Saturday, March 31, 2007

Potato, Schmotato

Apparently, there are more to potatoes than just Idaho potatoes. Here, at the Green Market in Union Square, there are purple potatoes, red potatoes, yellow potatoes, white potatoes, skinny potatoes, fat potatoes, big potatoes, small potatoes, pretty potatoes, ugly potatoes....all kinds of potatoes.

I love potatoes. I love mash potatoes, scalloped potatoes, shoe string potatoes....all kind of potatoes.

How do you like your potatoes?

Friday, March 30, 2007

An Apple A Day Makes The Doctor Go Away

The Green Market at Union Square meets every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. It is a place where farmers, florists, butchers, bakers, and fishermen from the tri-state area (NY, NJ, CT) and Long Island come to sell their freshest produce and meats. Many chefs buy their produce here and the plats du jour at the restaurants are based on what are available at the market that day.

During the winter months, apples that were freshly picked less than 24 hours ago are sold here. These apples, unlike the supermarket apples, do not contain any preservatives or wax on them. However, if you do not like fresh apples, there are also freshly baked apple pies, apple crisps, and warm apple ciders.

Personally, I am not a huge fan of apples but I eat about two apples a week. They are convenient and they do not require cooking time. I also try to eat (at least) two servings of vegetables a day even though I rather be eating a nice big fat juicy burger. :-)

So how many servings of fruits and vegetables do you eat a day?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Gay Man Trapped in A Fembot

This is an advertisement for Avedka Vodka that I saw on a telephone booth at Union Square. I thought it was different and yet innovative in a weird way. But most interestingly, I love the tag line: I'm a gay man trapped in the body of a fembot.

In the photo, you can see my reflection in the glass. I was carrying a white plastic bag with me. Inside the bag were two BIG bars of chocolate brownies with macadamia nuts that I just bought at the Union Square green market down the street. After this photo was taken, I went to the park and ate one of the brownies with a cup of chai latte from Starbucks.

Which do you prefer - brownies or chocolate chip cookies?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Artist Colony @ Aromatic Biodegradable Art

These little "animals" were some of the most interesting and amusing art works for sale at the artist colony in Union Square. All the "animals" were made from fresh hay and are, therefore biodegradable. They also smelled like fresh hay.

The young artist who made them was very nice and personable. He patiently answered all my questions, and allowed me to pick up and smell the "animals". I wish I had asked how much they were, especially the cute hedgehog, because they were the most adorable things I saw over the weekend.

What do you think of biodegradable art? Does it make sense?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Artist Colony: Artist's Breath for Sale

This was one of the more gimmicky art works for sale at the artist colony at Union Square. The plastic bags hanging from the makeshift stand contain the breaths of "emerging and established artists" in the city.

[Click on the photo to enlarge the image. Read the menu.]

The costs of the artists' breaths, based on the price list in the second photo below, ranged from a hug to $121. The young woman in the first photo said the items (on the menu) with an ink mark next the name are sold out for the day. However, they may be available next week if one is interested. Apparently, people were "buying" these bags of artists' breaths because some of the items were sold out.

I don't know if this was a publicity stunt by a group of artists to promote their identities or an ongoing art project because I noticed another woman filming us (ie. four curious onlookers and me) with a video camera. Regardless, I had a chuckle and an opportunity to photography it all.

So how much would you pay for a bag of artist's breath?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Artist Colony: Art Sale

We had our first beautiful sunny weekend of the spring season and everyone was outside enjoying the weather, including me. I was so happy to see the sun out again that I felt like twirling and singing, "The hills are alive with the sound of music....!" Okay, maybe not so much twirling as in hopping and skipping.

On Saturday and Sunday, after fueling myself with brunch and three cups of coffee at my favorite cafe, I walked all over the city armed with my little trusty camera and took over 150 photos for this blog. I took multiple shots of the same scenes from different angles so I will be lucky to get at last 10 usable photos. Nonetheless, I will be profiling the Union Square market for the next couple of days.

This photo of the artist colony that congregates at Union Square every Saturday shows the city's support for art and creativity. Some of the artists are extremely talented while others are merely entrepreneurial. Art works for sale range from photography and paintings to sculptures and tchotchkes.

So do you collect any tchotchkes?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

What is your first grade teacher's name?

This photo, taken inside the subway train yesterday, shows an advertisement for the NYC Teaching Fellow program The program was initiated in Spring 2000 to encourage people to become teachers.

New York City's school system severely lacks qualified teachers in the classroom so the program was created to provide financial incentives for young college graduates, as well as older, second career adults, to consider teaching as a profession. Some of the benefits include: a one-time $2,500 tax-free stipend during the summer training program, a starting salary of $42,512/year plus health insurance and retirement plan, and tuition assistance towards earning a Master's Degree in Education.

The tag line of the advertisement is: You remember your first grade teacher's name. Who will remember yours? So, do you remember your first grade teacher's name?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Sea Gull @ Hell's Gate

Here is another photo taken at Hell's Gate in Astoria. The sea gull in this photo is used to having humans around it. It shifted its body a few times to show some discomfort but at no time did it try to fly away as I approached it with my camera. In fact, after shooting a half dozen or so frames, I walked by it and the bird completely ignored me.

I was quite offended!! Apparently, this human isn't threatening enough.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Nautica Jeans Girls

I was invited to the Nautica Live N Jeans party at Metro 53 last night. The party, co-sponsored by Nautica Jeans Co. and ESPN, was organized to launch the new N Series Jeans.

These Nautica Jeans girls from the party were nice enough to pose for me. They were there to help party goers (including me) select the correct size jeans for our swag bags. There were also delicious finger food and free beer. And fun was had by all!!

NB: Sorry for the grainy photo. There was not a lot of light in the bar.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Queensborough Bridge

Fabrizio from Torino Daily Photo asked about the bridge seen in Woody Allen's movie, Manhattan (1979) and I promised I would post a photo of it this week.

Here is the Queensborough Bridge that connects Manhattan to Queens across the East River. Roosevelt Island is located right beneath the bridge.
A cable car/tram runs parallel to the bridge but it reaches only halfway to Queens. It connects Manhattan to Roosevelt Island.

This photo shows the pedestrian and bicycle lanes on the bi-level bridge. There are 5 lanes for automobile traffic on the left behind the guard rails and an additional 4 lanes on the second level.

In the photo, you can see the original concrete structure (right) built in 1909 and the iron support structure added later in the century.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Chow Chow

This is a Chow Chow, a breed of dog that originated from Mongolia and Northern China. Chow Chows are believed to the original inspiration behind the traditional Chinese Foo Dogs that are commonly found in front of stately mansions and palaces in Asia. DNA research has found that they are one of the first primitive breeds to evolve from wolves.

Distinct characteristics of the Chow Chows are the poofy manes and black/purple tongues. They are especially independent and loyal to the family but are not very sociable to strangers or other dogs. Their behaviors are commonly characterized as similar to those of cats than dogs.

This photo was taken outside a Starbucks in Astoria. I was there to take some photos of the bridges and stopped at a Starbucks for some Chai Latte to warm my chilled bones when I saw this gorgeous dog outside the store. I ran out and asked the owner if I could take some photos. The dog was not very cooperative but I managed to get a couple good shots of it.

Do you have a favorite breed of dog OR a favorite drink at Starbucks?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Triborough Bridge at Night

Here is another view of the Triborough Bridge taken at night from the elevated train station in Astoria.

The weather has been pretty bad outside so I have not been out taking new photos. Hopefully, the weather will improve this coming weekend so I can go out and shoot more photos for the blog.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Triborough Bridge

The Triborough Bridge was named so because it connects the three boroughs of New York City -- Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx. The river under the bridge is Hell's Gate, a strait on the East River where a tragedy happened in 1904. Another bridge, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) bridge is located just right out of sight on the right of this photo.

This photo was taken from the Queens' side of the Triborough Bridge in Astoria.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Freezing Mary

Here is another photo of the snow storm that hit New York City last Friday.

This photo was taken in front of a church in my neighborhood. I like the picture a lot because the statue of Mary, who was holding Jesus, looked like it was really cold. The blanket of snow in the background looked pristine and beautiful.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Snow Storm III

New York City received another dousing of winter storm yesterday, as did most of the northeast region of the country. This time around, however there were more sleet than snow falling from the sky. The ice pellets flying in the wind felt like a sand storm in the dessert.

This photo, taken yesterday, shows a gentleman using a snow plough to clean the sidewalk on the street. The cars parked on the curb will be covered with thick layers of snow soon.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hell's Gate

Hell's Gate is a narrow strait that separates Astoria, Queens from Ward's Island and Randall's Island on the East River. The islands sit between Queens and Manhattan, just north of Roosevelt Island. Hell's Gate got its name from the Dutch word, hellegat, which means "bright passage" because the East River was an important trade route in the early 19th century.

On June 15, 1904, a triple-decker steamboat carrying 1,300 people from the Lower East Side (Manhattan) sailed up the East River to Long Island. The wooden steamer caught on fire right at this spot. The fire was so fierce that the boat was burnt to the waterline in 15 minutes. Many of the passengers, including children had no choice but to jump into the river. The life jackets, which were made of cork at the time, were old and useless as floatation devices. A total of 1,021 people died in the incident. Following the tragedy, the US government appointed a commission to investigate the situation and numerous maritime laws, including safety procedures, were enacted shortly thereafter.

This photo was taken from the Astoria side of the river and shows two pilot ships navigating a barge through the narrow strait. The bridge above Hell's Gate is the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) track connecting Queens to Manhattan.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Art or Lamp?

I saw this lamp sculpture outside a Mexican restaurant in Astoria, Queens. I was totally fascinated with the wrought iron work and distinctive southwestern design. I also love colors on the wall.

Does anyone know much about Mexican or southwestern art?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

How Many Dogs Do You See??

On my way home from work earlier this week, I bumped into this professional dog walker in my neighborhood. His job was to take these dogs out for their daily walk so they can "do their business" and get some exercise and fresh air.

Dog walking is a professional job in New York City, believe it or not. Some dog walkers do make quite a handsome wage. After doing some research on Craig's List, I found out that the going rate for dog walking is $15/day/dog for two 15-minute walks a day. Some higher end professionals charge up to $500/week/dog although they tend to limit the number to two to three dogs per walk.

The person in this photo has quite a number of dogs with him. Can you count how many dogs he is walking?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Mrs. Bigfoot @ Socrates Sculpture Park

I was taking a walk through the Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City last weekend and guess who I saw? It was Mrs. Bigfoot.

The Socrates Sculpture Park is an outdoor museum and exhibition space with an internationally renowned artist in residence program. It is also a community garden where local residents can bring their families and pets to enjoy the outdoor space. The area, located on the waterfront of north west Queens, used to a landfill and dumping ground until a coalition of artists and community leaders cleaned and transformed it into a park in 1986. Aside from the park, another popular attraction in the area is the Noguchi Museum.

This 6-foot tall female Bigfoot was one of the sculptures at the Socrates Sculpture Park. A Bigfoot is an apelike animal said to be found in the remote forests of North America. Although numerous sightings have been reported, none has been caught. Some believe that they do not exist..

What do you think? Do you believe in Bigfoot?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Le Carrousel @ Bryant Park

The weather in New York City improved a little this week. So I am posting a photo of this carousel at Bryant Park.

The carousel, from the Italian word garosello and Spanish word carosella ("little war"), was first built by Turkish and Arabian cavalries in the 1100s as a training apparatus for combat on horseback. Soldiers would practice their archery skills and sword plays while sitting on the moving wooden horses. These carousels were usually kept within the castle walls and not seen by the public.

In the early-1800s, colorful wooden horses suspended on a poles and powered by ropes and pulleys were unveiled at carnivals and fairs in England and Europe. Steam powered machines and music were added later and the popularity of carousels began to rise. The golden age of carousels were in the early 1900s when elaborate animals and decorative chariots were added to the rides.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ravenswood Keyspan Generating Station

The Ravenswood Keyspan Generating Station is a power plant located on the north west section of Queens, across the East River from Roosevelt Island. The area, notoriously known as "Asthma Alley" by environmentalists, is also home to Queensbridge Houses, a huge public housing project in Long Island City.

The seemingly harmless and beautiful chimneys in the photo expel exhaust fumes containing sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matters, which have been linked to severe respiratory problems in children and adults. The 60 year old power plant is one of the reasons why New York City is known as the asthma capital of America.

Unfortunately, the power plant is a necessary evil because it generates over a quarter of the electricity consumed in New York City. Without it, many people would not have electricity for their homes.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Urban Oasis

New York City had its warmest winter in history last December followed by some of the coldest months in January and February. The two extremes in weather conditions should make us pause to think what is happening on Mother Earth.

The cold temperature in the city has moved most social activities indoors and one of the most interesting places to enjoy a cup of coffee while catching some rays of sunshine is inside the Trump Tower atrium located on the corner of Madison Avenue and 56th Street. The glass and steel structure is temperature controlled and bathed in bright sun light from outside. Dozens of tables and chairs are arranged around art installations and 10-foot (3-meter) bamboo patches inside the atrium. Entrance is free but most importantly, there is a small coffee shop here where you can get your caffeine fix under the sun.

In the future, will we all live in an enclosed environment like this? Are you doing anything to reduce energy consumption or limit environmental pollution?

Friday, March 9, 2007

Under The Boardwalk II

This photo, taken at the base of the Queensborough Bridge, shows The Food Emporium on the left and The Terence Conran Store on the right. The beginning of the Queensborough Bridge can be seen in the background of the photo.

The Terence Conran Store is a British departmental store that specializes in contemporary furniture and housewares. The store also houses a small florist and carries a small selection of books and music.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Under The Boardwalk

The Queensborough Bridge, completed in 1909, connects Manhattan at 59th Street to Long Island City in Queens. The bi-level bridge has 11 traffic lanes dedicated to automobiles and a separate lane each for bicycles and pedestrians. Interestingly, the bridge was built directly over Roosevelt Island without an exit route onto the island. There is another bridge that connects Roosevelt Island to Queens.

The base of the Queensborough Bridge on Manhattan's side are homes to The Food Emporium, a high-end supermarket and Guastavino's, a comtemporary restaurant. Both the supermarket and restaurant are carved into the foundation of the bridge and therefore, have spectacular granite arches with tiled ceilings.

This photo, taken inside The Food Emporium, illustrates the beautiful vaulted ceiling and tiles located directly beneath the bridge.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Leprechaun in New York City

This is another photo taken at the Queens' St. Patrick's Day Parade. The young fellow is dressed as a Leprechaun, which is an Irish fairy known for its mischievous attics.

St. Patrick's Day is traditionally celebrated on March 17 by people of Irish descent all over the world. On this day, people adopting everything green from green clothes to green food.

The biggest St. Patrick's Day parade is held in New York City (Manhattan) where over 2 million spectators and parade marchers walk down 5th Avenue.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Photo Update : Spike, the Bull Dog

This is a photo update of my previous post of Spike, the Bulldog.

I found out this morning that Spike was featured in the Travel Section of the New York Times. I wanted to share the photo with everyone so I'm posting a second photo for the day.

Photo Credit: This photo was taken by Eric Hauser of the New York Times.

It's All Gone to the Dogs

I would like to introduce everyone to my neighbors, Sasha (Husky) and Spike (Bulldog). They live in the same building as I do and I frequently bump into them in the elevator, the lobby or outside on the street. Sasha is a little shy and Spike is a sweetheart.

This photo, taken last Sunday, shows Sasha and Spike dressed in their special outfits because they were invited guests at our neighborhood's St. Patrick's Day Parade. This is the 8th year our neigbhorhood has hosted the local parade.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Roosevelt Island Tram

Roosevelt Island is a narrow little island that sits in the middle of the East River between Manhattan and Queens. It is approximately 3 miles (1 km) long and 800 feet (240 m) across at its widest end.

There are a number of ways to get from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island, but none is as exciting as the cable car/tram that floats 250 feet (76 m) above the East River. The view from the tram is breathtaking but it is definitely not for one who has an extreme fear of height. Last summer, mechanical problems caused two trams to stop midair, and 69 people were stranded for over 5 hours.

This photo was taken from the pedestrian and bicycle lanes of the Queensborough Bridge, which connects Manhattan to Queens. The neighborhood on the left is the Upper East Side.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Vandalism on the Subway Train

Vandalism has always been and still is a problem in New York City. Recently, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which runs the city's subway system, posted notices of $500 rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people who are responsible for the taggings and graffitis on the subway trains.

Vandals used to spray paint the glass and plastic surfaces inside the trains. This led the MTA to install plastic coated glasses on windows and metallic surfaces on the walls to enable easy and inexpensive cleanups. The vandals are now using acids to burn through the plastic coatings and scorch the surfaces beneath them. That is why a lot of the new graffitis have drip marks on them.

I took this photo on my way home from work last Friday. You can see the signature/symbol of the vandal etched in acid on the train's window. I hope the MTA is successful in prosecuting these dumb**ses for defaceing public properties.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Adam Goes To The Museum

Adam is a friend of Amedee from Evry, France.

In this photo, he was going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with his girlfriends (who can be seen waiting for him above the stairs) but he decided to stop and take a photo for his friend, Amedee. He said, "I wish you were here!"

Friday, March 2, 2007

Stone Street

Stone Street, located in downtown New York, is a unique block of shopping and dining destinations in an otherwise grey and bland section of the city. The financial district, where Wall Street is king, is not known for its charm or beauty. The streets are narrow and the buildings are tall. This results in a light deprived environment where everything looks shadowy and bleak despite the wealth and financial power surrounding it.

Stone Street is lined with 18th century buildings that have been restored and converted into restaurants and retail spaces. Since no new constructions are allowed on this historic block, the area is bathed with sunlight and colors. In the summer, the street is closed to automobile traffic and side walk cafes spring up to create a beautiful oasis of beauty in the middle of this concrete jungle.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Theme Photo: Men at Work

This guy was supposed to be working but instead, he was oogling at the pretty girls across the street.

Today, 62 Daily Photo sites are participating in this month's theme photo, Men at Work. Here are the participants: 1 Porto (Portugal) 2 Greenville, SC (USA) 3 Hyde (UK) 4 Tenerife (Spain) 5 Albuquerque, NM (USA) 6 Stayton, OR (USA) 7 Rotterdam (Netherland) 8 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 9 London (England) 10 Richmond, VA (USA) 11 Sydney - Sally (Australia) 12 Newcastle upon Tyne (UK) 13 Constanta (Romania) 14 Evry (France) 15 Lubbock, TX (USA) 16 Szentes (Hungary) 17 Villigen (Switzerland) 18 Mumbai (India) 19 Tel Aviv (Israel) 20 Twin Cities, MN (USA) 21 Jakarta (Indonesia) 22 Houston - Candice & Megan, TX (USA) 23 Budapest (Hungary) 24 Singapore - Zannnie (Singapore) 25 Dubai (UAE) 26 Singapore - Keropokman (Singapore) 27 Madrid - Dsole (Spain) 28 Mazatlan - Kate (Mexico) 29 Nelson (New Zealand) 30 Vantaa (Finland) 31 Kyoto (Japan) 32 Tokyo (Japan) 33 Joplin, MO (USA) 34 Auckland (New Zealand) 35 Sequim, WA (USA) 36 Menton (France) 37 Minneapolis, MN (USA) 38 Istanbul (Turkey) 39 Sydney - Nathalie (Australia) 40 Sharon, CT (USA) 41 Seattle, WA (USA) 42 Anderson, SC (USA) 43 Monte Carlo, (Monaco) 44 Milano, (Italy) 45 Grenoble (France) 46 Wailea, HI (USA) 47 Guelph, ON (Canada) 48 Melbourne - John (Australia) 49 New York City - Ming_the_Merciless (USA) 50 Cebu (Philippines) 51 Bandung (Indonesia) 52 Antigua, Guatemala (Central America) 53 Hamburg (Germany) 54 London - Jonemo (UK) 55 Hong Kong 56 Stavanger (Norway) 57 Paris (France) 58 Naples, Florida (USA) 59 Saarbrücken (Germany) 60 Shanghai (China) 61 Quito (Ecuador) 62 Zurich (Switzerland)