim, Hervé Léger by Max Azria, Iódice, Araks, Mara Hoffman, Rubin Singer and Malan Breton. Additionally, Angel Sanchez, Verrier and R. Scott French return to the runways of Bryant Park. The Fall 2008 Collections will be presented to the press, buyers, fashion insiders and celebrities who come to New York for the eight-day long event celebrating the best in fashion. 

Over 100,000 guests are expected to attend, including some 3,000 members of the press and fashion industry from around the world. The journalists, photographers, broadcasters and bloggers convening in the iconic tents. Fashion week rus from February 1st through 8th.