Birds and the Bees (and Crabs)
I spent a delightful Memorial Day weekend (thank you for asking) taking pictures of wild turkeys. One hen turkey was followed everywhere by ten or eleven tiny poults, which had a tendency to lose themselves in the long grass — the sight of one little chick after another exploding out of the vegetation, flapping furiously in an effort to keep up with mother reduced us to helpless hysterics every time. Meanwhile, a brace of toms paid court to her unmarried sister, with much fluffing of feathers and furious gobbling.
Later, we went down to the marsh and watched the horseshoe crabs mating. There's something amazing about watching creatures whose basic design hasn't changed much in the last three hundred and fifty million years having sex at your feet. The feeling is almost vertiginous, like opening a window onto the past. Set the dials of your time machine for a destination three thousand times further from the present day than the time at which our earliest ancestors took on the form that we now think of as human; look down, and you'll see horseshoe crabs that look essentially the same as they do now. Now that's staying power.
(It's a) Burning Car
Manhattan, NY, USA -- 24 May 2007
Working on Centre Street is anything but dull. If it's not hostage situations, it's spontaneously combusting Saturns. I don't know why this car broke down and burst into flames just outside our office, but it made for an interesting interruption to the afternoon routine. I was even able to capture some of it on video.
Dance Parade 2007
Manhattan, NY, USA -- 19 May 2007
When former mayor (and current presidential hopeful) Rudy Giuliani stepped up enforcement of New York's “cabaret laws” as part of a ‘quality of life’ campaign, the irony was not lost on those New Yorkers who like to dance. Under the laws, any establishment that serves food and drink must have a license if the owners want to allow dancing on the premises. Such licenses are not easy to come by, and only about 5% of New York's licensed premises have one. In the other 95%, getting up and dancing is strictly verboten. Even music venues will hasten to quell any outbreak of spontaneous dancing, so that the unseemly public spectacle of gyrating adults doesn't get them fined or lose them their liquor license.
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Great Saunter 2007
Manhattan, NY, USA -- 05 May 2007
Another year, another thirty-two miles.
The Great Saunter around Manhattan is a peculiarly masochistic pleasure. I will admit that I enjoy it more for the early stages, the brisk gallop up Hudson River Park and the easy stroll through the spring blossoms in Riverside Park, rather than the foot-dragging, knee-aching, stumble down the East River at the end of the day, when I'm generally too tired to take much in. I wonder if the organizers could be persuaded to run the route widdershins one year, to give a different perspective on things.
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