Archive for New York City

Giant Bubbles in Central Park

Blog, New York Cityon April 3rd, 2012No Comments

One of my favorite parts of Central Park is The Mall, a long stretch of gnarled trees that begins at Bethesda Fountain and is guaranteed to be full of musicians, dancers and random performers. On Sunday, Sue, Amy and I encountered a group of New Yorkers and tourists gathered around a childhood favorite: giant bubbles.

Bubbles in Central Park

BubblesSeveral people stood in the center of the crowd, dipping sticks tied with rope into buckets of soapy water, then holding them up in the air. A German tourist laughed as a 10-foot bubble emerged from her rope, snaking through the crowd before it exploded. A girl in the back of the crowd, wearing a light purple coat and clutching a red balloon, laughed as well. She handed her mom the balloon’s string and made her way to the front.

The girl dunked the sticks into the bucket and threw her hands over her head. The first bubble popped immediately — a dud. The second bubble began to expand, floating out of the makeshift wand and toward the crowd. A photographer squatted down to get a better angle, aiming his lens at the sky and the bubble overhead. Suddenly, the bubble popped, covering his face and lens in soap. He began to swear but caught himself, glancing at the nearby kids.

An old man in a bright pink hat stepped from behind him to take his turn, using a practiced hand to create the biggest and most complex bubble yet.

In the background, a young man in purple spandex and a red bandana leaned against the fence, smiling as he finished a street-cart hot dog. Next to him sat a hand cart filled with jugs of soap and extra sticks, but I didn’t see a tip jar anywhere.


All Is Calm

Blog, New York Cityon August 28th, 20111 Comment

Evening after the stormMy neighborhood was largely unaffected by the hurricane/tropical storm that hit last night and this morning. One roommate and I slept in the living room, just in case the windows blew out (we’re on the 24th floor), while another toughed it out in her bed. This morning, most of my NYC friends remarked how unimpressed they were by the storm, which I thought was amusing.

My friend Krysten pointed me to a funny tweet from Brad Walsh that sums it up pretty well: “@BradWalsh: Like many young women before her, Irene came to NYC hoping to be as big as she was back in Carolina, only to be ridiculed by the locals.”

The photo at left was taken from my bedroom window this evening, long after the storm rolled away and left nothing but clouds and strong wind.


Summer Fun at the NYC Transit Museum

Blog, New York Cityon August 2nd, 20111 Comment

I’d been meaning to visit the Transit Museum in Brooklyn since I moved to the city, but I kept putting it off, distracted by the fancy Manhattan museums with all their Picassos and Monets. That was a mistake. The Transit Museum is where it’s at.

NYC Transit Museum

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Photos from the ‘Great Gatsby’ Boat Tour

Blog, New York Cityon June 6th, 2011No Comments

Here are a few photos from the Great Gatsby boat tour that I attended on Saturday. The tour was pretty fun, although it contained less information about Fitzgerald and the novel than I expected. Still, the combination of sunshine, fun people, cocktails and a boat ride made the afternoon pretty perfect.

The photo above is what our tour guide thought was the closest approximation to the Gatsby house. See more images after the jump. read more


Flowers in Central Park

Blog, New York Cityon May 9th, 20111 Comment

I had a really productive weekend that involved finishing up another manuscript and doing some major spring cleaning, but in the middle, I took a few hours to wander around Central Park’s Conservatory Garden with my roommates (and Chicken) and look at all the flowers. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, but I was able to snap some pretty photos with my phone.

See more pictures behind the jump.

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The Freelancer’s Guide to NYC Caffeine

Blog, New York Cityon April 5th, 20115 Comments

I’ve been a freelancer in some capacity for years, and in that time, I’ve realized a few things. First, it’s impossible to be productive at home, especially since I live in New York. Between a tiny apartment and a ridiculously needy cat, I have to leave the apartment if I want to do any work at all. Second, editing — especially if it’s of the foreign-policy or science-intensive variety — can be tiring, so caffeine is a must. Both situations led me to become somewhat of an expert on Manhattan’s freelance-friendly coffee shops.

I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorites, along with their locations, for anyone else looking for a caffeine fix while they work. Let me know if you think of anything I missed; I’m always looking for a new place to chill and work. read more


The Empire State Building and Its Colors

Blog, New York Cityon March 29th, 2011No Comments

The best thing about what is arguably New York’s most famous building is that it is constantly rotating the color of its lights, which means the appearance of the building — and the New York skyline — is always changing. The color choices represent holidays, anniversaries or organizations, and I love to look up the meaning of the different combinations.

For example, the colors in the photo above are in honor of WNET, the Celebration of Teaching and Learning. On April 1, the lights will turn all blue in honor of autism awareness; then orange, orange and white on April 8-10, in honor of Parkinson’s Awareness Month. On April 13, the lights will return to all blue in honor of the Blue Man Group’s 20th anniversary. They’ll be all green on April 22 in honor of Earth Day. So random, yet so fun.

Click here for a great site that shows the building’s current colors and what they mean.


General Electric Building in Midtown Manhattan

Blog, New York Cityon February 23rd, 20112 Comments

Old General Electric BuildingLast week, a friend and I were walking around after a meeting and we came across this building: the old General Electric building at 570 Lexington Avenue. I’ve passed it hundreds, if not thousands, of times, but I have never really stopped and paid attention to it before.

The building, not to be confused with the GE building at Rockefeller Center, was built in 1931 by architects Cross & Cross. It’s amazing. From the art-deco accents to the beautiful spire to the interesting hands holding what looks like a lightning bolt, the amount of detail and work that went into every inch of this building is incredible. And the interior is as impressive as the exterior, with intricate metalwork and Art Deco chandeliers. Also, the security guard was pretty cool with us stepping in and taking pictures, which is always a bonus.

(See a few detail shots behind the jump.)

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Book-Printing Machine at NYC’s McNally Jackson

Blog, New York Cityon January 19th, 20111 Comment

My favorite bookstore, McNally Jackson Books, just added an Espresso Book Machine to the store. You can search a database of any public-domain or specially licensed books, and the machine will print a paperback for you as you wait. It was really fun to see the process and hold the final product.

Espresso book machineFirst, the machine prints the pages (see photo above), then it stacks them and prints the cover. Next, it turns the manuscript sideways and glues the spine to the pages. Finally, it cuts the book to size, discards the extra pieces (see photo at left), and spits out the book through a little slot.

The covers are made from a slightly cheaper paper than a normal paperback, but the books themselves feel sturdy and well made. Using the machine is an especially great option if you want to self-publish your own work or if you’re looking for an out-of-print book or something obscure that the store doesn’t have in stock. For example, the book we saw being printed was written in the 1600s and is no longer in circulation.

A book vending machine. It’s no hoverboard, but it still feels like we’re finally in the future.

(McNally Jackson Books is located at the corner of Prince and Mulberry streets in Manhattan.)

Espresso book machine


Manhattan Sunset

Blog, New York Cityon January 4th, 2011No Comments

You don’t get a lot of direct sunlight in Midtown Manhattan. The buildings are so tall that most of the street is permanently covered in shadows, and even in my apartment, the only sunlight I get is reflected from the apartment building across the street (and it’s really bright).

It’s interesting to watch the sunset while I’m at work, because I see all of it indirectly. The tops of the buildings change colors, from their usual gray to yellow to reddish orange, as the sun goes down. For a few minutes every day, the sun reflects off buildings at an angle that creates the worst glare on my computer screen. And then, finally, I see this.


Charming Mural in Bushwick

Blog, New York Cityon January 1st, 20111 Comment

Happy New Year! This afternoon, the lovely Laura hosted a New Year’s brunch, where we ate incredible cupcakes and watched the horrific Michigan State bowl game. (Did I use enough adjectives for you?) As I was getting off the train, I noticed this mural featuring two deer, an owl, and a pile of skulls. Somehow, all of these elements combine to be totally charming instead of menacing.

The mural is in Bushwick, Brooklyn, off the L train’s Jefferson Street stop. The Interwebs tell me that it was created by graffiti artists Broken Crow and Over Under.

(If you’re interested, here is a map of some of the graffiti in Bushwick and East Williamsburg.)


Os Gêmeos on Coney Island

Blog, New York Cityon October 7th, 20101 Comment

A few weeks ago, I went with my roommates to Coney Island, where we ate Nathans hot dogs and walked the boardwalk. I begged the girls to ride the famous Cyclone or the Wonder Wheel, but they weren’t interested.

I was excited, however, to see a giant Os Gêmeos mural right outside the Coney Island subway stop. I’ve always loved their work, which was featured for a while at the corner of Houston and Bowery, so it was exciting to see another large-scale mural in New York.

Os Gêmeos is comprised of two identical twin brothers from Brazil. Their work is sometimes as simple as tags and as complicated as entire murals, like the commissioned one on Bowery.

Although the paint is peeling a bit and the colors might have faded, the Coney Island mural is definitely one of my favorites I’ve seen from these artists.


Metropolitan Museum Gems

Blog, New York Cityon February 8th, 2010No Comments

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is usually a must-see for any tourist. I had a membership for years, and it is definitely my favorite museum in New York. The problem with the Met? It would take days to see everything. While I’d highly recommend the popular stops, including the seasonal rooftop exhibit, the armor collection (pictured above) and the Egyptian temple, my two must-see exhibits at the Met are smaller and tucked away.

My favorite stop is in the Met’s modern art section — a set of paintings by Chuck Close that face each other. The incredibly photo-realistic Mark is comprised of a series of airbrushed layers of acrylic paint. It’s really incredible, as is Close’s Lucas (and everything else he has ever done), and more impressive in person.

My other favorite painting is more obvious and common, although no less amazing for its fame. Picasso’s The Blind Man’s Meal is one of his stunning photos from the Blue Period. It’s simple, beautiful and incredibly lonely, and it’s absolutely worth spending a good 10 minutes staring at it.


Recent Graffiti in New York

Blog, New York Cityon January 5th, 2010No Comments

Here are a few random acts of graffiti that I spotted around New York a few months ago. I think graffiti, even when it’s not professional or really artistic, is just so bright and fun. (The first image is a mural by graffiti artists Os Gêmeos, and although it is technically not “graffiti,” it is street art.)

Graffiti on truck

Chinatown graffiti

Pink raindrop


New Museum (and Graffiti)

Blog, New York Cityon November 20th, 2009No Comments

There are a lot of stupid things that I insist my friends see when they visit the city. I tend to avoid the traditional things (for example, I’ve still never been to the top of the Empire State Building), but there are certain little sights that I think are too much fun to miss.

For example, NYC’s New Museum has this sign on the front of the building:

Hell, Yes!

Rainbow-colored neon sign reads: Hell, Yes!

Fun, right? But the best part is on the base of a stoplight directly across the street from the museum, where you can find this little piece of cheeky graffiti:

Hell, No!

It’s partially covered with a sticker, but the stencil reads: Hell, No!