Friday, March 30, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Very yellow cab

I took this shot standing on the High LinePark, looking down on West 23rd Street.  The picture was modified with the Instagram’s filter Lome-fi; it gives the colors a stronger contrast.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The mysterious origin of steam

Have you ever ask yourself what exactly is all this steam that we see here and there in Manhattan, coming out of orange and white chimneys? 

A chimney somewhere in Midtown
With all the crazy pressure on people's shoulders here – perhaps you've read that New York has recently won the title of the world’s most competitive city –, I was starting to believe that the steam may come from New Yorker’s heads while they are in the subway network, trying and failing to arrive on time to their "rendez-vous".

Although this hypothesis was sensible, I still wanted to do some research about it; in order to being able explaining this very special phenomenon to my visitors when they come to New York and ask me the question – which typically happens after one or two days.

New York, in fact, has the world's biggest steam generation system. Everyday, this system pumps steam into not less than some 100,000 commercial and residential establishments.

First run in Central Park

Central Park is situated 2.2 miles (3,5 km) from our place; no need to specify that I have to run a significantly long distance if I want to go, run in the park and come back. I gave it a first shot yesterday. The result: a 8 miles (almost 13 km) but oh so enjoyable workout... And I had to take the subway to come back! 

I stopped a few times to capture the beauty of nature coming back to life. Here are some of my pictures: 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2012 first days of warm weather - Washington Square Park

This week, New York is back to normal in terms of temperature; but March offered us a few beautiful and very warm days that made the winter quite short – just how I like it. 

Here, the Washington Square Park crowd – mostly nannies and students – is enjoying one of the first “above 70” afternoons.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Outdoor mural in NoLliTa

Spotted in NoLiTa - 15 Prince Street (corner of Elizabeth, NYC) - , this stunning 10 by 12 ft mural was created by Annie Bandez alias Little Annie, a New York City painter. 

As we can read on Little Annie’s Facebook page, “Her style has been described as eclectic relativism being figurative, metaphorical and surrealistic, with a strong emphasis on color”. Personally I find her work refreshing.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Couch in a street of Park Slope: who’s going to be the first to pick it up?

Have you seen the YouTube video "Shit Park Slope parents say"? It is funny because it reminded me so much about my beloved Plateau Mont-Royal, the neighborhood where I was living in Montreal.

On the Plateau, we were having this phenomenon which I called the “magic sidewalk”; Saturdays and Sundays, the area would turn into a real treasure hunt as everyone was looking for second hand things to bring home for free. You could put anything on the sidewalk and it was gone within 30 minutes. 

Apparently, Park Slope in Brooklyn has also “magic sidewalks”; this is why I am pretty sure that this vintage leather couch has found a new home quickly!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dog walker in Chelsea

Ok, I agree this picture is not as special as my dog rack.

I have a fascination for dog walkers and I can’t help taking photos of them. Where I come from, dogs are a lot less well-mannered as here. You would never see a pack walking with such calm, grace, and independence; all these guys would probably just want to fight or play together.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Studying English in New York: my language learning tips

This week is my last studying English at International House New York; though it is necessary to move on to something else – job searching maybe? – , I am very sad about it.

During my full time English learning journey – which will continue part time forever – I found so many useful resources to help me improve that I thought it would be appropriate to dedicate a post to this topic.

Some people might say that a complete immersion in an English environment should be enough to learn the language but I don’t agree. Of course, getting to talk and hear it on a daily basis is the key of success; but here are other tips that I think can make an immersion a lot more effective.

Dumbo industrial building


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

High Line Cutback

Contrary to common practices, the High Line’s plants are not trimmed back during the fall season when the cold weather arrives. Because the park needs to keep its charm during winter, the layers of wild grasses and self-seeded plants that have grown between the rail tracks since the trains stopped running in the 1980's are left there until spring.

High Line Gardeners startedlast week to cut back the park’s plants to make room for new growth; the promenade offers now - but not for long - a completely different ambiance, that accentuates even more the old rail tracks that I like so much.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Daily photos: Special edition Saint-Patrick’s Day parade

Did you know that New York’s Saint-Patrick’s Day parade is the oldest and the largest in the world?

One of the City’s greatest traditions, this event was held for the first time in 1762 fourteen years before the Declaration of Independence was adopted on Lower Broadway by a band of homesick Irish ex-patriots and Irish military.

Martin and I were on 5th avenue – the actual location of the parade – last Saturday to party with thousands of others. Here are some pictures of the event:


Have a good week!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Graffiti on a quiet street of the Meatpacking District

I am a big fan of street art and this graffiti, found on a quiet street of the Meatpacking District, is among my favorites in the City.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My running paradise

When we think about running in New York, the first thing that comes to mind is of course Central Park. But there is another perfect spot to go exercise: the Hudson River Park.

Extending on the waterfront from 59th Street to Battery Park, the Hudson River Park is the largest park to be built in the City since the completion of Central Park.  It offers a pleasant 5 miles bike and running path as well as numerous recreational facilities like tennis and basketball courts, a playground and a dog run.

This picture was taken in the south part of the bike and running path on a winter afternoon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

South Street Seaport: the hidden history treasure of Lower Manhattan

Almost feel like San Francisco...
Walking in New York is sometimes – not to say often – marveling as you can turn one single street corner and suddenly see the landscape changing. 

This happened to me a few weeks ago when I was willingly getting lost in the streets of the Financial District; as I was walking on narrow streets among hundreds of businessmen and other busy New Yorkers, I wound up in this tiny, quiet and quite open old area: the South Street Seaport. With its West Coast inspired pier, charming cobblestone roads and red brick buildings, the place unexpectedly appeared to me like a breath of fresh sea air among the claustrophobic walls of downtown.

Desigual store on 6th Avenue

 Just an original and colorful building spotted on 6th Avenue.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Basketball players at West 4th Street

West 4th Street basketball courts in Greenwich Village, also known as "the Cage", represent apparently a great place to watch amateur basketball; on nice spring or summer days, the two courts fill with players of all ages and nationality, mostly coming from the Bronx, showing up their talent to the largely curious audience eager for a good show.

I passed by last week on a sunny and warm day and the ambiance was great, probably because these people had been waiting to play all winter. I found it particularly interesting to observe the blazing disputes between some players. Also, because the courts are non-regulation size - they are a lot smaller -, more emphasis is given to "banging inside" or tough physical play.

Monday, March 12, 2012

First signs of spring

I took this picture last weekend near Strawberry Field in Central park; the heart drawn in the sky and the early buds in the trees make us feel that spring is coming…

Have a good week!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Super Mario Invader on West 23rd Street

Are you familiar with the Invader phenomenon? Perhaps one of the most recognizable street art stunts of the last decade, Space invaders appeared in Paris in 1998 thanks to an anonymous French urban artist who began assembling characters made of small coloured square mosaic tiles in the City. 

Inspired by the popular 1980’s Space invaders arcade game – and renowned to be an invasion – the eccentric artistic approach was soon transported in other cities around the world; you can now find these little pixelized characters – the tiles perfectly represent the pixels of this vintage game with low-resolution graphics – in New York, LA, San Diego as well as tens of European and Asian cities.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lonely in Time Square

I caught this contrasting moment when I was myself sitting alone in the Time Square’s red stairs. It felt special being lonely in an area jam packed with hundreds of people. I suddenly started observing other loners and I wound up taking this picture, which is completely the opposite of typical busy Times Square’s shots.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Paul Richard: Taking street art to another level

Walking in New York is usually more about looking up than looking down but in certain areas of the city, there may be good reasons to look at what is happening at your feet. 

I recently discovered a New York street artist named Paul Richard and the more I learn about his work, the more I am crazy about it. This man – like many other street artists I agree – has been working for years at turning New York into a giant art gallery that all citizens and visitors can enjoy constantly and for free. And with him, street art is taken to another level…

Multicolored cab

The picture has been modified with Pixlr-o-Matic, most speficically the Anne filter.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Boat House

Located at the north east part of the Central Park Lake, the Boathouse was built in the 1950’s and is now a famous icon of the park. 

The place is mostly a dining spot as it is home to a fancy restaurant.  

I had lunch with a friend of mine there recently – not in the fancy restaurant but in the cafeteria out back, where you can enjoy a nice view by the way – and it was a fun experience. The atmosphere, with ducks and swans all around, is quite magical and feels like being in the countryside; it can almost make you forget that you are in the city.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Fashionable New Yorker

Not only are most New York dogs fashionable, they are very patient. This friend was waiting for his master at the door of a 10th Avenue deli.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Jane’s carousel in Dumbo

In Brooklyn Bridge Park, between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, is standing a completely restored historic carousel made in 1922 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company: Jane’s carousel, a classic 3-row machine with 48 exquisitely carved horses, and 2 superb chariots.

Janes’s carousel’s wood carvings are apparently among the finest of their kind and its scenery panels, rounding boards, crests, center pole and platform are all original. 

When I saw the carousel for the first time, it was a rainy day in Dumbo. I found the sad weather highly contrasting with the joyful subject, which became  suddenly nostalgic. I decided to capture the moment with a gray and tearful picture.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Colored windows

 This picture was taken at dusk in the gallery district of Chelsea.