Thursday, June 30, 2016

Water tanks

New York City’s skyline is dotted with wooden water towers that are easy to mistake for vanishing relics of the bygone eras of seltzer bottles and street gas lamps.
But what many New Yorkers don’t realize is the towers are hardly antiques — in fact, most drink and bathe from the water stored in them every day.
“When I tell people what I do for a living, they can’t believe it is still done,” said Kenny Lewis, foreman of the Rosenwach Tank Co.’s wood shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the only one like it in the city. “After people notice the tanks, they can’t believe how many there are.”
Most buildings in the city taller than six stories need some sort of water tower and pumping system to provide water pressure to tenants.
Rosenwach is one of two companies in the city that makes wood water towers. The other company is Isseks Brothers.
So why do people think wood water towers are relics of the past?
Because they look as though they are.
While many are more than 30 years old, even new ones look old because they are made of wood that isn’t painted or chemically treated (so as not to taint drinking water).Though the technology has become more efficient, the concept of gravity delivering water from a wood tank hasn’t changed in decades.
And while steel tanks are an option, they are more expensive, don’t provide as much insulation, require more maintenance and take longer to construct. The average wood tank holds 10,000 gallons of water and costs around $30,000. A steel tank of similar size could cost up to $120,000. But different buildings have their own specific needs.
“There are wood tanks, steel tanks, small tanks — hot, cold, round, square — it’s like a Dr. Seuss book,” said Andrew Rosenwach, the company’s fourth-generation owner.
Rosenwach estimates his company has about 10,000 tanks around the city, and can build up to 300 a year — though they’ve been suffering just like every one in the construction industry.
He said business should heat up with the weather. Every year they must clean natural sediment from the water off the bottom of the tank. More buildings have their maintenance done in the spring and summer, and if the tank is too leaky, a new one must be built.
With a crew of about six men, an old tank can be torn down and new one constructed in 24 hours, Rosenwach said. It takes two to three hours for pumps to fill them up.
“When you first set them up they leak, but when they fill [with water], the wood expands and becomes water tight,” Lewis said. “Then, it’s like a giant toilet. When people use water, the level goes down. A ballcock lets more in, and that water is pumped from the basement.”
Eventually the wood will rot though, which has kept the Rosenwachs working on the same buildings for generations. A tank can last 30-35 years depending on exposure to the elements. Rooftop tanks on the west side of Manhattan typically don’t last as long because they take more of a beating, Lewis said.“When we look at the skyline, we can tell which tanks are ours because they have tan roof covers and signature ‘R’ on the top,” Rosenwach said. “I’m always amazed what a vast amount of skyline we cover in such a small field.”

How the water tank works:
- A water tower is a simple device that uses gravity to provide water pressure.
- They provide water for domestic uses and fire supply.
- Most municipalities have tanks that can hold a day’s worth of water for their population.
- Many New York City buildings exceed the height the infrastructure’s water pressure can handle.
- Most structures taller than six stories need some sort of water tower and pump system of their own.
- Water is fed to buildings through pipes in the basement.
- Electric pumps push the water from the basement to roof.
- It takes 2-3 hours to fill the average 10,000-gallon tank.
- From the roof, gravity sends water to pipes throughout the building.
- As tenants use the water, the level in the tank goes down and, just like in a toilet, a ballcock lets more in

Is it a hothouse on the corner of this building's roof?

Masjid Malcolm Shabazz

Masjid Malcolm Shabazz, formerly known as Mosque No. 7, is a Sunni Muslim mosque in Harlem, New York. It was formerly a Nation of Islam mosque where Malcolm X preached until he left it for Sunni Islam in 1964.

Opened as Temple No. 7 of the Nation of Islam at the Harlem YMCA in 1946 (all Nation of Islam sites were initially called Temples; the NOI switched to the term mosque as a move to add to the Nation's legitimacy by adding elements from mainstream Islam), it was moved to Lenox Casino at 102 West 116th Street on the southwest corner of Lenox Avenue and it "was just a storefront in 1954 when Malcolm was named minister by Elijah Muhammad."[1] When Malcolm X split from Elijah Muhammad in 1964, he started a Sunni Muslim mosque named The Muslim Mosque Inc. The successor to that mosque is The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood Inc. at 130 West 113th Street, in Harlem.[2]

Temple No. 7 was destroyed in a bombing in 1965, after Malcolm X's assassination, which forced Nation of Islam to move the mosque to 106 West 127th Street. The building was redesigned by Sabbath Brown, and in 1976 the mosque was renamed Malcolm Shabazz Mosque, (by Wallace D. Muhammad- new leader of the Nation of Islam), or Masjid Malcolm Shabazz, to honor the memory and contributions of Malcolm X.

I used to work at a school near this Mosque and at midday sometimes you could hear the sound of the call to prayer.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

In all his glory

We were just waiting on the corner of Bryant Park ...waiting to meet Sue to go to vote at the Australian Embassy... oh my!

He paused to check a message on his phone then headed off along 42nd Street.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Street Shopping

 Just loving that I am back in an area where street shopping is possible... not that I would "purchase" any of these items but it is interesting to see what is put out and taken by New York's strongest- the garbos.

I still have the small side table that I "purchased" on Marine Avenue in Brooklyn- it is now serving as a small desk in my bedroom.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sunday in the park

Walking back from Maria's new apartment there was lots of activity in  Morningside Park including these guys playing...dominoes :)

Love this...

For some reason I love this shot :)

Saturday, June 25, 2016


A walk through Harlem in the early morning capturing the light playing off buildings and ordinary rubbish bins.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Point of Focus

I actually wanted to post a photo of some kindergarteners (prep/foundation kids) but respect for privacy prevents an anonymous looking bus will have to do for this story...
I was in a kindergarten class and got quite a few smiles and laughs from the time I was there in just one session...
The twin girls who were soooo bossy- loved them and then the little boy who arrived from Dominican Republic mid year with little English who now speaks English and wanted help with his review of his year. We managed to get his name and the year and a whole lot of other bits written in his little review book. Then he needed help with what he had learned this year...he very confidently and seriously told me that he had learned that "lunch is food" so that was written into his little review book.

Thursday, June 23, 2016


The view traveling to it a three wheeled bicycle or two bicycles with one wheel stolen?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


We went to Blujeen...

"Blujeen is an American restaurant and wine bar delivering inspired comfort cuisine. blujeen's cuisine and dining room are inspired by the generations of home cooks, "the ladies" who understood the importance of maintaining tradition while growing from your roots. We blend soul, southern, and classic American cuisine. blujeen is a sleek, elegant yet casual, neighborhood restaurant. Enjoy hand picked wines from a mostly American list, craft brews, ciders, and specialty cocktails.

Come in and journey with us as we remember, reinvent, and create new traditions.....from our roots."

We sat at the bar and enjoyed the food and company- fantastic chicken wings!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


This store on Manhattan Avenue on my way to the bus always takes my eye. I thought I'd take the opportunity to get the photo of it. Tricky not to get me in the reflection too especially as I was juggling an umbrella ( you can just see it in the bottom left corner).
The sign in the window never changes- it wasn't really an opportunity to explore the store- it wasn't really open. I think it's an Op Shop/ second hand dealer.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Morning Routine

 In this school in particular at this stage in the year...the count down to the summer vacation ... or the count down to the end of the school year :)

Sunday, June 19, 2016


 "Thanks to my mother, I was raised to have a morbid imagination. When I was a child, she often talked about death as warning, as an unavoidable matter of fact. Little Debbie's mom down the block might say, 'Honey, look both ways before crossing the street.' My mother's version: 'You don't look, you get smash flat like sand dab.' (Sand dabs were the cheap fish we bought live in the market, distinguished in my mind by their two eyes affixed on one side of their woebegone cartoon faces.)The warnings grew worse, depending on the danger at hand. Sex education, for example, consisted of the following advice: 'Don't ever let boy kiss you. You do, you can't stop. Then you have baby. You put baby in garbage can. Police find you, put you in jail, then you life over, better just kill youself."
Author: Amy Tan

 "Careful crossing the street," Tommy called back to her as he crossed. [Jody is drunk]"Ha!" Jody said. "I am a finely tuned predator. I am a superbeing. I --" And at that point she bounced her forehead off a light pole with a dull twang and was suddenly lying on her back, looking at the streetlights above her, which kept going out of focus, the bastards."
Author: Christopher Moore

"It was  fear. Fear that, after all the years of protecting his health, his heart, his mind, setting bedtimes and boundaries, giving warnings about strangers and looking both ways before crossing the street, it wouldn't be enough. Fear that, as he stood on the threshold of adulthood, forces beyond their control would take him down a path where they could no longer reach him. Fear that he'd be seduced by something ugly and would choose it. And that there would be nothing they could do but let him go."
Author: Lisa Unger

"I left the library. Crossing the street, I was hit head-on by a brutal loneliness. I felt dark and hollow. Abandoned, unnoticed, forgotten, I stood on the sidewalk, a nothing, a gatherer of dust. People hurried past me. and everyone who walked by was happier than I. I felt the old envy. I would have given anything to be one of them."
Author: Nicole Krauss

Saturday, June 18, 2016


A planned walk up to 125th Street and to Duane Reade was sidetracked slightly by a parade with floats and marching bands...all celebrating the pride of Harlem thinkers and leaders.

Weekend commute...

The subway platforms fill up with families and workers trying to make sense of the changes in train schedules. The MTA uses weekends to do work on the tracks so express trains sometimes end up being not so express and local trains start running on express lines and missing the stop you planned to get off at :). One needs to give oneself lots more time to get from point A to point B and remain patient.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Stoop sitter

 The nights and days have heated up and it is way too hot to be inside apartments that have little or no air con.
This little duo holds a story in itself of a sulky one being sort out and comforted by another one puzzled by the sulkiness.
I have been taking photos of stoop sitters each day on my way to work and hadn't realized how historical it all is...
Way back then, the folks in Brooklyn Heights were adept at the art of stoop-sitting.
This practice took several forms – sitting on the steps, sitting in a rickety chair just outside the door at the top of the steps or a variation thereof—wall-sitting.
There was etiquette to all of these forms. For instance, if you passed a stoop-sitter whom you recognized, you would say hello and if the sitter replied with only a nod or a brief hello in return, you moved on. This was an indication that the sitter just needed to get out of the house for a minute and wasn’t looking for conversation.
If, however, the sitter replied with a questions such as “How are you? Haven’t seen you lately”, you could continue the conversation. You would do so by putting one foot on the bottom step and leaning on the railing. You did not sit on the stoop until invited. Then you sat.
Of course, if you hadn’t the time to sit, you were permitted to say something like “I’m in a bit of a hurry—I’ll talk to you later.” And you would move on.

The rickety chair-sitter up by the door was a different matter. The person sitting on a chair was an observer. This person usually would chat a bit after you said hello if there was nothing going on to be observed.
Once an activity started, you were obliged to move on so the observer could watch and take in all of the details. The incident would be reported later, probably when the chair-sitter moved down to the stoop.
The stoop-sitter and the chair-sitters usually lived or worked in the building in front of which they sat.
The wall-sitter, however, was usually an elderly neighbor who needed a rest. Again, the procedure was the same – you would sit only if the conversation warranted sitting.
Bob from Cleveland was a famous wall-sitter. He could be found sitting on a wall on Henry St. so often that a friend dubbed him “the Mayor of Brooklyn Heights.” It was understood that if Bob was there you could sit with no preambles. That was probably true of other wall-sitters.
Nancy on Orange Street had a completely different from of the basic sitting. She brought her chair to the sidewalk in front of her apartment building. There she held forth with stories about her husband who had played for the football Giants back in the 1940s.
There will never be another Nancy because the apartment building is now a co-op and any current sidewalk chair-sitter would probably get a ticket.
And so the times they have indeed changed. Now that the apartments are mostly gone and have been replaced with condos and co-ops, the population in the Heights is comprise of doctors, lawyers and merchant chiefs.
On rare occasions today, you might encounter a stoop-, chair-, or wall-sitter. If you do, remember the appropriate etiquette!

Thursday, June 16, 2016


 It was cannot have the free newspapers getting wet. i have no idea where the lamp shade appeared from but one must stop and savor the moments even in the rain.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Part of the job

It is not just consultants that have to schlepp their tools to work- not sure what cleaning work this guy does but he needs to take his tools of trade on the subway too.
I'm soooo lucky that Bernadette like the challenge of putting together an interesting lunch :)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Down on the corner

Early in the evenin' just about supper time,
Over by the PAL they're starting to unwind.
Three guys on the corner trying to catch up.
Two guys in their helmets, the other schleppn' home his stuff.

Down on the corner, out in the street
The biker and cyclists chattin'
Schlepp your bag and stop your feet.

You don't need a penny just to hang around,
But if you've got a cycle, won't you greet the mate you've found?
Over on the corner there's a happy noise.
People come from all around to meet with these boys.

Down on the corner, out in the street
The biker and cyclists are chattin'
Schlepp your bag and stop your feet.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


Wow Bernadette did my runes at last!

What a great way to manage my thinking about what has happened and where I'm going!

It is such a nice process for helping make sense of some of the incomprehensible things that have happened of late.

Saturday, June 11, 2016


The PD days have us traveling to Brooklyn currently and I'm often surprised by what we manage to see.
The grand boulevards on the city are here in the outer areas. Harlem has so many as does Brooklyn.
The subway stories continue- what on earth does this guy have in all those white boxes and where is he taking them and why?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Stained glass

 It's a matter of stopping and taking the time to smell the roses or at least photograph the stained glass windows in subway stations...

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


Lord knows why these soft toys are adorning the trees but the one in the tree is the only one who seems to live there permanently.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


This is the front yard of a place in the Bronx. They have spruced it up and cleaned and tidied ready for glory days of sitting on "high" watching the world go by I guess.

Monday, June 6, 2016


The supermarket is just around the corner an easy 3 minute walk to get there. It doesn't look very big from the street entrance but it actually goes downstairs- escalator and then is an absolute rabbit warren of a place. It is going to take me a lifetime to work out where things are.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A new sunset

From the new apartment- I can see this is going to be the subject of many photos

Thursday, June 2, 2016


"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today."
Abraham Lincoln


"I feel like life is really short, and it's important to enjoy yourself and embrace whatever comes your way, whether it's a challenging day or a great day, just welcome it with open arms. No matter who you are, you can't escape challenges; they are part of life."
Miranda Kerr

 "Faces that have charmed us the most escape us the soonest." Walter Scott
"Music is a great natural high and a great natural escape. " Shania Twain