Thursday, May 31, 2007

Old Iron Fence

I saw this iron fence in front of an abandoned townhouse on 60th Street and 3rd Avenue on the Upper East Side. It has some very beautiful details that we don't often see any more. I think it was handmade due to the irregular size and shape in the curls above the horizontal beam.

I hope whoever buys this townhouse will try to salvage this fence and not remove it from the building.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Central Park Benches 4

Last month, I posted a three-photo series on Central Park's benches - on April 15, April 16 and April 17. Personally, I am fascinated by these benches because they are so different and yet so similar. A lot of the different designs and materials used are based on when they were installed in the park.

Here is another set of benches lining both sides of the Literary Walk in Central Park. These are pretty old they are made almost entirely of wood and brass (or iron). The walk stretches for 6 blocks from 66th Street to 72nd Street. It is one of the most photographed scenes of Central Park.

N.B.: Please vote for me for the Blogger Choice Award (or click on the icon on the right). You may have to sign up for an account to be eligible to vote. Thanks to Carol from Oh! For the Love of Food for nominating for the award.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Chimneys in NYC

These chimneys on top of a co-op building on Park Avenue and 60th Street are quite unique and interesting. I believe the apartments in the building have individual wood burning fire places, which are rare and found only in very old and expensive apartments. Nowadays, new buildings have electronic heating systems that negate the use of steam pipes or fire places to keep the place warm.

I have never lived in a house with a wood burning fire place. But I find the concept very appealing because of all the beautiful imageries I saw in movies and television while growing up. I would love to spend a winter vacation in an old house so I can build a fire in the furnace and curl up next to it while drinking hot cocoa. And maybe toast some marshmallows.

Have you ever lived in a house with a fire place? Did you enjoy or was it more work than it seemed?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Hairless Dog

I saw this hairless dog at the downtown street fair a couple weeks ago. It received a lot of curious stares including a couple of "Ewwwww!"s from the kids. The dog demeanor was very nervous and jittery like a chihuahua but it is about the size of a Jack Terrier.

The owners told me the dog was specifically bred for its hairless qualities. Have you seen anything like this before? This was my first time.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ouch! Is that a fruit?

I took this photo a couple months ago at the Patel Brothers, an Indian supermarket in Jackson Heights, Queens. It is a tropical fruit that is quite delicious.

Can you guess what it is?

Update: It is a jackfruit, which is a kin of the mulberry tree. Click on the highlighted word on the left for more information.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Ming Goes to Washington

I was in Washington DC for work earlier this week and managed to take some great photos of the subway system there. Even though these photos are not of New York City, I hope you would allow me the opportunity to post the photos from my trip.

The subway system in Washington DC is spotlessly clean and absolutely gorgeous. The design of the platforms and tunnels in the waiting area look like a futuristic movie set. And like the Paris Metro, there are electronic billboards announcing the wait time for the next available trains. Unfortunately, the subway lines there cover only a limited area and shut down after midnight.

Do you have a rapid transport system or subway in your city?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Green Leaves

I took this photo while looking up from under a tree. It was a very spontaneous and random shot and the photo came out very nicely. I love the colors and the textures of the leaves.

Do you have a spontaneous or random shot that came out better than you expect?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Fire Escape 3

This is another beautiful fire escape of a building in Nolita (North of Little Italy), which is located between Bloome Street and Houston (pronounced as House-ton) Street. Nolita is currently a hip retail district where small boutiques sell clothes and home furnishings by up-and-coming local and international designers. Recently, there has been a push by local businesses to bring in higher-end Italian retailers like Armani, Versace and Gucci to establish the area as an extension of Little Italy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fire Escape 2

This is a beautiful and ornate fire escape on the back lot of the Puck Building in SoHo (South of Houston Street). The building, or the front facade of it, is probably most famous as the place where Grace Adler of the tv-series, Will & Grace has her office.

The building got its name from the two gold statues of Puck, the Shakespeare character in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," at the front entrance. It is now home to the New York University's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Close Up of the Tree in SoHo

A lot of you asked me about the tree in yesterday's photo. Here is a close-up of the tree with the green buds growing out of its branches. It is definitely an odd looking tree. Does anyone know what kind it is?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Fire Escape

Older apartment buildings in NYC like this one in SoHo has to have an external fire escape because it does not have a water sprinkler system inside. The fire escape, however presents a security problem because it makes it easier for burglars to enter the apartment.

My first apartment in New York City was burglarized many years ago. The burglar climbed up the fire escape and entered the apartment through my bedroom window. Luckily, nothing important was stolen. I remember being traumatized for days after that. I was afraid to come home and when I did, I would ring the door bell a couple of times before entering the apartment. Obviously, I can laugh about it now but at the time, I had lost my sense of security.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday Brunch

I love Sunday brunch. This is one of my favorite breakfast meals -- eggs cooked sunnyside up, sausages, home fries, rye toasts with butter and a cup of good coffee. Yes, it is cholesterolville and not something to be eaten every morning but it is a perfect meal before a visit to the museum or a walk around the city on a Sunday morning.

Chuckeroon of Richmond upon Thames Daily Photo has a totally different idea of a perfect Sunday breakfast. And I think his choice is healthier than mine. What would you like for Sunday brunch?

N.B.: I will be in Washington, DC for the next couple of days. Two&2 of LA Daily Photo will be posting the photos for me if I do not have access to a computer in DC.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Takashi Murakami at Gagosian Gallery

I have been a big fan of Japanese artist, Takashi Murakami's work since he exhibited his sculptures in front of the Rockefeller Center a couple years ago. This month, his art work is being exhibited at the Gagosian Gallery in the Upper East Side.

Takashi Murakami is probably most famous for his cartoon work and hangbag design for the Louis Vuitton label. He has frequently been compared to Andy Warhol because of his commentaries on consumerism and pop culture through his art work.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Queens Library, Flushing

This is the Queens Library on Main Street, Flushing. I did not get a chance to go into this library but I do love visiting local libraries around the city. When I was a kid, my parents would leave me at the public library by myself every Saturday morning and come pick me up right before lunch.

Obviously, this was at a different time and place when it was safe to leave children alone at the library. But guess what I read at the library? I read all of Jackie Collins' trashy novels before I was 12 years old.

So what naughty things did you do as a kid?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Update: It's Roast Duck, Silly

I was told the last two photos I posted were roast ducks, which are totally different from Peking duck. I stand corrected!! To be honest, I have only eaten Peking duck once when someone ordered it for us. Thanks, Carol from Oh for the love of food for the information.

Also, please stop by Chris & Deb's Minneapolis Daily Photo to see how we can enjoy ducks in a different way.

Peking Duck Take-Out Window

This is a fast food take-out window for Peking duck at a restaurant in Flushing, Queens. I know how oxymoronic it sounds especially since a good Peking duck takes more than a day to prepare. I guess the owner managed to incorporate the best of the East and West to bring the cuisine to the masses.

The photo here shows how Peking duck is traditionally served. It is encased in a steamed bun and then topped with scallions and hoisin sauce. However, I think the restaurant here served it with julienned slices of cucumber instead. Each of these little Peking duck stuffed buns costs $0.75.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Peking Duck in Flushing, Queens

I was in Flushing, Queens for dinner recently. I arrived early so it was a good opportunity to take some photos of the local scecne before meeting up with my friends at the restaurant. Flushing is the second biggest Chinatown in New York City. The biggest and oldest Chinatown is in downtown Manhattan and there is a smaller Chinatown in Brooklyn.

This is a photo of a Peking duck being prepared by the chef for dinner. Peking duck is a specialty dish that originated from Beijing and is primarily enjoyed for its crispy crackled skin. The duck is first boiled, then air dried before being roasted to achieve that crispy caramely skin.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Maine Monument at Southwest Corner of Central Park

This is a photo of one of the statues at the base of the Maine Monument located at the south west entrance of Central Park. The monument, created by Italian sculptor Attilio Piccirilli in 1913, was commissioned by the city to honor the merchants who contributed to the success of New York City.

This area of New York City is called Columbus Circle, named after the explorer, Christopher Columbus. Lori of MissBinNYC has a spectacular night photo of the Columbus Circle monument.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Guggenheim Museum

I went to the Guggenheim Museum last Friday, which is located on 5th Avenue and 89th Street in the Upper East Side. The spectacular structure that houses the museum was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1959 and today, it is still one of the most distinct and recognizable buildings in New York City.

The museum was undergoing an extensive exterior renovation so I was not able to get a good photo of the building because of the scaffoldings and wire nettings. However, I was able to take some great photos of the interior architecture. Photography of the art work was prohibited. In fact, we were allowed to use the camera in the lobby area only.

The permanent art collection at the Guggenheim Museum is fairly small compared to the other museums in New York City. It relies extensively on special exhibitions of selected works borrowed from other museums to attract its visitors.

Has anyone been to the New York City Guggenheim Museum? What do you think of it?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

First off, I would like to wish every mothers out there a very HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY.

This photo of a pink magnolia tree is only a few blocks from my apartment. Unlike the white magnolia tree that was in my grandmother's garden, this variety does not give off any scent or perfume but it does produce enough blooms to cover the entire tree.

Since I began taking photos for this blog, I noticed that I have become more curious about plants and flowers than ever before. I would stop on the street, at the park or in a store just to admire a flower or a plant. I guess this blog has made me stop to smell the flowers.

How has your daily photo blog changed you?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Lake & The Boathouse in Central Park

This is The Boathouse Restaurant seen from across The Lake in Central Park. The photo was taken a few steps away from the Bethesda Fountain from yesterday.

Central Park used to have a notorious reputation because of the crime rates in the city. But in the last decade or so, the park has become a very safe place to visit even late in the evening. However, I don't suggest anyone hanging out there after midnight.

Bethesda Fountain in Central Park

The Bethesda Fountain is probably the most iconic and recognizable structure in Central Park. The fountain, which was designed by Emma Stebbins in 1686 and unveiled to the public in 1873, has an 8-foot female winged angel on the top and four 4-foot cherubs representing Temperance, Purity, Health and Peace at the bottom. It is located just north of 74th Street in the middle of the park.

North of the the Bethesda Fountain is The Lake, a huge body of water where one can rent canoes and floating bicycles for an afternoon of recreational activities. The Lake is extremely popular among young couples in love who are looking to spend a romantic afternoon together. As a matter of fact, Central Park is one of the most romantic places to visit in New York City. I have taken some of my dates here for a nice walk after a romantic dinner.

So what are some of the most romantic things you have done for your significant other?

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I have been playing a lot with the macro feature of my little digital camera lately. Every time I see something small or has lots of details, I switch the camera to the macro setting and start taking close up photos. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as it seems because the LCD screen on my camera is very small and it is difficult to see if the image is in focus or not. Many photos that appear in-focus on the LCD screen come out blurry on the laptop.

Here is a photo of a dandelion plant that has a pod filled with hundreds of feathery seeds. When the wind blows, these little seeds will float up and fly off to wherever the wind takes them. Dandelions are also very hardy plants because they can survive under very extreme conditions. Most gardeners consider it a weed and a nuisance.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Don't Honk; $350 Penalty

The theme photo for February was "What Annoys You Most About Your City" and I posted a photo of a crowded subway train because it was the easiest concept to translate into photography. But in actuality, the thing that annoys me most about living in NYC is the car alarms that seem to go off at 3 AM in the morning right outside my bedroom window. But how does one translate that into a photograph?

Well, now I have found a perfect photo to illustrate my feeling. This street sign on the corner of Mott and Spring Street in SoHo says honking (I assume it means at night) will result in a fine of $350. All I have to say is, "Bravo!" If I were Mayor Michael Bloomberg, I would make drivers pay $1 for every honk they make.

What do you think? Do you use the honk frequently?

Monday, May 7, 2007

Walking Billy the Cat

On my way home yesterday evening, I saw a woman walking her cat. I was totally intrigued because I have NEVER seen a cat on a leash before. I quickly introduced myself and the lady, who is also my neighbor, introduced me to Billy the cat.

Billy is a Persian and is totally accustomed to walking with a lease around his torso. Because Billy can easily wiggle out of a regular neck strap, he was fitted with a neck and chest strap that is commonly found on smaller dogs. Billy was very shy and kept moving, which made it difficult to take a good photo. But after much coaxing, he finally sat still and I snapped this photo.

So have you ever seen a cat on a leash before? What is the weirdest thing you have ever seen on the street?

MoMA:Up in the Sky

This photo, taken while standing outside at the Sculpture Garden at MoMA, shows three distinct structures in the area. The triangle on the left is the Intersection II by Richard Serra and the triangle on the right is the roof of MoMA that extends out into the garden. The building in the middle of the photo is the highrise that abuts the museum.

This is a photo of the skylight on the 6th and top floor of the museum where special exhibitions are usually held. As you see, the MoMA is sandwiched between two highrise buildings. The building on the left is the same building in the first photo above.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

MoMA: Richard Serra at the Sculpture Garden

This is a macro shot of Intersection II (1992-3), a gigantic structure by Richard Serra at the MoMA sculpture garden. It is made up of four identical bands of steel, each weighing 30 tons and measuring 13' high x 53' long and 2 1/8' thick. The structure is arranged in two parentheses formation like this: (( )).

Here is another shot of the Intersection II (below right) taken from inside the MoMA building. The other structure on the upper left is also by Richard Serra called, Torqued Ellipse IV.

Here is a link to more photos of the Intersection II on by different photographers. They did a better job of capturing the image of the structure than I did.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

MoMA: Monet & Pollock

Reflections of Clouds on the Water Lily Pond by Claude Monet (1840-1926) is one of the most spectacular works of art at the MoMA, not just for its sheer size (6' 6 3/4" x 41' 10 3/8" or 200 x 1276 cm) but its beauty and colors. The painting from the Impressionist movement, occupies the entire length of a gallery has three leather benches in front of it for admirers to sit down, relax and enjoy the scenery.

This painting by Jackson Pollock entitled, One: Number 31, 1950 is a perfect example of his drip and pour technique, which he popularized during the Abstract Expressionist era. The painting is 8' 10" x 17' 5 5/8" (269.5 x 530.8 cm) and is one of many Pollocks exhibited in the permanent collection at the MoMA.

When taking these photos, I was torn between simply taking a perfectly aligned photo of the art work only OR do I want to include museum goers in the picture. What do you think? Do you usually include strangers in your photo or do you make every effort to exclude them?

MoMA: Looking Up, Looking Down

I had a day off yesterday (Thursday) so I went to my favorite museum in the city, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) on 53rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenue. The reasons I love MoMA best are because: (1) it is small enough to see all the exhibitions in an afternoon but big enough to have a diverse collection of art; (2) the new building, designed by Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi, is simply spectacular; (3) it is very easy to get to from my apartment; and (4) there is a wonderful fruit and vegetable juice cart right outside the museum for some post-museum refreshments.

The photos above show the views of the 5-floor corridors from the mezzanine (left) and the mezzanine from the 5th floor corridor. For the rest of the week, I will be doing a series of photos from my visit to the MoMA.

Do you have a favorite museum or place near your home where you can visit on your day off?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Street Poster II

Here is another photo of a colorful and cute street poster for Le Tigre, a clothing brand that originated from New York City. The photo was taken on Houston Street near Mulberry Street in SoHo.

I don't really understand the use of a cartoon monkey in the advertisement but the colors remind me of Andy Warhol's famous silkscreens. Speaking of Andy Warhol, I am planning on going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET) and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) this week because May is Museum Month in NYC.

Who is your favorite artist and your favorite artwork.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Street Poster

Safety walls erected around construction sites are frequently plastered with street posters advertising products and services or movies and music. Some of these posters can be very creative and colorful, while others are just plain funny or weird.

This street poster on Spring Street and Lafayette Street in SoHo is advertising a chain of gym outlets called, Crunch. I am attracted to this poster because of its creative use of flat colors and cartoon characters to represent the gym's acceptance of all body types. It almost made me want to join the gym.

Theme Photo Update: Bruges, Belgium

First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone for playing "guess the location" game in yesterday's post.

Alice from Arradon Daily Photo was the first to guess it correctly. The photo was taken in Bruges or Brugge in Belgium. Bruges was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. In order to preserve the delicate infrastructure and buildings, few cars are allowed into the city. Almost everyone rides the bicycle or takes the buses in the city.

Here is another photo (The Market Square) of the city.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Theme Photo: City Exchange

This photo was taken from one of my trips to Europe during Thanksgiving weekend, which is actually one of the best time to travel internationally. The airfares during that week are relatively cheap and the international airport terminals are uncharacteristically empty. You can catch a flight on Wednesday night and arrive in Europe on Thursday morning. That will give you 3-1/2 solid days to explore the city and be back home on Sunday night. How cool is that? Apparently I wasn't the only one doing it. I met a dozen or so people from the East Coast (NYC, DC, Boston) on this flight.

So can you guess where this photo was taken? I already gave you a clue. It was in Europe.

Today, there are 82 blogs participating in the photo theme: Monte Carlo, Monaco - Rome, Italy - Singapore, Singapore - Tenerife, Spain - Rotterdam, Netherlands - London, UK - Montréal (QC), Canada - Melbourne, Australia - Naples (FL), USA - Bastia, France - Hong Kong, China - Mazatlan, Mexico - Buenos Aeres, Argentina - Manila, Philippines - Arradon, France - Madison (WI), USA - Evry, France - Seoul, Korea - Shanghai, China - Bucaramanga (Santander), Colombia - Sequim (WA), USA - Singapore, Singapore - Budapest, Hungary - Baziège, France - Hamburg, Germany - Toruń, Poland - Nelson, New Zealand - Madison (WI), USA - Vantaa, Finland - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Mainz, Germany - Dubai, UAE - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Cork, Ireland - Stockholm, Sweden - Menton, France - Tel Aviv, Israel - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Kitakami, Japan - Stayton (OR), USA - Szentes, Hungary - Stavanger, Norway - Grenoble, France - Villigen, Switzerland - Paris, France - Hyde, UK - Moscow, Russia - Joplin (MO), USA - Jakarta, Indonesia - Greenville (SC), USA - Cape Town, South Africa - Asheville (NC), USA - Seattle (WA), USA - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Madrid, Spain - Auckland, New Zealand - Oulu, Finland - Lubbock (TX), USA - Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Baton Rouge (LA), USA - Sydney, Australia - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Vancouver, Canada - Seattle (WA), USA - Selma (AL), USA - Chandler (AZ), USA - Sharon (CT), USA - Manila, Philippines - Lyon, France - New York City (NY), USA - Los Angeles (CA), USA - Brookville (OH), USA - Hayle, UK - Wailea (HI), USA - Saarbrücken, Germany - San Diego (CA), USA - Boston (MA), USA - Saint Louis (MO), USA - Cypress (TX), USA - Anderson (SC), USA - Torino, Italy