New York 2005 Archives

Crazy white people

New York, NY, USA -- 29 January 2005 | Permalink
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The Dominican kid on Clinton St shook his head disbelievingly as a shopping cart, drawn by four people dressed as pirates and waving cardboard cutlasses, hurtled down Clinton St. “Fuckin' crazy white people.” he commented. If he'd known that this wasn't just random madness, but part of New York's meticulously-organized Idiotarod, I doubt he'd have changed his verdict.

 

The Gates

New York, NY, USA -- 13 February 2005 | Permalink
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Christo and Jeanne-Claude have filled Central Park with bright orange Gates.

 

Murals

New York, NY, USA -- 12 April 2005 | Permalink
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In moments of frustration, M. has sometimes been heard to curse people with the words “A plague of Chico murals on your neighborhood!”. I have mixed feelings about Chico's output. Given that the Lower East Side is not exactly an area of great natural beauty, the splash of color is certainly welcome. On the other hand, there is something undeniably creepy about them. I think it's the eyes. The newest one, of the late Pope, is particularly sinister, making the recently-departed pontiff look ominously Aryan. I wonder if it's permissible to hope that someone will go out and whack Puff Daddy or Fifty Cent, so that I don't have to walk past this every day for the next two years ...

 

Leaving the scene

New York, NY, USA -- 25 April 2005 | Permalink
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A taxi driver rear-ended a stopped car at the intersection of 42nd St and 8th Avenue this morning. For reasons best known to himself, he then stood on the gas and attempted — with his fare still inside — to make his getaway down the busy stretch of 42nd St that runs past my workplace. The consequences were predictable.

 

Good Friday

New York, NY, USA -- 01 May 2005 | Permalink
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To the left of the door of the Orthodox Cathedral of Holy Virgin Protection on 2nd St, a sign declared that it was "A healing alternative to godless secularism". Through the glass doors, the interior of the church glowed with a rich golden light. Outside, a woman wearing a headscarf paced back and forth on the pavement, a cellphone pressed to her ear. From time to time, people would emerge from the cathedral to smoke or make phone calls, then plunge back in to rejoin the Good Friday service.

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The Great Saunter

New York, NY, USA -- 10 May 2005 | Permalink
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I was at about 120th St on the East Side when my phone rang. It was my boss, calling to let me know that one of the test boxes was misbehaving. “I'll try to get to it later.” I told him. “I can't come in to the office right now. I'm walking around Manhattan.” He was very polite and didn't press the point, but I could tell that he didn't think it was a valid excuse. I thought of trying to explain. I wasn't walking around in Manhattan. I was walking around Manhattan. The whole thing. From South St Seaport up the Hudson River to the northern end of the island up by the Bronx, then down along the East River and back to the starting point. Thirty-two miles. Fifty-one kilometres.

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24-hr party people

New York, NY, USA -- 15 May 2005 | Permalink
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New York, for all that it appears to be merely a major city, is actually the intersection of a large number of parallel universes. In one of these universes, people such as Mayor Bloomberg and things such as the New York Stock Exchange are thought to be important. In another (which remains entirely a closed book to me), sports teams like the Knicks and the Mets occupy people's attention. In a third (equally incomprehensible) strand, names like Macys and Bloomingdales are floated around, and so on and so forth. And somewhere, amidst all the infinite strands that make up the city, there is a universe in which the names that are mentioned admiringly are those of The Hungry March Band and The Madagascar Institute and all the other organizations - doubtless too numerous to list - who chip away at the self-important universes of Mayor Bloomberg and the Mets and Macys, quietly (or noisily) creating neat things on the fringes. Things like First Warm Night.

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The Giglio

Williamsburg, NY, USA -- 10 July 2005 | Permalink
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Some photographs taken at Williamsburg's Feast of the Giglio. The strange evolution of the tradition - from fourth-century Italian villagers welcoming a returning saint with lilies to a ceremony in which a hundred and twenty burly men 'dance' a five-ton tower through the streets of Brooklyn - actually makes some kind of sense if you read the history.

 

Art around the Park

New York, NY, USA -- 28 August 2005 | Permalink
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Photographs from Art around the Park at Tompkins Square Park, part of the annual Howl! festival.

 

Meet the LRAD

02 October 2005 | Permalink
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BoingBoing, a popular website among the digerati (also known as the nerdnoscenti), has occasional coverage of some of the interesting devices available to law enforcement to assist them in their dealings with the citizenry. Recent mention of MAD's finally stirred a memory and made me sit up and say “Wait, I saw something like that during last year's protests against the RNC in New York.”

Further research on BoingBoing revealed that the device I had seen was the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD). BoingBoing's judiciously cautious coverage speaks only of the 'reported presence' of the gizmo in question. So here, just for the sake of the historical record, are two pictures of what appears to be an LRAD, mounted on a Humvee parked at 8th Avenue and 34th St. Say hello to the LRAD, boys and girls. You'll be seeing more of it in future.

 

Potemkin East

New York, NY, USA -- 30 October 2005 | Permalink
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For reasons that I don't entirely pretend to understand, my neighborhood sees a fairly constant stream of filmmakers and it's a rare week when one or other street isn't choked up with huge white trailers and nerdy-looking go-fers with walkie-talkies saying “Could you please just wait there a moment, we're filming now, thank you so much.” A few months back I took a sharp left turn coming out of my building and found myself squarely in shot behind a tattooed white boy rapping his way up the street while the camera crew retreated in front of him. I think they may have had to reshoot that verse.

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Election Fever

New York, NY, USA -- 05 November 2005 | Permalink
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The second time they called, I was ready for them. “Hello, Simon,” the woman said breathlessly, “I just wanted to confirm that Mike Bloomberg can count on your support on November 8th.” The way she said it, it sounded like it was all one word: mikebloombergcancountonyoursupport. “Absolutely not.” I said. “Excuse me?” She sounded surprised. “I will take great pleasure in voting against Bloomberg on November 8th.” I told her. “I've been looking forward to it for months.”. To her credit, she actually giggled. We thanked each other politely and she rang off.

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Sic transit

New York, NY, USA -- 20 December 2005 | Permalink

I confess that I had expected that the city-wide transit strike might be a rather more dramatic affair. Perhaps it was my memory of the first day of the blackout in 2003, when the streets of Manhattan filled up suddenly with disoriented office workers all trying to work out what had happened and how to get home. Perhaps it was the minor sense of urgency created by being kept awake by police and news helicopters most of last night. Perhaps it was a permanent lingering desire for some occasional not-too-major interruption in the daily routine to provide a topic for conversation and material for photographs.

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