Thursday, March 17, 2011

St Paddy's Day

Work got in the way of a beautiful day and a great day for the St Patrick's Day March. It is billed as having been on the streets of New York since 1762, the oldest, the biggest and the best in the world.
It does have a huge effect on the city of New York- the most odd people claim an Irish connection.
Seeing I couldn't head to see the parade I thought I'd do my own quick photo shoot of part of the city near me and the impact of St Patrick's Day. Walking along the street it was difficult to decide what was greatest numbers patches of green, swearing or people who had imbibed too much. This was at 4:30 in the afternoon. The crowds got greener and louder and sillier as the night wore on.

Street stall items
 I really should have photographed the stall holder- an elderly Asian man who was decked out in a variety of green garb wearing a badge that said "Kiss me I'm Irish" or words to that effect.

A patch of green

Collecting money for the homeless
 The empty green yard glass caught my eye as well as the sartorial splendor of the collector of money for the homeless. Not sure if he had emptied the glass or a passerby had given it to him.

No green but interesting activity

They were posing for this photographer
 I presume the photographer was a friend and not sure what splendid artistic effect was being aimed for but it made for interesting viewing on my part.
Queuing for cheap theatre tickets

Hanging out- in more ways than one really

Another street vendor

Even the pedicab drivers took advantage of the day

Hurley's our local Irish bar
The pub over the road was jumping all day and night. They had a band and also extra security on the door- mean looking guy who didn't smile and checked ID. Not Mary's and mine though- I wonder why?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Views of NYC

 The 1 subway line runs from South Ferry, Manhattan   to Van Cortland Park 242 St in the Bronx. On my way to work/a meeting I had to get off the train at 125- this is the only point in Manhattan where the 1 runs above ground (I think) or if I am wrong it is the southern most point at which it runs above ground. Before and after this stop it is underground and at this point it is welll and truly above ground. So many steps to get to street level.

The beauty of the station didn't escape me on the way to work so on my way home I decided to soak in the station ornamentation and the view.

Looking south

the detail on the fence/walls

the locale

the view

Monday, March 14, 2011

A sense of humour

 You may recall last Monday I was enjoying the fact that wit and humour had returned to the world of graffiti?
It would seem I was tricked!
But the true artiste is setting us all straight!

Love the wit of the "fake" moustache

When one examines the "artiste's" work more closely one comes to realize that  the impostors work is truly in the shadow of the master apart from the fact that the master does it with a thicker marker!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

An artifiical tropical habitat

....that is how New York City was described in one of the books a student was reading in one of the classrooms today. The description was an explanation of why cockroaches are thriving here. They are in greater numbers than the rats which are in large enough numbers as it is.
The book was saying with the buildings, lighting and heating the way they are there is an artificial tropical habitat in place.
Schools are one of those artificial tropical habitats are striving to be at least. The heating is so high in most places one wears multiple layers so as not to die of a chill on the way to work and then one peels off most of the outer layers in order to move and feel comfortable in the tropical heat that is in the school.
Tropical climes bring to mind exotic creatures and there are a large number of exotic creatures in NYC that's for sure. I didn't see my clock man this morning. But was thinking about the possibility and remembered the man with the cat on his head that I saw a few years ago. This made me think about creating my own book perhaps using I thought I could have text and pictures of the exotic creatures that I have seen. It may well be a short book given the number of photos I have been able to get of people but there are a few that come to mind... Batman crossing the road at 42nd St , the man in the banana costume at 7:00am, "my" clock man, the man with the cat on his head.... That's a list without much thinking or effort.
Then on the way home ... where was my camera??? Loise was driving I should have had the little sucker at the ready... we were waiting to cross 5th Avenue and there he was ...a pirate complete with long hair, tri-corner hat, boots- couldn't see it there was a hook or eye patch but how appropriate on 5th Avenue?! Aren't pirates fond of tropical climes and trying to rip the natives off? Ah NYC you've gotta love it!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It's IWD!

So happy International Women's Day to you- it is tempting to try to write this all in purple green and white (the colours of the suffragette's and IWD but it would make it even harder to read I think.
I found nothing in my day to mark the day so resorted to Google who provided a visual for me.
This is very unlike my experiences in other years of IWD although not necessarily here. In schools at home things were often planned with people dressing in appropriate colours. One year when I was at Mackellar PS (a school named after a female Australian poet who wrote the iconic poem "I love a sunburnt country") we the staff decided to have a morning tea to celebrate International Women's Day and asked the men on the staff of which there were a few to bring the morning tea, which they duly did- not a lavish one of great cakes and delicious hot samplings but a substantial one that all could enjoy. George (the principal) had brought a special gift for Rhonda and myself which he had in a brown paper bag and which he said summed us up- he knew we could take a joke- it was a prickly pear because we were a prickly pair. Surprisingly enough I did find it amusing and was not at all offended.

On another occasion on IWD a group of us went to a fund raiser which was a literary one with Sara Paretsky. The quiz was about her books and the prize was ten (?) copies (that's how many were on each team) of her book. We thought it a great night as we won and then had the books signed by her.

And then this year I found out far too late that there were events to celebrate the centenary  of International Women's Day. The bridge walks sounded great but apart from anything else I was working so couldn't participate anyway but such a shame.
And so a little history or should I say herstory...

Following the decision agreed at Copenhagen in 1911, International Women's Day (IWD) was honoured the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women's rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. However less than a week later on 25 March, the tragic 'Triangle Fire' in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labour legislation in the United States that became a focus of subsequent International Women's Day events. 1911 also saw women's 'Bread and Roses' campaign.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday in Manhattan

As I walked the platform on the 49th street station, glancing at the advertising posters I was thinking about the graffiti artist who used to draw a mustache on the faces on posters. It was so clever using the word as the moustache, spelt the correct way as far as I am concerned, that is with an “o” in it as opposed to the Microsoft way without. Then there it was ... a poster with the graffiti artists’ work enhancing the poster. I managed to get a shot just before the train arrived. 

Speaking of subways I forgot to write about another subway experience this one I had on Friday. I was at the 59th St stop, Columbus Circle, waiting for the C train. The stop is a busy one where two express trains (A & D) stop on one side of the platform and two local trains (C & B) stop on the other side of the platform. A couple of trains came... the B train arrived so I moved back to allow space for the hordes of people moving in and around the platform.  A few people maintained their stance at the edge of the platform waiting for the train. Along with some others, I noticed movement a little further along the was a rat ... on the platform not on the track...a rat was sniffing its way past people's feet. As it made its way along the platform, people shifted, startled, backing away from the way the rat was heading. A young woman standing reading her  book noticed and with a quick intake of breath moved back  from the edge... The rat continued on it’s way. Suddenly a man with his big thick boots on rushed from the direction the rat had come and kicked it onto the line. The rat didn’t hit the third rail and twitched considerably as did most people on the platform who had witnessed this violent event. I caught the eye of a fellow commuter and commented on how disconcerting it had all been. Another woman arrived on the platform and asked what was going on- I told her a rat had just been kicked off the platform she said she knew something had happened as everyone was looking down and around nervously. 
Then again another commuting incident...
When I got off the train at Zerega Avenue this morning it was snowing... lightly but still snow. Where did that come from? I checked on my phone and the weather forecast and no indication of it. I decided I really should have bright an umbrella given that Sue and Bernadette had been drenched getting home yesterday and this looked fairly long term. I went into the bodega next to the station and asked without much hope of service for an umbrella. My lack of hope in the service stems from earlier in the year when I tried to use their ATM and the guy allowed me to access it all ... you know dip the card, punch in all the details, say what account etc etc and wait for the money to pop out but not this time and as I was walking out he said "Oh it's out of money" Cold have told me that 15 minutes earlier. Anyway today I thought I would forgive him enough to patronize his store again. Just as I got to the window he moved away- now I'm not sure if it was a purposeful  move away or an on purpose one but he did return and did have an umbrella for $2.99 (I've tried to find the NY1 commercial that talks about knowing that these umbrellas only last 45 minutes- but couldn't found this one instead). Any way I said to the bodega guy- where did that snow come from? and he then began to chat- turns out he lives in Bay Ridge near where I used to live before moving here. He lives at the end of the R line on 95th Street and travels to nearly the end of the 6 line in the Bronx jut for the pleasure of selling me an umbrella in a bodega! I decided my early morning commute was fine compared to his at least 2 hour one!
And the umbrella is still relatively pristine as it has been gloriously sunny for the remainder of the day.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A bit of a revelation

I guess I have never really understood the Rock-Paper-Scissors game as a strategy game. It was a bit of a revelation to me that one actually thinks in strategic terms to try and win in this game. Not that I play the game all that much it is such a "boy' thing as far as i am concerned.
This morning I am starting my day in a leisurely manner browsing my emails- not many of them to browse at this stage of the morning as most people in Australia who may communicate have already done so and gone out for their Saturday evening or gone to bed. Gone to bed early? On a Saturday night? I do have an aging group of friends given that I am also ... aging ... and getting past going out late or even needing to go out on a Saturday night. Actually I have never really been in the mode of having to go out on Saturday night... you know the response you'd get "You're not going out on Saturday night?" asked in that shocked tone people use when you are contemplating an evening spent pottering around , watching TV, playing scrabble and generally lolling about in a slothful manner.
In amongst my emails was the New York Times "Today's Headlines"- just scrolled done through them- the  mayhem and the disaster and things going on in the world which in the case of the NY Times is far wider than that of television news who have stories so US centric that when they talk of "And now to the world news" we hear stories of what's happening on the east coast as opposed to what is happening here on the west coast.
In my scrolling through the paper's headlines I came across a headline just after the quote from David Chang, " a New York chef and restaurateur, one of a growing breed of food purists who scorn substitutions, special requests and other accommodations to patrons' tastes".
"The customer is not always right."
The quote itself had me thinking about all manner of things including that that must have been what the flight attendant on my return trip to LAX was thinking last Saturday. She was particularly unpleasant and unsympathetic and was not into empathic listening. Although she was very attentive to the needs of the two blokes sitting to my right in the same exit row I was sitting. I certainly didn't appreciate her snarling at me and telling me that she was "serious about safety" in the tone of a self righteous prison guard as opposed to what would have worked better in my case. It would have helped if she noticed my qualms about being able to fit me feet, let alone my legs, in the space by the wall. Even seat guru doesn't prepare you for the first view of 33A "how the heck am I going to fit into that space for 16 hours?".
I also kinda agree with David Chang (without having read he article mind you) it is sometimes annoying when fellow patrons dissect the menu completely and rearrange the items on it taking forever to decide and then asking interminable questions of the waiter and then not wanting anything or asking for "toasted snow" as a side order.
I did however get over all these thoughts and to the article itself Rock Scissors Paper: You VS the computer. "Test your strategy against the computer in this rock-paper-scissors game illustrating basic artificial intelligence." It wasn't that it was an interactive game that caught my eye it was the use of the word strategy. I never use a strategy in playing this game- probably why I always lose. I didn't even know it was a strategy game, I just thought it was a game where I'd always get my knuckles thumped by one of my brothers- Damian in particular. I headed to the website and played a bit with the computer. We tied more than beat each other, mainly because I played in novice mode- perhaps that was a strategy on my part , thinking that I'd have more of a chance.  Reading what the computer was "thinking" made interesting reading... poor lamb was looking for a pattern in my thinking- trying to find something predictable about it- good luck computer! And so I have had an early Saturday morning lesson in strategy games and have seen how this game I thought was a punishment is in fact a strategic game. Thinking about it all I hope it wasn't trying to prove that I have artificial intelligence.

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's Friday... what does that mean?

  1. The possibility of being paid... always a thrill when it happens but today it was not to be.
  2. The chance to catch up with mates for a drink and a debrief of the week- well that happened- met at Hurley's and heard about how most of the new comers to the organization were managing the move to a foreign country, the move to a foreign system, the move away from family, the prospect of being paid!
  3. Not a wasted moment of the weekend- I love that feeling there is a whole weekend stretching ahead of you and you have the possibility of having some catch up on sleep, and down time.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ten on Tuesday on Thursday again

In an effort to catch up on March days I'm resorting to the lists assistance, actually I quite enjoy doing them and thinking differently about stuff.

1. What type of cell phone do you have and how would you rate it?
I really need to refer to it as my mobile as well as my cell phone just to keep the vernacular in my head for when I am home. It's a slippery slope... language and maintaining my Australian-ness... when i'm home i often refer to my s-mobile... however in NYC me cell phone is an i-phone and it is that a rating? Not only is it purple it is filled with wondrous treasures to keep me amused and active as well as connected to people here and in Australia... oh and Brussels and anywhere else someone would care to send me a text message from or should I say from wherever someone would care to send me a text message..

2. What has been your most serious injury?
I have been incredibly lucky in my life I have not had any serious injuries, other than possibly to my heart but then that's not something to share here. In fact most of the members of my family haven't had serious injuries. Two of my brothers have had either a broken leg or major cuts on feet or hands- nasty accidents they were but the rest of us are relatively unscathed by major injuries.

3. What is one movie you hate and why?
"There's something about Mary" I found it crass and totally unfunny.

4. How many email addresses do you have?
4 as far as I can recall

5. What website do you waste the most time on?
Waste time? On a website? I spend mots of time at Get it Scrapped but none of that is wasting time... it is great fun catching up with people and artistic pursuits.
If the question is about what website is such a pain to use that you end up wasting time on it it would have to be my work one which is difficult to navigate and in general doesn't have what I want so not only do I waste time but also waste lots of emotional energy.

6. Which mexican restaurant makes the best salsa?
I have no idea- big assumption that I like salsa- margaritas yes salsa not necessarily- i don't like tomatoes all that much but do love the margaritas at the Mexican bar in Grand Central's food hall... especially for Friday night drinks- they have a real kick to them and they are half price between 4 and 6. It's great to sit there and watch the commuters arrive and take their margaritas to go... interesting to see who has a one margarita trip or a two margarita trip.

7. What is your dream car?
  I actually don't dream about cars. I don't really like driving but if I had money to buy a car and it was in Australia I really like the Chrysler PT Cruiser- I say in Australia as they drive on the correct side of the road for my driving brain.

8. If you could spend up to $100 with no strings or restrictions or guilt, what would you buy?
Ticket to a show

9. What is your favorite board game?
Scrabble! And I even love to play it on computers not even on a board.

10. How often do you change your hairstyle?
Does not going to the hairdresser for quite a while and then "maintaining the length' count as changing your hairstyle? If it does every second time I got to the hairdresser I change my hairstyle- get it cut short ... don't go to the hairdresser.... maintain the length.... get it cut short...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

He was there

I find myself keeping an eye out for the character who wears the variety of kitchen clocks hanging around his neck.

I think the fascination is with why? Why does he do it?.. and...
How much does it all cost him and how frequently does he change the outfits.

I am usually in the area on Wednesdays and as I climb the hill from the station I watch to see if he is at the intersection directing traffic. The security personnel from the nearby school don't even bother with the traffic now when he is there- he'll shout out to you to let you know it's safe to cross.
This week's outfit was a bit of a blur for me as I didn't want to appear to be staring- it seemed to have a blue theme to it. Perhaps he'll have his St Patrick's Day outfit on again this year- that event is coming up soon so I'll need to have the camera ready for the possible green hair and shamrock infested clock.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Afternoon light

The changing light patterns over the day give  amazing colours and reflections of building on other buildings. Gave me an excuse to muck around with the new camera and the new knowledge from the photography course.

The pink tinged sky reflection provides a pink tinge to the building

As the light drops the detail in the reflections changes