Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tree Chair @ ABC Carpet

ABC Carpet is a home furnishing store that specializes in imported furniture, antiques, one-of-a-kind pieces, as well as other home goods like carpets and rugs, electronic appliances, luxurious fabrics, and chinaware. The flagship store, located in two buildings on Broadway between 19th and 20th Street (Flatiron District), also has a couple of restaurants on its premises.

ABC Carpet was started by then newly arrived Austrian immigrant, Sam Weinrib, in 1879 on a pushcart selling used carpets and unusual fabrics at the Lower East Side of Manhattan. A century later, the family owned company has grown into one of the biggest and most diverse home furnishing retail outlets in New York City. Currently, there are numerous ABC Carpet outlets in New York, New Jersey and Florida, as well as in Harrods' in London.

The chair in the photo was carved out of a piece of tree truck and is an example of one-of-a-kind pieces available at ABC Carpet. The two doors to the left and right of the chair are the elevators. And no, the store was not undergoing renovation; this is how it was decorated. Notice the unadorned light fixture above the chair. Despite the organic look and simplicity, these pieces come with hefty price tags.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Pottery Class @ Chelsea Ceramic Guild

The Chelsea Ceramic Guild , on 19th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue, is a pottery studio and school for amateur ceramists and potters. Opened in 1989, the non-profit organization offers beginners, intermediate and advanced classes on pottery, glazing and firing, as well as a retail space for supplies and students' art work.

In the photo, the girl in red pants just finished her pottery (a vase) and covered it with a plastic bag (at bottom left corner). She left to wash her hands and later moved the case onto one of the shelves on the right for air drying. I did not stay around long enough to see what happened after that.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien is a chain of french style bakery that originated from Brussels, Belgium, where the first store opened in 1990. Today Le Pain Quotidien is found all over Europe, the Middle East and United States (New York City and Los Angeles).

The name, Le Pain Quotidien means The Daily Bread in French. The philosophy of the bakery is to provide good, wholesome and healthy bread (and other baked goods) to the customers.

This photo, taken outside the Chelsea branch on 7th Avenue between 17th and 18th Street, showcased the desserts section of
the bakery. Clockwise from top left are the raspberry tart, mini mousse dome, mix berry tart, lemon tart, french cream donut, large lemon tart, apple pie, chocolate mousse cake and large mixed berry tart.

You can see the delicious french baguettes on the top left corner. The bakery also sells those beautiful round sourdough breads that are commonly found in Parisian bakeries. Click here to see the display of sourdough breads at the store.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Secret Admirers

A small crowd of people were peeking into this store window on 5th Avenue and 56th Street in Manhattan. I quickly took out the camera and photographed them. After they left, I peeked into the window and saw this piece of rock sitting on a porcelain rose. The store in the photo is Harry Winston and the piece of rock was a gigantic diamond.

Harry Winston (1896-1978) was an American jeweler whose namesake stores sell ultra luxurious jeweleries to the rich and famous. He was also known as the philantropist who donated the Hope Diamond to the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Ferrara @ Little Italy

Ferrara is one of the oldest and most well known family owned cafes in New York City. It is located in Little Italy on Grand Street between Mott and Mulberry Street. The cafe, initially called Caffe A. Ferrara, was opened by Italian immigrants, Antonio Ferrara and Enrico Scoppa in 1892. Antonio Ferrara's nephew married Enrico Scoppa's daughter in 1929 thus uniting the business under one family.

Today, Ferrara has expanded to include a number of cafes, bakeries, and a very successful mail-order business. It is well known for its delicious Italian pastries and cakes, and every Italian-American bride orders her wedding cake from the store. The business is still owned and run by the 5th generation of the original owners.

This photo was taken from the entrance of the flagship store in Little Italy. The cafe is always packed with patrons and getting a table at the cafe is almost impossible, especially during after-dinner hours.

Click here for another photo of the cafe.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Subway Mural

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which operates the public transportation system, regularly supports artists and musicians in the city. One of its most visible projects sponsored by the organization is the Arts for Transit Program. Started in 1986, the program was established to incorporate public art into the renovation and preservation of the 100-year old plus subway system.

The mosaic mural in this photo, located under 5th Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan, is a permanent installation by Los Angeles-born, Brooklyn-based artist, Samm Kunce. The mural entitled, Under Bryant Park" won the 2002 Best Public Art Project by the New York Municipal Art Society.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

CUNY Graduate Center

City University of New York (CUNY) is the largest urban university in the United States consisting of 21 colleges. It has an enrollment of 450,000 students spread out over 5 boroughs in New York City. The university was founded by Townsend Harris in 1847 as the Free Academy. The Free Academy became The City College and later merged with other city schools to form the CUNY system in 1961.

The building in the photo is the CUNY Graduate Center, which is the only college that offers PhD degreesin the CUNY system. It is located in the former B. Altman and Company on 5th Avenue between 33rd and 34th Street. The building was designed by architects, Trowbridge and Livingston and completed in 1906. CUNY took over the building and made it the new home of the CUNY Graduate Center.

Click here for more photos of the CUNY Graduate Center.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Herald Square

Herald Square is the twin park of Greeley Square at the intersecting avenues of Broadway and Sixth, and 34th Street in Manhattan. The two triangular squares point towards each other at the long end, forming a bowtie shaped configuration of public space.

Olivier of Evry Daily Photo mentioned the clock on Herald Square in his comment to the photo of Greeley Square last week. I promised him I would go back and take a photo of the clock for him. So please thank Olivier for this photo.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Daryl Roth Theater @ Union Square

This is a photo of the Daryl Roth Theater, formerly known as the Union Square Savings Bank, located on the corner of 15th Street and Park Avenue South. The building, completed in 1907, was landmarked for preservation in 1996 after it was converted into theater. Currently, the 24,000 square feet (2,230 square meters) space boasts two theaters and a cabaret lounge.

The architect who designed this building, Henry Bacon (1866-1924) also designed the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. He did not live long to enjoy the fame because he died a year after the Lincoln Memorial was completed.

The palm tree decorations and colored lights in front of the Daryl Roth Theater were temporary installations for a tourism event promoting the Greater Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Florida (especially Miami) is a popular winter vacation spot for New Yorkers who want to escape the cold weather.

Where is your favorite vacation spot? Are you a beach-and-sun person or a city-and-museum person?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Graffiti Art @ Korean Restaurant

Graffiti art may sound oxymoron but somtimes it does add character to an otherwise uninspiring place. Take this 24-hour Korean restaurant on 32nd Street between Broadway and 5th Avenue, otherwise known as Koreatown, for example; dinner guests are invited to draw or scribble on the walls. It gives diners an interesting topic to talk about and may even attract people to the restaurant. This place definitely stands out on a street filled with other restaurants serving similar Korean food. For more photos and what I had for dinner, click here.

What would you write if you could scribble on the wall??

N.B.: Han of Seoul Daily Photo posted a somewhat similar photo last week. Check it out!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Brooklyn Museum of Art

Here is another photo of the Brooklyn Museum of Art and its collection of Rodin sculptures. The original museum structure and the second floor promenade can be seen through the glass ceiling of the new pavilion.

The Brooklyn Museum of Art has twelve pieces of Rodin sculptures. Auguste Rodin (Nov 12, 1840 - Nov 17, 1917) was a 19th century French artist who was best known for his bronze statues eventhough he was an accomplished painter. In fact, it was his work as a portrait artist in the 1870s that brought him financial success and recognition in the art world. Rodin's most famous works include The Thinker and The Kiss

I just learned how to use so here are more photos of the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Brooklyn Museum of Art

The Brooklyn Museum of Art is the second largest museum in New York City, right after the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. It opened in 1897 and today, it boasts one of the finest Egyptian art collections outside of Cairo, Egypt. The museum has 560,000 square feet (52,024 square meters) of floor space and over 1,500,000 piece of artifacts in its collection.

The Brookly Museum of Art received a major face lift and added an additional 15,000 square feet (1,400 square meters) of glass pavilion in 2005. The new lobby consists of an exhibition space for sculptures and a specially made aluminium and glass staircase that leads up to an open promenade on the second floor.

This photo shows the new glass pavilion and the stairs leading up to the promenade. The sculptures in the background are two of a number of pieces by Rodin in the museum collection.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Macarons @ Tisserie

Here is a close up picture of the macarons at Tisserie. The pastries and cakes on the lower shelf are (from left) chocolate cup cakes with caramel icing, almond croissants, chocolate croissant (drizzled with chocolate sauce), caramel eclairs and chocolate eclairs.

I love almond croissants or croissants aux amandes. According to Clotilde Desoulier of Chocolate & Zuchini and cookbook author, almond croissants are usually made with day-old croissants that was filled with almond paste (marzipan), then slathered with egg wash, sprinkled with sliced almonds and baked in the oven until the almonds are slightly toasted. After that, they are sprinkled with a dusting of powdered sugar and they are ready to be served.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Tisserie is a beautiful patisserie or pastry shop that recently opened on Broadway and 16th Street at the northwest corner of Union Square. The store specializes in classic French cakes and pastries but it also offers artisanal bread and sandwiches on the lunch menu. The owners, brothers Morris and Ronald Harrar decided to open Tisserie in New York City following the success of their first patisserie, St. Honore in their hometown of Caracas, Venezuela.

Tisserie is one of the few places in New York City that makes and sells its own french macarons, which should not to be confused with the American coconut macaroons. Macarons date back to the 18th century and are made with flavored cream fillings sandwiched between two disk-shaped meringue cakes. The meringue cakes are light and delicate, with thin crisp shells and soft cushiony centers; and the fillings are sweet or tart depending on the flavors. The best macarons in the world are reportedly from the reknown patisserie, Laduree in Paris. In Switzerland, macarons are called, luxemburgerli and they are sold by Sprungli.

Do you have a favorite pastry?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Union Square Subway Station

Union Square Park is probably the second most popular park in New York City, after Central Park. It is located on 14th Street and Broadway Avenue. A green market meets on the north end of the park every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and some of the best restaurants are located within a blocks of here. Many chefs buy their fresh produce at the market here.

Union Square Park has not always been a popular place in the city. In the 1880s, it was a site of labor rights and union worker demonstrations among the blue collar workers. Then crime and drugs took over the neighborhood in the 1970s and 80s. Gentrification began in the 1990s and today, it has become a very popular neighborhood for locals and tourists alike.

This photo of the Union Square subway station was taken at the south west corner of park. The huge concrete platform on the right is a popular place where young NYU students and street performers congregate and hang out.

Monday, January 15, 2007

East River

Manhattan is a long but narrow island bordered by the East River on the east and the Hudson River on the west. It is 13.4 miles (21.1 km) long; and 2.3 miles (3.7 km) across at its widest and 0.8 miles (1.3 km) at its narrowest.

This photo was taken from the elevated Roosevelt Island Tramway, which is a cable car system connecting Manhattan to Roosevelt Island across the East River on 60th Street. In the photo, you can see the northern view of Manhattan on the left and Roosevelt Island on the right.

The East River is a beautiful and narrow waterway that attracts a fair amount of single engine plane and helicopter tours along it. Unfortunately, the tall buildings on the Manhattan side can be hazardous to inexperienced pilots who fly this route. Recently, a small plane piloted by baseball player, Cory Lidle smashed into one of the buildings during an attempt to turn the plane around after flying up the East River.

N.B.: Macky of Tokyo Photo Daily posted a similar photo last Sunday. How appropriate since Tokyo is a sister city of New York City.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Penn Station Revisited

Last week, I posted a photo of the New York City Pennsylvania (Penn) Station on this DP. Here is another photo of the train station, which shows the ticket booths on the left and the departure terminals behind the giant pillar. If you enlarge the photo, you can see the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) terminal on the right.

The partially visible woman on the lower left corner was purchasing a ticket on the automated ticketing machine and the gentleman behind her was waiting for his turn while glancing over at the electronic train schedule.

Greeley Square

Greeley Square is a small plot of triangular concrete space sandwiched between two intersecting avenues (Broadway and Sixth) and 32nd Street. It has a twin square, better known as Herald Square on the north end, and together the two squares form a bowtie configuration of public space.

Greeley Square was named after Horace Greeley, an influential editor of The New York Tribune in the mid-1890s, who ran unsuccessfully as a presidential candidate against Ulysses S. Grant in 1872 under the new Liberal Republican Party.

Greeley and Herald Squares are situated above one of the busiest subway stations in the city and are neighhors to the famous Macy's departmental store, Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. The squares, especially Greeley Square, offer a tiny oasis of tranquility and relaxation right in the middle of midtown madness. Retail kiosks on Greeley Square sells coffee, snacks and newspapers to commuters who are constantly passing by on their way to and from work. It is definitely an ideal place for people watching.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Pinkberry is a California-based frozen yogurt chain outlet, which opened its first New York City store last year on 32nd Street between 5th and Broadway Avenue in Koreatown. The frozen yogurt comes in plain or green tea flavors and fresh fruit toppings. According to Splendora Blog, an 8 oz serving of the fat free frozen yogurt contains only 200 calories. If you prefer something else, there are also yogurt smoothies and yogurt ices. One thing it does not sell is ice-cream.

The Pinkberry store is furnished with pieces designed by some of the most famous comtemporary furniture designers in the world. In the photo, you can see the Le Klint 172B Pendant lamps by Poul Christiansen, the tansluscent Louis Ghost Chairs in orange and green by Philippe Starck, and the white Saarinen dining table by Eeros Saarinen.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

Roasted chestnuts are usually associated with Christmas and the winter season. Although we have not had much of a winter weather this season, you can still get roasted chestnuts from hot dog and pretzel vendors in the city. They are usually available from early November to late January. A $2 bag will yield about 10 to 12 morsels of sweet chestnuts roasted in kosher salt.

Chestnusts are fairly vertatile in that they can be roasted, boiled or candied. They can also be grounded into powder for cakes or pureed into paste for pie fillings. But most often, they are found in turkey stuffing during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This photo was taken in front of 55th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan. The roasted chestnuts and pretzels on the trays are for display only because they have been sitting in the open for hours and exposed to dirt and dust from the street. The vendor has a fresh supply of warm pretzels and chestnuts in the aluminium oven under the display trays.

Do you have a favorite chestnut recipe?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Pennsylvania (Penn) Station

New York City is served by two main train stations: the Grand Central Station on the east side and the Pennsylvania (Penn) Station on the west side. Although Penn Station does not have the architectural beauty and pedigree of the Grand Central Station, it is nonetheless one of the most important and busiest train stations in United States. Penn Station is the center of the Northeast Corridor shuttle that connects Washington DC and Boston. It is also the main departure station for Amtrak, the New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Railroad. In addition, there are six subway lines that connects the station to the rest of the city.

The current Penn Station is not visible from above ground because it is located under the Penn Plaza complex on 34th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenue. The original Penn Station, completed in 1910, was an above ground Beaux Arts structure. It was demolished in 1964 to make room a multipurpose urban complex. As a result, Penn Station was relegated to the space below it and to this day, there is no identifiable stucture to represent it.

This photo was taken during rush hour traffic at Penn Station. Notice the interesting tunnel structure overhead. On the left are a series of ticketing booths and terminals leading to the trains. And on the right are retail and dining facilities for the commuters.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Rival Peaks

The Empire State Building (on the right) and the Chrysler Building (left) have been competing stepsisters ever since they were conceived in the late 1920s during a period construction boom in New York City.

The Chrysler Building designed by architect, William Van Alen broke ground on September 19, 1928 and was expected to be the tallest skyscraper in the world, surpassing the then record holder, 40 Wall Street, which was under construction at the time. Not to be outdone, architect H. Craig Severence secretly added an additional 2 feet (0.6 meter) onto the 40 Wall Street structure but William Van Alen also secretly constructed a 125-foot (58.4 meters) spire from inside the Chrysler Building. In the mist of all this competition, the developers for the Empire State Building jumped into the fray by announcing the construction of an even taller skyscaper.

40 Wall Street (927 feet/283 meters/72 floors) was finally completed in 1930 and claimed the record for the tallest skyscaper in the world from the Woolworth Building (792 feet/241 meters/55 floors) for only a couple of months before the Chrysler Building (1,046 feet/319 meters/77 floors) opened in May 1930. The Empire State Building (1,250 feet/381 meters/102 floors) took over the record a year later in May 1931.

Which of the two buildings do you prefer?

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Doorman @ Bergdorf Goodman

The distinguished looking gentleman in the photo is the doorman for Bergdorf Goodman, a luxury goods departmental store on 5th Avenue and 59th Street. [See previous photo commentary for more information on Bergdorf Goodman.] He was wearing a beautiful Russian fur hat and a long wool coat that reminded me of the character played by Omar Sharif in the 1965 movie, Doctor Zhivago.

The Russian fur hat called, ushanka is traditionally made of rabbit fur but it is also available in other types of animal fur and "fish fur", a term used to describe synthetic materials since fish do not have fur. A distinct feature of the ushanka is the collapsible ear flaps on each side of the hat. They are meant to keep the ears warm during cold windy weather. During warmer weathers, the ear flaps can be folded up and tied above the hat. Ushankas are popular in cold weather cities with huge Russian immigrant populations like Chicago, Illonois and New York City.

So what do you think of the hat?

N.B.: I did asked for permission before taking the photo.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Update: UNICEF Snowflake at Night

I posted the first UNICEF snowflake photo two weeks ago. That was taken during the day. Here is another photo of the snowflake taken at night.

The building in the background is the women's department of Bergdorf Goodman
, a luxury goods departmental store on 5th Avenue and 59th Street in Manhattan. The men's department is located in a separate but equally impressive building across the street. Bergdorf Goodman was started by Herman Bergdorf, an immigrant from Alsace, France, in 1899. The store was then taken over by Edwin Goodman in 1906 and became a popular fashion retail outlet. Today, Bergdorf Goodman is owned by Neiman Marcus, another luxury goods departmental store. Other name worthy buildings in the vicinity include the Apple Cube and The Plaza Hotel, which is currently being converted into a condominium.

Bergdorf Goodman also produces a very nice catalog/magazine each season. The items included in the catalog range from a $140 Ermenegildo Zegna tie to a $50,000 Mercedes Benz convertible.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Bike Messenger

Bike messengers or bike couriers are one of those traffic nuisances that New York City drivers have to deal with on a daily basis. These bicyclists tend of swerve around cars, in and out of traffic to get to their destinations as fast as possible. Majority of them are paid on commission by their delivery agencies so their incomes are based on how many deliveries they make a day.

The profession dates back to the mid-19th century with the invention of pedal-driven bicycles by Frenchman, Pierre Lallement in 1864. Since then, bike messenging became a integral part of commerce in many metropolitan cities around the world until the 1990s, when the internet boom took over the information delivery industry. Today bike messengers still exist but in few numbers. They have carved out a niche market offering delivery services for items that e-mails and faxes cannot do.

The young man in the photo is dressed in his bike messenger outfit. Notice his rolled-up pant legs with black spandex leggings underneath, over-the-shoulder messenger bag and stretchy ropes to secure additional packages on the rear wheel.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Chauffeured Town Car

Chauffeured luxury sedans, or car service as we call it here, are a fairly common sight in parts of New York City, especially on 5th Avenue in Manhattan where this photo was taken. Out-of-town businessmen and well-to-do tourists usually hire these car services to chauffeur them around town. Local New Yorkers also use them to get to airports because the yellow taxi cabs do not pick up passengers from their homes.

The chauffeur in this photo was waiting for his passenger outside the Trump Tower. You can see a white card with a number on the front driver window. This allows the passenger to identify the car service he/she has ordered because sometimes, there can be three to four similar
looking sedans parked on the street. The average cost for a car service like this is about $60/hour.

Personally, I love car service. They are extremely comfortable and convenient.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Shoe Shopping in SoHo

"I spent $40,000 on shoes and I have no place to live. I will literally be the old woman who lived in her shoes!" cried Carrie Bradshaw, the shoe-addicted New York character in Sex & the City.

New Yorkers love their shoes. But
comfortable shoes are paramount to the New Yorker who walks a lot. Good looking shoes are a must for the fashion conscious New Yorker. So where does one go to find a pair of comfortable yet, good looking shoes?

This photo was taken inside Camper, a Spanish brand shoe store in SoHo. I was trying on some shoes when I looked up and saw this interesting vantage point -- roughly 3 feet (1 meter) from the floor. I love the coordinated colors inside the giant overhead lamps and the walls.

Do you have a favorite pair of shoes?

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Skating Rink @ Rockefeller Center

Ice skating at the Rockefeller Center Rink is a winter tradition for many New Yorkers and tourists alike. Each year between October and April, the artificial ice rink is open to the public from 8:30 AM to midnight. However, skating here can get pretty expensive. Ice skate rentals cost $7.50 per person and admissions are $10 - $14 for adults and $7.50 - $8.50 for children under 11 and seniors. The rink gets extremely crowded during weekends and holidays so the best times to skate are Mondays through Thursdays.

The gilded statue in the background is Promethius, a smart and cunning Titan who, according to Greek mythology, stole fire from Zeus and gave it to the mortals because of his love for humanity. As a result, the word prometheous refers to someone or something bold and creative.

So do you ice stake? Or ski?

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Men's Bags

Lately, I have been following The Sartorialist, a daily photo blog by fashion photographer, Scott Schuman. The photos on his blog are absolutely amazing. So as an ode to Mr. Schuman and The Sartorialist, I decided to post a photo on men's fashion today.

Men in New York City carry bags!! Oh yes, we do. We carry all kinds of bags -- computer bags, messenger bags,
gym bags, backpacks, briefcases, European carry-alls (as Seinfeld called it), etc. We carry bags because we have to tote everything we need for the day when we leave the apartment. And since most of us commute on buses and trains, we do not have the luxury of temporary storage in the trunk of a car.

The type of bag a New Yorker carries largely depends on his fashion aesthetic. The hip and fashionable yuppie may prefer a Jack Spade messenger bag. while the conservative business executive may carry a Tumi computer case. The college student usually carries a backpack and the retiree, a PBS logo canvas bag. It is as much a statement about your personal style as it is what you need to carry in it.

So what kind of bag do you guys carry?

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Fruit Vendors in Chinatown

Street vendors are a common sight in New York City. They provide a convenient and inexpensive option for commuters to pick up some fruits and vegetables on their way home from work. This is because the lines are shorter and the produce are usually fresher. Plus the low overhead expenses mean cheaper prices for the consumers.

The vendors in this photo taken in Chinatown sell exotic tropic fruits that you will not find in regular grocery stores. Some of the more interesting produce are fresh longans, dwarf bananas, pomelo, kumquats and persimmons.

Keropokman of Singapore Daily Photo recently posted a photo of durians, the supposed "stinkiest fruit in the world." Have you tried them??

Monday, January 1, 2007

Restaurant Kitchen Workers

New York City has more restaurants per square feet than any other city in the United States. This is because most New Yorkers do not cook or they live in small apartments with minuscule kitchens that are just big enough for a kettle pot and a microwave oven.

As a result, there are ample job opportunities for immigrants who work "behind the scene" at restaurants, as well as in other businesses, where they have minimal contact with the consumers. Almost every restaurant, regardless of the price point or culinary origin, employs immigrant workers in the kitchen. The work is usually long and laborious, and some of these employees are paid below the minimum wage. And yes, most of them are here illegally.

I posted a lot of architectural photos last month (well, it was my first month) so I thought it would be interesting to look at people who live in New York this month.